Chrystal Macmillan to Jane Addams, January 14, 1916

Hotel American
Jan: 14th 1916.

Private and personal

Dear Miss Addams,

I do hope when this reaches you that you will be really recovered from your illness and thinking of the date of starting for Europe both for your own sake and that of the great movements for which you stand.

I am ashamed to think that I [page 2] have not written you a private letter since coming to Europe. It was put off till I reached neutral ground and then there was so much to do, and so many difficulties to contend with, that the time slipped past till it seemed you would be starting before a letter <could> reach you. United States letters take about a month to reach us here, but this is going by the hand of Mr Kliefoth, so it should reach you in about a fortnight.

The position with respect to the British Committee, or the Women's International [page 3] League, seemed to be this, as far as I could find out. The Committee or some of them, and those the ones who are most able to put things through on Committee, were very much against Miss Hobhouse having been appointed Secretary pro tem and also <very much against> at our having inserted a preface signed by her. They said One or two members of the Committee said that it made their work so difficult. The Committee decided not to recognize her but <all the same some> went to talk to her <about Committee affairs> and later the Committee passed a resolution thanking her for what she had done. Lady Courtney [page 4] moved it. That was the last formal decision of the Committee <on the Miss Hobhouse question> but it did not seem to be the spirit of some members. It seemed to me the people to be attacked on the subject were, not Miss Hobhouse, but the four members of Committee who made the decision <to appoint her>. Then some members <thought>, -- it was impossible to discover whether the Committee as a whole took the attitude or only those who spoke most, -- <thought> that Mme Schwimmer and I had no right to go to U.S.A. -- I think on the ground that it was "further action". Of course it was perfectly legitimate ground to [criticize] this action and it is a matter every one has the right to form an opinion on when they [page 5] know the facts. In the case of one or two -- only one or two know Mme Schwimmer personally, <[illegible]> I believe [illegible] <it was based> on their distrust of her -- a distrust which I do not share. Miss Hobhouse is so hurt that she <feels she> cannot join the W.I.L. and Miss Sophia Sturge, an old enthusiastic Quaker Peace worker does not wish to join because she does not like the Spirit of the League.

In Holland Dr Jacobs seemed to have lost all her courage. She had not sent the Manifesto signed by [page 6] the Envoys to the European press, not to anyone, and it is only after a month's more delay that we are she has consented to allow it to go into the January News-sheet. She, of course, has had a very hard time since coming back, because Miss Hubrecht took seriously ill; and, in connection with the new constitution bill a great deal of suffrage work has been thrown on her hands. I went all through the correspondence undertaken by Miss Hobhouse and found it very good. She had [illegible] met difficulties well. The serious mistake was forwarding that letter of which I wrote <to you> in the private letter from [page 7] Dr Jacobs, Miss Manus and me. I signed it but it was intended to be from all three of us. I hope that was clear from the letter. I have asked Mme Schwimmer, <whether> she received the letter and enclosure, and she says she did, and destroyed one of them. She did not remember which. She, of course, considered that the person forwarding the letter should not have done it. Of course I do not know whether Miss Hobhouse, who does not know German, very well, had ever read it. It may have been understood only by Miss Hubrecht but Miss Manus consulted both [page 8] about it before forwarding it.

When the news first came about Mr Ford's money I thought Dr Jacobs was going to recover her spirits because it seemed to be the <question of> money that was weighing on her; but she would not agree to send any warm message to Mme Schwimmer about it We had all agreed and you have no doubt seen the telegrams that went to Mme Schwimmer from the three of us. Everything we have been doing <here> has had to be a compromise between Dr Jacobs point of view and mine.

At first she agreed to put at [page 9] once a glowing notice <about the donation> in the press; then all at once she took fright, and nothing would induce her even to consider accepting the money till we were quite certain of conditions. This has meant that we have been prevented this last month from making the necessary extensions in the work of the office and from employing really capable workers, as it seemed to me it was our [page 10] duty to the Committee to do.

Mme Schwimmer is so hurt at the treatment she has received that she refuses to come and talk things out <with Dr Jacobs, Miss Manus & me> and you must see from the kind of telegram sent her that she has very good reasons for being hurt. <As an individual> I have had several talks with her.

It is probably difficult for you in America to [realize] how little, or how absolutely nothing with any meaning in it, was put in the European Press before the arrival of the Oscar II. Here in Holland they have had crowded [page 11] meetings. Mrs Ramondt, who made all the arrangements must have worked splendidly.

Miss [Arnesen], of Christiania who has only second hand information as her mother was dying when the expedition was there, does writes rather critically of it. the Expedition. Mrs Tybjerg, of Copenhagen, on the other hand, writes urging that the I.C.W.P.P. should support the movement. Of those who have joined the party two were women of ability and standing. Fanny Schnelle of Norway, who was on the Bergen Town Council for six years, [page 12] and Henni Forchhammer, President of the National Council of Women of Norway & a Vice President of the International Council of Women. I mention these two only because they are the ones I really know about personally.

As far as I can judge, not being a native here, they have made a good impression in Holland. Very good press notices have been in all the papers. Apparently a very prominent man took the Chair at their first Hague Meeting -- and of the people I have been personally in contact with, Dr Jacobs & Miss Manus, have quite come round to [page 13] thinking the [illegible] expedition important.

The British press has done nothing so far but ridicule the thing, but I am getting circulated from the office, after having got the consent of Dr Jacobs and Miss Manus the facts about it to the Members of the I.C.W.P.P. in all countries, so, if these pass the censor, they should have the effect of making [page 14] people change their minds.

But the real point of this letter is to say how badly we want you in Europe as soon as possible. As soon as we get your cable fixing your date of arrival, we shall wire to all our people within reach. Don't Come in February, if possible. I believe with your wish to be here and working that you will get more quickly better. Nothing is so terrible as [illegible] waiting.

It is very unfortunate we were not able to have our meeting sooner, when we could have considered whether we [page 15] could support this plan. We had on the agenda <the question of> whether the I.C.W.P.P. should itself consider practical applications of its principles to concrete proposals. This item was not put on the circulated agenda because we were afraid it might not pass all censors.

I think there are great possibilities in your conference. What we want are concrete proposals put forward as soon as possible, <especially> you will see from the News-sheet which you will get in a few days after these statements of Asquith & Hollweg [page 16] which I sent <you> before. Put forward in this world striking way the conference may create a healthy rivalry in the Governments -- and three months has passed since October 15th when we drew up our manifesto & still nothing done.

I hope Mr Ford will give the Conference a free hand once it is set up. I was saying to Mme Schwimmer [today] that that seems to me essential to its success. It is the same idea as that the national delegates to an official conference <should be> being empowered [page 17] to act on their own responsibility when once appointed.

I am asking Mr Kliefoth to pay over to you fifty dollars. You remember you were so very kind as twice to give me money to pay my railway fares when in the States. I have not a note of the exact sum but think it amounted to about 50 dollars. I am very very grateful to you for this help but [page 18] as I do not really need it I am sending back the money with my best thanks.

Hoping for your quick recovery and that you will really come to Europe in February and with cordial greetings

Yours sincerely

Chrystal Macmillan.