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November 19, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
IQl Broad.vsray, N. Y.
Onr Telephone Call Is
OIVE TEAR, in advance, SII DOLLARS.
Communications ahould be addreased to
C. W, SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
NOVEMBER 19. 1887.
The "bulls" have been having their innings for the past three
weeks in Wall street. Prices have been higher, the market
broader, but it ia doubtful if the advance in prices will keep right
on. True, the railroads are all doing well. The coal roads and the
trunk lines will probably do still better, but we have overbuilt
both houses and railroads, and the unwholesome land speculation
of the West has not yet culminated. Then our foreign trade is not
in a sound condition. Our crops are scantier than we supposed
earlier in the season, aud we are getting a smaller money return
from our grain and flour than any time in the last thirty years.
Gold is no longer being shipped to our shores, and the death of the
Emperor of Germany and the Crown Prince, which we are likely
to hear any moment, would create a semi-panic ou the European
bouraes, which would be reflected in our Stock Exchange. The
speculative card has been Reading, which has clearly beeu
advanced by the Morgan synilicate for the purpose of floating the
large amount of bonds demanded by the reorganization of the comÂ¬
pany. Those who have speculative lines of stock would do well to
take advantage of this market to turn their profits into cash.
The Union League Club has unanimously resolved to press upon
the Legislature the necessity of adopting the Australian system of
voting. The Republicans suffered in the last election by the
machinery now used for getting votes iuto the ballot box. It is
indisputable that the R-^publicau local machine, controlled by
O'Brien, eo-operated with the two Democratic machines to elect
Colonel Fellows, and to in other ways subserve personal, rather
than party ends. The new system of voting does away in great part
with the necessity for a machine. The tickets are printed at the
public expense, and the voter is ushered into a room where he indiÂ¬
cates his preference under conditions which involve entire secrecy.
This puts a stop to bribery, which has become an appalling evil
under our present system of voting. It is known that nearly fifty-
thousand votes were paid for in this city, while throughout the
Btate the use of money is quite as potent among the farmers and
their laborers. The preseut system involves the raising of great
corruption funds for carrying elections. Hence the assessments on
candidates and the opposition to Civil Service Reform. With the
new system there will be a great saving in the mere printiug of the
tickets. The day before the last election the mails broke down,
being unable to deliver all the ballots that were sent to the voters.
Of course this reform will be fought vigorously by all the machines
and politicians, for it would kill the occupation of the wirepulling
**boy8." Every believer in Civil Service Reform should advocate
this kindred measure, but it will probably take years before the
change is finally effected.
This has not been a particularly good season for local real
estate. Vacant property has been slow of sale, due to the check
given to new building enterprises by the tightness of money.
But improved city property, if sold by executors, or in partiÂ¬
tion suits by order of a court, never commanded better prices.
It is very evident that investors believe in the future of real
estate on this island. The land below Chambers street is desÂ¬
tined to be the moat valuable upon earth. The greatest office
building in existence, and yet to be erected, will give it the densest
population to be found in any of the great capitals of other
nations. There will be more people to the square foot and more
business to transact than in any other commercial quarter of the
civilized world. Nor will other parts of the city lag behind.
Broadway will keep advancing in value, even should a parallel
thoroughfare be constructed on the east side. Then the retail
business of the city will give us more splendid stores than any now
in existence. Every road built in any part of the country adds to
the trade aud popularity of the metropolis. Of course there will
be localities which will depreciate in value, but the investor cannot
miss in laying his money out in any of the businesa streets or best
residential quarters of this city.
Land Commissioner Sparks has had a hard time of it. He has
been trying to save the public domain from the corporation and
land eharke, who are using all means to appropriate the land of the
nation. For a time the President stood by him, but the malign
influences are too powerful, and Mr. Sparks has been relegated to
private life. The corporate and private interests which aim at
acquiring, at small cost, the unoccupied land of the nation are too
powerful to be resisted. The Democratic party is as impotent as
was the Republican party in its fight against great land rings.
