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Jfanuary SI, 1688
The Record and Guide*
^^i^_ _^ >, ESTABUSHn)'^MARS;H2lu'^ie68.
â Di/oid) fo R,E^L Es WE. SmLDif/G ift^cKiTEcrat^E .HouseHou) DEGOi^norJ.
' â â Bi/si(^E5S AtioThemes of GeHeraI- I^ter^esj
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J. T. LTNDSEV, Business Manager.
JANUARY 21, 18S8,
With this number of The Record and Guide we furnish to our
subscribers the viost complete and exhaustive Index to the transÂ¬
actions of real estate during the last six months which we have
ever published. Few of the readers of The Record appreciate the
immense labor connected with ihe work, a labor which increases
with every year and at last has arrived at a point where it costs so
much money and time to perfect that ice are compelled to charge
an additional price for it, just enough to cover the cost. AU
subscribers ivho wish the Index hereafter will please send their
names by postal card at once. The price will be tO cents. This
issue is free,
Preaident Chauncey M. Depew, of the New York Central Road,
denies that that company thinks of building an underground road
from 43d street to the Battery. Ha admits that Commodore VanÂ¬
derbilt had such an intention back in 1876 or thereabouts. He had
secured the charter, but the project waa greeted by such an
infernal clamor that the Commodore wilted. A. T. Stewart
opposed it, as he did every city improvement likely to improve tlie
real estate of New York. All the ministers of tlie 4th avenue
churches clamored against the scheme, prayed and preached
against it, and then every cur in tlie press raised a howl against
handing over so valuable a franchise to the Vanderbilt monopoÂ¬
lists. The opposition was so universal that the Commodore gave the
project up. Yet what a splendid thing it would have been for
New York if the plan had been carried out, and a solid surface
track road had been opened between 43d street and the Battery.
It would have given down-town people swift and rapid communi-
oation, not only up town, but to any part of the 23d or Sith
Wards. We would have had real rapid transit, as the Harlem
River could have been reached from the Battery in less than half
an hour. The route, being along the central zone of the island,
would have better accommodated our citizens than the present
elevated roada on the east and west sides. All parts of the city
would soon have been accommodated, for branch roads to the
ferries would soon have been built from the parent stem.
But it waa not to be. Our press has opposed all city improveÂ¬
ments, simply pandering to the foolish prejudices against corporaÂ¬
tions without any regard to the best interests of the city. The
newspapers have opposed the cable scheme, which would have
vastly Improved our street surface transit. It would have been
swifter, cheaper and in every way more convenient than the horse
oar lines. But then it looks virtuous to oppose any enterprise by
a corporation which expects to profit by a charter from the city.
Hence the press was always opposed to a railroad on Broadway.
Then what a venomous fight it made against the surface cars on
42d street, which has been found to be so indispensable a convenience
to_the traveling public. However, these queer performances of the
press apparently please the public, who never seem to properly value
a proposed improvement or convenience until it is secured for them
againat their own protests.
While the New York Central Company doea not, it seems,
propose to build itself a rapid transit to the Battery, it is quite
certain that a company of mainly New York Central men haa been
organized to construct an undergrou'id road as soon aa Elm street
is widened. On its own account the Central is adopting a new
policy. Commodore Vanderbilt cared only for one thingâlarge
dividends to the stockholders. But President Depew's electioÂ»
marked the beginning of a new departure. The ambition of the
present management is to have the best cars, the anest road-bed,
and the most efficient service of any railroad corporation in the
country; hence the new bridges, the handsome depots, the finer
cÂ»,rs, the vestibule trains, and all the luxuries recently introduced
upon the Vanderbilt system of roads, The New York Central is
determined not to be behind the Pennsylvania Central. Thia will
be satisfactory to the traveling public, but the shareholders will have
to suffer. There is no likelihood of any early increase of dividends
on any of the Vanderbilt roads. For no matter what it earns the
Central would want its surplus for betterments, and ic will never
do to pay larger dividends on Lake Shore and Michigan Central
than on the New York road. Of course the time will come when
these betterments will add to the intrinsic value of the Vanderbilt
systems. The Central may never again pay 8 per cent., but it
will be a road that will deserve well from the traveling public.
