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r December 81, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
IQl Broadvfay, N".
Onr Telephone Call Is - - - - '
OIVE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
DECEMBER 31, 1887.
On next Saturday toeek, January 14i/i, an unusually large edition
of The Record and Guide will he published. It will find its
way amongst business men of every description, including real
estate brokers, agents and investors, builders, architects, decorators,
laivy&rs, merchants, bankers, dealers in building materials and
contractors of every description, as well as into many business
houses directly or remotely interested in real estate and building.
This extra edition will be of unusual advantage to advertisers,
icho are requested to forward their favors early, as we will strike
off the largest edition of The Record and Guide ever printed.
The year is closing on a dull bufc rather strong stock market.
Usually the last two weeks in December is signalized by high rates
for money and low prices for securities; but this year there has been
no pinch for funds, and the closing prices were about the best for
the month. Money, of course, will be easy for several weeks to
come, and the bulls may engineer a rise upon the expectation that
Congress will act wisely in dealing with the surplus in the TreasÂ¬
ury. We have nofc much faith, however, of any display of wisdom
at Washington for several months fco come that will help the busiÂ¬
ness of the country or the price of securities on the Stock Exchange.
If a vote could be taken of the citizens of New York, a large
majority would favor the abolition of New Year's day as a holiday.
Ia the past it was the most significant of all our feast days. It was
devoted to making friendly calls and partaking of a *'bit and a
BUp," firsfc afc one and fchen afc another family of old acquaintances.
Thia custom, which we derived from our Dutch ancestors, spread
to other localities, and is quite enjoyable in cities that are not too
large. But the average New Yorker of the male persuasion has
too wide a circle of acquaintances to visit them all in one day,
while the sending of cards instead got to be a very hollow cereÂ¬
mony. So years ago our fashionable people set their faces against
the custom, and now the lady members of many families seek
refuge in other cities over New Year*s day, so that their servants
can truly say they are nofc "afc home." During the pasfc week
enormous numbers of people have left New York for neighborÂ¬
ing cities and rural resorts, and will nofc be ** afc homo" again
until the middle of next week. New Year's day is a surplusage
coming so soon after Christmas. This was not always so, for
both our Puritan and Dufcch ancestors paid little regard to the
great Christian holiday. Indeed the Paritana discountenance it and
invented Thanksgiving to take its place. The rehabilitation of
Christmas is largely due to the writings of Charles Dickens. Then
it is a successor to the astronomical festivals of past ages, of
which the Roman Saturnalia is best known hisfcorically, Chrisfc-
mas, its successor, ia a holiday which has become sanctified to
us by many kindly human memories and offices.
Austin Corbin's recent manifesto against the Knights of Labor is
an exceedingly well-written document, and will be heartily
approved by othera besides employers, for on its face the demand
that corporations shall conducfc their business in their own way
seems to be a reasonable proposition. The suspicion prevails, howÂ¬
ever, that the trouble in Reading may be a part of a stock-jobbmg
scheme ; indeed, the Tribune hints as much and refers to the Stock
Exchange history of Manhattan Beach and I. B. & W. It is very
certain thafc Mr. Corbin was able to avoid all difficulty with the
employes of the company until the reorganization was completed
aud the Receiver discharged. It is worthy of notice that the labor
troubles in the transportation lines is confined to corporations con-
troUe I by Jay Gould, Austin Corbin, and some of the more irreÂ¬
sponsible coal owners in the anthracite region. There has never
been an outbreak of any account on the lines controlled by the
In passing judgment on the disputes between the coal compaÂ¬
nies and their workpeople it should be borne in mind that the price
for mining a ton of coal costs only from 38 cents co 74 cents. Of
courad tho miniug of the coal is morediffijalb iu aome regions than
in others; but the disputes as to wages, which are so frequent in
the mining regions, is generally over a mafcfcer of from 5 fco 10 cents
per ton. When a consumer in New York pays $6 per ton for hia coal
he should remember that an average of less than 60 cents represents
the labor of the miner, who for this sum mines it and puts it on the
car in the coal region. The additional bill for labor in handling
coal at Elizabethport or in New York will nofc bring up the total
coat for labor to over a dollar a ton. The other $5 represents the
cost of transportation, the charge for royalties, and the profits to
the wholesale and retail dealer. Mosfc of fche coal companies own
their own mines and sell the coal direct to the retailer; hence the
royalties and the wholesale profits are theirs, as well as the charge
for transportation. At least $4 of the $6 charged the retailer is
paid into the treasury of the transportation companies which own
mines and sell the coal afc tide water to the retailer. It is safe to
say that nineteen-twentieths of the strikes iu the coal regions are
deliberately planned or provoked by the companies in order to
produce an artificial aoatoity of coal or to get rid of accumulations
which would otherwise necessitate lower charges. The quarrel
over a few cents in the mining of a ton of coal is a mere pretense.
