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

Untitled Page 28

Untitled Page 28


Exhibit "N."

May 21, 1900.

Mrs. Stanford,

My dear Friend:

I must tell you frankly and fully my own impression of Dr. Ross. I am sure that if you knew him as I do, no outside criticism could shake your confidence in him.

Dr. Ross has faults, no doubt; but they are neither dangerous nor incurable. They are the faults of enthusiasm and conscientiousness. He is not a politician nor a fanatic: not an agitator nor a socialist; nor has he anything in common with these classes.

It is his business as a professor of Social Science to study movements and results of social changes, and to look at them from both sides. This brings him into public criticism more than if he worked in other fields, because these are all public matters. Every professor of social or political science has had the same experience in greater or less degree. If he be honest and strong, he will cross some one's opinions or prejudices or interests. Dr. Branner, for example, teaches Geology, which comes in no conflict with politicians; yet it is not many years ago that he was hanged and burned in effigy for telling the truth about a fraudulent mine called the ''lost Louisiana.''

The only ground for real criticism Dr. Ross has ever given was four years ago. As a "Sliver [sic Silver] Republican'', he was convinced what the evils of the gold standard -- evils which Mr. Stanford clearly recognized and tried to cure in another way -- could

Last edit almost 4 years ago by MikeH
Untitled Page 55

Untitled Page 55


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.


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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