The recent majority and minority reports to the Board of Overseers on the Political Economy department have awakened a certain amount of public discussion, as the Nation testifies by the editorial in its last issue on "Protection in the Colleges." Mr. John T. Morse, Jr., chairman of the investigating committee, emphatically protests against the course adopted by the instructors at Harvard toward the doctrine of protection and laments that Harvard sends forth every year "a solid phalanx of free traders."
It is unfortunate that discord should have arisen in the Board of Overseers with regard to the methods of instruction at Harvard, yet nothing could be more mis-directed than the blame which Mr. Morse attributes to our instructors in Political Economy. Their method differs in no way from the freedom of spirit and catholicism which characterize all departments of the university. The traditions at the basis of all Harvard instruction do not tolerate the imposition of any one set of views upon the students. The method of the teachers of Political Economy is therefore to call the attention of their students to both sides of each question that comes up, by which means the men are enabled to form their own opinions.
If Mr. John T. Morse is exercised over the annual graduation from Harvard of a "solid phalanx of free-traders," he should rather attack the spirit of the university which enables men to form their own decisions, than advocate the appointment of professors of Protection, whose aim would be to impose upon Harvard students certain doctrines opposed to the results of those students' reasoning.
We feel sure that men who have considered the question will thoroughly agree with Mr. Henry W. Putnam's dignifled minority report upon the matter.