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FebrilHry 3, 1889
Record and Guide.
"eX ^ ESTABLISHED^WARPH51i-^l86a._^
De/oIED to l^E\L ESTME . BuiLDIf/c A^cKlTECTJl^E .KoUseHoIH DEGOiyLTlorJ,
Basii/Ess aiJdThemes OF CEfJERAL i;^TÂ£i\ES7
PRICE, PER YEAR liV ADTANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, - . . JOHN 370.
ilonmninications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
T. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
FEBRUARY 3, 1889.
The immediate future of the stock market has a hopeful look. The
bond buying continues with unabated vigor, both for domestic and
foreign accounts. Conservati-re investors realize that new securiÂ¬
ties will not be put upon the market dm"ing the coming year.
Hence the bonds and mortgages now offered are attractive, as there
will be a deficient supply for the rest of the business year. During
nm" past history an unusual demand for bonds was always followed
by a boom in the best class of stocks and junior securities. We do
not see that there is much to be expected from the coal stocks, but
the corn roads and the Southern stocks ought to increase greatly in
value. The rise iu " Big Four," C.,C.,C. &I., Erie & Western
preferred is an indication of what may be expected from the roads
north of the Oliio and east of the Mississippi. That prosperous
manufacturing region has had the largest corn, hay, aud miscellaÂ¬
neous crops ever known, and the plentiful supply of hogs and beeves
ought to make the whole region between the Lakes and the Gulf of
Mexico prosperous beyond precedent. It is now settled thatthe
rate wars west of the Mississippi and the Missouri will be reduced
to a minimum, but the overbuilding has been so excessive that
much encouragement from that region is not to be expected. If
there should be a boom during- February the corn roads east of tiie
Mississippi ought to show the largest advance. Then should come
the Southern securities, then the "Trunk" lines and specialties,
but in our judgment it will be a long time before the Western and
Southwestern roads have any marked advance in prices.
What to do with the Treasury surplus will perplex the incoming
administration as much as it did the one which is just about to surÂ¬
render power. Indeed, Mr. Cleveland's defeat was mainly due to
the fact that he insisted upon so mauipulating the sui-plus as to
forc'e Congress to pass a measm-e reducing the tariff. Readers of
this periodical will remember that before Congress got together in
the December of 1887 we had a number of articles insisting that the
true policy was to spend the surplus productivelyâ€”that is, in river
and harbor improyements, sea-coast defenses, in public buildings,
and in the rehabilitation of oiu- commerce. To supply our real
needs would require fully $1,000,000,000, instead of the $160,000,000
locked up in the Treasury. While the money was being thus used
in stimulating the business of the country, we argued that Congress
might take up the tax and tariff questions and discuss them without
any fear of interfering with the trade of the nation. The expendi-
tui-es to be urged would have come in at the right time, for it would
have followed the stoppage of the excessive railway consti-uction in
the West. The government, of course, would have employed labor
and stimulated the iron and shipbuilding industries during last
summer and fall and this winter and spring.
But, no I instead of spending the money on works the nation
really needed, the administration saw fit to buy bonds, and since
April 17th last about $110,000,000 have been paid over to the rich
gentlemen and corporations who own these national obligations.
The latter, of coiu-se, made splendid profits, as they had a practical
corner in the price. They probably were paid 15 per cent, more
than the bonds would have fetched in a normal market. Were a war
or any national emergency to force the government to borrow
money, these rich beneficiaries of Secretary Fairchiid's policy
would be reluctant to furnish funds at even 25 per cent, below
what they were paid for their bonds. It is curious to note, by the
way, that President-elect Harrison has given his adhesion to this
policy, and there are very few leading statesmen or newspapers that
can see anything to object to in it.
