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May 30, 1885
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday,
191 Broadwav, N". "ST-
OIVE TEAR, in adrance, SIX DOLLARS.
Cotumunioations should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Btisiness Manager.
MAY 30, 1885.
Business has been dull during the past week. There has been a
fall in the price of grain and cotton and an indisposition to trade or
speculate in any of the exchanges. The business outlook is not
reassuring; the one hopeful sign is the cheapness ot money. Owners
of unemployed funds are apt to get tired after a time and venture
upon new business risks. Should that take place, there will be a
revival in business.
Judge Cowing was quite right in insisting that lawyers should
not delay justice in his court by absenting themselves, and so
making trials needlessly expensive as well as an obstruction to
justice. But then the judges are more to blame than the lawyers
for the waste of time of the courts. It is alleged that they are off
on an average five months in the year, and if Saturdays, Sundays
and holidays were included they do not sit regularly for more than
six months. In the General Sessions there are two courts and
three judges, hence one judge is always off duty. During July
and August there is only one court in session and two of the judges
are at liberty. It is computed that out of the 365 days each jud;;;e
sits 144, and the salary is $12,000 per annum. All our judges are
overpaid and underworked. It is a scandal upon our judiciary l hat
our court business is so far in arrears and so costly. The press and
the public ought to impress upon the judges that their laziness
and indifference to the interests of litigants is scandalous in the
The Broadway Surface Railroad seems, at last, to be a fixed fact.
Within a month's time cars will be running from the Battery to
Union square, and all the omnibus lines wiU have been withdrawn.
It does not seem as if any interest will be injured by this change.
The busiest part of Broadway above the City Hall Park is between
Fourteenth and Thirty-fourth streets, upon which horse cars have
been running for many years. The successful efforts of the BroadÂ¬
way property holders to prevent the building of surface, underÂ¬
ground or elevated loads on Broadway, below Fourteenth street,
had the effect of reducing the value of their property very greatly.
Horse cars on Broadway will help the retail business on that thorÂ¬
oughfare and add to the value of store property. Sundry BroadÂ¬
way property holders are still energetically protesting against the
proposed Arcade Road, yet it is as certain as any sum in arithmetic
that steam under Broadway would double, if not treble, the renting
value of every building tt directly affected between the Battery
and Union square. Among the many admirable qualities possessed
by land owners foresight is not one. They generally become rich
in spite of themselves.
The shareholders of the Real Estate Exchange should see to it
that the prestige of that institution is not made use of to help or
hurt city improvements, about which there may be an honest differÂ¬
ence of opinion. Mayor Grace's friends tried very hard to commit
the Exchange against a portion, at least, of the new park projects
on the other side of the Harlem. The Legislative Committee origÂ¬
inally took the ground that it would be unwise for the Exchange
at the very outset of its career to commit itself upon the matter at
all, but by using machinery known to politicians, fourteen memÂ¬
bers of the committee were induced to partially favor the Mayor's
plans. It was obviously unfair to call this an expression of opinion
on the part of the 500 members of the Exchange. An effort
is now on foot to make it appear that the Exchange is opposed
to the Broadway Arcade Road, because the sub-committee of its
Legislative Committee has seen fit to hear evidence as to the desirÂ¬
ability of the bill now pending before the Governor. There is no
new light to be thrown upon this subject, and we protest in the
name of some, at least, of the members of the Exchange against
using its name either for or against the Arcade project. There are
a few Broadway property holders who are honestly opposed to that
enterprise, while there are others, far more numerous, who
just as honestly believe that a steam or electric road under BroadÂ¬
way would be of immense advantage to New York City and would
double the value of store property on our great thoroughfare. No
one has a right to speak in the name of the Exchange in a matter
of this kind, be they right or wrong, without a vote of all the shareÂ¬
The morning papers give as news the table of assessed valuaÂ¬
tions of real estate,^ showing the increase this year over last,
which was published in The Record and Guide last January.
