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February 13, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad-T^rav, IST. IT.
Oar Teleplione CaU is . ~ . - . JOHN 370.
ONE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
FEBRUARY 13. 1887.
The general aspect of business is very favorable. The only-
trouble is the senseless quarrel between the coal and freight handÂ¬
lers and the corporations. This the latter do not seem to care about
settling, for fear probably of giving such prestige to the labor
organizations as to invite further exactions. Apart from this diffiÂ¬
culty there is a buoyant feeling in all departments of industry.
The stock market is strong and a mild boom may result. Real
estate dealers and brokers are very hopeful as to the future. This
coming spring business will be a very large one.
All the minor indications show that people are prospering. ReÂ¬
tail store owners report an unusually large volume of business.
The average purchaser spends more money than usual at tbis season
of the year. The hotels are doing an excellent business for
February, and it has been noticed that down-town restaurants are
ihronged with people who are willing to pay more for their meals
than in former years. The savings banks all report large additions
to their deposfts, which shows that the bulk of the working class
is fully employed at good wages. The office renting season has
opened very well. Altogether New York has no cause for comÂ¬
plaint, nor has any of the large cities in the country so far as heard
In a few years New York will have the greatest fresh water
reservoir in the world. The Aqueduct Commissioners have decided
to build the great dam at Quaker Bridge, and the total storage ot
water will amount to nearly 40,000,000,000 of gallons. There
will be enough water in time to allow a hundred gallons per diem
to every man, woman and child in New York. We will be better
supplied, in this respect, than any city known to history. There', will
then be no fear of any shortage of water until New York has more
than 3,000,000 inhabitants. When that time arrives we will begin to
talk of drawing water from the Hudson River above Poughkeepsie,
or perhaps the scheme for running an aqueduct from the AdironÂ¬
dack region down the right bank.of the Hudson may then be conÂ¬
summated. This Quaker Bridge dam will cost nearly $8,000,000, but
this sum will include the cost of lands purchased. This is a good
deal of money, but then the payment of the principal and much
of the interest will be by those who follow us and who will profit
by this splendid supply of water.
although they mined far more coal than ever before. NotwithÂ¬
standing their agreements they never kept faith with each other,
and always mined more anthracite than the amount allotted in
their conferences. Then the bankrupt Reading was a constant
source of difsturbance, as its necesaities forced it to mine all it
could and sell at any price. When it was proposed to raise the
price of coal towards the end of last year, because of the more
urgent demand for it due to the revival of industry, Governor
Patterson, of Pennsylvania, threatened legal proceedings, and the
World and other papers set up a demagogical howl at the greed of
the " Coal Barons." The laborers from the first tried. to arbitrate
the matter, and they were willing to leave it with Mr. Austin
Corbin, but the companies would not consent and demanded
unconditional surrender. Hence all the disturbance in trade
Our readers will remember that pending the strike last year on
the Missouri Pacific road we thought it would have been wise for
Jay Gould to have settled the matter promptly, for the reason
there was danger that the labor question might get into politics.
We showed how eager the politicians were to propitiate the soldier
vote. As the laborers were far more numerous we feared that in
the mad hunt for votes the politicians would work upon every real
or imaginary grievance of the working classes to secure legislative
and executive positions. Well, Mr. Gould would listen to no offers
of compromise or arbitration, and lo! a mighty labor party has
since been organized, as we feared might be the case, and their
candidate for Mayor of this city polled 68,000 votes last September.
Have not the managers of the coal roads made the same terrible
blunder that Jay Gould did? They got into a dispute with their coal
shovellers about some contemptible question of two cents an hour
for shovelling anthracite. The men begged them to arbitrate, but
they would listen to no compromise, and would do nothing to put
an end to the strike. It is to Mr. Austin Corbin's credit that he
was willing to act as arbitrator, and he showed a conciliatory
front all throughout the disturbance. The press has helped the comÂ¬
panies by misrepresenting the workmen all through the trouble.
