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The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 BroacLTAray, IST. "^T.
Onr Telephone Call I0 - - - â€¢
ONE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
â‚¬. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
JULY 30. 1887.
l7i a feiv days we shall pjtblish a haiidsome volume of great value
to all interested in building. It will eoniain the new Building Law
passed at the last session of the Legislature, the Mechanics'' Lien
Law and recent amendments to the same, the Law Limiting the
Height of Ihvelling Houses and the new Tenement House Law, and
will he edited hy Mr. Wm. J. Fryer, Jr. In addition to the foreÂ¬
going the volume will contain a Directory of Architects in New
York., Brooklyn, Jersey City, Newark and Yonkers. The hook is
handsomely arid strongly hound, and unit be for sale at the office of
The Record and Guide for 75 cents. Orders should be sent in
Tlie stock market has been seriously depressed during the past
week, indeed, it has had no very marked rally since the semi-panic
of June 24th, which was precipitated by the failure of the wheat
corner. The bulls argue, with some show of reason, that all the
factors would seem to warrant higher prices. The trade of the
country is prosperous, the crops are relatively large, railroad earnÂ¬
ings, thanks to the Interstp-te Commerce law, were never more
satisfactory. Then the iron trade is activeâ€”always a good sign.
There is every reason to believe we shall import not a little gold
this fall. But in the face of these favoring conditions socks
decline when the market is not stagnant. The faf:t is, prices for
the past year represent 2 and 3 per cent, money, whereas there is
a pretty good assurance of from 5 to 7 per cent, money during the
fall months. Hence securities paying 4 and 5 per cent, are not
valued as highly as tbey were, while mere prospective dividend-
payers are under a cloud. Wall street bulls are likely to be under
the harrow until there is no longer any danger of tight money.
A good deal has been written about the amount of currency in
circulation, per capita, in the several nations, but the Financial
Chronicle undertakes to throw a new light on the matter, and sucÂ¬
ceeds in bringing out one point very clearly. It is known that the
metallic basis of the French currency is largely in excess of the
gold and silver used for currency in the United States; but it does
not follow, says this authority, that France has more usable money
than this country. Bank checks for the payment of debts and
purchases of all kinds are universally employed on this side of the
Atlantic, while in France, practically, they are not used at all. The
following is the table of the Chronicle :
--------Circulation per Capita.-------------------,
Silver. Pap^r. Chpclts. Total.
$15.53 $14,17 Nil $50.75
$5,63 $15.37 $51.7^ $88.68
France ... ........... $n.05
United States.......... $li).86
These figures will rather astonish those who think our currency
reserves are so much smaller than those of Franco. In Great
Britain there is a still larger volume of checks used; but then EngÂ¬
land has no silver currency, and the circulation per capita is conÂ¬
sequently smaller than here.
A notable point in the above table is the amount of gold and
silver in use in the two countries. It will be noticed that France has
15.53 of silver, against 5.63 per capita in the United States. In
other words, there are three silver dollars in the one country where
there is one in the other. For the last few years the united press
ol" the East has been declaring that the coinage of the silver dollar
would eventually drive the gold out of the country in accordance
with the **Gresham law," yet we have trebled our gold store since
we have adopted the silver coinage policy, while France contains
almost as much gold as England and Germany combined, both of
which are gold monometallic, and it continues to add to its gold
reserve in spite of 600,000,000 of silver five-franc pieces which it
has minted. For the eleven years ending the last day of 1885 the
aggregate gold coinage of all countries was $1,700,000,000, yet fully
81 per cent, of this vast sum was in countries that used silver as a
full legal tender concurrently with gold, while only 19 per cent,
was retained and coined by the gold monometallic countries.
There has been not only a deliberate perversion of these facts, but
ft denial of them. In truth, the use of silver in connection with
gold to measure values leads to the joint accumulations of both
metals and the consequent prosperity of the country using them,
while the use of gold alone as in England, or the use of silver alone
as in India, leads to disturbances in trade and lower prices.
