OCTOBER 23, 1942
NEW YORK, Thursday—A letter from a lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio, tells me that they are planning to convert the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," into a social center. There certainly never was an individual who more truly tried to change one of the evils of society. According to President Lincoln, Harriet Beecher Stowe was credited with awakening the conscience of many people in this country. It seems a fitting thing that her fellow citizens should preserve her home as a center for community activities.
Mr. Herbert Agar's book, "A Time For Greatness," has been out now for several days and I hope that many people will read it and find it stimulating.
It is not a book with which you will agree in every instance, but I warrant that no one will be indifferent in reading it. I enjoyed the sentence, "A society of saints could dispense with government altogether."
That is quite true. The very weaknesses of human nature are what make it so important that we keep a constantly watchful eye on our government, and that in turn our government watches us with equal care.
In Mr. Agar's chapter on the press, he mentions the fact that the press must be free in order to watch the politicians. I have an idea that the press should be free in order to watch all the groups who attain power. Power may be wielded for the benefit of human beings when wise men control it. The check of a really free press is valuable not only over politicians, but over capital and labor as well.
I like the verse:
And broad release above
Who lost their heads for liberty
Or lost their hearts for love?"
In the history of every country men have lost their heads for liberty and their hearts for love, and without such men we would have no civilization today.
There are many suggestions in Herbert Agar's book which you should consider carefully, but I am not going to spoil it for you by any further discussion. I am sure you will discuss it with your friends.
I wonder if you read not long ago, Mr. Hans Habe's article comparing the different armies he has known. He has been to many of our camps and lectured to so many of our soldiers that he knows them well. He is particularly impressed by the democracy which permits our men to ask questions with an entire lack of restraint even when the officers are present.