Brann the Iconoclast— Volume 10

Author: William Cowper Brann

Brann Vs. Baylor.


I have just been enjoying the first holiday I have had in fifteen years. Owing to circumstances entirely beyond my control, I devoted the major part of the past month to digesting a couple of installments of Saving Grace presented by my Baptist brethren, and carefully rubbed in with revolvers and ropes, loaded canes and miscellaneous cudgels—with almost any old thing calculated to make a sinner reflect upon the status of his soul. That explains the short-comings of the present issue of the ICONOCLAST. One cannot write philosophic essays while dallying with the Baptist faith. It were too much like mixing Websterian dignity with a cataleptoid convulsion, or sitting on a red ant hill and trying to look unconcerned. Here in Waco our religious zeal registers 600 in the shade, and when we hold a love-feast you can hear the unctuous echoes of our hosannahs from Tadmor in the Wilderness to the Pillars of Hercules. We believe with St. Paul that faith without works is dead; hence we gird up our loins with the sweet cestus of love, grab our guns and go whooping forth to "capture the world for Christ." When we find a contumacious sinner we waste no time in theological controversy or moral suasion, but promptly round him up with a rope and bump his head, and we bump it hard. Why consume our energies "agonizing with an emissary of Satan," explaining his error and striving by honeyed phrases to lead him into the light, when it is so much easier to seize him by the pompadour and pantelettes and drag him bodily from the abyss? Some may complain that our Christian charity carries a razor edge, that we skim the cream off our milk of human kindness then put the can under an alkali pump before serving it to our customers as a prime article; but bless God! they can scarce expect to

". . . be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
Whilst others fight to win the prize
And sail through bloody seas."

My Baptist brethren desired to send me as a missionary to foreign lands, and their invitation was so urgent, their expressions of regard so fervent that I am now wearing my head in a sling and trying to write with my left hand. Although they declared that I had an imperative "call" to go, and would tempt Providence by loitering longer than one short day, I concluded to remain in Waco and preach them a few more of my popular sermons from that favorite text, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." It is quite possible that a few heathen will go to hell whom I might enable to find the river route to heaven, but I believe in doing the duty that lies next my hand—in first saving the heathen right here at home.

