Jane Addams to Robert Alexander Gunn, February 18, 1920


My dear Mr Gunn:

I am sure you know that I have no desire to continue a correspondence which is futile but your second letter also contained such gross misstatements that I venture to assume that you will wish to have the facts.

I was not a passenger on the Ford Peace Ship. As the date of its sailing I was ill in the Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago. This you can easily verify by inquiring of Mr [Day], President of the Board, Dr Bacon, Superintendent of the Hospital, or Dr James Herrick, my own physician.

I was not expelled from France on July 30th, 1915 as you state. While in Paris in 1915, I had luncheon with Ambassador [Sharp] and others who would not have been in a position to receive me had I been a dangerous person. I left Paris and sailed from Liverpool on the S.S. St. Louis, June 29th, 1915. On the date you mentioned, July 30, 1915, I was in Chicago. I was in Paris last year on my way to the International Congress of Women in Zurich. At that time I had one interview with Mr Lansing, was received by Colonel House on three different occasions, and was shown numerous courtesies by officials connected with the Peace Commission. There was not the slightest question or difficulty concerning my passport and this surely would not have been the case had I been expelled in 1915.

I have tried to find [out] about the Joint Conference to which you referred as having met in Hull-House on August 23, 1919. I am told that such a conference was held in a hall on Blue Island Avenue, near 18th street; it most certainly was not held here.

I am quite at a loss to understand why you should bring against me as a charge the fact that I spoke under the auspices of the Jewish Socialist Central Committee. I am not a Socialist myself, but the Socialist Party is, as you know, recognized as a legitimate political party, the candidates of which are given a place upon the ballots at each election. Why ā†‘Iā†“ should not address a meeting, held under its auspices, concerning the food situation in Europe where many of the members have friends and relatives, is more than I can understand.

I certainly did sit upon the platform at the meeting in the Coliseum on February 8th, held to protest against the methods and character of the recent raids and deportations. Protests have been made against these by a number of people of unimpeachable patriotism, including such Bishops of the Episcopalian church as Bishop Brewster of Maine, Bishop Brent, Bishop Lawrence of Massachusetts, and others. The meeting at the Coliseum was perfectly orderly and legitimate, with an attendance of 5000 people.

My first American ancestor bought his land from William Penn in 1684, recording his deed in Oxfordshire, England. There has been a long line of loyal Americans, doubtless however, expressing themselves from time to time as I do now, in public opposition to certain public acts of public officials. The freedom to do this is, to my mind, the very foundation of self-government.

Prisoners ordinarily described as political have been released in all the allied countries and it is difficult to understand why the United States should act differently. I have been happy to serve in their behalf as a member of the National Committee with headquarters in New York ā†‘[although] I have had little to do with the local organization.ā†“

I have never used the expression, "tool of the capitalists and paid press" nor do I quite understand what you mean by the expression, "those of your belief."

I am certainly a pacifist, as is well known, and am enclosing a copy of our [page 2] [stationery] that you may see I am president of an International organization opposed to war, to attend the international meetings of which, I have twice received passports from the U.S. government.

I am quite willing to receive any legitimate criticism, and have received a great deal of it during the war, but charges such of disloyalty such as you make, with deliberate use of the word "Bolshevist", I must repeat, are not criticism, but mere innuendo.

I am enclosing a copy of the report dealing with food conditions in Germany, and assure you that I have nothing to conceal in regard to anything I have done or written during the war.

Faithfully yours,