Lucia Ames Mead to Jane Addams, August 13, 1919


Spofford, N.H. August 13, 1919

Dear Miss Addams,

Welcome home. I send this greeting to Chicago for it to be forwarded as I feel in doubt about your whereabouts in Connecticut. I know [of] Lyme and if there be a Hadlyme, I suppose that is near.

I am at my summer home again with my beloved in his strange double personality. Much of the day I am in the midst of groans and wild clamor; but, between times, we read Lowes Dickinson together or talk of Isaiah or Plato or Cromwell or Roger Baldwin or Jane Addams just as we used to.

I am writing an article weekly about the League of Nations that is mimeographed and sent from our Massachusetts headquarters to 100 papers scattered over the country, and I generally send one or two other communications every week. I have been preaching about the League from country pulpits and getting resolutions sent to the Senate. I feel strongly that the position taken by the League of Free Nations in its last leaflets is the true one. The League must be ensured and the treaty signed without opening negotiations. But there must be such statements of policy and interpretations as they* have formulated if the liberals are to be satisfied and we keep our conscience clear. I deplore Mr. Villard's bitterness against the President. I feel as I did at Zurich, that the treaty is imperialistic and full of weaknesses but that the Covenant is the best part of it and the only thing practicable to save a world that without it will go to destruction.

With your later experience and observation in England and Germany you must have much valuable information to give which I long to have. I only know that you took $30,000 into Germany to feed the starving, that you were wakened in Berlin by sound of rifle shots and that you met Dr. Nasmyth in England. I am full of questions.

Did Mrs. Lewis return? What is the gist of your opinion as regards the League of Nations? What did you think of President Wilson's influence in Europe now? What do you think we should do about an annual meeting and subsequent action?

I have been considering this anxiously. I find Mrs. Karsten inclined to feel that our usefulness has ended and that she will resign. I have protested against both. I do not see how we can give up as a national body now that the International is so certain to go on and the two most important officers are you and Miss Balch. I feel that, weak and disorganized as we are and with no money to speak of, that we must somehow be made to function and try to carry out the program laid down at Zurich. I do not see any other organization of women which is pledged to promote the success of the League and the true idea of internationalism.

I am interested in the movement in 48 states, called the Committee of [Forty]-Eight which is working for a Conference in the west this autumn to help inject into the next campaign a new program that shall affect both political parties. I have no doubt that you will be asked to join it at once. I am on the executive committee for Massachusetts. A great many who are not very well known endorse it and it needs names with weight like you. Its headquarters are 15, East 40th St. I shall be glad to know what you think of its proposals. I do not expect that a new party can be formed in time to affect the elections of the presidential nominations. I believe however [page 2] that a fine progressive program can be worked out that will affect both party programs and that a number of new congressmen with progressive views ought to be elected through its efforts and the foundations laid for a tremendous gain two years afterwards.

Both political parties are morally bankrupt, and the intellectual mediocracy of all Congress is notable. I rejoice that the League of Women voters is to emphasize non-partisan issues. I hope the women will continue to be independent and hold the balance of power. In contrast with our Congressmen I think of those splendid women at Zurich and have great hope of what women are going to contribute in the new fields of politics. I wonder what you will think of the Plumb plan about ownership of railroads. It looks as if Government ownership was foredoomed, yet I am not sure of this particular plan.

I enclose the last part of a letter from Mrs. Spencer whose address is Bristol Ferry, Connecticut. She will never get over her bitter disappointment at not getting to Zurich and feels that now she is incompetent to remain on the board as she has not had the [opportunity] to judge problems as those have who went there. Of course I have opposed this and told her how we need her. This page begins with reference to Miss Eastman and her radical policy which she does not approve. She and Mrs. Karsten evidently feel that the chairmanship of the New York state is not yet settled.

I am writing amid fearful din and clamor and can hardly think. I merely want to say in closing that I want to carry out your plans whatever they are, but I feel myself a poor kind of national secretary and wish some one were found to take my place. I have never helped you to raise funds and I wish that you might have a much more [efficient] coadjutor.

Yours, faithfully, with kindest [regards] to Miss Hamilton

Lucia Ames Mead. [Signed]

[*] ↑The League of Free Nations Ass.↓