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May 14, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad-^way, IST. IT.
Onr Telepbone Call is - - - -
ONE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Busmess Manager.
MA.Y 14, 1887.
While the general busine'ss of the country continues in a prosÂ¬
perous condition, it looks as if the speculative spirit is altogether
too rife on the leading exchanges. The raw material of food and
clothing is getting to b 3 in favor with the believers in higher specÂ¬
ulative markets. Wool was the flrst product to advance. Coffee
came next in favor, and the present price of that fragrant bean is
nearly three times what it was at its lowest point. Cotton, within
a few months, has advanced over a cent a pound, and wheat,
which seemed almost unsalable two months ago, is up some nine
cents a bushel over the lowest point it touched this gpring.
Not that the cereals are high in value, indeed they are still far
below the average of normal years. Bat the point to be kept in
mind is that speculation has found its way into the raw products
of the earth.
Indeed the further fact forces itself upon one that there is a
better demand for land, especiallv in and near the cities, 'J'here is
a relation between the price of cotton and grain on one hand and
vacant land on the other. In some cases in the West and South
the land fever is getting to be dangerous. But the rise in food
products is not in itself unwholesome, as it will benefit the agriÂ¬
cultural classes in all countries, who for some years past have had
a hard lime of it. There would have been no necessity for a
Crimes Bill to coerce Irish tenants if the food derived directly from
the earth had brought good prices in the markets of the world.
During the past week there was more activity in our stock
market. The bulls have been constantly expecting a revival of
stock speculation since the opening of the year. But while there
has been no depression the market has been narrow and sluggish.
As a matter of fact the floating money of the " street," as well as
the surplus funds of London and the Continental -'bourses," were
being absorbed in new bonds and mortgages. It is because of this
drain of money from Europe hitherward that we have not had
occasion to export our gold this spring as we did in the spring of
1886 and 1885. From the middle and the close of the week the
dividend paying securities have been very strong, and the market
justifies an expectation that a bull movement was impending.
This better feeling in general trade in the grain and cotton
markets and on the stock exchanges of the world has its origin
primarily in this country. We are having our four years of higher
prices, and we not only give employment to European money, but
we consume more European goods. Indeed our imports are now
unusually large. Then we are steadily adding to our currency. In
this connection it is well worth publishing the following, which we
give on the authority of General Jordan, showing the amount of
gold, silver and paper per capita circulating in Great Britain,
France, the United.States and Germany :
Gold. Silver. Paper.
Great Britain and Ireland...............gl6 00 ..... $5 75
France........................................ 23 00 $14 50 15 00
The United States............................. 9 37}^ 4 80 10 50
Germany ..................................... 7 63 3 20 4 30
The above figures will repay careful consideration. It shows
how rich France is in currency, and it suggests why Germany has
its Gaulic competitor at a disadvantage, for it can produce cheaper.
The less money there is in circulation the lower are prices.
Theodore Roosevelt made a very good partizan speech at the
first meeting of the Federal Club last week. What he said about
the Prohibitionists, the Labor party and the Mugwumps is what
would be satisfactory to a Republican who believed in his party.
But why should Mr. Roosevelt have dwelt upon these points at all?
He gained his reputation in Albany as a municipal reformer and a
practical legislator. Had he confined himself to the defects of our
local government and pointed out the remedies which would give
US an honest and efficient local administration he would have been
applauded to the echo by men of all parlies, while he would not
have offended the leaders of the political organizations to which he
belongs. But he could not resist the temptation to give his views
on the proper attitude of the Republicans towards Prohibitionists,
the Labor leaders and the Mugwumps. What he said will naturaUy
provoke criticism, some of it very bitter, while the approbation
will come from the party leaders and the rank and file who will
not find him as available a candidate for office as if he had come
out in a more pronounced way on the lines in which he flrst won
distinction at Albany.