There seems to be_, no way of focussing publio opinion on this
important matter. The selfish interests are united and persistent,
and the mere sentiment of the public in favor of the actual settler
Chauncey M. Depew, in his admirable address at the Chamber of
Commerce banquet, advocated subsidies to help our commercial
marine. He said very truly ;
Mail subsidies might build a merchant marine which would carry our
flag once more over all the waters of the world, furnish a ready-made navy
in time of war, and start vast shipyards upon the Delaware and arms of
the aea north and south. Oue thousand flve hundred milliona of dollars is
the value of the commerce of the United States, and all of it is carried
under aUen flags. The English, the Germans and tbe French kiudly carry
our peraous and our freight, and akim the cream of our trade.
This is all well enough, and we have said as much over and over
again in these columns, but Mr. Dspew was not so happy when he
sneered at internal improvements in the following fashion :
The political aagacity of the hour flnds no meana for preventing a surplus
in the Treasury which threatens the credit and atability of business, and
the demoralization of the government, and seeks to diminish it by approÂ¬
priating millions for dredging creeks which can only be utilized for eel pots
and terrapin farms.
It is natural enough, perhaps, tor the president of a railroad
which competes with water routes, to discredit all efforts by the
government and the people to improve our water transportation,
but the members of the Chamber of Commerce are as vitally interÂ¬
ested in the improvement of our rivers and harbors as' they are in
the recreation of a merchant steamship marine. We should utilize
to the utmost our navigable streams. Canals are required to conÂ¬
nect our rivers and lakes. Then all our harborsâ€”none more than
New Yorkâ€”need large expenditure to enable them to accommoÂ¬
date the commerce whioh will some day be theirs. Ic is this oppoÂ¬
sition to internal improvements on the part of the East which has
kept closed our harbor to the great steamships of the world, unless
advantage is taken of certain tides.
The declaration by a court that a bucket shop is a gambling
institution, because it trades in prices without delivering stocks or
other property, will doubtless be followed by an appeal to higher
courts, which will be profitable to the lawyers if not to the litigants.
The dealing in *'futures "on the legitimate exchanges is, of
course, entirely legitimate, but it may not seem so to the average
juror. Certainly something should be done to abate the bucket
shop nuisance, for its patrons are gamblers pure and simple. But
the question is, how can it be done without interfering wiih the
speculative dealings of the regular exchanges ?
There is, it ig true, a vague popular impression that all speculaÂ¬
tion is harmful, but really every person in trade is forced to buy or
sell with a view to future possibilities. He who buys a barrel of
potatoes or flour does so in the expectation that he will sell them
at a higher price. To stop dealings in futures would have a disasÂ¬
trous effect upon the grain, provision and cotton markets. It
would cause heavy fluctuations in prices, an unnatural demand for
money and would result in a panic, John Stuart Mills has pointed
out that speculation performs a useful function in the trade of the
world, as it helps to equalize prices. Even when.it raises the price
of food it benefits mankind, as it thereby checks a waste which
might lead to famine.
The widening of Elm street and its extension to the Brooklyn
bridge at thelowerendandto the Harlem River in the northern part
of the city is again attracting public attention. So far the BroadÂ¬
way property-holders have successfully resisted all efforts to con-
truct a thoroughfare that would take from that central avenue some
of its gorged traffic. But the whole city suffers from this massing
of vehicles upon Broadway, and something must be done. The
widened and extended Elm street is needed, but it should be free
from horse-cars, so that there will be no impediment to up-town
and down-town vehicular traffic. Another elevated road might be
permitted upon the new avenue, but under restricted conditions:
(a) Charge not to be more thaD|fivecents|per head; (b) every passenÂ¬
ger to Iiaveaseat, and then the franchise to be given to the highest
bidder, or rather the one who would give the largest percentage of
gross receipts. Cheapness and the comfort of the passengers
should be the first consideration. The return to the city treasury,
while important, is really a subordinate matter.
Then new thoroughfares are required to ['relieve the pressure of
vehicles below the City HaU Park. It ie proposed to build a new