Baltimore Evening Sun (18 February 1914): 6.
Nothing is more pleasant to contemplate than the reformation of a sinner. Therefore, I glow with joy as I give Hoch! Hoch! Dreimal hoch! for the estimable American Issue. A few weeks ago its advertising columns were full of portraits of ladies in extreme deshabille, but this week not a single picture of that sort is to be seen. One and all, they have been clawed out and consigned to the hell-box by the editor, the Rev. Charles M. Levister, D. D. Dr. Levister will lose subscribers by his, act; there are lots of racy old deacons, I dare say, who will stop the American Issue forthwith, and return to their first love, the Police Gazette. But let him remember that virtue is its own reward. The unregenerate may denounce him, but the right-thinking will give him hail. He has assaulted the exchequer of the Anti-Saloon Leg, but he has put an end to levantine distractions at the domestic hearth.
I take no great credit for converting Dr. Levister, though the episode, of course, is naturally gratifying. There was virtue in him to begin with; it was easy to fan it into flame. The sinners of the Society for the Suppression of Vice will be harder nuts to crack. It will take months, and perhaps even years, to bring them to a love for the good, the true and the beautiful. But I do not dispair. The day will come, I hope and believe, when they will put aside their Roman sports and chicaneries, and devote themselves to good works. The day will come when even the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte will gallop to the mourners’ bench, his eyes suffused with the tears of remorse, his voice clamoring for a word of forgiveness and consolation. On that day I shall wear a red necktie and a bunch of violets in my buttonhole.
TWO CHALLENGES. 1. To the Rev. Dr. John I. Yelott, of Belair, to deny on his honor that he wrote a letter signed “Clergyman” in the Evening News of February 11. 2. To the Rev. Dr. C. D. Harris, to give me the same space in the Southern Methodist that he got in The Evening Sun.
The Rev. Dr. J. Franklin Bryan, in the Letter Column of this morning’s Sunpaper:
I find in The Evening Sun an objection * * * even worse and more harmful than the so-called “educational” liquor advertisement. I refer to the Free Lance column. Almost everything in the whole catalogue of morality and uprightness is attacked and ridiculed by the editor of that column. He lets no man whom he thinks a great force for righteousness escape his unkind epithets and ignoble slurs.
A perfect example of that puerile burbling which now passes for piety among the bogus moralists who plot for space in the newspapers. Because I protest that prohibition will make the rum business even more hoggish than it is today, therefore I am an advocate of that hoggishness. Because I bring up evidence to show that vice-crusading will make prostitution worse and more dangerous, therefore I am an apologist for prostitution. Because I raise an objection when such men as the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte, the Hon. Jack Cornell and Dr. Donald R. Hooker seek to promote their mad schemes by gross and deliberate misrepresentations, therefore I am a foe to “the whole catalogue of morality and uprightness.” Because I point out that the angelic pretensions of such men as the Hon. Alfred S. Niles, the Hon. Eugene Levering and the syndics of the Anti-Saloon League are inconsistent with their own acts, therefore I am opposed to every “great force for righteousness.” And because I refuse to take seriously the virtuous whoops of such self-appointed inquisitors as the Rev. Dr. Bryan himself, therefore I am a destroyer of religion.
What childish rot! If I thought that it deceived any man of the slightest intelligence, I should retire from this sad trade of moral controversy and cut my throat. But I labor under no such notion. On the contrary, I am thoroughly convinced, and on the best evidence, that the people of this town are beginning to see the difference between honest reformers and bogus reformers, between sound and useful laws and idle and idiotic laws, between men who strive unselfishly for the public good and men who merely seek sport and notoriety, between clergymen who serve their God by serving their flocks and clergymen--save the mark!--who disgrace their cloth and their faith by neglecting that honorable work for the buffooneries of the quack doctors and the pothouse politicians.
This Dr. Bryan, incidentally, has been heard from before. At the last meeting of the Ministerial Union, of which he seems to be one of the shining ornaments, he made a violent and highly disingenuous attack upon the newspapers. He said, among other things, that when “decent stuff” gets into the Baltimore newspapers it was only because it “slipped” in, and that the “moral” element had to pay for whatever it wanted printed. And yet, for at least six months past, the Rev. Dr. Bryan has been assiduously wooing The Sun, The Evening Sun and the other papers with his own press-matter, and a lot of it has been printed as he wrote it, and the files of the papers are there to prove it. I am informed, indeed, by one of the local Church Editors that Dr. Bryan is the busiest of all the clerical press agents in our midst. And yet he has the effrontery to talk of boycotting the newspapers and to pose before the public as one shocked and sickened by their low morality!
The Hon. Edger M. Cullen, formerly chief justice of the Court of Appeals of New York, to the New York Bar Association:
In my youth liberty seemed to be the right of the citizen to act and live as he thought best, so long as his conduct did not invade a like right on the part of others. Today, according to the notion of many people, liberty is the right of part of the people to compel the other part to do what the first part thinks the latter ought to do for its own benefit. * * * In this state [of New York] we now have over 200 felonies and over double that number of misdemeanors. No trade or calling seems so limited, no society or association so insignificant, the advocates of no hobby or nostrum so few or so wanting in influence as to be denied the privilege of having a new misdemeanor created. Misdemeanors have became so common that there is speculation among the curious as to how many the average decent citizen will ordinarily commit in a day.
Judge Cullen was a justice of the Supreme Court of New York from 1880 to 1900, an associate justice of the Court of Appeals from 1900 to 1904 and chief justice (on the nomination of both political parties) from 1904 to 1913. But put him beside Dr. Donald R. Hooker, range him against Dr. O. Edward Janney, match him with the Rev. Dr. Kenneth G. Murray, and how he becomes a puling ignoramus, an odious mountebank, a mere suckling in sagacity!
It costs nothing to attend a session of the City Council. It is worth even less.—Adv.