105 EAST 22D STREET, NEW YORK
September 15, 1914.
Dear Miss Addams:
You will learn when you reach Boston what the peace people have done and how far they would [cooperate] in such a plan.
I suggest also that you get in touch with Mrs. Elizabeth Tilton, who has been very active in the poster campaign against alcohol, and who has been eager to get something going here bearing on the war, urging the Survey to take it up. We have felt that her plan was one which she ought to get a hearing for and would encourage in any way possible, but did not want to shoulder the responsibility for running it as a piece of Survey publicity. I am not sure also how much it is limited to the question of disarmament. But she would be a valuable recruit in any larger plan I should think; she is a person of initiative and resource. Her address is 11 Mason Street, Cambridge, Mass. <At present she is at 135 Mt Pleasant St East Gloucester>
A small meeting on the 29th, which could canvass the situation, would seem to me well worth attempting. I recall that you presided at a similar meeting here in New York at which the scheme for the Industrial Relations Commission was initiated.
I confess that I have not thought the practical steps through, but my first judgment would be to get together some five or ten people who could launch a national conference perhaps three weeks later which would be a real mustering of American thought.
Two things would seem fairly essential in this first group -- people young enough in spirit not to stick at trepidations or precedents; people of such distinction that their invitation to a national conference would be responded to. [page 2]
If you would suggest the list I will get out the invitations and arrange for a dinner meeting on the 29th. I thought of Rabbi Wise and Mr. Devine as well as you and Miss Wald. Dr. Eliot has written to the Times in a forthright way. William Kent and Charles R. Crane and Col. Roosevelt himself would bring vigor to it. Perhaps Thomas A. Edison, or one or two less obvious people who epitomize something of American contribution to the sum of things would make it an unusual group to meet an unusual occasion.
As these are people of the sort, demands upon whose time are many, it would take more than an ordinary notification from the likes of me to get them to come together. I think it would have to be made an invitation from you. If Miss Wald is back in New York it would give it strength -- and distinction -- to have the meeting at the Nurses' Settlement. Perhaps some more direct and compelling plan will suggest itself to you.
Let me know, if you will, your [judgements] as to the way to go ahead.
P. S. Since writing the above I have had a talk with Mr. Devine who is:
A. Rather dubious about whether we have anything to say at this juncture; he feels rather humble before it all but thinks there might be a chance that out of a small meeting might come a formulation -- perhaps the inspiration of some one member -- perhaps the result of discussion -- which we would feel we could go before the country with -- or the world.
B. That Mrs. Glenn, as President of the National Conference, is sending out a letter to all members suggesting that on the Peace Day set aside by the President all take to heart whether we in America have not some of the same forces at work which under other circumstances might produce just such a conflict as in Europe, etc., a message which he says is sober, thought-provoking and in harmony with the President's message.
C. That he feels that the attitude of neutrality taken by the American <Administration> does not go far enough. That something more positive is latent in our minds; -- that he is not neutral but positively concerned that certain things in Germany and German civilization should not be wiped out if the Germans are completely beaten; and similarly that certain things that different [ones] of the Allies stand for should not be effaced <if they are beaten>. Indeed it seems to me that Mr. Devine has here hit upon one of the very factors on which there would be agreement in such a pronouncement as we have in mind; and that it could not but have a <healthful> influence upon the terms of settlement if, as a great, on-looking people, we should stand out for what is humanly precious.
D. He feels that perhaps the more obvious peace people had not best be included; by this meaning that those whose program has long since been thought out might be less valuable to the meeting than those who come into it with an open mind.
E. That a round table discussion of people of the sort suggested would be surely [worthwhile], and he would be glad to join in it.
All of which suggest that perhaps an alternative plan, instead of an evening meeting, would be to have an all day meeting which could be informal but searching. Or perhaps two days -- of a small group who might come out of it with a fairly clearly formulated plan of action or presentation, or might come out of it merely with their own ideas clarified by brushing up against those of others, ready, if some change in the situation developed, to act in concert. In other words, an old time retreat -- preferably held where there would be few interruptions.
Mr. Devine mentioned President Van Hise's name. Mr. Lovejoy was not in this afternoon. Mr. Devine says that Mr. McKelway had written Mr. Lovejoy earlier about the possibility of some sort of meeting, and evidently there have, therefore, been promptings of various sorts -- a groping toward some action.