Rosika Schwimmer to Jane Addams, August 19, 1916


New York, Waldorf Astoria, of August, 1916.

Dear Miss Addams,

The letter of Mrs Ford, a copy of which I enclose gave me such a severe fit that I had to take all these days to recover enough to attend to my correspondence. Not the incredible brutality of it <affected me so strongly>, but the prove it gave me for Mrs Fords guilt in ruining everything. that I knew ever since the of November, that Dean Marquis used Mrs F. to spoil the efforts of Ford, but I never had it as it stands now black and white.

Will you kindly return the letter by special delivery.

I enclose also Mr Dells letter which I found amongst my papers.

I have not delivered the message of our Committee when in Bar Harbor, and therefore take this opportunity to do so.

When the Committee [organized] it resolved to invite all those members and delegates elected to the Neutral Conference of whom they were sure that they stood unshaken for direct action to join the Committee. I had been commissioned to invite you and Kirchwey to join.

Will you kindly let me know, [whether] I can bring the Committee the message of your cooperation. I need not waste words in assuring you how glad the other members of the Committee would be to greet you amongst them. I enclose a list of the present members and guests, as the new persons, invited to serve on the committee are called. It is especially desirable that these names should be kept entirely secret, since the least indiscretion may result in barring their possibilities to obtain passports <in the future>.

May I beg you also to impress Miss Balch with the necessity to keep the things I showed and told her at your house absolutely secret. You had told her that she is not obliged to tell her Committee everything and only with the understanding that she considers it a [private] matter could I tell everything. It is above my comprehension how Miss Balch can say that they are doing the same thing we are doing. It is a case of self suggestion. Since Miss Balch left you she had a chance to learn that I was right when I told that they are going to the [Hague]. A press dispatch in American papers told so two days ago. Time will prove that every word I stated was based on facts. And if only my own person would be in question I could easily and patiently [wait] for all the lies and accusations to be proved, but it is unfortunately the question of those millions who have to be sacrificed, and for whose sake I cannot sit quietly to [wait] until Miss Balch will have been able to find out that Lochner and Beek en Donk are worse criminals in that case than Aked Holt, Fels; and that Mrs Ford that she has committed the biggest crime against her husband.

The friends here try faithfully to help to get the money our Committee needs. Very reluctantly, but forced by necessity I will see now some of the rich Germans. Poor Miss Cummings is also in despair about her lack of help. And since she represent the Allies in her appeal for money I begin to [realize] [that] my unsuccessfulness is less due to my belonging to the hated side, than to [the] fact that people simply do not wish to help the European peace efforts at all. [page 2]

Our Committee with its forceful initiave its actual success in having at least one Government already consenting, and there the U.D.C. with its wonderful propaganda for the first step -- to stop the war -- there all the movements in the belligerent countries crippled and condemned to despair because of lack of funds, and than to see the theoretical Antiorloog, with its work for 'afterwards' devouring the money coming from the only source in the world which meant to feed the [active] movements. How Miss Balch could give herself to help this being done is above my comprehension.

But it is no use in wasting words on that.

There are two other questions which I wish to take up.

I have nothing to do with the W.I.C.fP.P. and I never will have. My opinion therefore can not be judged personal in any way. I think it is the greatest mistake possible not to call the Committee. You rob the belligerent women of the belligerent countries of the possibility to try to get [passports]. If they don't get them they have another handle to attack their Governments as the English women did in 1915. It robs them of the possibility to prove that they wanted to do what womens duty is, but that it was extra governmental pressure that prevented them. Not to have tried is the worst of possibilities. I know the European women [feel] very bitter in this regard. And it is also sure that some women could come from everywhere. Mme [Duchêne] for instance was in June in Switzerland. Any woman who belongs to the national Committees would be better than nobody. It is a mistake to think that only the exposed five are good enough.