But enough of persiflage; now for cold facts. In all candor, I would cheerfully ignore the recent disgraceful occurrences in this city could I do so in justice to the South in general and to Texas in particular. I have no revenge to gratify, no more feeling in the matter than though the assaults had been made upon an utter stranger. It is quite true that for a time I was eager to call my assailants out one by one and settle the affair after the manner of our fathers; but being creditably informed that instead of honoring a cartel, they would make it the basis of a legal complaint and send me to the penitentiary, and having no desire to enact the role of the street assassin, I became once more a law-abiding citizen. Truth to tell, there’s not one of the whole cowardly tribe who’s worth a charge of buckshot, who deserves so much honor as being sent to hell by a white man’s hand. If Socrates was poisoned and Christ was crucified for telling unpalatable truths to the splenetic-hearted hypocrites of their time, it would ill become me to complain of a milder martyrdom for a like offense. It may be urged that having been twice accused of the heinous crime of slandering young ladies, and twice beset on that pretext by armed thugs, I owe it to myself to make some explanation satisfactory to the public. Not at all; from my youth up noble womanhood has been the very god of my idolatry; and now that I have reached the noon of life, if the reputation which I have honestly earned as a faithful defender of the vestal fires can be blown adown the wind by the rank breath of lying rascals, I would not put forth a hand to check its flight. If old scars received while defending woman’s name and fame in paths of peril which my traducers dare not tread, fail to speak for me, then to hell with the world, and let its harlot tongue wag howsoever it will. Never but once did I stoop to refute a cowardly falsehood circulated about myself. I was younger then—had not learned that public opinion is a notorious bawd, that "nailing a lie" but accentuates its circulation. Unfortunately, the recent assaults upon me are not altogether my private concern. They were armed protests against a fundamental principle of this Republic—freedom of the press. They are being citied by ill advised or malicious persons as evidence of "Southern Savagery." They are calculated, if suffered to go unexplained, to cast reproach upon revealed religion. They were futile but brutal attempts in the last decade of the Nineteenth century to suppress truth by terror, to conceal the iniquities of a sectarian college by beating to death the only journalist who dared to raise his voice in protest. They were appeals to Judge Lynch to strangle exposure, hence it is imperative that the blame be placed where it properly belongs; not upon the South, which unqualifiedly condemns it; not upon the Baptist church, which indignantly repudiates it; but upon a little coterie of white-livered black-hearted hypocrites, any of whom could look thro’ a keyhole with both eyes at once, a majority of whom are either avowed sympathizers with or active members of that unamerican organization known to infamy as the A.P.A. The same old God-forsaken gang of moral perverts and intellectual misfits who more than two years ago brought a Canadian courtesan and an unfrocked priest to Waco to lecture on A.P.A’ism, and who threatened at one of these buzzard-feasts to mob me for calling the latter a cowardly liar, were responsible for my being dragged with a rope by several hundreds hoodlums up and down a Baptist college campus in this city Oct. 2, and for the brutal assault upon me five days later by a pack of would-be assassins who had waited until my back was unsuspectingly turned before they had the nerve to get out their guns. I can overlook the assault made by the college students, although most of them were grown men, because they were encouraged thereto by their elders. I have positively refused to prosecute them; but the last assault was led by a shyster lawyer of middle-age, a so-called "judge," a member of the board of managers of Baylor. I am seeking no trouble with any of them—they are perfectly safe in so far as I am concerned; still if the latter gang are not satisfied with their cowardly crime, if they regret that they were beaten off ere they quite succeeded in sending me to Kingdom Come, they have only to notify me where and when they can be found alone, and I’ll give the whole accursed mob a show for their money. I’m too slight for a slugger—cannot lick a herd of steers with one pair o’ hands; but I can make a shot-gun sing Come to Christ. I am credibly informed that "at least half a dozen" of my meek and lowly Baptist brethren are but awaiting an opportunity to assassinate me, and that if successful they will plead in extenuation that I "have slandered Southern women." I walk the streets of Waco day by day, and I walk them alone. Let these cur-ristians shoot me in the back if they dare, then plead that damning lie as excuse for their craven cowardice. If the decent people of this community fail to chase them to their holes and feed their viscera to the dogs, then ’d rather be dead and in hades forever than alive in Waco a single day.

