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December 8, 1888
The Record and GuideT
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
191 Broadway, N. Y.
one: year, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
â‚¬. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
DECEMBER 8, 188S.
At the rate subscribers are now coming in it looka aa though the
850 names will be aecurad for the "Real Estate Exchange and AucÂ¬
tion Rooma, Limited," by the close of next week. Tiie institution
will then be organized and the price of seats will be advanced fifty
per cent. A list of the subscribers is given elsewhere. It embraces
nearly all tbe leading real estate dealers and many of the foremost
owners of property on this island.
What a chorus of applause went up when Judge Gresham was
appointed Postmaster-General. Some enthusiastic journals actually
nominated him for the presidency. Bat his report, just issued,
strips a very common fowl of all his gaudy plumage. Our PostÂ¬
master-General is simply a sra.aU Indiana lawyer. Proaident Aithur
has kept oue object steadily in view; no member of his Cabinet will
be a candidate in the Republican National Convention. His secreÂ¬
taries seem to be good safe clerks, who faithfully 3.tt6nd to the
routine of their offices, but who are al! of them remarkably destiÂ¬
tute of qualitiea which would commend Ihem to voters for high
oflSce. In discussing the postal telegraph, Mr, Gresham shows an
utter lack of statesmanlike grip. His utterances are those of a third
rate lawyer and hide-bound politician.
There is reason to believe that tbe Railroad Commission of this
State has been captured by the railroad companies. The resolution
calling for quarterly reporta has been dropped, although it was
unanimously endorsed by the business community and the prese.
Tbe commissioners went to the Grand Central Depot to hear lawÂ¬
yer Depew and Vice-President Blanchard submit arguments against
the resolution, and that ended the whole matter, although Wall
street people are not aware of it, and are looking for the reports.
The only State Railway Commissioners which are known to have
been faithful to their trusts are those of Massachusetts, Illinois and
Georgia, and much good has resulted therefrom, but the California
Commission is notoriously in the pay Of the railroads. The general
government must take this matter in hand, and when they do ifc
will be a good thing for the companies as well as the public as it
will stop wars and rate cutting, as well as prevent excessive charges.
Let us have a National Railway Commission.
Ali propositions looking to additional city transportation faciliÂ¬
ties should not be looked upon with equal favor. Property holders
would do well to watch the scheme for budding elevated and surÂ¬
face roads to be run by cable. It is a speculation, pure and simÂ¬
ple, by a syndicate of active financiers. They have persuaded Mayor
Edson to appoint a very respectable commission to look iuto their
scheme, but the whole matter will bear watching. The franchise
will be a very valuable one if granted, and the time has come when
the city should refuse to vote away the privileges of our streets to
speculators for little or nothing. No company should be permitted
to construct any more elevated or surface roads without paying
therefor a certain percentage of its gross receipts. Had this policy
been pursued with our ferries, gas companies, street and elevated
roads, we would now be in receipt of a yearly income that should
defray at least half the cost of our city government; but we have
allowed corporations to secure these lucrative privileges gratia.
The newspapers demand that these franchises be sold to the highÂ¬
est bidder, but this gives a chance for collusion, from which the
city would he the loser. If this cable company is granted any
privileges the city should demaud afc least ten per cent, of the gross
receipts ; for this the corporatioa might guarantee the company
freedom from vexatious law suits. The next Legislature ought to
pass a law authorizing the city to come to some terms with the
elevated roads, the latter to pay a stipulated percentage of their
gross receipts yearly in lieu of taxes and assessments, the city to
protect the company against claims for damages. In the meanÂ¬
time, this cable company should be watched.
The National Bank note issues are by no means of such importÂ¬
ance as the daily press seema to beUeve, There is no danger to the
trade of the country if aJl their issues are withdrawn, provided we
retain our present stores of bullion and keep the products of our
mines from going abroad. In the past four years the average
annual increase in the volume of currency has been $89,453,346,
toward which National Bank notes bave contributed an average of
only $3,958,068 yearly. The total increase in circulation from
November, 1879, to November, 1883, was $357,813,486, of which
03.9 per cent, was gold, 33.6 per cent, silver, and 4,5 per cent.