Mayor Abram S. Hewitt is certainly no demagogue. His speech
denouncing the Knights of Labor haa no uncertain ring. He
evidently cares more for his views in what he thinks should be
the right relations between capital and labor than he does for votes
for office. There is alao a good deal in what the Mayor says
touching the embarrassment that would come upon the business of
the country if outside people who had no interest in the great corÂ¬
porations should get control of them even in a limited way. PresiÂ¬
dent Corbin has made, the same point quite as forcibly. Still,
cynical people may say that the Reading corporation could not
have been more inefficiently or corruptly managed by Knights of
Labor or any trade organization thau it has been by the represenÂ¬
tatives of its shareholders. The folly and criminality of its pasfc
management has been simply phenomenal. Mr. Corbin himself ia
reported to have said that he saved over a million dollars in one
year m the supply department, the inference being that the propÂ¬
erty was plundered out of thafc amounfc. Still, two wronga does
not mrke a right, and employers, whether individuals or corpoÂ¬
rations, will insist upon managing their properties in their own
way even if that way, should not always be the best.
The failure of the Vanderbilts to increase their dividends for this
year will be criticised severely and justly as showing a conservaÂ¬
tism that amounts to timidity. Lake Sliore, for instance, has
earned 8.13 per cent, for the year, yet continues paying only 4 per
cent. Thia ia not fair to stockholders. They should get what the
company earned ; less, of course, a margin for unlooked-for
expenses. This is the English system. In the Old World they are
never troubled with government surpluses, and they do not care
for their corporations to be overburdened with assets. Surpluses
in corporation funda is apt to lead to wastefulness. The experience
we have had with Ives and Robert Garrett is a warning against
keeping unemployed funds on hand. People will argue thafc the
hesitancy to declare better dividends by the Vanderbilts is due to
fear of trouble and losses during the coming year. But the trunk
lines were never in better shape. Under the Interstate Commerce
law they have maintained rates, and the B. &, O. is no longer kickÂ¬
ing in the traces. All the trunk lines are now spending a large
parfc of their surplus in betterments. The work in fche PennsylÂ¬
vania Central is of the most permanent kind; the road will in
time be a mosfc enduring one. On second fchoughfc shareholders
will think well cf all the roads which run between the Mississippi
aud the sea-board. The trouble, if any, will be with the newly-
built Western lines.
The Commissioners of Labor statistics as to strikes is quite interÂ¬
esting. The newspapers generally represent theae labor rebellions
as failures ; but, it seema, of the 34,500 which have occurred during
the past six years. 46 per cent, were successful, 14 per cent, were
partially successful, while 40 per cent, were failures. The loss to
employers i-i estimated at something over $34,000,000 and the workÂ¬
people about !|60,000,000. No estimate is given of the increased
compensation received by the laborers as the result of the strikes,
as fche account ia only kept of the actual expenditure when the
strike was under way. Then, in many cases wliere a strike haa
first failed, employers redress real grie'vancea rather than run the
risk of subsequent strikes. Arbitration doea not seem to liave been
much resorted to, for while the employei are generally willing to
refer disputes to arbiters the employers almost invariably decline,
for the reason probably that they would be held to their agreaments,
which ia not the case with groups of ordinary workmen. It will
be recalled that Jay Gould, Austin Corbin and their agents have
invariably declined to arbitrate.
Dr. McGlynn publicly announces that it is as good aa settled
the Labor party will contest the next election, with Henry George
as candidate for the Presidency, and Judge Maguire, of California,