Baltimore Evening Sun (2 March 1914): 6.


The Rev. Dr. C. D. Harris, while still dodging my challenge that he give me reasonable space in the estimable Southern Methodist to defend my outraged theological honor, has succumbed himself to a bad case of the challenging fever. In his current issue he flings no fewer than three challenges at me, all of them absurd. The first I answered Saturday. The other two are here set down:

  1. That the Free Lance point out in what editorial we have branded the saloonkeepers as criminal, as he would have the readers of The Evening Sun believe.
  2. That the Free Lance quote any utterance of ours in which we accused moderate drinkers of crimes “that are only committed by by drunkards and teetotalers,” and our so violently persisting “in that error that it tends to take on a lamentable likeness to a downright and deliberate sin.”

In answer to Challenge No. 1 I point to the following remark in the Southern Methodist of February 19, page 2, column 2:

We boldly affirm that the organized liquor traffic is absolutely indefensible from a Scriptural and moral standpoint.

And to this in the Southern Methodist of February 5, page column 2:

The organized liquor traffic has grown to be one of the greatest evils to the highest welfare of man--an evil to his material, mental, moral and spiritual welfare.

And to this in the same issue, page, 2, column 1:

Look over the country at the many and unspeakable crimes which are being committed through its agency. * * * It stands indicted by God and man as one of the worst enemies of common humanity.

I could produce, I daresay, a dozen other such texts. Does Dr. Harris seriously maintain that he has not “branded the saloonkeepers as criminal,” after he has called their bustiness “absolutely indefensible from a * * * moral standpoint,” and denounced it as “one of the greatest evils to the highest welfare of man,” and charged that it “stands indicted by Gpd and man as one of the worst enemies of common humanity”? If he says that he hasn’t, then what is his definition of criminal? What would a man have to do in order to qualify under that definition? My imagination is unable to conceive such super-crimes.

As for his second challenge, if finds its answer in his issue of February 19, page 3, column 1. There he says specifically that the moderate drinkers I described in this place on February 7 “commence drinking * * * ‘for the purpose of dulling the sharp edge of care,’ etc., deceiving themselves with the thought that they can ‘take it or let it alone,’ until it becomes their master and reduces them to the level of the beast, and influenced by liquor-crazed brains, they often not only beat but kill those who, under normal conditions, they would love and protect.” I can find no qualification here. If the learned doctor’s words mean anything at all, they mean that alcohol becomes the “master” of all such men, and that it reduces all of them to the level of the beast. The only concession he makes to the facts is when he contents himself with saying that they beat and kill their loved ones only “often”--that is, not always, not inevitably.

I offer these quotations, not only as answers to my estimable brother’s singularly inept challenges, but also as indications of his lamentable recklessness of statement. He talks of alcohol exactly as an old maid suffragette talks of the deviltries of men--out of a copious, incandescent and unhealthy ignorance. It is my theory that this is a bad way to combat its undoubted evils. The ineradicable objection to prohibition is that it is so furious, so unjust and so unintelligent that it always ranges against itself, not only the rogues who promote drunkenness for profit, but also the great majority of fair and reflective men. If it were one-tenth as violent, it would be ten times as effective.

Eloquent call to all right-thinking and forward-looking men in the Sunpaper of November 1, 1913, under the heading of “A Splendid Opportunity to Send a Well-Equipped Man to Annapolis:”

Billy Ogden is a man of principle. * * * The Fourth district is normally Republican but the split in that party and Mr. Ogden’s especial fitness for the office he seeks ought to make his election sure if the friends of good government rally about him as they should. No result of the election would be more inspiring than that.

Pious thanksgiving in the Sunpaper of November 6, the day after the election:

Mr. Ogden’s election is a real victory. * * * A man of Ogden’s information on political and social questions can make his influence felt at Annapolis. He goes to the Legislature at a good time.

The Evening News of yesterday on the hon. gent’s desertion of the oyster:

The foes of oyster culture are cheered today by the flop of Senator Ogden into their camp. * * * Ogden is looked upon as a Kelly man, and it was the fourth district which, in the fight of Thursday night, went over solidly, casting every vote for repeal.

Sing hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle; the cow jumped over the moon!

The Hon. Grace Isabel Colbron in The Public for February 20:

The wave of emotional excitement which for some time past has been agitating the American public concerning our national attitude toward the ancient evil of prostitution is already passing into a stage where the end can be foreseen. It has degenerated into hysteria, and quick-witted commercialism is hasting to gain a few dollars thereby ere the wave subsides.

The sour truth, admirably put. The vice crusade, like the war upon the Rum Demon, is now a lucrative and well-organized business. Its chief aim is not to lift up the fallen, not to warn the weak, not to heal the diseased, but simply and solely to inflame the credulous, to shake down fools with money, to give good sport to those who can pay for it, to provide an easy living for prehensile gentlemen with the gift of sobbing gab.

If the Rev. Dr. Levister really wants sound medical advice as to the effects of alcohol, and is not merely trying to trick the doctors into saying things that may be distorted into commendations of prohibition, then why doesn’t he turn to “The Principles and Practice of Medicine,” by Sir William Osler, M. D.? On page 369, of the sixth edition of that great work, he will find the following:

In moderation, wine, beer and sprits may be taken throughout a long life without impairing the general health.

Boil your drinking water! Forward the vice crusade! Good old Dashing Harry!

The Philadelphia vice crusade drove seven women to suicide. Baltimore must do better! Hang a red light in front of the morgue!

All that remains is to celebrate the 100th performance of “Damaged Goods” by giving every male spectator a dose of salversan.