The claim set up by my assailants that I had slandered the female students of Baylor University is a malicious calumny, that was but made a lying pretext for the attacks. That my article in the October ICONOCLAST did NOT impeach the character of the Baylor girls is amply evidenced by the fact that my offer to leave the matter to the decision of a committee of reputable business men, to abjectly apologize and donate $500 to any charity these gentlemen might name in case the decision was against me, was flatly refused. "The honor of young ladies is not a proper subject for arbitration," I was told. Quite true; but the proper construction of an article which is made a pretext for mob violence, IS a proper matter for cool-headed and disinterested parties to pass upon. The Baylorians insisted upon being judge, jury and executioner—proof positive that they well knew the article would not stand the arbitrary construction they had placed upon it. After the first outbreak the Baylor bullies of the lost manhood stripe and their milk-sick apologists held a windy powwow in a Baptist church, and there bipedal brutes with beards, creatures who have thus far succeeded in dodging the insane asylum, whom an inscrutable Providence has kept out of the penitentiary to ornament the amen-corner—many of whom do not pretend to pay their bills—some of whom owe me for the very meat upon the bones of their scorbutic brats—branded me as a falsifier while solemnly protesting that they had never read a line of my paper. They proclaimed in stentor tones and pigeon-English that would have broken the heart of Lindley Murray, that I was a defamer of womanhood—while confessing that they didn’t know whether I had ever mentioned a female. They howled that they "were willing to sign Brann’s deathwarrant"—on mere hearsay. These intellectual eunuchs, who couldn’t father an idea if cast bodily into the womb of the goddess of wisdom, declared positively that I would be permitted to print nothing more about their beloved Baylor—and that without knowing whether I had advertised it over two continents as an oasis in a moral Sahara or a snakehole in the Dismal Swamp. It was a beautiful, a refreshing sight, this practical approval of mob violence by unfledged ministers on the campus of a Baptist college, this raucous tommyrot about death-warrants and ropes, this sawing of the air and chewing of the rag by people so d----d ignorant that they couldn’t find either end of themselves in the dark, this chortling over the fact that one desk-emaciated welter-weight had been caught unawares and trampled upon by a sanctified mob—a refreshing sight, I say, in a temple consecrated to that Christ who forgave even his enemies from the cross. But every man at that meeting who said he never read the ICONOCLAST deliberately lied. The Baptists all read it. Some subscribe and pay for it like gentlemen, some buy it, some borrow it, and the rest steal it from the newsstands. The greatest trouble I have is to prevent, Baptist preachers spoiling my local sale by telling everybody in town what the ICONOCLAST contains before the revised proof-sheets are read. It is but fair to say, however, that the Baptists were not alone to blame. Much of the noise was made by a lot of tickey-tailed little politicians who have no more religion than a rabbit, but who were trying to open a popular jack-pot with a jimmy. Some of the brawlers were self-seeking business men, willing to coin blood into boodle, ready to slander Deity for a plugged dime, anxious to avert a Baptist boycott by emitting a deal of stinking breath. These bloated financial ducks in a provincial mud-puddle have had entirely too much to say. When the present lecture season is over; when I get the Baptist mob thoroughly cowed; when I can walk the streets without expecting every moment to get shot from a stairway or double-banked by the meek and lowly followers of the Messiah; when I have time to amuse myself with trifles, I’ll sue this brace of Smart Alecs for $20,000 each for deliberate defamation of character, and if I recover the money I’ll use it to make a partial payment on the grocery bills of the rest of the gang. Intellectual pigmies who accumulate much cash by trading in cash or tripe in a country town are quite apt to become too big for their britches and require to be taken down a peg or two, to be taught their place. They sometimes have the nickel-plated nerve to play Rhadamanthus to the purveyors of brains—swell up like unclean toads and conceive themselves to be in "select society." Some of them actually imagine themselves of more importance to this community than Judge Gerald and Waller Baker; yet you could scrape enough intellect from under Gerald’s toe-nails to build the crew, while Baker forgets more every fifteen minutes than they have learned since they were born. The meeting held at the Baptist church to ratify the outrage was composed of a lot of self-seekers and whining hypocrites, half of whom would sell their souls for a copper cent and throw in their risen Lord as lagniappe. It was a mob that writhed and wriggled in its own putridity like so many maggots, while the local press cowered before its impotent wrath like young skye-terriers before a skunk. If I couldn’t beget better men with the help of a digger Indian harem I’d take to the woods and never again look upon the face of woman. It was a glorious sight to see these "pore mizzuble wurrums of the dust" spraining their yarn galluses trying to hurl the writhen bolts of Olympian Jove—and now bellyaching because hit in the umbilicus with their own boomerang. The second assault, more brutal and cowardly than the first, followed as the logical sequence of that powwow of pietists, peddlers and politicians. The utterances of that congregation of unclean adders, the resolutions adopted by that sanctified body of dead-beats in the sanctum sanctorum of the Baptists, was a bid for blood-injected the idea into the warty heads of a trio of thugs that by way-laying and beating me to death they would pass into history as heroes. Then the real manhood of Waco rose en masse and laid down the law in no uncertain language to the hungry hypocrites and their Baylorian hoodlums. They declared that religious intolerance would no longer be permitted to terrorize this town. Fearing just retribution at the hands of the citizens, Baylor called out its three military companies and mounted guard with rifles furnished by the government, while the very girls in whose name they had dragged me around the college campus with a rope, laughed them to scorn and sent me flowers—and the password of the bold sojer boys. One young lady writes: "The password for the night is ’Napoleon.’ Our bold soldiers halted a milk wagon at daylight this morning. Probably they thought Brann was concealed in one of the cans with his bowie-knife." Half a dozen men armed with cannon-crackers could have chased the brave mellish into the Brazos and danced with the Baylor girls till daybreak—and I suspect that the latter would have enjoyed the lark. For a third of a century the bigotry of a lot of water moccasins had been the supreme law of this land. To obtain an office the politician had to crawl to it on his marrow bones and slavishly obey its behests. To obtain trade the merchant had to sneeze whenever it took snuff. To obtain patronage the local publisher had to make it the absolute dictator of his policy. Like Jehushran, it "waxed fat and kicked"—until it got its legs tide in a double bow knot about its OWN neck. Its tyranny became insupportable, murderous, there was a new declaration of American independence, and now this J. Caesar that erstwhile did bestride Central Texas like a colossus, is more humble than Uriah Heep. And what were the A.P.Apes of Waco doing while honest men were raising the standard of revolt and chasing the Baptist hierarchy into its hole? Were they in the front rank shouting their war-cry of "no union of church and state"—the "little red school-house" rampant on their orange-colored rag? Not exactly. They had sneaked off to some bat cave to plot against the whites, to protest against the proceedings of their fellow citizens. Had a Baptist editor been mobbed on the campus of a Catholic college they would have howled a lung out about Popish tyrannys stood on their heads and fanned themselves with their own shirt-tails.

