Carrie Chapman Catt to Jane Addams, January 16, 1915




January 16, 1915.

My dear Miss Addams:-

It is not improbable that you have received the enclosed greeting to women of the world. A few copies have been sent to me. Lest you have not received it, I enclose one.

The women of the neutral countries could get together at this time, but I am doubtful whether it would result in good. Upon my return home I have received a letter from the French Suffrage Committee so full of bitterness because their name had been signed to a mediation petition to the President, that it seems questionable if any explanation could be made to these unbalanced brains at this time of what is the real situation. Mrs. Schlumberger herself was very earnest in her desire that something should be done to end this "stupid war", but that was last September and at that time conditions were quite different. They have now come to the conclusion that they want the war to continue until the Germans are wiped off the face of the earth. At that time they wanted peace, but they forget that such was the case.

I had a letter from a German woman a short time ago taking me to task for having mentioned "atrocities" in a speech. She said I had not mentioned any nationality, but she knew I was thinking of the Germans. I replied that such was not the case; that I had purposely refrained from mentioning any nationality for I thought in this particular they were all alike. I mentioned that our British workers had discovered that atrocities were committed usually when men were drunk, and I added that drunkenness made all men akin.

I have today received a letter from her in which she assures me that somebody has made a study of drunkenness and wishes to impress upon me that while every other nationality is led on to commit murder, atrocities and evils of every kind in a state of drunkenness, the German becomes affectionate and kind-hearted and believes that all the world are his brethren. [page 2]

I have a letter also by the same mail from a Berlin lady, Madame Adam, in which she says "your press complain over the destruction of monuments. Our government has but one reply: We destroy the monuments, churches, towns, villages of all the world, we burn down whole countries, if we can spare by doing so the least limb of the least soldier of the German army."

Between these German letters and the French letters my conviction has been emphasized that the world has literally gone mad, and I don't think we could get any International meeting with these warring people in attendance. It would be too much like trying to organize a peace society in an insane asylum.

I wanted to see you for a few moments before you went away the other day, but I had appointments in my room all the afternoon and could not leave. I had forgotten that you were going before the Congressional debate. The thing I wanted to make clear was that it was at the cost of a good deal of effort that I got away long enough to go to Washington for those dates, and that my work here is so strenuous that I can do nothing else. I will try to push Mrs. Villard on to the finding of a suitable State Chairman and hope New York may come forward with its meeting on the 22nd of February. Somewhere in the United States we must find the woman who can take over the new [Woman's] Peace Party. I realize that you cannot carry the load in addition to all the rest of your undertakings. It is only under your leadership, however, that it could have an auspicious beginning. It will never be possible for me to take that Chairmanship even though the next conference should desire it. I mention this because you spoke as though that would be the case.

I shall have the hardest task of my life in pulling the Alliance together again when the war comes to an end, and I must be free to do that when this campaign is over. I regret exceedingly that I am tied up just now for I would like to help in this peace movement more than I shall be able to do. There is to be a series of four peace meetings in Cooper Union in January and February, and it is possible that out of these the beginning of a Peace Party in New York may come.

Most cordially yours,

Carrie Chapman Catt [signed]

To Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ill.

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