Jane Lathrop Stanford Papers

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Pages That Mention Henry B. Gardner

Ross Affair: Notebook containing D. S. Jordan's statement with exhibits and ptd. report of Committee of Economists

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coolie immigration and on municipal ownership were in accord with the drift of public sentiment on those subjects, and that even on the silver question "he never stepped outside of the recognized rights of a professor.''

(7) There is evidence to show:

(a) That Mrs. Stanford's objections to Professor Ross were due, in part at all events, to his former attitude on the silver question, and to his utterances on coolie immigration and on municipal ownership; and

(b) That while the dissatisfaction of Mrs. Stanford due to his former attitude on the silver question antedated his utterances on coolie immigration and municipal ownership, her dissatisfaction was greatly increased by these utterances.

As to (a). This is shown by the fact that President Jordan at first attempted to deter Mrs. Stanford from taking any action for such reasons, stating in a letter of May, 1900: ''I feel sure that if his critics would come forth and make their complaints to me in manly fashion I could convince any of them that they no real ground for complaint.'' President Jordan, moreover, intimated that to dismiss him for such reasons would be improper in the extreme, for ''no graver charge can be made against a University than that it denies its professors freedom of speech."

As to (b). This is shown by the fact that not until immediately after delivery of the coolie immigration speech did Mrs. Stanford force Professor Ross's resignation, as well as by the fact that in a letter of June, 1900, President Jordan stated: "the matter of immigration she (Mrs. Stanford) takes most seriously."

In the same letter, while Mrs. Stanford's objection is declared to be due to the fact that the reputation of the University for serious conservatism is impaired by the hasty acceptance of social and political fads, it is added, that these ''local criticisms'' which weighed with Mrs.

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Stanford "unfortunately are based on chance matters and obiter dicta, not at all upon your serious work.''

We have not deemed it wise to publish in full the letters upon which we have based our conclusions, but we stand ready to publish then if such a course is necessary to establish the truth in this matter.

We are aware that owing to the failure of President Jordan to give definite replies to all our questions, there may be important facts with which we are unacquainted. On the other hand, we cannot but feel that a refusal to furnish specific information in a case of such importance - in which it is charged that the freedom of speech is at stake - is itself a fact of significance, which, to say the least, is much to be regretted.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Edwin R. A. Seligman, Professor of Political Economy and Finance, Columbia University.

Henry W. Farnam, Professor of Political Economy, Yale University.

Henry B. Gardner, Professor of Political Economy, Brown University.

February 20, 1901

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We desire to add that Dr. Ross is neither the instigator of this letter nor aware of its contents.

Very truly yours,

Edwin R. A. Seligman, Columbia University. Henry W. Farnam, Yale University. Henry B. Gardner, Brown University.

Leland Stanford Junior University,

Stanford University, Cal., Jan. 7, 1901.

Prof. Edwin R. A. Seligman, Columbia University, New York City.

My Dear Sir:- In response to your kind letter of December 30th, permit me to say that in view of the importance of the matter I have referred the contents of your letter to a committee of three of our professors, Vice-President J. C. Branner, Dr. J. M. Stillman and Dr. C. H. Gilbert. They are in possession of the facts and are at liberty to answer any questions which your committee may desire to ask. For reasons which will readily appear it has not been deemed advisable for us to state the reasons why Dr. Ross was dismissed. His statement to the press does not assign any of the true reasons.

Very truly yours,

David Jordan, President.

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Leland Stanford Junior University,

Jan. 14, 1901.

Professor Edwin R. A. Seligman. Professor Henry W. Farnam. Professor Henry B. Gardner.

Dear Sirs:-

Your letter of December 30th addressed to President Jordan has been referred by him to us for reply.

In your letter you say: "We understand from the public prints as well as from other sources that Professor Ross was asked to sever his connection with the University owing to loss of confidence in him by Mrs. Stanford, and that this loss of confidence was due primarily to the opinions expressed by him in a lecture on the subject of coolie immigration as well as to incidental remarks on the problem of municipal ownership."

In reply we beg to say that the dissatisfaction of the University management with Professor Ross antedated his utterances on the topics you refer to. His removal was not due primarily to whar he published, said or thought in regard to coolie immigration or in regard to municipal ownership.

We can assure you furthermore that in our opinion his removal cannot be interpreted as an interference with freedom of speech or thought within the proper and reasonable meaning of that expression.

These statements are made with a full knowledge of the facts of the case.

Very truly yours,

J. C. Branner. J. M. Stillman. C. H. Gilbert.

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based upon the statements first made in the public press. A mere denial of the truth of the statements made by him will not be apt to satisfy gentlemen who are not willing to believe that any of the parties concerned in the question would intentionally make a false statement, and facts alone will enable them to reconcile assertions that would otherwise seem contradictory. It is for that reason that we venture again to express the hope that a more explicit answer may be given to our questions.

Very truly yours,

Edwin R. A. Seligman,

Henry W. Farnam,

Henry B. Gardner.

Leland Stanford University, Cal.,

Feb.7, 1901.

Professors

Edwin R. A. Seligman,

Henry W. Farnam,

Henry B. Gardner.

Gentlemen:—

Your letter of January 30th is at hand asking further information as to the reasons for the dismissal of Professor Ross. When I expressed my willingness to answer further questions I did not mean to indicate that I would enter into any circumstantial description of events leading to or following from Professor Ross's dismissal. Nor do I consider it expedient or proper to go into a discussion of extracts from my letters or conversations or of my statements or alleged statements, or those of others, as published in the newspapers. There are, however, certain assurances which it is within the privilege of the public to ask, and which it is my desire to furnish, that the

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public may be assisted in forming a judgment as to the position of the University upon important questions. It seems to me that I shall answer these questions best by certain plain statements which involve the important facts concerning the University. it will be necessary for you to assume my knowledge of all the facts, also that the interpretation herewith presented is authoritative from the University standpoint.

First: Professor Ross was not dismissed on account of his views on Oriental immigration nor on account of his opinions on any economic question.

Second: Professor Ross was dismissed because in the judgment of the University authorities he was not the proper man for the place he held. The responsibility for the correctness of this judgment belongs to the University authorities and to them alone.

Third: No ground exists for any interpretation of his dismissal reflecting on his private character, of which your letter seems to imply a fear.

Fourth: The judgment that Professor Ross was not the proper man for the place he held is not incompatible with my appreciation of many good qualities he possesses, nor with my wishes or efforts at any time to further his prospects. I have been neither ignorant of his professional shortcomings nor inappreciative of his good qualities. Of such appreciation Professor Ross has himself adduced several expressions from my letters.

In the hope that you may find in the above a substantial answer to the questions involved in your inquiries, I remain,

Very truly yours,

David L. Jordan.

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