The faculty of Baylor protest that they did all in their power to prevent the brutal outbreak. They confess, however, that it had been brewing all day, yet they neglected to notify either myself or the sheriff. Before me is a Lake Charles, La. paper, in which a letter from one of the scabs who participated in the first attack is published. He says: "The faculty did not say do it, or not do it." And that’s about the size of it. That the students were encouraged by one or more members of the board of trustees can be demonstrated beyond the peradventure of a doubt. All the stale bath water in all the Baptist tanks this side Perdition cannot wash the conviction from the public mind that the Baylor management was behind that howling mob. The second assault was led by a trustee, a member of the board of managers; and this after I had stated positively in the local press that I meant no disparagement of the young ladies—that it was the administration of the University I was after. In the October ICONOCLAST I expressed the fervent hope that no more young ladies would be debauched at Baylor. That constituted the ostensible casus belli.. Do the trustees of Baylor dare deny that such things HAVE occurred at that "storm center of misinformation" and ministerial manufactory? If so, they are a precious long time putting me to the proof in the courts of this country. Texas has an iron-clad criminal libel law, and I suspect that I could pay a judgment for damages in any reasonable sum without spraining my credit or bankrupting the ICONOCLAST. If they have not the chilled-steel hardihood to deny that girls have been debauched at Baylor—if by their resounding silence anent this matter they mean to give assent—what then? Do they hope that more girls WILL be ruined there? They may take either horn of the dilemma they like, but I beg to state that the issue here raised cannot be obscured by dragging me around with a rope. When Jonah was caught in a scheme of vindictive rascality he thought he "did well to be angry." The best thing the Baylorites can do is to ’fess up and reform—it’s too late in the century to suppress truth with six-shooters. I have heard of no "deplorable accidents" at Add-Ran, the Christian college, consequently it has no complaints to file against the ICONOCLAST. The Convent of the Sacred Heart gets along somehow without "mishaps," and even Paul Quinn, the colored college, is graduating no "missionaries" for Hungry Hill. Because some girls go wrong at an institution for the promotion of ignorance, it by no means follows that all, or any considerable number thereof are deficient in morality. I doubt not that a vast number of the female students of Baylor, past and present, are pure as the flowers that bloom above the green glacier; but some have fallen, and the conclusion is inevitable that they were not properly protected from the wiles of the world. I care not how noble-minded, how pure of heart a girl may be, if she is committed when young and inexperienced to a college where both sexes are received, it becomes the imperative duty of the management to render one false step impossible. When the president of a pretentious sectarian institute must plead with the public that he had "wept and prayed over" a 14-year old girl, but was powerless to prevent her rushing headlong to ruin; when at a grand rally of the faithful to condemn a well-meant criticism and encourage mob violence, an old he-goat who couldn’t get trusted at the corner grocery for a pound of soap, confesses to more than the ICONOCLAST had charged, by saying that some ACCIDENTS had occurred at the college, it were well for mothers to look carefully to its management and note its discipline before entrusting it with their young daughters. "Accidents," indeed! Criminal negligence would be a more appropriate name. A university consecrated to the Baptist Christ, whose trustees lead cowardly assaults upon law-abiding citizens and beat them with bludgeons after they are insensible; whose faculty know that mob violence is contemplated yet fail to report it to the police; whose students enter the home of a man for the purpose of dragging him by force and with drawn pistols from the presence of his family (the Baylor thugs had the impudence to invade my home in search of me before finding me in the city)—such an institution, I say, is not a proper guardian for any youth whose father doesn’t desire to see him land in the Baptist pulpit or the penitenitary. I have been publicly warned on pain of death, and heaven alone knows what hereafter, not to speak "disrespectful" of Baylor; but I feel in duty bound to caution parents against committing their children to such a pestiferous plague-spot, such a running sore upon the body social.

