Baltimore Evening Sun (21 January 1914): 6.


The case against the Hon. John P. McGovern, ex-kaifist in the Western Tenderloin and now a gendarme in the State House at Annapolis, as reported by the estimable Sunpaper:

Last May McGovern was refused a [liquor] license. The [Liquor License] Board did not have anything very definite against him. Twice, while he conducted the saloon * * * he went before the Criminal Court on charges of violating the liquor law by selling during prohibited hours, and both times he was acquitted by juries. Not many years ago, according to those who know him best, McGovern was a cab driver.

A powerful indictment, to be sure. The Liquor License Board “did not have anything very definite against him,” and both times the cops pulled his place be was acquitted by juries! Can it be that his crime consisted in driving a hack?

A DAILY THOUGHT. Cupido dominandi cunctis affectibus flagrantior est.--The Hon. Publius Cornelius Tacitus.

With the State expenditures increasing steadily on the one hand and the city of Baltimore trying to get relief from its excessive burden of State taxes on the other hand, the Legislature will soon have to look about for new means of increasing the revenue. The income from direct taxes and licenses, indeed, is now near the limit, and unless other sources of revenue are promptly found, the State will find itself hopelessly in debt. In this emergency, why have the lawmakers overlooked a tax upon bachelors? The State is full of them and they hold far more than their just proportion of its wealth. Why not make them pay a dollar a day apiece, and so solve the fiscal problem at one stroke, and without putting any new burdens upon householders and heads of families?

The present population of Maryland is about 1,250,000. According to the Census Bureau, slightly less than half of the State’s inhabitants, or say 650,000, are males, and according to the same authority 48.4 per cent. of these males, or 314,600, are between the ages of 20 and 54. According to the saine authority again, 39 per cent. of these males of marriageable age, or say 122,700, are unmarried.

Consider, now, how much money a dollar-a-day tax on bachelors would raise annually! Even supposing that half of those now living in the State should be driven into marriage to escape the impost, no less than 61,500 would remain, and, what is more, they would represent very accurately that portion of the population best able to pay taxes–i. e., the most selfish, crafty and stiny portion. Paying a dollar a day, they would flood the State Treasury with the enormous sum of $28,447,500 a year, or more than six times the whole income of the State from direct taxes in 1913.

No need to point out that this princely income would convert Maryland from one of the poorest American States into one of the richest. There would be enough money in the treasury to complete the State roads system forthwith, and to put through a score of other necessary and invaluable improvements. After a few years, indeed, all imaginable improvements would be made and paid for, and the money piling up in the treasury would be available for investment in Government bonds and other securities. In the course of time, no doubt, the income from these securities would be sufficient to pay all the expenses of the State, thus making it possible to abolish all taxes, even including the tax upon bachelors.

I commend this plan to the attention of the hon. gentlemen of the Legislature. The most pressing of all the problems now before them is the fiscal problem: every one of the uplifting and forward-looking plans on their calendar involves the expenditure of money, and money is growing tighter day by day. They can’t raise the direct tax upon property without starting a revolution, and they are near the end of their squeezing of antomobilists, the banks, the liquor ring and Baltimore city. Let them turn to the bachelors, and so escape their woes. Everybody envies a bachelor, and hence everybody hates him. The more he protested against the dollar-a-day tax, the more the public in general would approve it.

The sagacious Sunpaper on the removal of the dash from the Hon. Dashing Harry:

It is stated now that the Mayor takes the view that, under the city charter, the Commissioner of Health is supreme in the administration of the affairs of his department. * * *

A view that the hon. gentleman probably would have embraced from the start, had he only consulted the Hon. Sunday-school Field, LL. D., the Hon. Bob Lee or some other competent juriconsult. Nothing could be plainer, indeed, than the right of the Commissioner of Health to appoint all of his own subordinates, without interference from the Mayor or anyone else. Of the nine sections of the City Charter relating to him no fewer than four begin with the provision that he “may appoint” or “shall appoint.” It is nowhere provided that he shall submit his appointments to the Mayor, or to the Board of Estimates, or to anyone else. On the contrary, it is specifically provided that he shall have “all power and authority” formerly vested in the Board of Health, including the power of appointment and dismissal. He is the sole judge of the qualifications of all his subordinates, including even his chief assistant. It would be plainly impossible to charge him with insubordination, within the meaning of Seetion 25, for refusing to dismiss a subordinate at the behest of the Mayor. What is more, Section 28, under the subtitle of “Mayor,” repeats and ratifies his right to the “appointment and removal at pleasure of all deputies, assistants, clerks and subordinate employes” in his department.

Crisfield and Salisbury have stepped up and confessed. Belair and Havre de Grace next! Which recalls the fact that good old Archdeacon Wegg, once so lavish with his parts of speech, hasn’t loosed a single participle in six weeks. Can it be that the immoral Sunpaper no longer deserves his lash, that he hasn’t caught it in a single deviltry during all that time? Certainly, I hope not. Such virtue is as much a proof of arterio-sclerosis in a newspaper as it would be in a Sunday-school superintendent. Besides, I confess without shame that I miss the archdeacon’s corrective seltzer siphon myself. Time was when he exposed and denounced me every time I violated the punctilio, but now I run wild, with none to haul me up. Come, Wegg, lay on! Put away your horse-breeding and resume the poisoned pen!

Fifty thousand pistoles for the Star-Spangled Super-Mahon Exposition, but not a d----d cent for diphtheria!