Harriet S. Webber to Jane Addams April 3, 1916


Monroe [Maine] April 3 1916

My Dear Miss Addams

I cannot sleep nights I am so afraid some of those hot-headed congressmen and President Wilson will plunge us into this awful [stuff] and H--- that's going on across the water -- 13 Nations isn't it fighting like dogs and cats over nothing each one standing by their Kaiser standing by their King & <and each nation claiming that God is helping them> -- Over & over again it keeps coming to me with such dreadful force in the silent [clutches?] of the night that President Wilson and some of the members of Congress had rather call our husbands and sons into this awful thing rather [than] Congress pass a law that Americans shouldn't travel on belligerent ships then when President W-- was on his western trip in one of his speeches <in Kansas> he told the young men that they could trust him to keep them out of war. The next breath he [illegible] said "but if I call for you I want you to be ready." I wonder if he ever thinks how we mothers that have sons [page 2] feel to have him take such a stand. If President W-- or rather Congress should declare war with Germany do you think Miss Addams that the mothers, fathers & wives would let their H-- and sons go same as that have across the water? Wouldn't our young men be justified in revolting from either a foreign war or down to Mexico? Poor down trodden illiterate Mexicans they want bibles and schools instead of war. Our troops avenged the Columbus citizens deaths <by killing 30 just over the line> why couldn't they been called back? I've often wondered what would have been the outcome if when the Germans were called to march through Belgium they had refused to go and said there was no justice in calling them from their families there was nothing to fight for -- It's nothing like our Civil War fighting to free the slaves and save the Union. When I was a child away back in the ['60s] there was a great many war songs. Why can't we have peace songs and why can't they be sung from Maine to Calif in all of the Peace Meetings. Why can't the people meet to sing & pray all over our land that there will not be any war. There is a mighty power in [prayer] and song. [page 3]

All the papers I see is the Boston Herald & Bangor Daily News. They do not mention scarcely any Peace Meetings. There could be young mens quartets and young ladies. It seems to me there might be a wave of enthusiasm go all over the United States and a great peace victory won.

What I meant to say when I spoke of the fathers & mothers is this: if war is declared will the people accept it and will the young men respond and become murderers when they can look across and see the awful consequences. Why shouldn't the people vote on having war declared and when those Congressmen were called in to vote on Mr Gore's and other members resolutions that Americans should be warned not to travel on belligerent ships. I cannot see why they were not buried with letters and telegrams from their constituents to vote for it. It does seem to me that the people are [paralyzed] -- perhaps it isn't so and that it's because I live in a secluded town and do not hear about the Peace Rallies. The Boston Herald doesn't say much about them -- I said God bless Henry Ford and his party when you went on your <beautiful> grand mission. [page 4]

Dear Miss Addams I know you are a busy woman but I hope you will take time to read my letter. I felt as though I must write to someone. It's like fire shut up in my bones. We mothers are the ones that will have the Gethsemanes if we are plunged into war. How can President Wilson or any of those Senators & Congressmen if they have ever been [brought] into the right relationships with the Son of God keep talking about <war &> "Peace with honor." I have never heard of a Nation that wants to go to war with America. President W-- has done most of the talking and when he sent those Battle Ships down to [Veracruz] it was nothing but a declaration of War.

I have [thought] I would like to write to one of the Congressmen would that be an improper thing to do? How should I address a letter <I do not know their given names or initials.> One of my daughters teaches school in Plainfield New Jersey she has had the pleasure of hearing you speak in P--.

Most Sincerely

Mrs Henry [S?] Webber

P.S. I hope you will not think I have taken too much liberty in writing to you and that you will find time to send me a few lines.