Baltimore Evening Sun (21 February 1914): 6.


Bedside bulletin from the estimable Sunpaper:

What will be the future of the Greater Baltimore Committee? The subscriptions of those who pledged their financial support to it will expire on May 1 and there is a very general feeling among business men that the work of the organization should be confined by the Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association.

A curious sidelight upon boom law: the honorary pallbearer is the heir and assign of the corpse!

My estimable friend the Rev. Dr. Carlton D. Harris rages and roars in the current Southern Methodist (though always in a courteous and dignified manner) against my doctrine that the Anti-Saloon League is not a Christian, but a Moslem organization. But the more he engages in that exhausting labor, the more he fortifies my case. For example, consider this extract from his article:

When our dragomen tried to buy wine for some of our party at Hebron on one recent tour to the East, he could not get it from the Mohammedans, even in that famous grape-growing neighborhood, for they said their religion forbade their making it.

Well, isn’t this exactly what I have been maintaining? The Moslem religion not only forbids its adherents to drink alcohol as a beverage; it also forbids them, under the heaviest penalties, to make it or sell it. But the Christian religion does nothing of the sort. On the contrary, the very founder of Christianity made an alcoholic beverage for the use of his friends, and his greatest successor, Paul of Tarsus, specifically recommended its use. My contention is that the Anti-Saloon League, in adopting the Moslem view of alcohol, as opposed to the Christian view, has turned itself, to that extent at least, into a Moslem organization. And I beg to call attention to the fact that no commissioned spokesman of the League, not even the Hon. William H. Anderson nor the Rev. Dr. Levister, has ever ventured to controvert my view.

Dr. Harris has hitherto sought to establish a difference between the Anti-Saloon League’s attitude toward alcohol and that of the Moslems by showing that the constitutional amendment proposed by the league makes an exception of alcohol used “for sacramental, medicinal, mechanical, pharmaceutical or scientific purposes.” But in reply to my challenge that he produce proof that Mohammedanism does not make the very same exception, all he can say is that “we do not know whether such articles (i. e., Jamaica ginger, furniture polish, etc.) can be secured there” (i. e., in Constantinople and Cairo). In point of fact, however, he must know that they can be secured there, and what is more, that they can be secured openly and without interference by the police.

The Mohammedan physicians of Turkey use exactly the same pharmacopœia that our own physicians use, and it is full of alcoholic extracts. Alcohol lamps are used in the Levant exactly as they are used in the United States. And Dr. Harris must be very well aware that complete religious freedom prevails in Turkey, at least by law, and that the thousands of Christians in Constantinople are free to conduct their forms of worship as they please, and that this freedom includes the use of sacramental wine, and that no one is ever molested for importing and selling such wine. These plain facts blow up his laborious distinction between prohibition and Mohammodanism. The simple truth is, of course, that no such distinction exists. Not only in its doctrines, but also in its practices, the Anti-Saloon League is thoroughly Moslem. It has borrowed Prohibition from the Mobammedans and it has borrowed the holy war. Both are without the slightest support in the Christian Scriptures.

But enough of this dallying with theology, that painful science. My advice to Dr. Harris, as a sincere well-wisher, is that he cease trying to combat alcoholic beverages on theological grounds, and adopt the far safer device of combating them on logical grounds. If he does so, he will find his case vastly improved. The saloon, as we know it in this country, tends to be hoggish and an abomination. The whole business of manufacturing and selling alcoholic beverages is invaded by habitual criminals. It is the duty of every good citizen to oppose the chicaneries of such gentry. But he hampers himself sorely, I believe, when he seeks to punish the innocent with the guilty--when he tries to show that every saloonkeeper is a lawbreaker and every drinker a sot. Excess of that sort is the sport of foolish men. It is my contention that such foolish men are too prominent in the battle against intemperance in this country, and that their violence is making a bad situation worse, just as the violence of the vice crusaders makes a worse sitution worse yet.

Curious remark in an anonymous contribution to the Letter Column:

In the letter published in the News–a letter that voices the sentiment of the general public–and signed “Clergyman,” can [the Hon.] Mr. Mencken find any evidence of vulgarity? Yet he says, or intimates, that [the Rev. Dr. John I.] Yellott wrote it.

In justice to the Rev. Dr. Yellott, a man whom I esteem in spite of his lamentable faults, let me protest against the inference in this allegation. I by no means regard vulgarity as his hallmark, nor would I charge him with an anonymous letter merely on the ground that it was vulgar. He is, in point of fact, no more vulgar than I am myself, and those chicaneries of which I seek to purge him have nothing to do with vulgarity.

From a Milwaukee dispatch to the New York Times, quoted in The Evening Sun:

The City Club, a reform organization, finds that Milwaukee morals are rapidly growing worse, that vice is on the increase, etc., etc.

Milwaukee is one of the four cities cited by the Hon. Jack Cornell, in his argument before the Judiciary Committee of the State Senate, as affecting proofs of the efficacy or vice crusades. The others were Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis. That he grossly misrepresented the facts as to Detroit I have amply proved in this place, and that he did the same with respect to Chicago every drummer knows. This leaves Minneapolis. I shall deal with Minneapolis in due course.

The Hon. Mr. Cornell appeared at Annapolis as the paid agent and spokesman of the Society for the Suppression of Vice--i. e., of the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte, LL. D., the Hon. Eugene Levering et al. It is instructive to note the strong respect that these great moralists have for the truth. Let them stand as examples in honor, as they are in virtue, to all the young men of Baltimore.

The Rev. Dr. Charles M. Levister has been brought up to grace and the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte is wabbling. All that remains is to convert the Rev. Dr. John I. Yellott.