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Maryland suffrage news. (Baltimore, Md.) 1912-1920, April 13, 1912, Image 2

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• Cedar Lawn, Homeland Avenue, Gorans, Md.
Managing Editor:
1514 Bolton Street.
Contributing Editors:
Dr. Thaddeus P. Thomas. Dr. O. Edward Janney,
Mrs. John G. Wilson, Dr. Donald R. Hooker,
Mrs. Charles G. Keller, Dr. Florence R. Sarin.
Business Manager:
1516 Mt. Royal Avenue.
Mr. S. S. McKim, whose appointment as Liquor License Commis
sioner in Baltimore by the Governor failed of confirmation by the
Senate, may or may not be with us. We are, at any rate, with him.
His explanation of the action of the Senate, entirely uncontradicted
at present writing, reveals a sorry and sordid side of machine politics.
Mr. McKim is reported to have said that royal influence was brought
to bear upon him not to refuse license to a certain disreputable house,
which was of political value in that it controlled two hundred or more
votes. He, however, did vote to refuse the license, and thereby in
curred displeasure, which expressed itself through the city members
of the Senate, who recommended that he be not confirmed for reap
pointment, a recommendation which was duly followed by the Senate.
We have in this case a striking instance of a Democratic persona non
prata with his party because he insists on standing by the will of the
people as expressed in the law covering such hotels, which are not
bona-fide hotels, but actually houses of ill-repute.
We avoid detailed prophecy as to what women will do with the
ballot. That has nothing to do with the issue. But we do feel sure
women today are behind such men as Mr. McKim, at least when they
uphold the law governing immoral hotels. Such action literally means
life and happiness to very many women ; not alone to the unfortunates
who, mentally diffident, gravitate toward a life of shame, but to their
more fortunate sisters as well. He who runs may read this sign. The
city of Seattle has lighted it clearly.
The politician who can deliver the goods chiefly uses two weapons:
First, influence to kill legislation which will weaken his powers; this
is used openly only in extremis; and second, control of office so that
legislation need not be enforced. The latter is popular and easy, a
method too little appreciated by many who oppose the voice of women
in politics. We have an example of this, in the case of Mr. McKim.
Judge Xiles, subsequently appointed to fill the vacancy in the
board, is an excellent choice. He may be counted upon to stand by the
written law. We prophesy boldly, however, that he will feel the pinch
of influence superimposed on the inertia of the electorate. It is this
combination that makes the official life of a good man difficult. Hence
our effort to get votes for women that we may efficiently support such
official acts as that for which Mr. McKim was turned out of office.
One of the most significant events in the history of woman suffrage
in this State was the presentation to Miss Dean of a tribute of appre
ciation of her services in the cause of good government by a group of
women. Its significance was brought out by what was said on that
occasion, namely, that good government and true liberty are only to
be won and held by eternal vigilance. Women as a class naturally
so shrink from the methods of personal abuse which are used in prac
tical politics, as was evidenced in the last session of the Legislature,
that they tend to mistake cause for effect. The real difficulty in
politics is the corruption, the “trading off of good bills for bad,’’ not
the personal abuse tluit seeks to hide the real evil. The thing which
this country needs to rescue our experiment in popular government
from failure is work —efficient work from the good men and women of
the community. The organization is in control because it is willing
to work. The organization is in control because it follows up every
point. Meanwhile, in spite of Mr. Cummings’ vacillating accusation
of Miss Dean, now of inefficiency, now of a belief in woman suffrage,
let tlie women of Maryland remember that the discrediting of Miss
Dean’s work by the Legislature followed very soon after her very
efficient service to the State against bribery.
We gladly welcome the news that Ex-Vice-President Fairbanks
favors the extension of the franchise to women. Mr. Fairbanks is not
a radical, not even a progressive, and yet we like his words “Whenever
women obtain the right to vote, they have exercised their privilege
with as much wisdom and with as sincere a desire to advance the gen
eral good as men have ever manifested.’’
Maybe Mr. Fairbanks is considering a re-entry into national poll
tics. Maybe lie feels the pressure of the rising wind and is looking to
his. sails. It is at least gratifying that the tone of his utterance is
outspoken and sincere. It sounds to the East as it does to the West.
We commend his words to T. B. and W. W.
The masterly argument of Mr. Charles J. Bonaparte at the annual
meeting of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, on February 27,
in favor of enforcing the law which prohibits the keeping of houses of
vice, would seem ro be unanswerable. On the one band, the meaning
of the law is unmistakable; no such place is allowed to exist. On the
other, the penalty must be imposed. The penalty consists in a flue not
exceeding SSOO, or imprisonment, or both.
'When such cases are brought before the courts, as they are in this
city, once a year, usually in the month of May, it is the present policy
of our courts to impose a nominal line—ss and costs —and then dis
miss the offenders to continue their iniquitous business, to scatter the
seeds of disease far and wide, and to offer a constant temptation to
It is evident, as Mr. Bonaparte clearly showed, that such a method
of dealing with social vice is not an attempt to punish crime or to
diminish the evil, but merely the carrying out of a do-nothing policy.
It will be noted that the judges keep within the letter of the law.