National Bank notes. The gold notes and silver certificates have
saved the country from a disastrous panic, due to the contraction
of the bank paper money. Our best monetary policy would be to
1st the banks retire from the business of issuing currency and
encourage in every way the coinage and circulation of gold and
silver or certificates representing the same.
A real estate agent in tlie Tribune expresses himself as follows :
Not one in a hundred of the largeâ€”mind, I emphasize the word " large "
â€”real estate transactions are properly reported, even in the official recÂ¬
ords. You buy a piece of properfcy afc $30,000; it is to your interest and
that of the seller, who has more lots to sell in the same neighborhood, to
report the sale at, say, $50,001. The larger amount is put in the deed as
the consideration. It gets registered at the same figure; andfrom the
Register's office the false record goes to the papers as a bona fide sale for
the largest amount. It is simply bulling a poor market,
Unfortunately, there is too much truth iu this statement. Sales
are reported by speculative brokers, which are mere "washes,"
intended to deceive unwary purchasers. Tlien " trades" are quite
common, in which a cash value is given to " swops " of property,
where perhaps little or no money consideration was included. The
official transfers themselves are tampered with, and the record is
made to lie, for the purpose of bolstering up the price of adjoining
properties or to deceive future purchasers. It is lamentable fchat in
dealings in realty, the most certain of all kinds of property, that
these practices should be so common. One argument for a Real
Estate Exchange is that it would furnish an accurate test of prices
in every case where property was publicly sold. An Exchange
could not afford to have its good name smirched by "washed"
sales or "Peter Funk" auctioneering. Title deeds ought to
be honest in respect to price, and property owners should ask the
Legislature to pass a law requiring that the sum actually paid
shall be inserted in the deed. It is an open question whether a
bonajide purchaser cannot under our laws demand of the seller the
sum actually named in the deed. Why might not heirs demaud an
evidence that the price stipulated had been paid? A judge who
would give a decision to tbis effect would do much to bring about
honest dealings in realty, and it would create a panic among tradÂ¬
ers who make a practice of giving false coneiderationa in the titles
when property is transferred.
What Congress Should Do.
WhUe the recommendations contained in the President's mesÂ¬
sage, if carried out, would do little or nothing to revive business
activity, still they afford a basis which, if Congress builds upon
wisely, would do much to improve the trade of the country. The
President admits that we ought to have a defensive navy, a torpedo
service, and guns and floating batteries sufficient to guard our
wealthy seaboard cities. Liberal appropriations for these objects
would partially revive our iron and stoel industries, and sympaÂ¬
thetically affect a vast circle of industries. We have tho money
in the Treasury, which, if used thus productively, would exert a
most beneficial influence.
But after providing for the defense of our seaboard, and putting
us in a position to resist attack. Congress might go further and
authorize the construction of a fleet of fifteen to twenty of the
largest and swiftest kind of steel steamers. They should be equal
in every respect, and surpass, if possible, the very best and largest
of the steamships belonging to the foreign transatlantic lines.
With these vessels we could establish direct trade relations with
other nations, under our own flag. They would be officered in part
by our own naval officers, and so constructed thafc fchey could be
changed into war vessels in case of international complications. It
is not to be expected that they would be self-supporting, but they
would be cheaper than maintaining our present na^y, which now
enjoys the unique distinction, as General McClellan says, of being
unable "neither to fight nor run away." These vessels need not inÂ¬
terfere with private enterprize, as fchey could be contracted out to
American shipping firms, on terms which would enable them to
coiflpete with the great foreign lines which now monopolize the
external carrying trade of the country. To supply the country
with cruisers, guns,' a torpedo service, floating batteries aud the
ships such as we have above indicated would take a great deal of
money, far more than our annual surplus for many years fco come,
bufc every dollar so laid out would be worth fifty in its effect upon
the trade of the country. It would revive all our great iron and
steel works ; our seaboard would again become the scene of great
manufacturing activity, while the results of tbe expenditures
would be especially beneficial to seaports like New York.
But it is idle to expect any such farseeing aud wise action on
the part of Congreas. If sucb a scheme were proposed, nothwith-