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January 3, 18S6
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
IQl BroadvT-av, I^T. IT.
Oar Telepbone Call 1m.....JOSN 370.
ONE FEAR, in adTance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
JANUARY 2, 1886.
The bond call of Secretary Manning will help speculation in Wall
street, but it will be an injury to the country. All the surplus in
the Treasury should be devoted to works of public improvementâ€”
such as the construction of defenses for our exposed sea-board, the
creation of a navy, the deepening of the channels which lead to
New York harbor, and the like. These works are essential, and
entering upon them would help the industries of the country ; but
the payment of the present government debt, before it is due, is
pure national idiocy. True, we save 3 per cent.; but spending this
money productively would benefit us 100 per cent. Wall street does
not want this ten millions of gold ; it has too much already. It is a
metal, by the way, which does not circulate at all, for silver curÂ¬
rency is the only coin seen in the retail trade of the country. This
last bond call shows an utter obliviousness of the real wants of the
William H. Vanderbilt's will was admitted to probate as soon as
all the heirs were consulted without any delay, fuss or red tape.
The title of two hundred millions was devolved from one person to
eight or nine without any more trouble than it takes to buy
a carpet. But suppose that, instead of being in securities, the
same amount of property had been in real estate, and had been sold
instead of being bequeathed. Why, the various rigmarole involved
would have kept all the lawyers in town busy for a week, and the
fees of lawyers and brokers and searchers would have eaten up whatÂ¬
ever profit there might otherwise have been in the purchase. Oar
ridiculous land laws are inherited from a time when land was
regarded as something different from any other property. That
wao the time when, as the poet remarks, " every rood of ground
maintained its man;" so it does now. The difference is that then
the man was a soldier, and now he is a lawyer.
The stoppage of the nautical school by the Board of Estimate is
indefensible. A cutting down of the estimate from $25,000 to
$15,000 means such a stoppage, unless the estimate was outrageously
extravagant in the first place; and this is not alleged. It is the
result, no doubt, of the belief of the board that the nautical school
is a piece of nonsense. We are not going to argue this proposition,
though it is plain enough that industrial education is one of the
cliief needs of this city and of this country, and the record of the
nautical school certainly indicates that it has done its work well.
However that may be, a "slashing" reduction of this kind, by
breaking up the work of the school, virtually nullifies the law
under which the school was authorized, and the Board of Estimate
haÂ» no right to annul any law by refusing the means to carry it
The Sun does not habitually take ground for or against any measÂ¬
ure, we believe, without a careful examination of its ground. But
thiÂ« cannot be said with reference to an article against the sale of
the Brooklyn navy yard, pmblished in that journal last Monday.
It opposes the sale without any apparent investigation of facts, and
upon the single view that a navy yard is needed to aid in the
defense of the harbor. Unfortunately for this argument, it is one
of the strongest arguments that could be brought in favor of its
removal. A navy yard should be located where it could aid in the
defense of the port, but not where it would fall into the hands of
an enemy, with all its aggressive equipment, if the port were capÂ¬
tured. The proper location is up the Hudson Eiver, beyond the
Palisades, in a position that could easily be made impregnable.
With regard to the local questions raised by the proposed sale of
the navy yard, our contemporary does not seem to have studied
them at all. The sale of the yard, if honestly managed, would be
a source of large profit to the government. Everything valuable
in the way of equipment or material, except the dry dock, which
would be eagerly bought at a fair price by ship builders, could be
removed, and the old buildings left could be duplicated elsewhere
for one-fourth the money received for the land.
long been idle is to be opened with a greatly enlarged capacity in
St. Louis; and from Youngstown, Ohio, we hear of great preparaÂ¬
tions for increasing manufacturing resources and enlarging the
output. But what is this that comes from Harper's Ferry ? The
syndicate which lately purchased the old government gun factory
is going to work with such spirit that its enthusiastic attorney
promises a population of 30,000 in the town within five years. ConÂ¬
sidering that the population is now less than 2,000, this sounds like
a rose-colored prediction; but there are few more available inland
situations for the growth of a large cifcy than Harper's Ferry. In-
exhaustable water power, adjacent mines, easy railway communiÂ¬
cation and delightful scenery, all combine to render the old trampÂ¬
ing ground of the Federal and Confederate armies an attractive
field for investors. The advent of the Baltimore & Ohio road to
New York, too, will aid to give it closer relations with the East, and
greatly improve its chances. Still, a gain of 28,000 in five years
would be something so rarely paralleled even in the history of this
country that we lack faith in the promise.
