James Wellington Kisling to Woodrow Wilson


James Wellington Kisling to Woodrow Wilson


Kisling, James Wellington




1915 March 27


James W. Kisling writes to President Woodrow Wilson about his neutrality position.


James W. Kisling Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Virginia




Copy of Letter addressed to Pres. Woodrow Wilson by myself, possible variations from original not indicated.

Not many years ago in the course of a lecture delivered before some of your classes at Princeton, you said: “While I am a law-abiding citizen of the United States, were I a subject of the Czar I would be a nihilist.”Now, under the guise of “neutrality” and the toleration of international convention you employ the mighty influence of your office through your approval of the manufacture and sale of murderous weapons of war on a scale unparalleled, only to foster and spread the sway of the despotism you then condemned.Moreover, with this absolutism, through that attitude of yours in consonance with your Secretary of State's, you encourage and support its allies: an insatiate, rabid, commercialism that scruples not to violate the sanctity of anything in the way of is onward march; an insincerity and immorality of such flagrancy that it would scarcely do violence to the nations concerned if its name and these were held to be synonymous. (“The French! exclaimed philosopher McCosh—I didn't know they had any character!”) And while you do this to the gratification of our old oppressor and pregnant enemy, the British, who now aim to conquer, who evidently do conquer, as much through their lying as through their fighting—while you do this, you help that enemy to destroy an old friend of ours; and while you assist in the perpetuation of those malign forces, you help in an appalling way to destroy a culture that in the modern world stands out like the Greek of ancient times! You do this not through any mandate given you by your constituency, though a Saturnalia of Germanophobia and Anglomania obtains in the land, a state largely the issue of the evil machinations of the all-lies; you do it without any mandate from the court of international law; you do it in defiance of the injunctions of humanity and Christianity! And we pray for peace while we make war!But is it unpatriotic not to help our old and ever-ready enemy! Then let it be so. Are we less American for being more righteous!—Then God help the United States!
Sincerely,Your ardent friend and supporter until recently.
West Leesport, or Reading, Pa.
March 27, 1915.

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Kisling, James Wellington, “James Wellington Kisling to Woodrow Wilson,” 1915 March 27, WWP22639, James W. Kisling Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.