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September 4, 1886
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Publiihed every Saturday.
Our Telepbone Call Is.....JTOHN 3T0.
T K R M B :
ONE Â¥Eilt, in advauee, SIX DOLLARS.
Cominmilcations sliould be artdi'essed fco
i\ W, SWKETj 191 Broadway,
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Mauager.
Vol. XXXVIII. SEPTEMBER 4, 1S86,
A volume tohlch should he in tlie hands of every builder, conÂ¬
tractor, architect, and owner and dealer in real estate, is now
ready and can be procured at the office of The Record and
Guide. It is a new edition of the law relating to huildings in
the City of New York, tvith added matter, inargiwil ludes and
colored engravings to illustrate the subject. It contains the law
limiting the height of dwelling-houses, also tlie existiug Mechanics'
Lien Laxv. Tliis loork is edited hy William J. Fryer, Jr.. wJtose
original and well-thought-out comments give it a special value.
The volume will also contain a complete directory of architects
in New York, Brooklyn, Jersey City, Newark and Yonkers, The
hook is handsomely hound in cloth, and is sold at the taw price of
seventy five cents, by mail eighty-five cen's.
The stock markefc, after beiug very dull, has siiown more signs
of animation the lasfc two days, and brokers generally predict
liigher prices and a better business. It is curious that there should
be a revival of stock speculation on the very day after the appalling
catastrophe at Charleston, But the Stock, and indeed all the
exchanges, notwithstanding, ave very dull places compared with
what they were four or live year.s ago. Tliere were three times the
number of speculative dealings then thau tliere are now. This i.s
the more curious as the country is richer and more populous by at
least seven or eight millioQ persons. But if speculative dealings io
stocks, grain and cotton are not as rctive as they were, nevertheÂ¬
less the business of the country is doing exceedingly well. The
railroads are doing a very heavy business aud are ti'oubled for
want of freight cars. Accounts from all the manufacturing centres
agree in saying consumption is very large and that there are no
accumulations of stock. We will do well this year, .-ind all
engaged in productive enterprises will make money, except some
unexpected calamity should occur. The real estate outlook is
excellent, and the Liberty street Exchange will see a larger fall
business than was ever before transacted in New Yorlc
Earthquakes are of a special interest to people who own real
estate. Nature in such cases is not only the robber destructive,
bufc is a downright anarchist. All who have experienced an earthÂ¬
quake agree that it is the moat terrible experience a human being-
can go through. Men who have faced death in every form
unquailingly experience mortal terror when the houses begin to
tumble and the earth to shake. Somehow our earliest associations
of the ground we tread on is that of certaintyâstability. The
swift motion of the water suggests peril and the lightning of the
heavens menace wifch death, but the solid earth we think we are
sure of. When that becomes fluid and treacherous to our feet
then chaos has come again; and the very foundations of all our
ideas of the order of the universe are upset. The scientists, in specuÂ¬
lating upon the recent quivering of tlie earth's crust, are disposed
to add to the public uneasiness by announcing that the cities on
the Atlantic coast, including New York, are liable lo similar disÂ¬
turbances in the future, as they are probably situated on a line of
cleavage more perilous than exists in any other part of the country.
fact that there are no companies which iusuie against loas by
General Newton's appointment of Thompson and Flynn's ex-agent
as hia deputy in the Public Works Department has not made a
favorable impression upon the public, but it is wise to defer all
criticism until ifc Ls seen how the department is to be managed.
The new tJommissioner- may realise that it is essential to have a
person near him who is Intimately acquainted with the working of
the business of the department. Tiiere is a. general and reasonable
expectation that it will hereafter be worked in the interest of the
taxpayers and not in that of the political machines. If this i-j done
no fault will be fount! with the succe.ssor of Rollin M. Squire.
