Emily Greene Balch to Jane Addams, June 14, 1917

Room 714
3 West 13th St

Dear Miss Addams,

I have not as yet done anything about my passport nor have I cabled anything. I did write a letter to Miss Wales' father by Miss Louise Kellogg telling him the plan and asking him to call his daughter about it at my expense if he thought well to do so. [page 2]

The Conference kept us busy to the hilt <up to and through all last week> Wed & Thurs. of last week, when it met, and almost equally Friday & Saturday clearing up after it -- financially & everyway. All I did in my own affairs was to make a provisional reservation for the 20th instant (Bergensfjord). This I am now trying to transfer to a later sailing -- June 28 or July 7 or 12 as may be. Mr. Hillquit hoped I would do nothing about a passport before Monday last, <for fear of crossing the wires of the Socialist delegates> so I held off on that & went home <on Saturday> for a long planned and desired rest at home. I stayed longer than I meant returning to New York on Wednesday (yesterday). Meanwhile I [had] your earlier letters and your long telegram but by a mistake of judgment about forwarding my mail my letters have been sent to Boston and have not yet followed me back here.

I saw Mr. Croly about possibly going over under the aegis of a correspondent of the New Republic. [He was] very kind and [page 3] promised a reply next day. I enclose it.

Meanwhile the postponement of the Int Socialist meeting to Sept. (or indefinitely) makes things look a little differently. Still I am inclined to think I had better go if I can. I think I will stay here ↑in N.Y.C↓ till Monday and then go down to Washington and see what the passport prospects are.

What really is your judgment on it & the plan of my going?

The ↑Peoples↓ Council project seems to [page 4] me to be going on well. It is impossible to tell till a later stage how much [reality] it can develop. Nothing succeed like success.

We are starting in on a big and ambitious scale, that of an annual budget of $100,000 which is of course to be secured. $1,000 has been given already, so we are afloat. The conference closed with a balance of a few hundreds in hand. [page 5]

The chief personalities on the job here are Hillquit, Magnes and Professor Keasbey. The Jewish East Side is eager to cooperate.

I want to see the spirit of it [illegible] more constructive. Protest is such a sterile spirit. The war people command much more sacrificial ardor, at least the best of the idealists do. Boston -- old Puritan Boston -- is in a white glow of it. [page 6]

I can imagine how I [look] to them. And then the conflict of the two [Weltanschauungen] begins (or rather continues) within one. There are very cowardly elements in my desire to go to Europe for a little and get a fresh perspective after my rather feverish winter ending in the raising of this Djinni or Frankenstein of a People's Council. When I call it these names I mean it only as vast, vague, [page 7] managing its own destinies and outgrowing the [contest] -- if it does grow -- of its [projection]. It should outgrow them. I really am a good Democrat. I trust others and am ready to give myself to the current which I feel setting onward, risking the turbidness and the eddies. But I think the physical basis of moral courage is now strained in me and that [page 8] I may be [trumped] either to shirk on the one hand, or to bluff on the other, if I do not alter my personal problem for a time. And I can draw out now and in this way ↑(of going abroad)↓ so decently.

This is only a special personal aspect of it ↑the plan↓. I do think my going over ought to be modestly useful -- enough to make it pay to attempt it. [page 9]

As so often happens writing to you has helped to clear my own mind.

As always so very gratefully


Emily G Balch

Mrs. Hamlin would like to work for the Peace Council for her expenses. What is your unvarnished report on her?

I see I did not tell you that at the desire of Mr Hillquit [page 10] and the others the Emergency Peace Federation is letting its whole being be absorbed by the Peace Council. Mr. Lochner is executive secretary, Miss Shelly is to <help> raise the money, Miss Secor is on the organizing end. It is a little hard for her. I fear Miss Freeman was away, [illegible name] is to be in go on to Chicago to help all she can -- at least that is the plan.

Mr Ratcliffe sailed Monday.