The life insurance companies are regarded with high favor by
the bulk of the commimity, as ifc is supposed they do something
towards protecting the widow and the orphan, and it is but natural
that they should be favored more or less by legislative bodies.
They are now exempt from the taxes that all others who lend
money on bond and mortgage are required to pay, and they are
favored in other ways. They are, however, liable to a State tax
which, by some understanding with the Albany authorities, they
have not paid forj several years. It now amounts to about
$1,000,000 and the Assembly has voted to remit this sum and
abolish the tax. The Evening Post and Times insinuate thafc this
legislation was the result of bribery. It is easy to make this
charge, and the press is very loose in putting forth allegations of
this kind. But, apart from this matter, we doubt the wisdom of
the insurance companies trying to escape their share of the taxaÂ¬
tion necessary to meet the public burdens. So far as tha public
can see they are wealthy and prosperous institutions. They have
the finest buildings in the city. Their officers and agents are in
receipt of large incomes, and such of them as are stock companies
pay good-sized dividends. Is it wise for the great corporations or
the rich in these times to furnish a grievance to the working
classes or the socialists that they do not pay their share of the costs
of the government. In this matter we speak in the interest of the
propertied classes. They are limited in numbers and cannot afford
to give just grounds of complaint to the agitators who are now
championing the working classes.
Our Prophetic Department.
Mr. Realtyâ€”This is the third week that I have started a converÂ¬
sation with you, Sir Oracle, in order to form a judgment as to the
immediate future of land values in the United States. In the first
week we did not get beyond Europe, and last week you discoursed
on the anti-poverty society. Let us try and stick to the United
States this time.
Sir Oracleâ€”I must, however, make one more remark about
Europe. A letter will appear in this week's Record and Guide
from C. W. S,, in which he tells of the wonderful amount of
building in progress in Berlin, He seems to think that New York
is being left in the rear by the rapid growth of the capital of
Germany. I was in Berlin myself in July, 1885, and was astonÂ¬
ished at the evidences of increased population and wealth everyÂ¬
where visible. The correspondent of The Record and Guide
points out also a fact not understood in our own country. The
Germans are not so heavily taxed, as we have been led to believe,
while their methods of taxation are far in advance ot ours. There
is an income tax, under which owners of personal property
contribute their parfc to the State burdens. Practically the rich
escape all such burdens in this country unless they are owners of
real estate. Then the German method of levying upon rentals is
much more equitable than our system of taxing assessed valuaÂ¬
tions. There is less chance of fraud or of bribery. How many of our
landlords would be quite willing to pay eighfc dollars for every
hundred they receive for rent if they could escape all imposts upon
non-productive property ?
Mr. R,â€”How is it possible that Germany, with a great military
establishment, can get along with fewer taxes upon land than we
in the United States, who have neither army nor navy ?
Sir O,â€”Well, you see, the German government is paternal, Ifc
owns the bulk of the railways and telegraph systems, and the
profits which in this country go to swell the private fortunes of the
Jay Goulds, Vanderbilts, Sages, etc, are diverted into the national
treasury of the empire, where they help to pay for the military
expenditure, as well as even for the expenses of the civil governÂ¬
ment, Germany is naturally a very poor country, while the United
States is a very rich country. Our soil is far better. Our mineral
wealth is enormous, but paternalism accounts for the excellent
results in one nation, as compared with the waste and want of
system in the other.
Mr. R.â€”Now let us come to laud values and the present speculaÂ¬
tion in the soil West and South.
Sir O.â€”It is unquestionably very remarkable that so widespread
a speculation should have broken out in this country. Our last
gre&t land craze came to a disastrous end just fifty years agoâ€”in
1837. This was before the era of exchanges, and the lunacy was
generated by an inconvertible system of State bank issues. Since
that time the speculative tendencies of our people have found vent
in stock, mining, grain, cotton, cattle and miscellaneous trade
enterprises. We have had land fevers since 1837, but they were
never universal. /Hiey were limited to localities. The nearest