A SPOILT WORLD.
MISTAKES MADE BY OUR RULERS.
JANE ADDAMS ON THE BAD PEACE.
By THE PILGRIM.
Like a good many other people, Miss Jane Addams, of America, finds the world -- in H. G. Wells' phrase -- "idiotically spoilt."
She had done her best to make it a reasonably comfortable and attractive place.
Years ago she founded Hull House in Chicago -- a kind of Toynbee Hall, where people could take refuge from the bewildering absurdities outside. Her social and educational work became known all over Europe. W. T. Stead spoke of her as "the sweetheart of humanity."
A NEEDLESS MESS.
Then the war came and she had to [realize] that the world was even more grotesque than she had thought.
Now she wanders about Europe and America trying to persuade politicians that they have made a needless mess of things and that there is no reason why we shouldn't all have a reasonable time if we were only given a chance by our rulers.
That, at any rate, was the impression I got of her attitude when she talked yesterday in Lady Courtney's house in Chelsea to an audience of newspaper men.
She told us that at the Conference at The Hague of the Women's International League, from which she has just returned, there were delegates from 20 countries, representing 20 million women, and that they passed a resolution insisting on the revision of the peace treaties as the first step towards world recovery.
She seemed impatiently conscious -- as men like Wells and Norman Angell [image] [page 2] are conscious -- of the "absurdities" of the position. When speaking of the surplus of food in America on the one hand and starvation in Europe on the other, she added, impatiently: "It's too absurd for words."
There were traces of the same feeling when she spoke of the part played by America. There were four things, she said, that America might have done but didn't do:
She might have joined the League.
She might have helped economic recovery by lowering her tariffs -- instead of raising them.
She might have relieved the position by encouraging immigration from South-Eastern Europe instead of putting up an alien barrier.
She might have remitted debt.
Through all she said there ran, indeed, the refrain of "What might have been done," not only in America, but Versailles and other places.
WORLD CONFERENCE WANTED.
Now, after all the best opportunities have been lost, she wants to see a world conference summoned by the League of Nations and given authority to revise the treaties. Yesterday she seemed quietly confident that things were moving in this direction.
I asked whether she thought women had any special contribution to make towards the recovery of the world.
"Women," she replied, "must cooperate with men."
"But you think that men have made a fairly complete mess of things?"
"We may think so," smiled Miss Addams, "but we don't say so."