Surely the average American citizen ought to be taught a leasou
by the figures given in connection with the Pacific railroads. It
has always been taken for granted by our people that government
work was costly and inefficient, and that what waa done by indiÂ¬
viduals and corporations was in every way preferable, We have
the rational postal service, which is cheap, and against which
there is no conjplaint. Our letters are carried to every part of the
country for two cents an ounce and our newspapers for two cents a
pound. How rare are complaints against the service in the Post-
office. Yet it is administered by politicians appointed under a very
bad civil service system. Our Croton water service in New York
city is cheap and honest. There has never been any great scandal,
except in the case of contracts with individuals or syndicates.
Compare it to our gas service by corporations. What a swindle
that has been from beginning to end. The corporations have stolen
a hundred dollars in our gas service where the politicians have not
profited one dime from our Croton Wuiter system.
And now look at the record of the Pacific roads, managed by
individuals, syndicates and corporations. The cost of construction
of the Union and Central Pacific roada was $95,000,000. Tiie
stocks and bonds of the two companies have a total value of $268,-
000,000. In other words, there ia $173,000,000 of water in them.
But this does not tell the whole story, for counting the bonds, land
grants and annual advances of the government with interest, the
sum totalis increased to the tremendous figurea of $447,000,000,
of lines that only cost to construct $95,000,000. Now, if the
government had built this road with its own engineers it might
have coat $100,000,000, but it would have been owned by the nation,
and it could have baen managed in the interests of the trading and
traveling public, for a government doea not care for profit. The
Central Pacific from January, 1874, to January, 1884, paid diviÂ¬
dends amounting to $34,308,055, the entire amount of which went
into the pockets of Messrs.|Huntington, Stanford, Hopkins and
Crocker. In other words, after supplying the means four times
over for building these roads they were handed over to these railÂ¬
road swindlers, including Jay Gould of the Union Pacific, to
plunder the trading and traveling public by extortionary tolls.
But when the proposition is made for the government to do anyÂ¬
thing, what a roar comes up from the press. " This ia'centraliza-'
tion;'' it means waste and robbery; no government can do anyÂ¬
thing so well as individuals. A government telegraph was proÂ¬
posed. The point is |immediately made that it is outside the
functions of government, although the telegraph is a part of the
postal systems of every civilized nation on, earth, the United States
alone excepted. Our telegraph construction has been exceedingly
wasteful. Company after company has been formed and competi'
tion tried for a time, but the telegraph is a natural monopoly. It
was inevitable that some one organization would finally absorb all
the lines. It was the government that built the first telegraph in
the countryâfrom Washington to Baltimoreâand had it gone
right on and extended the lines, using the profits for new construcÂ¬
tion, the capitalized cost would probably have been less than
$10,000,000 ; yet, here we are forced to pay dividends on $85,000,-
000 of watered Western Union stock. There is no dividend, of
course, for a government from its business ventures, such as the
Post-office and the like.
â" â mââ â"-
Id view of the efficiency of the Post-office, a Postal Improvement
Association, has beeu formed, with the following objects in View;
1. A reduction in the postage on seeds, bulbs and plants,
2. A re-issue of fractional currency, for use Iq the mails,
3. Abolition of tbe present unsafe and iDconreulent postal note?,
4. Provision for the issuance of postal money ordere In MUms of (5 or lesS
for a fee of 3 cents.
5. Any other proper measures designed to ebhatice the usefulness of the
postal service without too much expenss to tho government.
All these are desirable objecta, but they ought to include al
improved parcels post, domestic and international, based upon the'
experience of Europe. In the Old World the governments replace
our American Express companies. Packages which are so costly
here are sent for & mere trifle from one end of Europe to the other.
The British system includes all the colonies. Americana abroad
are surprised at the incredibly low charges for barrels of potatoes
and fiour, carcasses of beef and other dressed animals, cheeses,
and all the packages such as are carried by express in thia country^