But, nevertheless, it was ti-ying to use the surplus to secure more
liberal tariff imposts which lost Mr. Cleveland the election, and if
President-elect Harrison and his administration do not act more
wisely they too will be discredited. The Republicans, also, have a
tariff bill, which seems to us even more objectionable than the
MiUa bill. It will probably be passed in the extra session, which
solved. We do hope there will be some sense shown in deahng
with this unused money. If it is used productively, it will stimuÂ¬
late om- inriuEtries and give the country better times. It would be
folly, unspeakable, to keep on paying it out in bonuses to the bondÂ¬
holders, and absolute wickedness to lavish more millions on penÂ¬
sions. In 1880 our annual pension payments were $56,000,000. In
1888 they were over $80,000,000. Two-thirds of our pension payÂ¬
ments are the sheerest plunder, as all the Congressmen know
who voted for the various bills. Let our surplus money be spent
in public buildings which are needed in tbis growing country, or
in river and harbor improvements, for wliich an appropriation of
$60,000,000 per annum would not be too much, instead of the
$7,000,000, which is the beggarly sum at present spent for our vast
coast fines and magnificent internal waterways. Right here, in
New York harbor, the expenditure should be from seven to eight
millions, and other sections of the country need equally large
appropriations. But no more throwing away of themoney to bondÂ¬
holders or in villainous pension legislation.
An article that recently appeared in the Sun, saying that rents in
Brooklya generally would be lower this year than last, has found
its way into several Brooklyn journals, and by some inexphcable
blunder has been credited to The Record and Guide, No stateÂ¬
ment of the kind, either direct or inferential, has appeared in tho
columns of this journal, and we are rather surprised to see such an
utterance, under the circumstances, fathered upon us.
One tie-up on the New York and Brooklyn horse-car syatema
might be excusable, but their frequent occurrenceis wholly unjustiÂ¬
fiable, and is alike discreditable to the companies, their employes
and the city and State authorities. The business of the community
and the comfort of our citizens should never be at the merby of
quarreling corporations and their employes. We do not propose
to discuss the right or wrong of this quarrel between the horse-
car hne companies and their workpeople. The State has provided
a machinery for putting a prompt end to all disputes by the referÂ¬
ence of tho matter to a State Board of Arbitrators. But the horse-
car owners decline to recognize the representatives of their
employes and will not arbitrate. The position they take is heartily
sustained by the entire press of New York, and, as far as we can
judge, the newspapers represent the opinion of our employing and
business classes. The class that sympathizes with the strikers may
he large, but it is not influential. It has no representation in the
press and no way of making its wishes effective when these conÂ¬
flicts are under way. The violence incidental to such labor revolts,
in the end, tells against tlie strikers.
No strikes such as we have suffered from during the past week
are ever heard of in European cities. In many cases the tramway
lines are owned by the city, which rents them to companies which
agree to give perpetual service. The latter also usually contribÂ¬
utes to the Sinking Fund, by wluch the city eventually gets posses-
sion|of the tracks without cost to the citizens. In time, notonly the
tocal railroad in Paris, but nearly all the great railway systems
throughout France will pass under the control of the nation. We
have thoughtlessly given away for perpetuity these valuable franÂ¬
chises to private corporations.
Our solution of the city railroad problem is the licensing of the
conductors and car-drivers by the city authorities. They would
be thus made public officersâ€”part of the police force of the city.
Their pay and hours of labor as well as general treatment should
be estabUshed by the city or State; this would end sti-ikes and
would put a large body of men under the control of the city
government in the event of any widespread riot. We are so
practical a people that we should put a stop at once and forever to
these preposterous and business-disturbing quarrels between the
horse-car companies and their employes.
Tlie treatment of General Boulanger by the American editors
is not creditable to their sense of fairness and discrimination.
They repeat the hostile and malicious statements of Boulan-
ger's French enemies, as if they were settled facts. Boulanger is
really a clever man, who made his mark, as Minister of War, in
reorganizing the French army. He showed so much vigor and
efficiency as to excite the jealousy of his associate Cabinet Ministers
and political leaders. It was the latter's attempts to degrade and
discredit him which iiave been resented by the mass of the French
people. Then, as we have often pointed out in these columns,
France does not take kindly to parfiamentary government. The
present constitution was confessedly a makeshift until something
better could be devised ; and it has not worked well. The nation
has had no stable policy ; Cabinets have lasted only a few months
at a time, while the publi<' debt has heavily increased withoutthere
being veiy much to show for it. Hence the demand for an altered
constitution, which would give the nation the advantage of more
â– wiU certainly be called ; but, as it wifi take time to tell how it wfil
affppt tbe revenues, the existing surplus is still a problem to be | personal and responsible government, such aa that of Germany f^n^