WOMEN FOES OF WAR.
Ringing Appeal Is Made by 3,000 Here Against Future Strife.
AGREE ON PEACE PROGRAM
Speakers at Mass Meeting Defend Rights of "Mothers of Men."
Immediate Calling of Convention of Neutral Powers Is Urged in Interest
of Early Peace In Europe — Plans Set Afoot to Extend Movement — Leading
Suffragists Declare Granting of Franchise Is Tranquillizing Influence.
War was formally declared on war, and nearly 3,000 "Mothers of men" unanimousely approved a peace program looking to a practical solution of a means to end war at a mass meeting at the Willard yesterday afternoon under the auspices of the delegates to the Woman’s Conference for Peace. Women prominent internationally as foremost in suffrage and peace movements spoke on "Peace" before the big gathering.
Prepared after lengthy deliberation by a committee headed by Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the International Alliance for Suffrage, and chairman of yesterday’s meeting, this program sets forth in its preamble that, as women with "a peculiar moral passion of revolt against both the cruelty and the waste of war, and as custodians of life of the ages," they have preeminently the right to protest its ravages and spoils.
Women to Arouse the Nations
It is proposed in the program to enlist all American women in arousing the nations to respect the sacredness of human life and abolish war. The document sets forth briefly and concisely a means to this end, in eleven clauses:
The immediate calling of a convention of neutral nations, in the interest of early peace.
Limitation of armaments and the nationalization of their manufacture.
Organized opposition to militarism in this country.
Education of youth in the ideals of peace.
Democratic control of foreign policies.
Humanizing Governments the Aims
The further humanizing of governments by the extension of the franchise to women.
Concert of nations to supersede "Balance of Powers."
Action toward the gradual organization of the world to substitute law of war.
Substitution of an international police for rival armies and navies.
Removal of the economic causes of war.
The appointment by this government of a commission of men and women with an adequate appropriation to promote international peace.
The program was read by the Rev. Dr. Anna Garlin Spencer at the opening of the meeting. Mrs. Catt introduced the speakers in the following order: Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Mrs. Pethick Lawrence, of London; Mrs. Kate Waller Barrett, Mme. Rosika Schwimmer, of Austria-Hungary; Miss Jane Addams, Mrs. Harriet Stanton Blatch, and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw.
Attack War From All Angles
Attacking war from all angles, and deploring the waste on the battlefield of the flower of manhood, each speaker retired amid thunders of applause. Repeated allusions were made to the cause of woman suffrage, which was referred to as a potent influence toward the elimination of wars. The speakers held that it was the inherent right of a mother to have a say in the blotting out of her son’s life.
Tears flowed down the cheeks of many mothers in the audience as intimate word pictures were given by Mrs. Lawrence and Dr. Shaw of the horrors of the present carnage and the resultant grief in many thousands of homes.
Made by "International Gamblers"
Mrs. Lawrence described war as made by "international gamblers and degenerates." She forcibly epitomized it as "murder, rape, pillage, cruelty, waste, and degeneracy." She said that if it were left to the masses to decide whether or not there should be war it would not be. "And that," she added, "is what we mean by the platform you have adopted to do away with war."
She commended the spirit which caused the inception of the movement of American women for constructive peace. "It is founded on a great moral idea," she said, "based on the sacredness of human life." She paid a glowing tribute to the President, characterizing him "a man of peace and good will to men."
"Peace," she said, "is the cause of liberty, democracy and progress of the human race."
Appeals for Those Unborn
Women alone know the horrors of certain aspects of war that men are wont to overlook, and which horrors she has no right to voice, declared Mrs. Lawrence. She referred to the suffering of women left destitute and dependent on mercy, with babies yet unborn or so young they can not be nourished through the trials of infancy.
Miss Addams, the "mother of Hull House," was the next speaker. She described the great hardships of women in times of war, adding:
"Why should not woman have a right to say whether or not the sone of her life should be taken from her? It is her inviolate right.
"Women protect human life. War takes from her the unborn child and the child that in infancy should be cared for by its mother and father. No woman left destitute and poor at this moment of life can care for her child.
"Woman is responsible for the nurture of the child. Until he is 18 or 20 years old, she gives him all her devotion. Who has a right to take this flower of her life from her?
"The same conservation of life that impels us to create old-age pensions for the aged and worn, the same sacrifices in the build up of life insurance policies, are an index of the value we place on life. And that is only necessary, but it suffices to show the value as we know it as individuals. Life is more sacred and dear than that. We, as women, have a right to demand that it shall be kept. Let us unite in a peace message to the suffering women in Europe."
