JULY 14, 1938
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Mr. Clarence Pickett, of the American Friends Service Committee, came up yesterday morning to have luncheon with us. He is leaving for Europe in about a week. He, his wife and daughter will have three weeks vacation in England and then he will travel to all the various places on the Continent where the American Friends are trying to contribute something to the health and well-being of under-privileged people, primarily the children. The list of places took my breath away but increased my admiration for the unostentatious service rendered. I hardly think it can be pleasant for any group who believe as strongly in peace as the Quakers do, to live and work in places where strife of one kind or another permeates the atmosphere.
I was shocked to read Mr. Walter Lippman's article from England yesterday. It gave me a strange sensation to realize that in England they are not able to do what would obviously be of benefit to their people. Instead, they must devote their thought to making that small island able to support all of its inhabitants on a subsistence basis in case of war.
They are growing sugar and wheat which can obviously be grown much better in other parts of the world. They curtail trade which is much needed. All this is done because, in the near future, ships may not come in so easily along the routes of trade, and Great Britain may not only be fighting with her armies, but with a home economy which can keep people alive. Their patriotism will prevent them from rebelling as long as they have enough to keep body and soul together.
The good life must be denied to growing children today because of this fear which hangs over the future. Not only England, but every nation today in lesser or greater degree is shaping its economy with the possibility of future wars in sight. The nations that have traditions of past wars have sharpened sensibilities and increased fears, even our country is not exempt from this pervasive atmosphere. It is easier for us to go on thinking that someday people will have sense enough to be honest and kindly to each other, but if I lived in some of the other countries today, I think I would develop the philosophy of Omar Khayyam and live for the day and its pleasures.
Yesterday I drove over to Quaker Hill and spent a couple of hours with Mrs. William Brown Meloney. When you talk with this very remarkable woman, it is impossible to realize that she is ill. She radiates vitality and her eyes sparkle in spite of months of suffering. I came away with a sense of mental stimulation and full of new thoughts which kept me company on the way home.