. . .

Not only has Baylor demonstrated its unworthiness to be the custodian of young people of either sex, but such unworthiness has been proclaimed in the public prints by Dr. Rufus C. Burleson, who served as its president for almost half a century. I insisted that the salaries paid the faculty at Baylor were insufficient to command the services of first class educators, and that those entrusted with the duty of selecting teachers were incapable of correctly estimating the educational qualifications of others Dr. Burleson goes far beyond that, expressly declaring in the Dallas News that a majority of the present board of managers are not college educated, that for them to properly administer discipline and make wise selection of teachers "is simply impossible." What, in God’s name, can be expected of an institution containing several hundred young people of both sexes, if it be deficient in dissipline? Of what earthly use is a University if it be not provided with a wisely selected faculty? It now remains to be seen whether the Baptist brethren will mob Dr. Burleson—or sneak up behind him with an assortment of clubs and six-shooters! But that is not the worst that Dr. Burleson says. In a published letter of his now before me he denounces Dr. B. H. Carroll, chairman of the board of trustees and present high muck-a-muck of Baylor, as an ingrate, a self-seeker, a mischief maker and an irremediable liar! Now if Burleson is telling the truth—and I am not prepared to dispute his statements—what can we expect of a University managed by such a man? I am frank to confess that I did not suspect Bro. Carroll to be quite so bad. I knew that he was an intellectual dugout spreading the canvas of a seventy-four, that there was precious little to him but gab and gall; but I did not suppose that he was an habitual falsifier and guilty of base ingratitude. I really hope that Dr. Burleson may be mistaken—that the new boss of Baylor has not contracted such a habit of lying that it is utterly impossible for him to tell the truth. I should dislike to believe all that is said about each other by the two factions of my Baptist brethren now struggling for the control of Baylor. According to Carroll, Dr. Burleson, president emeritus, ought to be in the penitentiary; according to Burleson, Carroll is not a fit associate for a brindle cow. "Speak disrespectfully of Baylor and die!" Good Lord! were I to repeat one-half the Baylor factions are saying about each other I’d wreck the state. Time was when the faculty of Baylor was the pride of the South. Those were the days when many of the noblest men and women of Texas were educated within its walls. They love their alma mater, not for what she is, but for what she was. The old professors are gone, have been supplanted in great part by a lot of priorient little preachers, selected by a board of trustees, half of whom couldn’t tell a Greek root from a rutabaga, pons asinorum from Balaam’s ass. Dr. Burleson seems to be of the opinion that a majority of the Baylorian managers were educated in a mule-pen and dismissed without a diploma—couldn’t tell whether a man were construing Catullus into Sanskrit or pronouncing in Piute a panegeric on a baked pup. Were I not persona non grata I would like to witness the classroom performances of these young professors—chosen with owlish gravity by men who cannot write deer sur without the expenditure of enough nervo-muscular energy to raise a cotton crop, chewing off the tips of their tongues and blotting the paper with their proboscides. Yet for offering to open a night school for the benefit of the Baylorian faculty I was mobbed; for intimating that the hoard of managers had not socked with old Socrates and ripped with old Euripides I was assaulted by one of their number and his brave body guard and beaten with six-shooters and bludgeons until I was insensible.

. . .

