Baltimore Evening Sun (4 March 1914): 6.
Ah, Anderson, old top, we miss thee! Think of that juicy Legislature at Annapolts--and no one to take a bite!
Now that the first soreness of defeat has begun to wear off and things may be seen in retrospect with diminishing emotional distortion, it is in order for the members of the Just Government League of Maryland to consider well the causes of their recent inglorious defeat at Annapolis.
The woman suffrage amendment was rejected in the House of Delegates by a vote of 60 to 34, almost a two-thirds majority. What is worse, it was rejected unceremoniously, lightly, almost mockingly. Two years ago its defeat was marked by a warm and intelligent debate, but this time the only member who thought it worth while to denounce it from the floor was the Hon. “Cy” Cummings, against whose renomination the suffragettes fought so violently and so vainly--and even “Cy” was content to poke a few idle jokes at it. Its sole deofender was the Hon. Charles H. McNabb, of Harford county, whose speech was a burbling thing of the cross-roads Demosthenes type, and frankly amusing to a good many of the Delegates. The speech of the Hon. Lloyd Wilkinson was not a plea for the amendment at all, but merely a plea for common courtesy to its advocates.
I am no political coroner and profess to no skill at legislative autopsies, but none the less I venture the guess that two factors contributed very largely to this humiliating collapse of the suffrage propaganda. Both of these factors were tactical errors of the suffragettes. The first was the error of burdening the campaign for the suffrage with appeals and demands for all sorts of extravagant “moral” legislation. The second was the error of trying to make votes by threats and reviling, instead of by calm and reasonable persuasion. The two, taken together, disgusted and alienated enough Delegates to defeat the amendment.
The suffragettes, I am convinced, went into the contest with a sound case. They had reason and fairness on their side. They were opposed, in so far as they were opposed at all, only by stagnation on the one hand and stupidity on the other. They made an infinitely better showing, on the mere argument, than the so-called antis. But instend of being content with that argument, instead of appealing solely to reason and fairness and progress, their leaders proceeded to loose their program of grotesque and idiotic special legislation and to attack with the utmost ferocity all men who presumed to see nothing but buncombe in that legislation. The result was that they made far more enemies than friends, and that many men who were actually in favor of woman suffrage turned against them. The second result was their ignominious defeat.
It goes without saying, of course, that the leaders of the Just Government League acted in good faith, that they did what they thought was the best thing to do, that they were firmly convinced of the efficacy of their perunas. They deserve the highest credit, indeed, for playing the game so ardently: if they accomplished nothing else, they at least made woman suffrage a live issue temporarily. But inasmuch as the net effect of their undoubtedly honest effort was qualified disaster, it is now time for them to give serious consideration to a revision of their methods, and failing that, for suffragists in general to seek other leaders.
The suffrage cause, it should be remembered clearly, is not the private property of the small group of persons who run the Just Government League. Thousands of other persons are also interested in it, and many of them are doing good work, in their various ways, in furthering it. When they see it ruined and made it mock of by a few hysterieal fanatics, when it is sacrificed to private hatreds and infantile politics, when it is made a mere appendage to a campaign for “reforms” that not one intelligent man (or woman) out of fifty even dignifies with consideration, when it is given the aspect of a new peruna, another donkeyish cureall, a plaything of press agents and Munyons--when this happens, then it is high time for all suffragists who still retain their reason to call a halt.
Woman suffrage is never going to be put through in Maryland by browbeating and rowelling, and it is never going to be put through by burdening it with the advertising matter of all the mountebanks who choose to jump aboard. If it ever succeeds at all it must suceed on its merits, and the only way to bring those merits home to reasonable men will be to present them with courtesy and argue for them with intelligence. Not many votes are ever going to be made by bellowing that every man who refuses to get in line is a rogue, or by seeking to show that the chief boon of the suffrage will be to drive every “strictly male” man out of the State.
The Hon. W. H. Wright, in the New York Evening Mail, selects the Hon. MM. Orison Swett Marden, Hamilton Wright Mabie, Edward Howard Griggs, Charles Rann Kennedy and William Winter as “the world’s greatest camorra of platitudinarians.” But has Dr. Wright never read one of the Hon. Aristides Sophocles Goldsborough’s uplifting editorials in the Municipal Journal? Has he never heard one of Dr. P. L. Goldsborough’s powerful pleas for political purity before a suburban Sunday-school? If not, then let him stand ready to repeal his camorra and re-enact it with amendments.--Adv.
And still the Rev. Dr. C. D. Harris refuses me space in the Southern Methodist to tell the sad story of my wrongs!--Liquor Adv.
The Rev. Dr . Clarence True Wilson, general secretary of the Methodist Temperance Society, in the American Issue of February 28:
Now we have * * * a great Christian leader as Secretary of State, serving the kind of grape juice to his guests that was served in Palestine in the days of Jesus, the kind which Jesus made for the wedding at Cana, and used in instituting the Lord’s Supper.
More pious soughing and burbling. The Rev. Dr. Wilson knows very well that the wine “served in Palestine” was real wine, and not unfermented grape juice, and that the “kind which Jesus made for the wedding at Cana” was exactly the same, and that the kind “used in instituting the Lord’s Supper” was again the same, and is still the same after 2,000 years. For the contrary doctrine, there is not a word of support in the New Testament, nor in reason. But still the rev. gent. unloads his shameless fiction upon the ignorant and the credulous, well knowing that mere reiteration is the best of all weapons of hypocrisy and phariseeism. All that remains is for the exegetes of his class and habit to “prove” that the moon which hung over Palestine was made of green cheese.