We have nothing to add to our remarks made at that time
beyond a comment on the increase in property exempt from
taxation. The total now amounts to $265,694,060, of which
$178,894,060 is city property, $12,640,000 is United States propÂ¬
erty, $40,211,500 is church property, and $33,948,500 comes under
the head of miscellaneous. In ten years' time there has been an
increase of $18,000,000 in the assessed value of exempted church
property, and of $19,000,000 in the assessed value of schools,
libraries and the like. The exempted property is getting to be
altogether too large, and there needs be some revision of the tax
list in the interests of the real tax payers.
Silver Lining to the Business Cloud.
The following very important dispatch from Vienna appeared in
the Herald recently. Nothing of greater moment has been flashed
as a message by cable since the American resumption of specie
payments on the first of January, 1879.
Baron Bleichroden, the Berlin banker, who is at present in Vienna, has
the mission to offer Prince Bismarck's assistance to Austria in the manageÂ¬
ment of her finances. (Jermany has the gold standard. Austria has a
depreciated currency. Austria is in a position similar to that ot the United
States after the war. She is rich in greenbacks, or rather in bluebacks,
because they are printed in this color. Germany has intimated to Vienna
her willingness to introduce the double standard if Austria will consent to
regulate her finances upon the same basis. In such case Germany would
render all possible assistance to Austria in procuring the necessary means.
The banker. Baron Bleichroden, has been making a careful study in Vieima
ot tho conditions for such action, which would revolutionize the Emopean
money market. Prince Bismarck, who has won such great victories in
poUties, hopes to gather equally high laurels on the battlefield of finance.
In the event of his success in rehabilitating silver. Prince Bis-
mark could justly claim to be as wise and far-seeing in finance aa in
statecraft and diplomacy. He is, however, mainly responsible for
the woes which came upon the business world, due to his putting
Germany upon a gold unit basis in 1873. He thought he would
cripple France when he exacted the monstrous war indemnity from
that nation in gold, but he and the rest of the world were surprised
to find that the nation which paid the subsidy continued prosperÂ¬
ous and the one which received it experienced a financial panic beÂ¬
cause of its attempt at the same time to discard silver as a money
Should Austria consent to this proposition of Germany, bi-metalÂ¬
lism would be virtually re-established, for France, Italy and SwitzerÂ¬
land are already substantially on a bi-meiallic basis.
The United States is partially bi-metallic, and Congress, when it
meets next December, will be called upon to abolish the present sUÂ¬
ver coinage law and permit the unlimited minting of silver the same
as gold, upon a fixed ratio.
But what will be this ratio?
Clearly that which has always obtained in the Latin Union, of
fifteen and a half parts of silver to one part of gold. Tliis was the
European ratio, and some 600,000,000 five-franc pieces correspondÂ¬
ing to our dollars are now in circulation in the Latin Union alone,
based upon that ratio. True, gold because ot its scarcity is doubtÂ¬
less worth more than it was when that ratio was originaUy estabÂ¬
lished, but it is not credible that commercial Europe would consent
to the recoinage of the entire mass of silver, not only of Europe,
but of the East Indies. It would be too gigantic an operation, and
would create an unnecessary disturbance of prices ; but the present
American standard would embarrass our people, for our silver dolÂ¬
lar contains 3 per cent, more of the white metal than the corresÂ¬
ponding coin of Europe. Hence we would probably have to recoin
and make lighter by 3 per cent, our silver dollar.
The change to bi-metallism would be instantaneously beneficial.
The clouds which now hang over every money market in the world
would disappear as if by magic. The cruel trade-killing shrinkage
of prices would not only stop, but there would be an enhancement
of values, and the money locked up in banks and idle would be
productively employed, for business men would realize instincÂ¬
tively that the addition of silver to the money metals of the comÂ¬
mercial world meant a wholesome advance in values. There would
be no inflationâthat word would be inapplicable to an advance in
values, based on a natural addition to the precious metal currency
of the world. The blight on business everywhere to-day is because
gold has been made the sole unit of value at a time when its proÂ¬
duction from the mines has been steadily decreasing.
The reorganized Central Park Department is winning goldnn
opinions from all sorts of men. For years this department has bf en
under a cloud, due to internal dissensions, but the board is now
working harmoniously. The Legislature when it next meets
Qught to increase its membership to five or seven bo as to ineure