Document 7C: Hamilton Holt to Ida Floyd White, 15 September 1926. Papers of Edwin Doak Mead & Lucia Ames Mead, 1876-1936, Swarthmore College Peace Collection (Scholarly Resources Microfilm, reel 3, box 6).

 

                  September 15, 1926

Mrs. Ida Floyd White,
State Regent Florida D.A.R.
Jacksonville, Fla.

   My dear Mrs. White:

       Your letter of August 20, concerning the lecture tour of Mrs. Lucia Ames Mead, of Boston, in the South next November, I find on my desk upon returning from my summer vacation.

       I did not know that Mrs. Mead was coming to Florida. I am glad to learn of it. If she comes I shall invite her to address Rollins College and shall urge the heads of such educational institutions as may consult me to avail themselves of this high priviledge.

       I wonder if you have ever heard Mrs. Mead or read any of her writings. You say, "We cannot be too careful in our investigations concerning lectureres [sic] who seek our platforms." Yet your letter is no indication that you have made any thorough investigation of Mrs. Mead's work. I have been her friend and in close touch with her for twenty years, speaking from the same platform in conferences and conventions in behalf of the cause which is now to bring her to the south. I am, therefore in position to inform you, and it is a pleasant duty, that there is no woman on the American platform who is rendering abler, wiser or more devoted service for the great cause of peace and good will among men which every patriotic man and woman ought to promote. This is peculiarly the duty of our "Patriotic Societies," especially the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution who surely can never forget that the great founders of the Republic, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, were the preeminent peace statesmen of their time.

       Unhappily, too many members of these societies have been willing to associate themselves with military orders much more than with peace societies and to celebrate war and promote an exclusive nationalism rather than the great movement of our time in behalf of international justice and friendship.

       You speak of Mrs. Mead's proposed visit to Florida as "a serious menace," describe the National Council for Prevention of War under whose auspices she is to speak, as "promoting socialistic ideas" and imply that she advocates "the abolition of private property rights" and "peace at any price." Can you refer to any utterances of Mrs. Mead which even remotely sanction these teachings?

        I understand that Mrs. Mead does not advocate disarmament by the United States separately but jointly with other nations, as is also true of the organizations which she represents. Mrs. Mead is not a communist although you doubtless remember that the early Christians were. She does not approve the Soviet government in Russia, being a firm believer in the democratic and representative system. I think she does believe in the recognition of the existing Russian government as a temporary political necessity. She believed similarly in the recognition of Russia under the tyrannical government of the Tsar when thousands of the noblest men and women of Russia were buried in Siberian dungeons for demanding rights and privileges that you and our friends in Florida would not live a day without, and when those proscribed were such friends of Mrs. Mead's and my own as Madame Breshkovsky, Nicholas Tschaikowsky, and Prince Kropotkin. I hardly need inform you that the Russian government has been recognized by England, France and other countries and that its recognition is advocated here by Senator Borah, chairman of the Foreign Relations committee of the Senate and by other leading statesman. You do not forget that Washington with the approval of Jefferson recognized the revolutionary government in France in 1793, at the very hour when the government was in high degree responsible for some of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.

       As you say you have been making a special study of Mrs. Meads's work I trust you have read her volume entitled "Swords and Ploughshares". If not, and you desire it, I will gladly have it sent to you. I will also have sent to you by the Council for Prevention of War as many copies of the enclosed pamphlet, which briefly presents Mrs. Mead's views on some of these questions, as you may like to distribute among your friends.

                  Very Sincerely yours,

                  President

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