EDITORS HARVARD HERALD: It was with considerable surprise and regret that I read the virulent free trade editorial contained in this morning's issue of the HERALD. Its writer seriously discredits the interest of Harvard students in the tariff question when he asserts that there is little likelihood of the protectionist pamphlets being read, and he also takes an unwarranted opportunity to cast contempt upon certain aminent advocates of protection. The arguments advanced in these documents are, naturally, in portions, severely partisan and at times inconsequent, having been originally expressed orally at a public meeting; but that they are wholly absurd and readily fallacious in statement is hardly to be believed, even by one who has read them carefully and is no ardent extremist on either side. As regards this matter, I have already learned of one convert to protection having been made by them, and I hope that others will be induced to investigate further the opposing arguments of both parties.
But without referring any further to this instance, or attempting to question the propriety of a college paper vehemently taking sides on a matter of national importance, unless it means to open its columns to a full discussion from all sides, I am very glad to note that the way has now perhaps been opened to a more extended consideration of the subject at Harvard from the several standpoints of free trade, extreme protection, and moderate protection. Political economy is indeed a popular subject here, as shown by the number of men who take courses in that study and in the recent movement for the enlargement of the department in instruction, but the tendency has been, as at most colleges, to instill into students certain abstract principles of free trade on which are based opinions that show little acquaintance with the practical workings of our national institutions and prove equally intolerant with those of the extreme protectionists. As one of the Cooper Institute speakers says, "they do this without reflecting that those theories are constructed from a British standpoint." And, too, "they assume that political economy is an exact science, applying alike to all countries and situations; when, as a matter of fact, it is a relative science, and must be accommodated to the circumstances and conditions of the country."
I hope that the happy suggestion made by the Crimson, that our instructors bring forward the subject of protection and free trade, will be adopted, and I shall be glad to see it better popularized among us; but I hope, too, that their elucidations will not be confined to the free trade side of the question alone, for it is only fair that the extensive interests involved in favor of protection should be allowed to present their arguments. An excellent opportunity is offered the Finance Club to inaugurate a course of lectures on the subject, and it can not perform a more valuable service to the mass of students than to procure for us recognized and rational authorities on both sides of the question to whom an interested and attentive hearing would certainly be given.
B. '82.MARCH 22, 1883.