Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to Jane Addams, December 1, 1915





87, Clement's Inn, W.G.

Dec 1. 1915.

My dear Miss Addams. I am moved by an impulse to write you a personal & confidential screed. If I am misguided in this matter, just drop me & my letter in to the waste basket -- for in these days nobody expects any acknowledgement [of] a merely personal letter.

First I want to tell you that I have been pressed into the position of Hon Treasurer to the British W.I.L. It had to be -- alas! So here I am, at my wits end, for it's impossible to raise money by ordinary methods for a movement that is so "taboo" in this country, that it hardly does show its nose in public.

My husband on Monday was to take the chair [page 2] for a meeting organized by the Union of Democratic Control. He was seized by soldiers who had rushed the meeting & pitched from a table on the platform to the floor of the Hall & he & the other speakers MacDonald, Ponsonby & Trevelyan were driven with all their supporters out of the hall, which was then used for a recruiting meeting. Thus it is "in England now."

Thus far the W.I.L has held meetings successfully. Being solely [a] woman's organization we have enjoyed certain immunities. But the rope allowed is extremely short -- & even today a meeting which was to have been held tonight at which several of the members of our Committee including myself were to have spoken, is cancelled at the last moment owing to the panic of the proprietors who had contracted to let the Hall to us. [page 3]

I do hope you have not been troubled by certain anxieties concerning the British Committee -- If so, let me assure you that there is no real need to be troubled, because everything will come right when the members of the various countries come together. In letters, as you know, opinions are bound to become over-stated & over crystalized. Let me say that the feeling is very warm & friendly & with regard to yourself in particular [immensely] appreciative.

There is another point I should like to mention. I have <been> a little anxious lest my fellow speaker in America last year, should might imagine that I was in any way making trouble for her -- for I hear she was a little inclined to be sensitive & even suspicious -- (not to put too fine a point)

Now it so happens that it is my firm [page 4] conviction, always expressed on Committee -- that if it were not for the people who can adventure, the discreet & the wise people would be out of work half their time. It is my experience that every political movement has to have two kinds of genius (before it becomes successful) the genius for "raising the dust" & the genius for quiet administration.

The Committee always receives this expression of opinion with the utmost friendliness, even when it [votes] for discretion, law & order -- pure & simple. Between you & me, I have always championed our friend-with-a-Southern-temperament & her doings -- not because I think everything is best & wisest that she does -- but because she can get the front page of newspapers for Peace -- & we can do the rest including the rectification of her errors. I want you to realize this because I believe only in union, & [illegible] & I hate disintegration & disintegrators. [page 5]

I want you realize too that the women on our Committee are [illegible] really great. I feel I have never been associated with more able people -- more straight forward people or people of larger outlook. There is nothing -- so far as I have seen -- in any way small-minded about them. As you know I have always been proud of women! Most of the members of this Committee were opposed to me for many years. Even now our point of view is in some ways radically different -- though mutual knowledge has done much to bring us to a fuller understanding & appreciation. But it is a joy to work with them -- I find in this present fellowship & friendship the inspiration that I have always found in these things. With very warm greetings dear Miss Addams -- believe me

affectionately yours

Emmeline Pethick Lawrence