OSWALD GARRISON VILLARD (March 13, 1872 – October 1, 1949) was a civil rights activist and along with his mother, Fanny Villard, a founding member of the NAACP. Villard was also founder of the American Anti-Imperialist League, favoring independence for territories taken in the Spanish-American War. His mother was the daughter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. She was a suffragist and one of the founders of the Women’s Peace Movement. Villard’s father, Henry, invested in railroads and bought The Nation and the New York Evening Post.
Offering a one-page, TLS, on The Nation’s stationary, June 18, 1919, in which he writes to R.H. Ward, defending his writing about the submarine, the torpedo boat and the armored ship by the Confederates.
“...In all these matters, the leadership went abroad and I do not think it can be defended by putting the blame at the doors of congress. There is a habitual passing of the buck to it by the Navy whenever it wants to avoid responsibility. It is true that in submarines they have now worked out something successful apparently in the way of safety devices. But remember, please, that nothing was accomplished until that frightful disaster marked by such incredible incompetence on the part of the Navy. What other Navy would tolerate a commander of the submarines who admitted that he did not know what the construction of the submarine was? If the Navy had saved the money it wastes on useless craft of the yacht type, it could long ago have had all the floating cranes it wanted, without waiting for Congress...
“We had discussed the Ersatz Preussen long before we heard from you and I am not conscious of having lifted any of your opinions either with or without paying. If I am wrong as to this, I shall be glad to have you set me right...”
Light, expecting toning. Else very good and a fine content letter from a Civil Rights advocate whose grandfather was one of the most prominent abolitionists of the 19th century.
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