Jacob H. Schiff to Lillian D. Wald, February 24, 1911

[illegible words] dated Palm Beach, Fla. February 24. 1911.

Mr. Schiff to Miss Lillian D. Wald

Dear Miss Wald,

Your letter of the 20th inst. just received. -- Suppose I were so deeply interested in Economics to induce me to found a chair in some leading University and recommended for the occupancy of the chair someone of whom I knew, that he was an able economist and in general a man of liberal views. And suppose, I believed that the weal of my country depended upon a policy of reciprocity and freer trade with other countries and in pursuance of this belief, I opposed with every legitimate means at my disposal, the enactment of high protective legislation. And suppose the man, whom I had recommended for the chair I founded, and who had been appointed to occupy it, turned into an extreme protectionist, would I not be justified to say to him, that his continued occupancy of the chair, which I had founded with the intention to promote the teaching of liberal economic doctrines, would be unsatisfactory and unsympathetic to me? -- That is exactly the position in which I find myself with Dr. Devine, except that his case is even stronger, than the above illustration. He has used his position of Editor-in-Chief of the leading paper on altruistics to advocate the most narrow and illiberal anti-immigration policy, a policy which, I honestly believe, if enacted into law, would not only work great hardship to millions of deserving human beings -- born and yet unborn -- but would moreover be destructive of the best [page 2] interests of the country, which I call my own and which I love with all the [fibers] of my heart, -- and feeling in this as I do, I shall, as you evidently believe, not have the right to frankly say to Dr. Devine, that his further occupancy of the "Schiff Chair" will be unsatisfactory and unsympathetic to me? Please understand, I am not going to the University to ask that Dr. Devine's occupancy be discontinued. The authorities of Columbia must be the sole judges, who shall occupy any chair, no matter by whom founded or what the views of the founder maybe. But between me and Dr. Devine, I do not only claim the right, but consider it a duty both to me and to him to say exactly what I have said to him. -- If Dr. Devine, notwithstanding this feels that he can and should remain, this will be for him to decide and I would not move a finger to change whatever decision he may arrive at. 

I have not seen Dr. Patten's and Mr. Mayer's articles in the Survey of which you write and wish you would send them to me, but whatever views these may contain, can you not see, that the leading editorial in any paper, written by the Editor-in-Chief and signed by him as such, makes the paper itself responsible for the views thus expressed. I am firmly convinced, that Dr. Devine has done the greatest damage to the Survey, which is certain to henceforth lose in support and influence.

I do not know that I can add anything further. I may yet say, that I too have discussed this with others, whose judgement I value and have found the consensus of opinion to be, that while in a public discussion of my attitude, it [page 3] might not unlikely become misunderstood and misrepresented, that in effect, I was justified, with the views I hold, to say to Dr. Devine, what I have told him. Isaac N. Seligman and Leo Arnstein appear to be of that opinion, Dr. Frisell strongly felt that I had taken the correct attitude.-- Since you have discussed this matter with Miss Addams, whom I respect so highly, will you not have a copy of this letter made and send it to her, and will it not be too much to ask, that you have your typist make at the same time a copy for me, as I have no facilities here to do so.