There appears to be a boom in the manufacturing industry, and
it starts fromtthe right poinlr-the iron mills. A mill which has
The Real Estate Prospect.
Whatever short-comings there were in the general business of
the country during the past year, owners of real estate in the cenÂ¬
tres of population have had nothing to complain of. Here, in New
York and Brooklyn, we have had an exceptionally prosperous year ;
and the same remark is true of Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis,
Chicago, San Francisco, and, indeed, all the cities of the Union
with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Theji-e has been no speculaÂ¬
tion, but a steady enlargement of population, a healthful building
movement, a steadiness in rentals, and a reasonable adyanco in the
price of land available for building purposes.
We have passed through a period of great depression in railway
circles. Instead of building 11,000 miles in one year, as we did but
a short time ago, we constructed last year less than 4,000 miles.
Then there has been a ruinous depreciation in the price of railway
securities, but there was no such experience in real estate circles.
There has been no falling off in the value of land and houses, and
instead of less building there was probably more in 1885 than in
any previous year. Railroads were brought into existence specuÂ¬
latively in advance of the actual requirements of tlie country, but
new house construction was to meet the wants of a steadily growÂ¬
It is vvorihy of note, in this connection, that the period of depresÂ¬
sion we have passed through affected the rich more than any other
class of the community. It was the speculative securities they
held that shrank so greatly in market value. True, there has been
some disturbances in labor circles and reductions of wages here and
there ; but the statistics of the savings banks showing tlie increase
of their deposits prove that the wage-receiving class during the
last five years, have been in receipt of better incomes than in any
previous five years since 1870. The general miscellaneous business
of the country has kept steadily improving and increasing; for, in
no other way can we account for the rapid addition to the populaÂ¬
tion and wealth of all our cities. The statistics we shall publish in
this and next week about what has been done in real estate in New
York and vicinity during the past year, will tell the story of the
prosperity of our real estate interest. As they peruse tlie figures,
our readers will bear in mind that a relative increase of values and
transactions is also true of the other large cities of the country.
But what of the coming year ?
There is no reason to doubt but that 1886 will be more satisfacÂ¬
tory to the real estate interests than was 1884 and 1885. The
coming spring will see more new house construction in New York
and Brooklyn than probably in any previous season; at least such is
the present expectation of all who are acquainted with the plans of
architects, builders and capitalists. There seems at present nothing
to prevent the rapid growth of our city in inhabitants and business.
The steady increase of travel on the elevated roads and horse-cars,
and the Remand for largely increased accomodations for our public-
school children, all tell the story of the growing numbers and future
prosperity of this metropolis of the Union.
Nor can it be doubted that the land of the country is steadily
becoming more valuable. The rapid increase of our population
and the extension of our railway system renders choice farming
land more and more desirable as time passes by. There will be
plenty of cheap land doubtless for the next thirty or fifty years; but
really desirable building or farming realty near our transportation
lines will, within the next quarter of a century, be enhanced very
greatly in market value. With all its drawbacks, the ownership of
land is the surest of all investments in this growing country of ours;
but, of course, the largest profits will be in real estate investments,
in and near great cities on the line of greatest improvement.
We have often commented on the careful avoidance of facts that
distinguishes the utterances of the anti-silver coinage papers. The
Herald, Tribune, Times, Evening Post, Financial Chronicle, and
nearly all the Eastern papers denounce silver coinage without
furnishing a single fact to prove their case; and keep on predicting