In this volume of nearly 400 pages reference is made to more than 300 writers on monetary problems whose investigations and discussions, the author complains, have not resulted in anything very clear or definite. The subject has been obscured by the intrusion of interest warped practical men who have not always been willing to accept the conclusions of scientifically-minded and theoretical economists. Practical men do not thus interfere in astronomical science or other branches of physics where no financial interests are at stake. They are willing to accept the conclusions of the scientists. That great and practical statesman, Mr. Jesse Collings, once in the House of Commons professed entire confidence in the ability of Sir F. Abel to measure the distance of the furthest star and not be more than a few feet wrong in his calculation. But Mr. Jesse Collings and such as he do not hesitate to pronounce their opinions dogmatically in economic matters of which, in reality, they know little more than they do of star distances. Their excuse must be that the differences of the experts among themselves give outsiders a right to express an opinion. When, for example, the British Gold and Silver Commissioners in their third report, issued in 1888, arrived, as regards six of them-namely, Lord Herschell, C. W. Fremantle, Sir J. Lubbock, Sir T. H. Farrer, J. W. Birch, and L H. Courtney-at a monometallic conclusion and, as regards the other six -namely, Sir L. Mallet, A. J. Balfour, H. Chaplin, Sir D. Barbour, W. H. Houldsworth, and Sir S. Montagu-at a bimetallic, the unpretentious outsider thought himself justified in giving a casting vote, for it was not until 1893 that one of the gold standard commissioners, Mr. Courtney, in an article in the Nineteenth Century, proclaimed his conversion to Bimetallism. If we could eliminate from discussion of monetary problems all the influences caused by the conflicting interests of debtors and creditors, mine owners and bankers, employers and employees, the subject would stand more chance of a scientific treatment; and Mr. Walsh is to be commended both for his exposure of the inconsistencies and loosely-worded utterances of other writers and for his essays towards a scientific method.
-Liberty Review: A Magazine of Politics, Economics, and Sociology, Volume 14 show more