Western Starr to Jane Addams, October 15, 1903

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House, City.

My dear Miss Addams: --

I have noticed recent expressions by the Chicago Chronicle devoted to criticism of Hull House liberality in encouraging, or at least permitting, freedom of thought and speech with reference to questions which are now absorbing so large a share of interest among the people.

I am well aware that you stand in no need of assistance from out siders in maintaining any stand which you see fit to take, and I write merely to say that you are to be congratulated and your Institution is to be congratulated upon the enemies you may succeed in making along those lines. The effort to suppress discussion as a means of keeping the political peace, philosphically speaking, is rapidly approaching a point where explosions may be expected. Government by injunction as recently exemplified by the action of the Court in Cincinnati, enjoining the freedom of the Press is a step beyond the suppression of public discussion by the Police; and I write to say simply that the effort to discredit the confidence of the general public will fail utterly in its purpose, and I am inclined to believe that instead of being a source of injury, which it can in no sense really be, the work of the Chronicle and of all its kind, will be an added support to the movement in which you are interested.

I only wish to add that the work which you began last Spring with reference to the Health Department and the progress of [page 2] events in the City Hall since then, shows that public discussion even in the small matters of the City government has a value. We have succeeded in smoking out some of the vermin of the City Hall, and also in making necessary reorganization of administrative policy, which will develop in the near future.

I do not need to say that any service I may be able to render is at your command.

Sincerely yours,

Western Starr [signed]

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