It is not my present purpose to drag forth all the grisly skeletons of Baylor and make them dance for the amusement of the multitude. I have yielded to the urgent appeals of my friends to let the institution down easy, to cast a little kerosene on the troubled waters, to hold out the olive branch to Baylor. Besides, I already have more holes in my head than nature intended, and am not particularly anxious to increase the assortment. Let what is hidden from public ken so remain until that great incubator of Christian charity, that ganglion of brotherly love, attempts to redeem its long-standing promise to land me in the penitentiary for criminal libel. It could serve no good purpose at present to trace out here the history of those "accidents" so feelingly referred to at the ratification of the Brann round-up—would but cause cheeks to flame and hearts to break. I would not destroy Baylor; I would make it better. I would deprive the ignorant and vicious of control. I would expel all the hoodlums whose brutality and cowardice have disgraced it. I would place at its head a thorough educator and strict disciplinarian, a man of broad views and who sets a good example by paying his bills. I would make its diplomas badges of honor as in the old days, instead of certificates of illiteracy at which public school children laugh. No, I do not want the presidency—there are enough perspiring Christians for revenue only quarreling and lying about each other because of that beggarly plum already. For months past it has given every Baptist journal in the state a hot-box, has filled every little preacher’s head with all the petty intrigues of peanut politics. If one-half that the leaders of the factions, now warring over this $5 per diem bone, say about each other be true—and I have no evidence to the contrary—they would disgrace a boozing ken on Boiler avenue. I do not mean to say that all Texas Baptists are bad; at least 50 per cent. of them are broad-gauge, tolerant, intelligent; the remainder are small-bore bigots upon whom nature put heads, as Dean Swift would say, "Solely for the sake of conformity."

. . .

Baylor and the Baptists complain that the ICONOCLAST has "persecuted them until it has become unbearable." Bless God! who began this thing? Before the ICONOCLAST was three days old it was boycotted by the hydrocephalous sect. As it grew fat on that kind of fodder, ex-Priest Slattery and his ex-nun wife were brought hither to lecture on A.P.Aism, and incidentally make the town too caloric for my comfort. The Baptists took their wives and daughters to listen to Slattery’s foul lies about the convents and the confessional, the Pope and "his Waco Apostle," and his most infamous utterances were applauded to the echo. They sent their wives and daughters to hear the Slattery female defame women who had given up the pleasures of the world and were devoting their lives to the reclamation of such unclean creatures as herself. Slattery’s last harangue was delivered to men only and the house was packed with Baptists and Baylorites at half-a-dollar a head. The so-called lecture was the foulest thing that ever fell from the lips of mortal man, yet his audience gloated over it and rolled his putrid falsehoods as sweet morsels under its tongue.[1] Unable to restrain my indignation, I arose and denounced his every utterance as a malicious lie. Immediately the audience yelled, "Throw him out! Down with him! Smash him!" I chanced to have my back near the side-wall, and that’s why I wasn’t mobbed—the cowardly crew couldn’t get BEHIND me. They suspected that I’d make an angel of the first sanctified galoot who attempted to place his paws upon me, and none cared to draw on his celestial bank account. That’s the identical gang which has the immaculate gall to accuse me of defaming virtuous women—the same gang which applauded Slattery for calling convents priestly harems wants me killed for expressing the hope that no more young girls will be debauched at Baylor.

[1] Brann’s reply to Slattery appears in Vol. XII.

. . .

Scarce had Baylor’s applause of Slattery and his woman died away, scarce had it ceased to gloat over the "iniquities" of convent schools and priestly harems, scarce had it ceased chuckling over the crimes of "the Scarlet Woman," ere the police discovered that the duly ordained "ward of the Baptist church," who was being educated at Baylor University for missionary work among the heathen Catholics of Brazil, was in a dreadfully "delicate condition." She was brought from Brazil at the tender age of 11 years by a returning missionary, she was formally adopted by the Baptist church, she was consecrated to the salvation of souls and placed at Baylor to be educated. She was under the special supervision of the president and was a member of his household—yet at 14 years of age she became enciente. Did Baylor pity and protect her? Did it strive to secure the punishment of her seducer? Not exactly. It fired her out and made no complaint to the police. When the latter discovered her and she was required by the court to account for her condition, she stated that she had been forcibly despoiled by a young man about town on the premises of Baylor’s president. It chanced that this young man was brother to the president’s son-in-law, and the whole influence of Baylor was brought to bear to clear the accused! The son-in-law, who is a Baptist preacher and editor (as well as other things not necessary to mention) strove to make her confess that her guilty paramour was a pickaninny—wanted the world to believe that orphan girls committed to the care of that great Baptist college might become enciente by coons! Yet the Baylor students didn’t mob him—none of its trustees laid in wait for him and slammed him over the head with a six-shooter. The girl soon put a white babe in evidence—a pretty little 2-pound Baylorian diploma. The doctors declared that she had been raped and the case looked ugly for the accused. The child died. The ignorant little mother wanted money to go to Memphis—and first thing we knew she had signed a "retraction" and had a ticket to Mike Conolly’s town. Who bought it—and why! Damfino. The defendant was acquitted of the charge of rape—the age of consent in Texas being 12 years at that time; but whether she was raped or seduced, the infamy occurred at Baylor University. That’s ONE of the "deplorable accidents"; but it is not the only one you will please not forget to remember. Reads like a fairy story, doesn’t it? But the law doesn’t permit Texas editors to tell fairy tales of that type. No doubt the man who has the audacity to breathe a hope that no more girls will be debauched at Baylor deserves to die. Dr. Burleson, in the fullness of his Baptist charity, branded the unfortunate girl as a natural bawd. I don’t know about that; but I do know that after she got beyond Baylorian influences she married and began leading a respectable life.

