Aylmer Maude to Jane Addams, June 22, 1904


22. VI. 04

My dear Miss Addams,

I am always ashamed to write to you because you were so right & I was so wrong in all our old discussions!

However, I am startled into writing by a par. in a paper Crosby has sent me, which mentions that "John C. Kenworthy ... will lecture at Hull House Saturday June 11th." I forget whether I ever confessed to you how mistaken I was in J.C.K., or whether I ever told you of his later developments. If not, & if he has been getting money out of any one in your parts, I am very sorry not to have warned you. It is a most painful & difficult matter to write about, especially as I have never been able to make up my mind as to the exact nature of his break-down: how for mental & how for moral. Suffice it to say that when the Purleigh Colony fell to pieces, instead of admitting that he had misjudged the situation, & regretting the loss & suffering in which he had involved several people, he suddenly plunged into Spiritualism, John Ruskin, Wm. Morris, ... Gamblicus & others used to come & tell him what a great man he was etc. He declared that Tolstoy had promised him a book for his own & his family's support. He made debts all round. Brought about actions at law: the last was a bogus claim for £10,000 from the "Daily News", one of our best Liberal papers, owned by Cadbury. [page 2] He worried & neglected his poor wife till she was quite out of her senses;- Rendered it impossible for anyone to continue to help him, or his family; & in fact, behaved like a megalomaniac. 

I have not seen him for many months, but am told that he is now in better health physically & mentally. At his best, he was certainly a very able man; at his worst, the most charitable opinion was that he was not responsible for his actions. His misconduct was not confined to money matters (leavings debts unpaid while wasting money on vindictive law suits etc.) but, as I said before, it is all so painful & so confused that one only mentions it when one has to. Tolstoy was quite perplexed - &, when J.C.K. made prepostorous claims upon him, said he could only assume that J.C.K. was mentally off his balance. 

In any case it is only fair to warn people about him; however sorry one may be for him. 

If some one at Hull House has time to send me some account of J.C.K's present state - I shall be very much interested to have it. One could do something for the poor wife & children if he were either to get better or worse than he was when last I saw him; but in his then state of mind one could only keep as far as possible away from [written on left margin] him. Forgive so distasteful a letter! When are you coming to Europe once more? Is there anything I can do you for, or for any one you are interested in? 

Yours very truly

Aylmer Maude