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March" 29. l^iO
Record and Guide.
De/ottD to F\Ei<L EsTWE, BuiLDif/c Afi,ct<iTE;cTJ[\E .Household Degor^twi*.
Bi/sitJESs a(Jd Themes of GeHeiv^I Ijjtei^est
ESTABUSHED â ^y/M^CH?i'J^lEi68.
PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
FublUhed em:ri/ Suiurdaij,
TELEPHONE, - â - JOHN 370,
Coinr;iunicatioiis sliould be addi'essed to
C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway,
J. T. LINDSEY. Busineas Manager.
MARCH 39, 1890.
To the question, Wiiat is the matter witli tlie stock niarket? oue
can ouly reply by asking, "What is the matter u-itli tlie weather?
To tlie last the weather man can give uo more satisfactory answer
than can the fiuaucial mau to the query about the stock market.
The opinion of the wisest goes for nothing, andtlie best sign is, that
people have stopped asking for opinions and recognize that PierreÂ¬
pont Morgan or Cornelius Vanderbilt kuow no more about it than
the newsboy who sells out his extras. Nothing surprises anybody in
Wall street auv longer; rate cuttiug is taken as a matter of course,
tornadoes are looked upou as uot belonging to anything out of the
ordinary, and it is doubtful if a money scare would have much
effect ou the preseut market, AU this i^ unnatural, and sometliing
must soon come out of it. and it will be wise to keep a little oil iu
the lamp to be prepared i'or auy emergeucy. TJie recent decision
of the Supreme Court discountenancing the arbitrary fixing of rates
by State authorities has had a reassuring influence upou the holders
of Granger stocks, in that it offers for time to come a means to
the railroads to protect themselves from legislation made in the
interest of the shipper ouly, the fear of ivliich has been a bugbear
to all the northwestern roads x^^i'ticularly for so many years.
General busiuess is satisfactory' iu volume but very unsatisfactory
as to profits: even print cloths which last year were exceptionally
profitable show now no margin to the manufacturer. In England
business men axe becoming a little uneasy, and manufacturers
view with alarm the tremendous increase iu the rate of wages, and
particulai-ly the price of coal, which, within the last few years, has
advanced eighty per cent., while aiiners' wages have increased
over fifty per cent, Onr export trade continues good, and it is
estimated that Great Britain must continue to buy largely om'
cotton, as her weekly consumption is about 55,500 bales per week,
which for twenty-seven weeks, until the new cotton yeqr begins,
would require 1,498,500 bales, while her stock is 968,500 bales,
which leaves a deficit of 530.000 bales, and if consumption should
be reduced to the stock it would require the stoppage of thii'ty-
four per cent, of the spindles of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain, This fact insures good market for our cotton, unless
business troubles overtake England.
So long as people have to travel ni a state of compression in
fetid elevated cars han^-ing on to straps; so long as a journey
to 155th street takes about as much time as it does to go half
.way to Philadelphia, the rapid transit question will exist in
New York. But, periodically the question becomes acute, and
it seems that just now it is again entering that state. For the
ninety-ninth time mutterings are heard from different quarters that
" something must be done." Of course there can be no doubt of
that. However, the question that should be asked is, " Why has
not something been done ere this?" Anyone that will take the
trouble to folly answer this question will find himself face to face
with a eonditiou of affairs the absurdity of which is without
parallel in the history of municipal affairs. Supposing a German
were to come to us and say, "Berlin is in a disgi'aceful conditionâ
citizens cannot get from one end of the city to the other except by
actually squeezing themselves into packed unhealthy cars that take
twice the time that is necessary to go from one place to another.
Ever.yone is grumbling and cursing, and the growth of the city is
impeded. Ach! it is disgraceful! Iu no civilized part of the world
has such a state of affairs ever existed:" the flrst thiug we should
probably say would be," Then why don't you change things?" " Ah!
we can't," says our German. " Why uot? Haven't you got enough
capital, or is it that only a small proportion of your people wish an
improvement?" " No no ! We have aU the capital we need and
more. Our bankers would furnish the money for any good scheme
in twenty-fom" hours; and as to our people ! Ah, they have al! been
clamoring and agitating for better transportation facilities for
years." " What is it then? Haven't you got the engineering skill
to carry out a good project? If that is so, come to us. We will
furnish you with the engineers." "Meinfriend, it is not that. Our
.engineers are the most learned and skillful m the world." "Eh?
