April 15th, 1915.
Dear Madam --
I am instructed as Secretary of the National Committee of Women for Patriotic Service in Canada to write to you as President of the International Congress of Women. The Committee of which I have the [honor] to be Secretary is composed, as you will see by the enclosed circular of the presidents or their representatives of the nationally organized societies of women in Canada.
Many of the women represented on this Committee have received invitations to be present or to elect delegates to represent them at the Congress. None of these Canadian societies of women have felt able to accept the courteous invitation of your Committee because they believe that the time for peace has not yet arrived, and therefore no woman from Canada can speak as representing the opinion of Canadian women.
The enclosed Open Letter concerning Peace has been issued by thousands amongst the women of Canada, and we have received many resolutions endorsing the views therein expressed. [page 2]
It has also been commented upon by most of the women editors of our newspapers, and I have not seen any comment which did not express approval of the position taken in the matter.
Madam President, when we look at Belgium we cannot speak of peace. We speak often of the horrors of war, but there are also horrors of peace.
In war there is material and physical loss, but what of the spiritual loss involved in a peaceful acquiescence in the devastation of an unoffending country whose sole crime was her geographical position?
The women of the Empire whose husbands, sons and brothers are bleeding on the battle field have no need to learn from other nations of the horrors of war, but they would appeal to the women of other nations, before they condemn all belligerent nations alike, to consider once more the causes of the war as set forth in the official documents issued by the various Chancelleries of the nations at war.
We would ask you once more the old question, "What shall a man or a nation give in exchange for his soul?" The soul of any nation is the value that it places upon the [defense] of the weak, the freedom of the many, and the keeping of its plighted word. It is to preserve our soul as an Empire that we are at war.
This letter is sent to your care as we understand that you are the elected President of the Congress, but if we [one or more pages missing]