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Editor to Speak at Union--Hays Attacks Chase at Liberal Club Dinner


H. L. Mencken was unable to speak at the Liberal Club last night, but his attorney, Arthur Garfield Hays, counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, appeared in his stead. Mr. Mencken has agreed to be present at luncheon at the Union today.

Luncheon will begin at 1.15 o'clock, but Professor Felix Frankfurter will probably not introduce Mr. Mencken until somewhat later than 1.30 as the writer will be detained in court until a late hour. Admission to the luncheon will be limted, but following it standing room will be held in the Living Room, and the upstars dining room will be closed.

This will the first occasion on which Mencken has spoken since he took his oath not to speak in public. Last night was to have been the first time, but a conference with his publishers detained him. Mr. Hays, speaking for Mr. Mencken, took as his subject "Free Speech in America," and explained the workings of the prejudices which operate to make a farce of the principle of Free Speech in this country.

"The subject which is taboo," declared Mr. Hays, "varies with the section of the country. In Tennessee it is religion, in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, it is strikes, and in Massachusetts it is sex. It is worth a man's life to talk of strikes at some times, but it is worth a man's liberty at all times in this section of the country to write of morality, or rather, immorality.

"How to stop? I'm sure that I don't know. So long as matters continue as at present, with the press in the power of its big advertisers, and the advertisers full of the popular notions, the principle of free speech have their shoulders to the mat. Educating the public may help, if only the public may be reached.

"But, as in the present instance, all the decent, law-abiding element have the wool pulled over their eyes by some process such at the Watch and Ward game. And so the farce goes on.

"It is our hope that the trial, or the discussion growing out of it, may be the wedge which opens the way here for sanity and tree speech on that subject of many taboos, sex."

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