The result was that the conflict was carried into other trades, and
at one time it was said that 50,000 men were directly interested
They have behind them millions of sympathizing workmen, who it
should be remembered are voters. Is it wise for corporations in
these days to antagonize the working people? As in the SouthÂ¬
western strike the matter might have been adjusted in a couple of
days, but Jay Gould in one case and the coal companies in the other
insisted upon unconditional surrender. Well, they may win the
fight; but at what a cost! Like Pyrrhus of old, who was ruined in
conquering the Roman armies, these corporations may bring enemies
into the field which will cost them dear.
The Excise Commissioners have done well in raising the fees for
licenses to the limits allowed by law. The Legislature should
empower the commissioners to charge from $1,000 to.$3,000 for
licenses to sell spirits, according to location. A beer or wine license
ought to be worth $500 per annum. We are looking at this matter
from a merely real estate point of view. Owners of realty are now
taxed \mduly. The liquor interest should pay its share of the
public burdens. We have altogether too many dram shops. It
seems there is one for every 125 persons, which includes men,
womenand children. The number of liquor shops should be
reduced at least to one for every 1,000 persons.
There seems to have been an erroneous impression as to the cause
of the recent labor disturbance. From the evidence given, before
the Legislative Committee the strike was to prevent a reduction of
wages. The Reading Road wished to have its work done for
20 instead of 22^^ cents an hour, the same as was paid by the DelaÂ¬
ware & Lackawanna, the Delaware & Hudson and other coal comÂ¬
panies. The laborers say they very generally understood that at
EUzabethport the wages would be cut down to 17)^ cents per hour.
The Old Dominion Company also made a large reduction in the
"wages of their freight handlers. The strike of the stevedores and
the general, freight handlers was due to an apprehension that their;
turn would come next. This central fact in the situation seems to
have been overlooked or misstated in the current reports in the
newspapers, that the men went out without any cause whatever.
The whole trouble-seems to-have come from the upsatisfactor^
conditi(m of the coal trade, last year*. Their reports, show .that th.i^;
coal roads ma<i0'lefi9 profit m 1886 than in any previovis, yeftr*
The Vanderbilts show rare good sense in dealing with their
employes. The latter never strike because they are well treated,
and the rich family which employs them thinks sometimes of
their welfare apart from the wages they give. In the dreadful
railroad riots of 1877, which affected nearly all the roads in the
country, the Vanderbilt employes remained faithful to their trust.
They had been treated with consideration and tact, and they
gave no aid or comfort to tbe striking railway employes of other
corporations. The action of the coal companies since the first of
last January has added a million, perhaps two million votes to the
labor party. Our purblind daily press ought to have warned
capitalists ia the interest of capital that compromise and conciliÂ¬
ation was their true policy in dealing with masses of ignorant
working people, whether their grievances were real or imaginary.
And now Secretary Manning repeats the statement that the conÂ¬
tinued coinage of silver threatens to expel gold. President CleveÂ¬
land, in his last message, referred to the fact that we exported
over $30,000,000 of gold in the first six months of 1886, and he
intimated that it was due to the silver coinage; yet the close
of 1886 found us with $70,000,000 more gold in the country than we
had at the close of 1885. Since 1868, when the silver coinage law
went into operation, we have increased our store, of gold from less
than $200,000,000 to nearly $660,000,000. According to General
Thomas Jordan, who is. high .authority in such matters, the aggreÂ¬
gate gold coinage of all the States of the commercial world for the
eleven years ending with December 31, 1885, amounted to about
$1,700,000,000. Fully.Sl per cent, of the gold thus coined was in
countries*where silver was a full legal tender, while only about 19
per cent, was in the strictly gold monometallic countries. In the
elaborate tables recently published by the Financial Chronicle it is
shown that Great Britain has the greatest difficulty in retaining its
gold stores, although it has no silver legal tender, while bimetallic,
Fra,nce and the United States have been adding enormously to
their reserves of gold. Why is it that President Cleveland, SecreÂ¬
tary Manning, Treasurer Jordan, and all who make official utterÂ¬
ances oa this, subjeptf in Washington, persist in making statements
aatp theefilect otsUvepcoinage theyery opposite from the facts.