I listened carefully to the questions you put in a referendum vote. I am sure that it will be a most embarrassing situation for those who have to answer, since the persons and matters referred to are mostly [unknown], and these things could [conscientiously] answered only if the things would have been talked over and discussed thoroughly. I can assure you also, Miss Addams, that for the belligerent women it matters [today] very little whatever you plan for the future, as long as they have no help in hastening the end. Perhaps I should not have told you these things, but it seems to me dodging a duty, not to give you my opinion on the matter.

And last but not least there is another affair in which I beg your direct help.

When Mr Ford was kidnapped we all were afraid that of the things that [might] happen, and therefore accepted the offer of Miss [DeGraff] to return immediately and attend to the affairs [illegible] in Detroit. It was in the nature of the affair to keep Miss [DeGraff]s mission secret. We put all the money we had together and sent her away.

As the enclosed account of Miss [DeGraff] shows we six of us put 2010.-d. together. Out of this sum she spent 324.97, so that the sum of 1685.03 remained to be returned. But meantime the contributors to the sum needed their money and on the of January I asked Mr. [Plantiff] to give me 2010.-$ to charge me with it personally, since I need it for a discreet purpose. I promised to give account for the sum as soon as the necessity for discretion is over.

I never got an account of Miss [DeGraff], but when [Kliefoth] returned to Stockholm, he told, that Miss she had sent 900-$ to Miss Wales to [Madison], and gave him some of the money. When Mr [Plantiff] had given me the money I signed [page 3] for the sum in my own name, and therefore I am indebted with that sum, i.e.: I have to account for it personally. On the other hand I am in possession of all original receipts from the people who had lent the money and whom I had returned it to the last penny. The case is now, that they owe me the money personally. Miss [DeGraff] gave me now the account, and informs me that she returned 900.$ to Miss Wales and gave 450.$ to Kliefoth. While in Stockholm I urged both Miss W. and K. to hand me over the money. Miss W. answered that she had given it to Mr. Holt, and K. did not answer at all. I wrote Miss W. several times explaining that Mr Holt <had> nothing to do with it, that I am personally charged with the amount in the books, and that I have her personal receipt for the sum, but did not get any more answers. You [realize] Miss Addams, that it is <[unablaming?]> me to get myself discharged. I wrote to both of them before I left, that I will appeal to you for help in making them returning the money to me. Will you be kind enough to give me a note to each of them which I could send on when I return. Can you understand why they dare to behave like that? I consider Miss W. on the road to insanity, that is a partial excuse for all the queer things she is doing, but for K. I have no [explanation] at all, except, that they consider me so much an outlaw, that they might do to me whatever occurs to them.

It is not their business, but for your information I wish to mention, that I intended to add these 1350-$ to the [traveling] funds of our [Committee]. When Mr Plantiff came in June I told him, that out of the returns of the sums asked [illegible] for secret missions I have a balance, which I am giving to the new Committee and he said that it is all right. Of course I have all vouchers of the people whom I <had> given money on discretion (only people whom I sent for experts to the belligerent countries and Miss [DeGraff]) and when the thing is over I am going to send them <Ford> the original vouchers. We could have sent the french delegation with the money Miss [DeGraff] returned!

Excuse the awful kind of scribbling, but I have not yet learned to write a decent letter. The indignation, the sorrow and all the other painful emotions are still [dominating] me more than they should after so much hardening.

I wonder [whether] you heard that a special messenger of Plantiff to Ford has also been refused, and that the Central Committees English 'envoys' have not been received. As if it would be possible for that type of people to get at Governments, after the indiscretions they have committed. It needs the absolute self forgetfulness, the self respect and the daring that [characterizes] the splendid, brave little group to carry it out. If I succeed in getting the money to go on with our work I am absolutely sure that the new Committee will bring the belligerents together. Money is the only question. <And> in this regard I am sorry to say that I have very little confidence as to my ability in securing it.

With all apologies for that long epistle, I hope to get your consent to join as member of the new [Committee] and am with best wishes for your health,

devotedly yours

Rosika Schwimmer [signed]

<I enclose also our original invitation to the bellig. govern. The formulae for [making?] or pushing the audience and a [french] high officials views on the subject. All that absolutely private.>