Nelly Hall Root to Jane Addams, 1918

1373 Carroll Park West.
Long Beach Calif.

My dear Miss Addams:

A friend of mine here, a representative woman of the "People's Council" having told me several times that, were she in the Peace Party she would put me out of it, because of my attitude toward [illegible] ↑our↓ government in the present war, it seems to me [best] to state my views to you for consideration, [our] former association in Chicago being something of a basis upon which judgment may be formed.

John [Haynes] Holmes, knowing that the trustees and congregation of the Unitarian Church of which he is pastor, were mainly [belligerents], deliberately incorporated his most radical pacifist beliefs in a sermon, and simultaneously tendered his resignation. This [true] liberalism on his part, showing his justice to the church as well as honesty to himself, inspired so much liberalism in his [opponents] that they refused to accept the resignation and ↑[further]↓ the cause of peace, [illegible] of liberalism, was [bifurcated].

In case I do not belong to the Peace Party it is my wish to save them the annoyance and time of putting me out.

Some of us who are content with no ideal less than that of eventual world peace based on democratic interdependence of ↑all↓ nations, [page 2] have been forced to the conclusion that not yet has all humanity out-grown the [illegible] instinct to fight; nor reached the mental and moral maturity which while perceiving as never before the horrors of war, has either the wisdom or the ability to avoid it. We feel, that, inasmuch as our government believed that entrance upon this war was ↑[illegible]↓ unavoidable [even] after careful consideration of the public expression of protest against it, we can not conscientiously engage in a kind of meddlesomeness, bordering on the impudent and disloyal, at a time when the President is already an unduly harassed man and Congress heavily burdened with [illegible] ↑[perplexing]↓ problems forced upon it.

The courteous, good-natured, tolerant expression of opposing convictions is not to be condemned but to be protected and encouraged. But there are issues when [anger] and ill-will even in the interests of democracy and peace, defeat the ends for which our honesty strives; for which reason it seems to some of us, most important of all, to keep and to cultivate good will toward those who may be [working] toward [page 3] the same principles as we, but from different directions.

As a member of the Peace Party it has been a pleasure to give all literature sent me as wide circulation as was possible and I was in close sympathy with the spirit and utterances of your address to the Chicago City Club last spring. In that spirit I wish to remain, a worker for Peace and Good-will, no matter what difficulties in the way of temporary warfare have to be dealt with.

If this be incompatible with the principles and purposes of the Peace Party, my resignation is in your hands, as a member thereof: but I shall go on striving for Permanent Peace which ↑I believe to↓ be inevitable, in time, in spite of the fallibility of the advocates thereof, Pacifist and otherwise.

This would have been written long ago but for the fact that I have been under radium treatment for a growth in my side which now seems to have yielded [to] the wonderful ↑curative↓ agent.

You will rejoice over the fact that the world and I have our son, who when he received [page 4] Dr. Stehman's letter of information concerning the condition of his worn out, semi-useless mother, wired Dr. S. "Make all necessary arrangements for mother at my expense. On my way to California." And he one twenty seven -- with a wife -- two babies -- and his job in Des Moines? His coming was the miracle which made possible the cure by radium: but there came also a transformation of his life, with the transformation of mine, because of the noble generosity with which he came, with only a little money in the bank ($100.00 or so) to preserve a tired sufferer who in her compulsory loneliness, had welcomed the prospect of a grave in a year or two, as a sweet release from unendurable uselessness and probable dependency, in case of ill health. Herbert is a citizen for whose [existence] a mother must be humbly grateful -- such men are so needed, when Leslie asked for my picture, I at first paid no attention but later consented and had a few copies sent to those who would be glad that I had repented of my sin of indifference to woman suffrage and had also tried to expiate them when opportunity offered -- which was immodest of me but was meant as informational for all that.

With best wishes for your comfort and your work,

Faithfully yours -- Nelly Hall Root.