His papers on the industrial development of this country, especially during the last twenty-five years, are cited by the advocates of both policies in the present tariff controversy. Their ability and fairness of statement are fully admitted. Mr. Atkinson himself believes that the tariff question is one of the minor factors in the industrial history of this country; that its influence in promoting certain branches of industry has been much exaggerated on the one side, and that its burden upon consumers has been as much exaggerated upon the other. He rejects alike the theory of the extreme advocate of protection, that diversity of occupation has been promoted by means of the protective system; and, on the other hand, he rejects the theory of the extreme free-trader that an enormous bounty has been paid to or gained by special industries, merely because a duty has been imposed upon a foreign import of like kind. He holds that while manufactures would be established in greater variety, and would attain ultimately much greater prosperity, if free exchange could be attained by a cautious and systematic reform, on the other hand, the market for the excess of the crude products of our soil, as well as for our manufactures, might be vastly extended by such reform—to the end that the United States would attain a commanding position in the commerce of the world, even to the extent of possibly compelling European nations to disarm. Keeping in view the proposition that profits, wages, and taxes are alike derived from the joint product of labor and capital, he presents the simple formula that "a nation free from debt, subjected to the lowest rate of taxation of any nation in the world, and without the need of withdrawing from productive labor an enormous number of men to be enlisted in a standing army or navy, and finally endowed with greater natural resources than any other country in proportion to the population, must be able to compass a larger product at less cost than can be attained in any other of the so-called manufacturing countries." He therefore advocates a gradual but sure reform of the abuses which exist in the present acts for collecting the national revenue, to be brought about with due regard to the present condition which many branches of manufacture have reached during the long period in which a high tariff has been in force."
Mr. Atkinson's essays, nearly all upon subjects of political economy, have been published at various times since 1861 in independent pamphlets, the reports of economical associations, and periodicals of general circulation, such as the "Atlantic Monthly," "Scribner's Magazine," "The Century," "Harper's Magazine," and the "North American" and "International Reviews." The full list numbers more than forty titles, including the following: "Cheap Cotton by Free Labor," 1861; "Is Cotton our King?" 1862; "The