Jenkins Lloyd Jones to Jane Addams, October 10, 1912


CHICAGO. October 10, 1912

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House, Chicago.

Dear Sister Jane Addams:

I was touched by your wanting me to see your article which I have just read, also Mrs. Woolley's answer. I do not need your article to persuade me that you had thought your way out of the position you have taken. I never distrusted for a moment your sincerity, or, integrity in the matter, but I am frank to say that after reading your article I am still distressed over the matter. I think it is partly because of a feeling that you are "too big a man" to be identified with any party agitation, or as a leader of party enthusiasm, which under the best of circumstances destroys the perspective and does violence to the proportions. No man is so good and no measure so pure, or platform so ingenuous, as the friends make them out, or as bad as the opponents describe. But I think there is a real difference between your interpretation of the "Color situation" and the war situation. <and my view of it.> For twenty years or more now, I have spent the months of March in the South and have necessarily come into contact with many colored people, who are honestly interested in American politics, who are anxious to fulfill the functions of citizenship. Naturally, the only affiliation possible <was> with the Republican party, first, for what it did not <has done for> the colored man and second, for what it has been since to the colored man, in his own estimation. I don't believe that all delegates, even to [page 2] Republican Conventions, were viciously appointed, and I cannot see any justification for a would-be Progressive either in platform or otherwise, to suggest the old sectional line, the obliteration of which cost so much to nation and individuals. We cannot interpret motives, we must not impugn witnesses, but we cannot evade the national responsibility of the negro problem.

But, as you well know, I am more distressed over the militarism of the Platform and the Man. I want to believe that Mrs. Woolley did not adequately interpret your position on the Peace movement. International disarmament is something very much more than a "growing sentiment", "a matter of education", -- it is a matter of legislation and diplomacy. It can be wiped away as slavery was, by acts of Congresses, national and international by civilized states, subject of course to such violations and evasions as all international agreements are. We all consider disarmament as one of the fundamental quests of civilization today, and we can reach it by national and international legislation, and the United States must lead in this work. And it can and will if the power of the man on horse-back can be broken. It is the sentimental warriors and warrioresses <that> hold us back. Theodore Roosevelt is the arch champion in the United States today, possibly in the world, of that, to me obsolete and unprophetic contention, that "armament contributes to the pacification of the world", and "in order to have peace we must be ready for war", and all that stuff, which I believe the people in whose judgment I have most confidence, are prepared to call "bosh". It was Theodore Roosevelt who early in his presidency gave utterance to the brutal epigram which I have never been able to forget, "Speak softly but carry a Big Stick". It was Roosevelt that so cheapened the Presidential office by filling boyish hearts with a love of the gun and a passion to [page 3] kill something. It was he who led our battleships in a mock-glorious parade around the world, debauching the ideals of pacific people, like those of Australia, Canada, and the less competent South American states, as well as inflaming the passions of the "Powers". It was during his administration that the War Department set agoing the fool extravagances that have been "playing war", devastating [cornfields] and letting down the fences of pastures and meadows in the Northwest, under the guise of developing an army. The most important functionary in these mock wars being the Damage Officer who followed in the wake with his checkbook to appease irate farmers for damage done to their hog pastures. I believe that Mr. Roosevelt is responsible for the defeat of the Treaties, -- the one bright, redeeming feature of the Taft Administration. It almost won in the Senate and it was the irresistible personality of Theodore Roosevelt that threw the small balance the wrong way. In his very "confession of faith" that gave rise to the platform, he declared for the two battleships, and what to me is much more discouraging and pitiful, the fortification of the Panama Canal.

I do not know why I should write all this to you, except that one confidence deserves another. I am as anxious that we should understand one another as you can be, for you can hardly realize how precious fellowship is to me on these high lines. Even you with all your bundle of social heresies are not so isolated as one who can add to this arraignment of anathemas, the more lurid anathemas of theological heresies. I guess after all, the main point of difference is in our estimate of the man. I have not been outdone by any of you in my clamor for a Third Party. I have been calling for it for twenty-five years, and I welcome it, and every chance I can have I am going to climb into its wagon, but I am sorry it should have been born out of a party-convention [page 4] quarrel, and that the leader should be a disappointed candidate, who, because he could not be a Republican nominee, resolved to have a party of his own. I may be wrong in my estimate of this forceful man. I hope I am. Time alone will tell. If you are right, it will be only one more evidence of your sagacity, insight, and prophetic qualities. Go ahead and keep at it.

I hope you are well. I am back and busy, -- plenty of work to do. Things nearer home are distressing me. How I wish I could believe in the sincerity and the determination based on sincerity, in this Wayman action. If he would only keep on doing it long enough, what a great demonstration it would be! When vice ceases to be protected by representatives of law, then it will be in the controllable minority. It is not the "lusts of the flesh" but the corruption of politics that lies at the bottom of it.

I saw "The Man Higher Up" yesterday at the Olympic. It is a great political appeal, a mighty sermon. I wish all voters, and prospective voters could see and hear it.

Always cordially yours,

Jenkin Lloyd Jones [signed]