Baltimore Evening Sun (28 February 1914): 6.


Of late I challenged the Rev. Dr. C. D. Harris for space in the Southern Methodist to defend my theological honor against his accusations of ignorance and worse, as he had already obtained space in The Evening Sun. In the current Southern Methodist he replies with the following counter-challenge:

That the Free Lance send his communication to the Southern Methodist, if he wishes it published, just as we sent ours to The Evening Sun, without our having published two or three notices implying we could not get the space before we tried.

Certainly here is disingenuousness unworthy of so virtuous a man as my learned friend. When he sent in his letter to The Evening Sun he know very well that it would be published in full, and without the slightest question. But I had no such assurance regarding my proposed communication to the Southern Methodist. On the contrary, I had sound reasons for suspecting that some question might be raised about admitting a professed sinner to such impeccable society, and that suspicion was promptly confirmed by Dr. Harris himself. Here are his exact words, from the Southern Methodist of February 19, page 4:

The Free Lance formally applies for space to the Southern Methodist for defending his theological honor, but adds that he hasn’t much hope of getting it. This is not an unreasonable request, as we were granted space to The [Evening] Sun to make our position clear. In reply, we shall say, if the directors of our paper will consent, we shall agree to discuss the principle of prohibition from a Scriptural, a moral and economic and practical standpoint, both in the Southern Methodist and in The Evening Sun, etc.

Well, have the directors ever consented? If so, why not say so, and have done? And failing any news of that consent, am I not justified in assuming that it is still withheld? Let the good Doctor cease his unworthy quibbling. Let his aye be aye and his nay, nay.

My spies on the Eastern Shore send me secret word that the vice crusade in Salisbury has already gone to pieces. Some of the reactionaries, indeed, have grown so bold that they talk openly of erecting monuments to the Hon. Liz Niblett and the Hon. Sal Dize, two former celebrated leaders in the bohemian society of the town. Meanwhile Crisfield remains so pure that it is impossible for any citizen to buy more than a quart of whisky a day.

A questionaire lately addressed to the physicians and surgeons of Baltimore by the venerable Charles M. Levister, D. D., chief statistician of the Anti-Saloon League:

  1. Briefly, what is the effect of alcohol upon the human stomach, brain, nerves and heart?
  2. Do you prescribe alcoholic stimulants in your practice? If so, in what quantites?
  3. What food value, if any, is there in ordinary beer?
  4. Do you regard alcohol as a habit-forming, irritant, narcotic poison?
  5. Does the effect of alcohol upon the nerve centers, arteries, liver and kidneys tend to longevity of life?
  6. Has your observation been such as to lead you to the conclusion that the human race needs alcoholic drinks as a beverage?
  7. Would you recommend even the moderate drinking of intoxicants for young men in your profession?
  8. Is not true that hospitals throughout the country are disregarding more and more the use of alcoholic stimulants?

Observe the studied disingenuousness of these questions. How neatly they play upon the admitted fact that alcohol has been largely superseded in medical practice by more powerful and efficient stimulants! How beautifully they obfuscate the fact that alcohol is used by the vast majority of men, not as a stimulant at all, but as a depressant? How subtly they seek to get a rise out of the medicos by dangling before them the exploded sophistries--now never heard of, save in donkeyish brewery advertisements--that beer is “liquid bread,” that alcohol is necessary to health, that a few drinks help a man to do his work!

Such chicaneries, as I have pointed out a hundred times, are apparently inseparable from “moral” enterprise. Your true moralist never meets the facts squarely; his first effort is always to conceal them with false postulates of his own manufacture. If Dr. Levister really wants to find out the actual effects of alcohol as it is normally used why doesn’t he ask the doctors a frank, simple and unequivocal question? Why doesn’t he ask them how many moderate drinkers, in their experience, end up as habitual drunkakrds or are seriously injured by drink?

Six weeks more, and then the grand escape! My space is hereby offered to my distinguished friend, the Hon. Jack Cornell, LL. B., to print the alibis of moral Commissioners of Police. And if Jack runs short of copy, then it is offered to Dr. Donald R. Hooker to prove that all “strictly male” men are scoundrels.

None the less, the thought still sticks that the Rev. Dr. John Roach Straton is an awful example of what a man may come to by drinking the city water.–Brewery Adv.

The Hon. Frank Wheeler Mandell, M. C., in the House of Representatives:

Good intentions cannot save us from disasters which amateurs, theorists, dreamers, acting on impulse when not on prejudice, are likely to bring upon us.

Another foul backward-looker! Another sinister foe of the true, the good and the beautiful!

The moral Evening Sun on the recent greening of Dr. Goldsborough:

If Governor Goldsborough has offended the bosses and machine politicians of both parties by good appointments, he has immensely pleased the rank and file of both organizations. He may have widened the political chasm between himself and the Republican stalwarts, but he has brought himself much closer to the people.

But just how did it bring him closer to the people or offend the “bosses and machine politicians of both parties” when he dropped four city coroners for purely political reasons, and gave their places to men with better backing? One of these coroners was Dr. David I. Macht, a member of the teaching staff of the Johns Hopkins Medical School. Not only did Dr. Macht do his work faithfully intelligently, but he also endeavored to make his observations and experience permanently valuable. That is to say, he was alert for facts of interest to other medical men, and contributed them to the medical journals. No other Baltimore coroner, so far as I know, had ever done anything of the sort.

But now Dr. Macht is turned out of office without ceremony, to make room, as I have said, for some man with more influential backing. This is an affecting and, I believe, a fair example of the new scheme of “reform” politics in action. It remains a “reform” scheme far enough to win over the newspapers and deceive the public, and after that it is tin-horn politics of the orthodox Eastern Shore variety.