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PROF. SUMNER AND FREE TRADE.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Apropos of the interest in political economy that is now reviving in the college, mention may be made of a small volume to be found on the table of the library reading room. It is entitled, "A Review of Prof. Sumner's Speech before the Tariff Commission," and is written by one George Basil Dixwell, quiscumque sit. The ostensible purpose of the book is a refutation of Professor Sumner's speech; but the real object is clearly an attempt to establish the folly of free trade, and the wisdom of protection. The tone of the book is fiery and decidedly discourteous; but in this the reviewer seems only to have outdone his economic opponent. It is unfortunate that the language employed by Mr. Sumner was dogmatic rather than argumentative; but, on the other hand, it may be considered fortunate that the reviewer gave wing to his enthusiasm, and launched out in this fiery tirade. No book would do more good, it seems to me, in establishing the soundness of the free trade theory, than the one in question; and to free trader and protectionist alike, I would heartily recommend it. The opening objection to Prof. Sumner's speech is that Prof. Sumner is a college professor. A college professor, it is claimed, is obliged to teach the same old propositions year after year until they root themselves in his mind too deeply to be torn up. In ordinary life he has nobody to challenge his opinions and he must therefore be more likely than others to become dogmatic, and to be prone to wrath whenever he does encounter opposition. The reviewer then objects to Prof. Sumner because "he has set himself the task of proving that an opinion generally entertained upon both sides of the Atlantic during all past time is entirely erroneous" and so on. Space would not permit (if inclination would) an extended review of this forty-page volume. As an instance of the exact position the reviewer holds, the following quotation may be taken: "How long," he laments, "how long will Harvard and Yale insist upon being the sleepy hollows of political economy, from which pupils emerge with ideas that have been obsolete for a century?" It is needless to remark that the italics are not those of Mr. Dixwell.

R. B. M.

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