The recent breaks in the prices of coffee, grain, cotton and petroÂ¬
leum, as well as the depression in stocks, has been attributed to a
deficiency in our currency. The country has been growing
rapidly in population and in trade. We are increasing in numbers
at the rate of 3,000,000 per annum, while the volume of business
has increased in a still greater ratio ; but practically there have
been no additions to the current funds with which we transact our
foreign and domestic trade. True, we are adding 24,000,000 silver
dollars to our currency yearly ; but then, as the 3 per cent, governÂ¬
ments are being redeemed, the volume of bauk notes afloat
becomes smaller continually. Hence, when we transact the larger
amount of business with the same amount of currency there is
more or less friction, which shows itself in stagnation if not in
depressed prices. Then, recently, there has been a very active
movement in real estate, which is a huge sponge to absorb capital.
We do not say that this is a solution of the depression on all the
exchanges, but it is certainly worth thinking about. Of gold,
silver and paper in actual use, we have in round numbers about
$26 per capita, while France has some $53 per capita. These are
our estimates, by the way, not those of the Chronicle.
But, urges the Financial Chronicle, we use checks in this counÂ¬
try to transact business, whereas in France actual cash is almost
universally employed. This is, according to the authority menÂ¬
tioned, so much actual currency, in addition to the gold, silver and
bank notes, for the check is against deposits in a bank. But after
all, is not the check a representative of real money and not money
itself? In the last analysis does not the check represent a certain
number of gold dollars, and however much we may confuse the
fact by our systems of banking, the actual basis of all trade transÂ¬
actions is the metallic currency of the nation ? Bank notes, bills
of exchange, checks and the other devices do nothing but use to
the utmost the current coin of the country. Checks against
deposits are a wonderful convenience, and they have rendered posÂ¬
sible the marvellous trade activity of the English-speaking people,
by whom alone they are universally used. But, after all, the money
of the country is the metals stamped at a certain value by the gov-
*^rnment of the nation. This is a truism as old as Aristotle, who
said : " Money hath its value only in virtue of law and Iiath it not
by nature ; hence an alteration of the consensus between them
that use it hath power to destroy the value which, as money, it
possesseth to meet men's wants."
If it is true that there is not money enough in which to transact
the growing business of the country, one remedy would be a larger
coinage of silver. The law permits the minting of 4,000,000 silver
dollars per month, while tlie Treasury has rarely exceeded the
minimum amount of $3,000,000 per month. Were we to coin
$48,000,000 per jinnum it would use up nearly all the product of our
mines, which have averaged lately a little over $50,000,000 per
annum. This would help raise the price of silver bullion as comÂ¬
pared with gold, it would stimulate trade and could not possibly
do us any harm, for we have only about $5 of silver per capita, while
France has $15 per capita. This addition to the coinage is at the
will of the Secretary of the Treasury. When Congress meets it
could add to the currency by offering to issue certificates on any
deposit of gold and silver. It should be remembered there can be
no inflation unless there is an emission of government paper not
convertible into the precious metals.
The exploitation of the Missouri Pacific Company in the matter
of railroad ties recalls the fact that rich corporations are far more
liable to be plundered by their ofl&cers and agents than is the
government by its employes and official staffs. We hear a great
deal about the dishonesty of politicians and the loose methods of
government officials, but private corporations are robbed and
preyed upon quite as much as the great corporation of the nation,
Corporate management is in fact very much the same as governÂ¬
ment management, and the red tape of the latter often saves it
from the systematic plundering which obtains so widely in the
service of the great corporations.
An article in another part of this issue discusses the probable
character of the Boulevard west and northwest of the Central Park.
The conclusion seems to be that stores and apartment houses, with
here and there a church, will be the kind of buildings erected on
that noble thoroughfare. Broadway, it will be remembered, exÂ¬
tends from the Battery, on this island, to as far north as Montreal,
in the Dominion of Canada. It is known as Broadway in many of
the cities it passes through, among which are Saratoga. The time
will undoubtedly come within the next century when it will be
almost entirely built uponÂ» and with only a few vacant spaces along