“It’s because of this hideous war!” she declared. “We’ve gone to war to make the world safe for democracy, and meantime we have to sacrifice every bit of democracy at home. They tell you that you must hold your peace while they murder one another, but they may try all they please, they’ll never be able to silence me! I know that the Allies are just as much to blame as the Germans, I know that this is a war of profiteers and bankers; they may take my sons and force them into the army, but they cannot take my convictions and force them into their army. I am a pacifist, and I am an internationalist; I want to see the workers arise and turn out of office these capitalist governments, and put an end to this hideous slaughter of human beings. I intend to go on saying that so long as I live.” There sat Mrs. Godd, with her lovely firm white hands clasped as if in prayer, one large diamond ring on the left fourth finger shining defiance, and a look of calm, child-like conviction upon her face, confronting in her imagination all the federal agents and district attorneys and capitalist judges and statesmen and generals and drill sergeants in the civilized world.
She went on to tell how she had attended the trial of three pacifist clergymen a week or two previously. How atrocious that Christians in a Christian country should be sent to prison for trying to repeat the words of Christ! “I was so indignant,” declared Mrs. Godd, “that I wrote a letter to the judge. My husband said I would be committing contempt of court by writing to a judge during the trial, but I answered that my contempt for that court was beyond anything I could put into writing. Wait—”
And Mrs. Godd rose gravely from her chair and went over to a desk by the wall, and got a copy of the letter. “I’ll read it to you,” she said, and Peter listened to a manifesto of Olympian Bolshevism—
To His Honor:
As I entered the sanctuary, I gazed upward to the stained glass dome, upon which were inscribed four words: Peace. Justice. Truth. Law—and I felt hopeful. Before me were men who had violated no constitutional right, who had not the slightest criminal tendency, who, were opposed to violence of every kind.
The trial proceeded. I looked again at the beautiful stained glass dome, and whispered to myself those majestic-sounding words: “Peace. Justice. Truth. Law.” I listened to the prosecutors; the Law in their hands was a hard, sharp, cruel blade, seeking insistently, relentlessly for a weak spot in the armor of its victims. I listened to their Truth, and it was Falsehood. Their Peace was a cruel and bloody War. Their justice was a net to catch the victims at any cost—at the cost of all things but the glory of the Prosecutor’s office.