In Response to: The Brutus of the conspiracy [6]

In “The Brutus of the Conspiracy” (feature, Sept. 24), W. Barksdale Maynard ’88 chronicles the sad demise of the close friendship between two of Princeton University’s former presidents, Woodrow Wilson 1879 and John Grier Hibben 1882. He points largely to the undeniably dramatic moment of “betrayal” — namely, the faculty meeting in which Hibben took Wilson by surprise by “seconding” a motion made by English professor Henry Van Dyke, in opposition to the Quad Plan, as presented by Wilson. Further, Maynard showcases what he calls a “vindictive streak” in Wilson.

Interestingly, however, after Wilson was elected president of the United States, his appointment as ambassador to the Netherlands was none other than the maker of the “anti-quad plan” motion, Henry Van Dyke — a fact not mentioned in Maynard’s article. Was Wilson solely and simply vindictive in his future relations with Hibben? Can the situation fairly be cast in such dramatic terms, or dare we say, as Ellen Wilson (the first lady) was to say, her husband quite simply was “wounded”?