. . .

Defamer of womanhood? Get the sawlogs out of your own eyes, brethren, before howling over the micrococci in the optics of others. For three years past Baptist preachers all over the land of Christ have been telling their congregations that the ICONOCLAST is read only by depraved people,—chiefly criminals and courtesans—and that despite the fact that the names of thousands of the noblest men and women of America are on its subscription books. During the past three years the ICONOCLAST has had upon its books the names of more than a thousand ministers, representing every denomination. Are these men criminals and their wives courtesans? Has any busy little Baptist parson been rounded up with a rope for proclaiming them as such from the pulpit? When a deserted babe was found in the street and carried by the Sisters into the convent, was Jehovah Boanerges Cranfill—organ-grinder for the Baylor bosses—mobbed by the Catholics for saying that it probably came OUT of the convent? Now, you people keep down the narrative of your nether garment and apply a hot mush poultice to your impudence. The ICONOCLAST is only tickling you with snipe-shot now; but don’t forget for one moment that it has buck a-plenty in its belt.

. . .

A word to the lady students of Baylor: Young ladies, this controversy does not in the least concern you. The ICONOCLAST has never questioned your good character. You are young, however, and mischievous people have led some of you to believe that it has done so. If you so believe, I am as much in duty bound to apologize as though I had really and intentionally wronged you. A gentleman should ever hasten to apologize to ladies who feel aggrieved; hence I sincerely crave your pardon for having printed the article which gave you offense. Upon learning that you read into it a meaning which I did not intend, I stopped the presses and curtailed the circulation of the October number as much as possible, proving my sincerity by a pecuniary sacrifice. I would not for the wealth of this world either do you a wilful injustice, or have you believe me capable of such a crime. May you prosper in your studies, graduate with honor and bestow your hands upon men worthy of noble women.

. . .

P.S. In looking over the foregoing since it was put in type, I suspect that I have been a trifle too hard on some of those who met to ratify the action of the first mob and publicly brand me as a defamer of women. I would not do my deadliest enemy an injustice. Two wrongs do not make a right; hence I concede that perhaps half of those present pay their debts and make a reasonable effort to be decent. If God neglected to bless them with brains that is their misfortune instead of their fault. Let it go at that. They have had their say, I’ve had mine, and right here I drop the subject until another attempt is made to run me out of town. I make this concession, not that Baylor deserves it, but at the earnest request of the law-abiding element of this city.


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Chicago: William Cowper Brann, "Brann Vs. Baylor.," Brann the Iconoclast— Volume 10 in Brann the Iconoclast—Volume 10 (New York: The Century Co., 1899), Original Sources, accessed September 30, 2023,

MLA: Brann, William Cowper. "Brann Vs. Baylor." Brann the Iconoclast— Volume 10, in Brann the Iconoclast—Volume 10, New York, The Century Co., 1899, Original Sources. 30 Sep. 2023.

Harvard: Brann, WC, 'Brann Vs. Baylor.' in Brann the Iconoclast— Volume 10. cited in 1899, Brann the Iconoclast—Volume 10, The Century Co., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 30 September 2023, from