Mrs. Barrett Urged Aid.
"We should be proud to be American women," Mrs. Kate Waller Barret said, "I am proud to stand here and say I am an American woman, free to stand here and express my views where no power in the United States can stop me. The fate of the poor women abroad should fill us with pity and sympathy from them. We should do all in our power to help the innocent noncombatants who are stricken down through no fault of their own.
A message of heartfelt gratitude from her sisters in Europe was brought to the meeting of Mms. Rosika Schwimmer, of Austria. She commended the women in charge of the meeting for their expression of desire to allay the dreadful conditions in Europe. She said no one of the combatants went to war wanting to slaughter his brother of another nation.
"Greatest Record Ever Set"
"Today in the spirit of this meeting you have laid a foundation for a new Europe," she said. "You have set the greatest record for women ever set in the history of the world. You have always been a teacher to the women of Europe, and now you are teachers of the men. Until now, might has been the motive force of governments. Now we are coming to an age of reason when right shall substitute this.
"People in Europe who have to go to fight have not the right to say whether or no they want to kill their brothers. They are the victims of old-fashioned ideas — ideas which have come down the centuries that say man must have courage to die. Whether that is a material something or whether it is an illusion has never mattered.
"Now we enter an age of reason. Woman suffrage will have an influence for peace. The question of woman suffrage today comes first of all. We European women think suffrage, when it does come, will end all wars."
At this juncture, Miss Anne Martin, of Nevada, a box holder, addressed Mrs. Catt, the chairman, with a motion that the meeting go on record as favoring congressional indorsement of the Bristow-Mondell resolution, to be voted on tomorrow, as the first step in the proposed national movement for constructive peace.
Dr. Shaw Gets Ovation
Applause lasting several minutes greeted Dr. Shaw when she rose to the platform. She made a simple appeal, exalting the rights of the mother to determine whether she should be robbed of her children by being called to war, or whether they be laid away as a result of the far-reaching effects of war on the home.
"The man goes away to war, leaving behind him the tender love of wife and mother," said Dr. Shaw. "He is taken because he is fit for war, a splendid physical specimen of the best that manhood has to offer. Makers of war do not take away with them the cripples, the degenerates and the diseased, but leave them at home, to become the fathers of future generations. And then they ask whether woman has a right to protest.
Knows Suffering They Feel
"A man asked me what I knew about war. I showed him the headlines of a paper. It read 500,000 men sacrificed by war. That does not mean much to me, but it you tell me that one man is lying dead at his home. I have a vivid picture of the loving ones left behind him who are bending over him, whom they bring into this world and have spent all their years in loving tenderness to raise, then I know the suffering they feel.
"The man asked me if 50,000 German women came to this country to fight, would we women who want suffrage meet them. I told him we would go to New York harbor 50,000 strong to meet them. We would greet them saying ‘sisters, let us go to the Metropolitan Opera House, sit down and talk this matter over.’ We would reason with them and accomplish much more than man will by slaughter and murder."
Miss Richards Appeal for Funds.
Miss Janet Richards appealed to those present to subscribe to a fund which would put the newly created movement on foot, and give a working basis to nationalize the plan. Generous contributions were given.
A reception by the women who spoke at the afternoon meeting was tendered their guests later in the red room of the hotel.
Ushers at the mass meeting were the membership of the Colonial School for Girls in Connecticut avenue, who were invited to assist by Mrs. John J. White.
Officers were elected and a plan of organization adopted at the executive meeting of the delegates last night. I was decided to call the movement the Woman’s Peace party. Officers elected were: President, Miss Jan Addams; vice presidents, Mrs. Anna Garlin Spencer, Mrs Henry Villard, Mrs. Louis F. Post, and Mrs. John J. White. The secretary and treasurer will be selected from a later Chicago member, where the headquarters will be under the direction of Miss Addams.
Branches in Populous Centers
Miss Florence Holbrooke, of Chicago, reported on plan of action. This proposes to locate branches in all populous centers. Washington’s branch will be charged with supplying information pertaining to the action of Congress and the executive branch of the government.
Mrs. Barrett was named to head a committee to visit embassies and legations here today to apprise them of the action of the meeting.
It was proposed to send a delegation of women to Europe later to learn conditions among the suffering women there. An informal meeting will be held in the suite of Miss Jane Addams at the Willard this morning to further perfect ways and means of action.