June 18, 1917.
My dear dear Jane Addams:
I have to tell you something very terrible to me, -- that I am with the President & the People & the U.S. in this war.
I aspired to be a conscientious objector as a hope of escape from a moral limbo. And I still believe that those who bear [page 2] this testimony are perhaps the world's chiefest saviors.
But some how, truth is various. In God's [fullness?], it must be one. But we mortals get it in gleams, each of us [ascending] to our capacity & from our individual point of view.
And for me, as the issues are now drawn, I am simply compelled to accept this war. [page 3]
When I fought against this war, I assumed that such a peace as the President outlined on Jan. 22nd was obtainable, in the near future, by negotiation. But I now think that I wholly misread the times. But A German peace is a wholly different proposition. What I have come to believe is the only alternative at present to war.
I was very slow to see this. But [page 4] when I did see it, I found I did not have to make a choice, for the choice was made.
Of course it may be that I am rushed by war psychology. But it does not feel that way. I think I revolt against war more than ever. It is just a contradiction to ones very soul.
But more fundamental still is the necessity which commands our nation to stand up in its boots & join issue with an [page 5] aggression which threatens the freedom of the world. The very marrow in me cleaves to my nation in this awful choice which it has made.
I have had to leave the Fellowship of Reconciliation which I joined with such hope less than 15 months ago. ↑But↓ I knew that in so doing I was capitalizing my hopes -- & that there was a chance that I should go bankrupt.
And I am having to break with all [page 6] my sometimes comrades who are organizing opposition [to] the war. They must all think me a veritable turncoat.
But you are of a great [charity], dear Miss Addams. And you will believe that in my innermost faith & purpose I am not a renegade. I love & respect you so entirely that it made life good to [page 7] me just to hold up the hem of your garment. Now I must forgo that privilege -- an angel with a flaming sword seems to bar the way.
But I truly think it is an angel of the Lord who bears the sword & that I am not driven out of God's Providence.
I am making this confession to you -- & plead for your [page 6] charity, -- your understanding. Some day perhaps we may be in the same camp again.
Truly this is an awful world in which we let it last. But perhaps we are only pilgrims for a day.
Yours with affection always,
Elizabeth G. Evans.