Good citizens must realize that General Newton has a hard road to
travel. If he is determined to thoroughly reform liis department,
it will be the aim of the corriiptionists to intrigue against him in
private and attack him iu the public press. Hence, for the present,
all who are interested in good governrnent should have faith in tlie
new Commissioner until he is thoroughly tested by the work be
Mayor Grace is credited with having forceil General Newton to
appointing D. Lowber Smith as his deputy. But if the Mayor is not a
candidate for re-election, as he says he is n<:)t, what interest can he
have in the Public Works Departmoiit? We have not hesitated to
criticize Mr. Grace, yet in justice it must be acknowledged that to
him we are indebted for our reasonably eftlcLent street cleaning
department, which was such a scandal up to the time he had it
reorganized. Should our Public VVorks Department turn out equally
well under Genera) Newton's management. Mayor Grace will
merit and should receive the hearty approbation of all who are
interested in good local government.
But against this theory may be advanced the fact that since the
colonization of the Atlantic coasfc earthquakes have been less freÂ¬
quent there than in any other parfc of the temperate region of the
earth. Earthquakes generally are situated in or near the tropics.
Had the point of greatest disturbance been ten miles away from
Charleston the recent shaking up would not have attracted much
attention; but it just happened that the shock was at its worst in the
centre of a populous city. It is this fact, like t'he greater catasti'ophe in
the destruction of the city of Lisbon in the middle of the eighteenth
century, which has attracted the attention of the civilized world.
There are, of com\e, ten million chances against one that no such
catastrophe is likely to take place in any other city of this country
for tbe oext thoueaad years. This ought to be an assurance to
people who hesitate to buy improyed resltf, w\%m tb&y reeall thi
The Evening Post argues that the general revival of business
shows that the adoption of the gold standard has not depressed
the industries of the world. But that paper overlooks the fact
that the revival it points out is practically confined to one countrj*â
the United Statesâin which the coinage of the silver dollar which
it so much deprecates is kept up. Whatever improvement has
taken place abroad is due to the activity in American securities,
and the increased demand for foreign foods in tliis country. Then
there has been an improvement in woolen goods, due to the wholeÂ¬
sale destruction of sheep by reason of the drought in Australia last
year. The industrial outlook of the Old World is anything but
reassuring. On this side of tlie water business is good and promises
to be better, despite the coinage of the siher dollar which the Post
thinks is so bad a thiuR' to do.
The Rise in the Value of Money.
There are two ways of explaining an increase in the value
of money. In the one case the money itself increases iu purchasÂ¬
ing power. You can buy more and still more of the raw material
and manufactured products when the money in ordinary use
becomes scarcer and more difficult to get. This is what has
occurred since silver was demonetized; gold being the only
measurer uf values it increased in purchasing power from 25 to 315
per cent., but this blow at prices afi'ected ^trade unfavorably.
Prudent people declined to produce on a falling market, as a conseÂ¬
quence of that money has increased in purchasing power while it
lost value in the loan market. When prices were going up, producers
were willing to pay from 5 to 8 per cent, for funds which they
could use in enterprises making 2 to 4 per cent, additional. Since
the demonetization of silver we have seien the familiar phenomÂ¬
enon of an increased purchasing power of gold and a reduction of
the value of money loaned on securities. Were money to lose in
purchasing power gradually it would stimulate production, for the
depreciation in the price of money would show itself in the appreciaÂ¬
tion in the price of goods ot all kinds. After years in which money
loaned for a less rate of intere&t while increasing in purchasing
power, we have come upon a time when the loanable rates asked
for money have sharply advanced. This may have been due to one
or two causesâa contraction of the currency making loanable funds
scarce and dear, or an absorption of money in temporarily unproÂ¬
ductive investments., Whatever the cause the fact unquestionably
remains that money has become tight, and it seems unlikely
that the cheap rates afc which ifc was loaned for the lasfc thre^
years will come back again. This is a matter which is very
interesting to real estate owners and builders. Within a
year there has been an immejise development of buildimg
enterprises everywliere. We have been constructing houses
far in excess of any previous period in the history of the counÂ¬
try. This was because house property paid on the whole a
higher rate of interest than did securities of a general character.
The low rate for money made 4 per cent, bonds: and stock seem
very desirable. The cheap rate once established made house invfiet=
mmt iGQ'k Tery temptlRg. Ia ?iew of ih^ %^ygms in t\iÂ§ pi'ice uj