THERE would be a temptation to suggest that the oft-repeated quotations from Mr. Hughes's little speech in Massachusetts Hall had become somewhat stale, were it not to be said in excuse that there is as much occasion for our English visitor's criticism now as then. The one fact that the number who elect political economy this year is thirteen per cent less than last, shows that Mr. Hughes's words failed of the desired effect, notwithstanding their repetition by others till they had become quite threadbare. Granted that college graduates are too reluctant to enter public life, the important question becomes, How shall the evil be corrected?
Of direct means to the study of statecraft, the College offers but a single elective in political economy. Without asking whether more ought not to be demanded, it is to be regretted this one is not better patronized. Probably there is nothing within its range which it is not incumbent on every educated citizen to know. Political science, it must be admitted, is a dry subject at first, and bristling with knotty problems for those who would go beneath the surface. But this does not in the least make against its importance or its claims.
Amply suggestive of what we are saying is the recently issued Report of the Labor Bureau, which lies before us. At the head of this Bureau is General Oliver, of '5.2, whose work is to gather statistics regarding "the various departments of labor, and the social and educational condition of the laboring classes." With the return of peace no greater questions are pressing themselves on the attention of public men than those which come within the scope of this Bureau. One of the weightiest of these to be answered by the coming generations is the relation of Capital and Labor, about which ignorant men talk at random, and politicians make buncombe speeches; but nobody knows facts enough to give a valuable opinion. It is the facts which General Oliver's bureau is trying to obtain, and if we may trust what he has already collected, a thorough reformation is needed in the condition of the laboring classes. The oppression of the poorer class by Capital is none the less real because of such a nature that it is more felt than seen. To those who wish to investigate these subjects we commend the above-mentioned report as replete with useful information.
C. H. B.