Newspaper Page Text
A BISHOP AND THE TRUTH
(From the. St. Paul riouecr Press, Nov. 7, 1925) Said Bishop Nicholson, in an address to the Anti-Saloon League Convention in Chicago: “The prohibition legislation enacted step by step, by local option and then by over whelming vote of the people is the most thorough piece of conformity to the Amer ican ideal of liberty in the history of the Republic.” What is it, we wonder, that tempts a good man and a churchman to utter so palpably false a statement as this? Pro hibition was not enacted by a vote of the people, overwhelming or otherwise, and nobody knows it better than Bishop Nich olson. The case for Volsteadism must be weak indeed when eminent churchmen de scend to deliberate misrepresentation. The reply to the above by Bishop Thomas Nicholson, president of the Anti Saloon League of America: “My attention has been called to an edi torial in the Pioneer Press under the cap tion, ‘A Bishop and the Truth.’ As there is a bold accusation that I have made ‘a palpably false statement’ and that 1 have been guilty of ‘deliberate misrepresenta tion,’ it seems necessary that I depart from my usual custom of allowing such articles to pass unnoticed and ask the Pioneer Press to publish the following statement as conspicuously as it published its editorial. “I make the following exact quotation from the manuscript of the address deliv ered at Chicago: ‘The prohibition legisla tion in America, resultant as it is of a half century of agitation and fair discussion at tained step by step through local option, then enacted by overwhelming vote of the instruments set up by the people, is the most thorough piece of conformity to the American ideal of liberty in the history of the republic. It is much more so than was the process in the abolition of slav ery.’ Tn a later section of the address this statement follows: ‘Local option and state measures were the greatest piece of cut and try ever seen in this or any other country. Inch by inch on the basis of proved experience the territory was won.’ “It will thus appear that the quotation in the editorial in the Pioneer Press is not an exact quotation from my address. The difference seems slight, but is of great im portance. The Pioneer Press makes me say ‘by overwhelming vote of the people.’ What I actually said and what appears in the manuscript still before me is ‘enacted by the overwchlming vote of the instru ments set up by the people.’ However, I accept the challenge and ask for the publication of this statement of the case. “There was long and continued agita tion of the temperance and prohibition question before the Civil War. The movement was set back probably twen ty-five years by the Civil War. After the reconstruction period in the late eighties the agitation again began in real earnest. When national prohibition be came effective January 16, 1920, thirty ty-three states had adopted state prohibi tion laws. Both Alaska and Porto Rico voted dry on a referendum. The follow ing states had local option laws: Cali fornia, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. In all these states considerable portions of the state were dry through these local option , laws. The state of Pennsylvania under high license had eleven dry counties through refusal of the courts to grant license. “On the basis of the census of 1910 prior to national prohibition 68 per cent of the people lived in no license territory, 31 per cent of the population lived in licensed territory. When the prohibition law became effective January 16, 1920, about 5 per cent of the geographical area of the United States was under license and 93 per cent was under no license. This was almost entirely the result of local option laws voted upon by the peo ple, state amendments, or various meas ures which had been voted after due agi tation, “The vote of Congress for the submis sion of the prohibition amendment was non-partisan so that no political party alone was instrumental in securing the enactment of prohibition. In the United States Senate there were 65 votes for and 20 against the submission of the amend ment. Of the 65, 37 were Republicans and 28 were Democrats. In the House of Representatives there were 282 for submission of the amendment, 128 votes against; and the division of those voting in favor of the submission of the amend ment was 141 Democrats, 137 Republi cans, 2 Independents, 1 Prohibitionist, and 1 Progressive. The amendment was initiated, submitted, and ratified in the same manner as all of the other eighteen amendments to the Constitution, justi fying my statement that it was enacted by the overwhelming vote of the instru ments set ui> by the people. This amend ment was ratified by 46 of the states— the largest percentage ever ratifying any amendment to the Constitution—and the legislature shows that it received a total majority of 86 per cent of all the state Senators voting and 80 per cent of the lower House. The Sixty-sixth Congress, which submitted the amendment, was elected with the amendment as an issue in the campaign. “Now, unless the "Pioneer Press means to say that President Coolidge was not elected by vote of the people because as all presidents he was elected by an elec toral college whose members several months after the poll cast their votes for him, then their statement even in the form in which it is printed in the paper is certainly not justified. Wc suppose that the will of the people is registered through the electoral college. We call the functioning of the democratic insti tutions which we have set up the regis tering of the will of the people, and in my judgment justly so. “But mat is not all that can be said. In many of the states there has been a popular referendum. At every oppor tunity in recent years such referendum has shown the strength of the prohibition sentiment. In 1919 Kentucky had a ref erendum. It voted dry by 10,717. In 1918 and 1919 Ohio had a referendum. They voted dry in 1918 by 29,721, the question being the proposal of the wets to provide for the manufacture and sale of 2.75 per cent beer. In 1919 on a sim ilar proposition they voted dry again. At a meeting of the Ohio legislature in January, 1020, a law was enacted for the enforcement of the state-wide prohibi tion amendment. The wets brought a referendum on this enforcement law and the voters ratified the measure and gave victory for dry law