When a case is brought to trial and a confession of guilt entered, the
judge complies with the letter of the law by imposing a penalty, but
does not carry out the intent of the law in so far as the penalty is
wholly inadequate to discourage the criminal from continuing her
unlawful practice, in fact, the treatment of this evil by the courts
must tend to encourage and not diminish crime. This becomes more
evident when the fact is brought out that these women are brought
before the court but once a year unless some unusual disorder should
As Mr. Bonaparte further shows, in all other classes of criminal
cases repeated offences are met by the imposition of increasingly
severe penalties. In the case of a liquor dealer, for instance, who vio
lates the law, he receives, if convicted, a light punishment for the first
offence, a more severe one for the second, and on the third his license
may be revoked, thus putting him out of business. In the case of a
keeper of a house of vice, however, although she is much more a vio
lator of the law than the above-mentioned liquor dealer, she is pun
ished ( ?) by the imposition of a trifling fine and, instead of being told
to go and sin no more, is allowed to go and keep on sinning, with
impunity, until next May 1 And then some more.
The question naturally arises, Why do the courts take this position
in relation to social vice, when they take the opposite in regard to all
other violations of law? Let the judges themselves answer: “To
impose in all cases a sentence of imprisonment or heavy fine upon
keepers of bawdy houses, with the intent to entirely suppress such
houses, is not at this time wise. In any system that has been suggested
to us the objections seem even more valid than to the present system.
Study lias convinced the court that the public is as yet shamefully
ignorant as to the harm caused by what is called the Social Evil. As
soon as education and reflection secure a better appreciation of the
whole subject, further advances can be made.” (Statement from the
Whatever plan of treating social vice may he adopted by a com
munity, none could be worse in principle than the one in force in
Baltimore. It is a plan of toleration of vice, of permission to exist
under illegal police restrictions enforced in a partial manner, and
back of all this is the belief that social vice is a “necessary evil.”
But many evils that have been deemed necessary have been abol
ished or greatly reduced by the advance of civilization. Witness
slavery, child labor, long hours of toil, bigotry and persecution,
gambling and intemperance. So with social vice. The courts do not
seem to realize it, in their isolation from popular currents of opinion,
but a great change has taken place in the attitude of the public on
this question, especially since the agitation for the suppression of the
white-slave traffic. There is a growing determination to close all
houses of vice, and the authorities will find themselves supported by
the thoughtful element in the community when they adopt a plan of
prompt and persistent repression of social vice, in accordance with
the law.
We are persuaded that very soon the Supreme Bench will fall into
line with this movement for the salvation of young girls and young
men and the prevention of social disease.
The plan of the Home League of the Delineator to remove laws that
discriminate against women from the statute-books of the different
States Avill receive sympathetic support from women. We wish the
cause great success, but cannot help feeling that it is a method
familiar to every physician of treating symptons rather than the
disease. The fundamental reason that there are laws that discriminate
against women is that women are riot considered worthy to have their
desires counted in the common councils of the nation. We cannot help
feeling that the more constructive statesmanship is to work directly
for woman suffrage rather than to seek to remove, one by one, the evil
effects of the lack of it. The one great defect cannot be removed by
the indirect method. That is the loss of self-respect and of dignity
that is inherent in belonging to a subordinated, governed class. The
fact of motherhood is not an adequate reason for the subordination
of the interests of an entire sex. Fortunately, there are constructive
thinkers among women who are striking directly at the root of the
disease. In the meanwhile we appreciate the educational value of the
work of the Home League and shall hope soon to enroll all its members
in the active suffrage work.
The Pueblo Indian women, although they know nothing of suf
frage, can give us pointers on property matters. They build the
houses and own them, and when one marries she takes her husband
home. Then, if she gets tired of him, or he does not behave himself,
she puts his saddle outside the door. This shows him that he is
persona non (/rata and constitutes a divorce. But the wife keeps the
childreri and her house.
All communications for this coulmn should
he sent to Airs. Charles J. Keller, Just Gov
ernment League, 15 East I’leasant street.
Rome Was Not Built in a Day.
Frederick County, Md.
March 27, 1912.
The message from the Frederick
county branch of the Just Govern
ment League to the new organ of
the Suffrage Cause in Maryland
can only be one of encouragement.
If it is a fine thing for an army
not to know when it is defeated,
it is surely the part of Maryland
Suffragists to regard their recent
experience with tin* Legislature as
a victory, for the cause lias cer
tainly been advanced by being tlie
subject of debate and considera
tion all over the State.
Our County Branch, in its ex
istence of fourteen months, has not
accomplished wonders, but it has
learned a few things; it takes a
modest pride in this fact, and in
two others—that two of the Dele
gates from this conservative old
county voted in favor of the bill,
and that tlie petition bore the
names of one hundred and fifty of
our best men and women.
This may not seem matter for
congratulation to our city sisters,
who deal in large numbers and are
in the front ranks of the pro
cession, but the town and country
people will know that it is.
Education and co-operation are
mighty forces; having enlisted
them in our service, who knows
what Maryland may not do in the
next two years?
Yours very truly,
Bertha Trail.
Warm Welcome From a Good Friend.
1418 Eutaw Place.
Dear Mrs. Mall:
I am glad to hear of tlie supple
ment Maryland Suffrage News.
I trust the aggressiveness of our
splendid committee here will be
fore long Ik* productive of tangible
results, and that we will have the
women’s vote united to that of all
good citizens in dealing with ques
tions of public policy, especially
that one which interests me so
deeply now —the elimination of
vice and low resorts from our city.
Faithfully yours,
Howard A. Kelly.
March 27, 1912.
A Sign of Growth.
To the Editor:
It is certainly encouraging to
know that Maryland has a suffrage
paper of its own. This is surely
another great proof of the increas
ing growth of the cause in our
I wish to congratulate you upon
the undertaking, and hope you will
have all possible success.
President Just Government
League of Laurel.
Laurel, Md.
(Mrs. LePage Cronmiller.)
Why do women vote more faith
fully than men ?
Because they are at home on elec
tion dav.

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