The concentrated power of the American press and people would be tremendous. I am sure that, in this instance, it is possible to concentrate it for righteousness and the future good of all humanity.
Prof. Mather on Mr. Schiff
Professor of Art at
Princeton University; editorial writer for
The New York Evening Post and Assistant Editor of The Nation,
To the Editor of The New York Times:
It seems to me that the Belgian previous question ought to be moved with all candid pro-Germans. Mr. Schiff is plainly candid, so I have framed an open letter to elicit his opinion:
[An Open Letter to Jacob H. Schiff.]
Mr. Jacob H. Schiff, New York.
My Dear Sir: The universal esteem which you enjoy in the country of your adoption lends great weight to any utterance of yours on public matters. Your interview on the war in THE TIMES of Nov. 22 will everywhere have influence for its gravity and fineness of feeling. It is with compunction that I call your attention to the fact that your statement is ambiguous on precisely those issues of the conflict which your fellow-citizens have nearest at heart.
Your general position may be described as a desire for prompt peace and restoration of the former balance of power. More specifically you wish “Germany to be victorious, but not too victorious.” If this be merely an instinctive expression of the residual German in you, an expression made with no practical implications of any sort, no American will do otherwise than respect such a sentiment. But if you deliberately desire a moderate victory for Germany, with all that such moderate victory practically implies, it behooves your fellow-citizens to judge your views in the light of what these really call for.
An ever so slightly victorious Germany would presumably retain Belgium, in whole or in part. Does such a conquest have your moral assent?
Or suppose the rather improbable event of a Germany driven out of Belgium, but otherwise slightly victorious. In such case not a pfennig of indemnity would come to Belgium. Do you believe that no indemnity is morally due Belgium?
Knowing your reputation as a man and philanthropist, I can hardly believe that your desire for a “not too victorious” Germany includes its logical implication of a subjugated or uncompensated Belgium. But if this be so, candor expects an avowal. Until you have made yourself clear on the issue that most concerns your fellow-citizens they will remain in doubt as to your whole moral attitude on the war. Does your pacificism contemplate a German Belgium? I feel sure you will admit that no fairer question could be set to any one who comments on the sequels of the war. I am, most respectfully yours,
FRANK JEWETT MATHER, Jr.
Princeton University, Oct. 23, 1914.