enforcement by a majority of 290,149. The liquor inter ests in 1922 initiated a constitutional amendment which would allow 2.75 per cent beer and light wines for home con sumption, which would have nullified ex isting prohibitory legislation. Under a ruling of the Supreme Court this meas pre was submitted to popular vote and the light wine and beer preposition was defeated in November, IJ2, by a major ity of 189,472. “In Michigan on a referendum to al low the manufacture and sale of light wine and beer the state majority for constitutional prohibition, which had been 68,024, was lifted to a dry majority of 207,520. In Kansas in 1914 a candi date for governor who ran on a platform declaring for the resnbmission of the pro hibition question was defeated by a ma jority of almost 500,000 votes and when the national amendment came in Kan sas, where prohibition had been tried for almost half a century, two hours af ter the legislature had been called to order in January, 1919, it ratified the na tional amendment by an absolutely unan imous vote in both the House and the Senate. This was Kansas’ emphatic en dorsement by popular vote and legislation of the prohibition policy which she had adopted forty-four years before. In 1922 California, which had pre viously cast a majority of a hundred thou sand votes against prohibition enforce ment, reversed itself and carried the Wright law by a majority of 35,943. Af ter testing in the Supreme Court and other measures for obstruction and delay, in the primaries of 1924 the wet forces made a determined effort to secure the nomination of Congressmen, state legis lators, officers who favored beer and wine, but the drys were successful ip nominating more dry candidates than at any previous election. A similar tiling lias recently taken place in Massachu setts where in 1923 a number of wet bills were defeated. Then the wets secured a referendum on a bill which proposed to make it an offense under the state law to manufacture, transport, import, or ex port any intoxicating liquor without first obtaining permits and complying with all the requirements of tiie federal law. This referendum was voted on at the election held Nov. 4, 1924, and the hill was carried by a majority of 4,247. We might go on almost indefinitely. “We have said enough to show that the statement made as indicated above is truthful and abundantly justified. We think we have said enough to show Miat in the misquoted form in which it ap pears in the Pioneer Press editorial the case is proven. If the editor mean-, to stand on technical assertion that this amendment lias never been submitt; 1 to a popular nation-wide referendum, then we simply reply that that is not the plan the United States lias adopted of regis tering the vote and will of the people cn such questions. We understand that such votes as we have quoted herein and nury others which we might quote are under our Constitution and our methods of pro cedure the overwhelming vote o: the people. Thomas Nicholson., Detroit, Mich., Nov. 28, 1925. RECKLESS EXPENDITURES General Andrews Warns Agents Against Reckless Expenditures in Gaining Evidence Prohibition agents were warned De cember 23 that "reckless, unjustifiable ex penditures" during their work in the fu ture would cause tiieir dismissal from the enforcement service. In a letter to pro hibition administrators General Andrews declared money for tracing down boot loggers must he used intelligently and eco nomically, and "never used without com plete justification.” I lie warning was prompted by the Ho tel Mayflower case. General Andrews said this incident occurred in the early days of his occupancy of the assistant secretary's office and before lie had taken any steps toward reorganization. "I do not feel, therefore," his letter said, "that it affords any occasion for severe discipline of those who were engaged in it. 1 do feel that it affords a telling object lesson to the whole force, and therefore I am bringing it to your attention with the understanding that you give this matter your careful attention and see to it that your operatives arc instructed and your supervision of their work is so careful that anything of this kind can not recur in the future, with the added understand ing that hereafter any case of reckless, unjustifiable expenditure of public funds will meet with severe discipline and, gen erally speaking, with the immediate sep aration from office.” Andrews declared that he regarded un der-cover investigation as probably the surest way to break up the bootlegging industry, but lie warned the agents that they should not conduct themselves in a way as to enable violators of the law to plead entrapment as a defense. STIFFER SENTENCES IMPOSED 1 lie average jail sentence imposed this year upon violators of prohibition law was 100 per cent larger than in 1923. and the average fine has risen to $200. With 1,317 more convictions and a 90 per cent in crease in injunctions obtained last year over the preceding vev, the enforcement of the law against law-breaking is increas ing, while the observance of the law by good citizens is becoming a habit CHRISTMANS HOOTCH SEIZED A Washington dispatch of December 25 reported that more than fifty million dol lars worth of liquors intended for Christ mas entertainment had been sc:zcd by government law enforcement agencies dur ing ‘.he month of December. The dis patch quoted Preasury Department offi cials as authority for the statement. PRESIDENT CF GERMAN REICHSTAG COMMENDS PROHIBITION Dr. Loebe After Visit to United States Says He is Impressed With Dry Law; Did Not See a Drunken Person in Big Cities Visited, Nor Did He See People Drinking Intoxicants A copyright Berlin cable to the New York Times announces that the president of the Reichstag, Dr. Loebe, who recently returned from America, says he was greatly impressed by prohibition and was surprised that America had the power to carry out such a measure. During his entire trip which included .Washington, Chicago and New York, Dr. Locbe declares lie did not see a drunken person, nor did lie see people drinking in toxicants except in limited quantities, though near-beer was indulged in. Women’s clubs in Germany are espous ing the cause of prohibition. Dr. Locbe docs not approve of prohibition for Ger many but believes in the control of the sale of wines and beers, with prohibit ion of the sale of hard liquors.