FEBRUARY 25, 1947
MONTREAL, Monday—After spending Sunday at home in peace and quiet, with a few guests at lunch and a few at tea, I departed again Sunday evening, continuing my whirlwind round of travel. This time I find myself in Montreal. The day here I shall have to tell you about later, but the point of my coming is to speak tonight at the meeting of the United Nations Society of Canada.
During my brief visit to Boston, it was quite fitting that on Washington's Birthday I took my grandson and some of his friends from school over to the Wayside Inn near Southboro, Mass. I greatly admire the delightful way in which Henry Ford has restored this old inn, where George Washington is said to have dined. I am always fascinated by the kitchens of that early period, but the inn's dining room is very charming.
All the old-fashioned implements hang on the wall, and I particularly admired the grace of an old iron instrument with which our forefathers took coal from the fire to light their pipes. Being ingenious, that is not all that they did. They had a tamper attached, and a little thing through which one could draw the air to make the pipe burn better, and a cleaner for the stem and bowl. Nowadays, all of these things are made pocket-size so that one can carry them around, but in those days people spent more time at home and this instrument hung by the fireplace for their hours of ease.
To me the most interesting thing in the inn is the illusion of height created in the ballroom on the second floor. The ceilings are very low everywhere, but in that room there are chandeliers and you feel that there is more height than the yardstick measures.
We all know, of course, what a valiant soul George Washington was, but when I realize how much, in those days of slow travel, he apparently went around and visited in various parts of the country, I cannot help feeling a good deal of sympathy for Mrs. Washington, who was running a plantation and carrying a heavy responsibility more or less alone! In those days, to run a plantation was tantamount to running several factories today!
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I forgot to mention that, on the train to Boston the other day, I met a young Bostonian who was returning home after having tried to attend the meeting of the World Federalists in Asheville, North Carolina. But he had been frustrated by the weather. We had a talk on the subject of a world federalist government, and he told me of the vote that had been obtained in Massachusetts in favor of a world government. He feels strongly that this question must be discussed in order to prepare people for the achievement of this type of organization, which he thinks is the only way to maintain the peace of the world.
Therefore I read with interest the statement of "beliefs and purposes" formulated at the Asheville meeting, but I must say I find them a little difficult to understand. Just what is "a world government of limited powers adequate to prevent war and having direct jurisdiction over the individual?" I am afraid that a "people's world constitutional convention" would be about as baffling a meeting as could be called. I can well imagine the varied ideas which would be presented and the unending debates. And in the end, since the people individually would represent only themselves, I wonder what agreements would be achieved.