Well then go ahead. I can't see anything to stop you. You all
want better transportation, and you have the money and the skill;
why don't you do something?" " Got in Himmel, I don't know. We
have been ti-ying for flfteen good years and we find we can do
absolutely nothing but talk and cry and lift our hands to heaven
and ask for 'adequate facilities.' " We sbould probably leave our
German friend at tbis point with a smile, wondering what sort of
people the Berliners were who, needing better transportation so
much and lacking neither money nor skill, were yet unable to
improve their condition. The mattei- would apjiear ludicrous.
But Berlin has her elevated roadsâone of the best systems of
intermural transportation in the worldâand it is smart enterprisÂ¬
ing New Yorkers who are on the tiss's back face to tail, moving in
an opposite direction to their as|iirations. " We must have rapid
transit," cries the sovereign people, aud that is all the good it has
done them iu the last decade. Why? Because they have inti-usted the
management of their affairs to a gang of scurvy politicians of both
parties who, getting their living out of " politics." make "politics"
of everything. If there had been anything deserving the name of
" government" at Albany, a government of serious and decent men,
the rapid transit matter would have been disposed of the first session
that it arose for discussion. We speak of the rapid transit " probÂ¬
lem " as though something mysterious and recondite bad to be
considered ; as though it were^a journey to Mars inatead of to the
Harlem River, the financial and engineering â 'difliculties" of
which could be settled by half a dozen competent and honest meu
in less than a fortnight. The fa'":t is that competent and honest
men have had very little to say in the matter. On the one side
there has been a disorganized public, a.nd on tbe other self-seeking
lawyers, politicians and proiierty-holders. We shall not have
rapid ti'ausit until the public takes the matter entirely out of the
hands of the lawyers and politicians, and having resolved honestly
to compensate property-holders for all damage they may suffer,
allow the iuterest of no individual to stand in the way of the conÂ¬
struction of the best road or roads. "Get honest" gentlemenâ
the public, lawyers and politicians alikeâand times will mend.
Some years ago it was the practice in many of the small retail
stores to hang out the followiiig sign : " If you do not see what
you want, ask for it." New Yorkers certainly do uot " see" rapid
transit, aud we are glad to observe that they are about finally to
ask for it. The resolution passed by the Legislative Committee
last Tuesday should, if anything, be stronger than-it was; it should
be followed up by a public meeting which will show Messrs. Fassett,
Grant, Hill & Co. that, dicker as they will with ballot reform and
license bills, they must accomplish something to forward rapid
transit in this city. Politicians are not very impressionable people.
They are perfectly well aware of their own strength aud the pubÂ¬
lic's weakness ; aud they will run counter to a great deal of talk,
provided it is not backed by more tangible means of coercion.
Consequently, it is well that the Legislative Committee has also
recommended that a committee of one hundred I'epresentative
property-owners should go to Albany and make themselves not
only heard but felt. A brute can understand a blow, although
impervious to argument; and our politicians have by no means
delicate organizations, aud need not be handled with gloves.
Above all, they should be made, carefully to understand that there
is to be no shifting of responsibility ; that if tlie Legislature send a
bill to Governor Hill which they know he will not si.gn, they wiil
not be held guiltless for the failure. At the writing it appears that
tbe Fassett bill, with the modifications which it has undergone in
Committee, will satisfy the fastidious taste of Governor HiU. CerÂ¬
tainly it removes the objection which, by implication, he urged
against the former bill, viz., that it abrogated a principle dear to
his heartâthat of local self-government. But the ways of politiÂ¬
cians are as devious as their motives ;ire apparent. The anti-Platt
Republicans in the Assembly have yet to be beard from, and it is
perfectly possible that, even though the bill be passed and signed,
there may be a disagreement between the Senate and Governor
on the personnel of the Commission. Furthermore, Mr. Platt, in
giving his Honor the deciding vote on partisan matters, must he
very sure that we are going to elect an anti-Tammany Mayor next
fall. We are not ont of the woods yet, nor wili we be even when
the bOl is signed. Not, indeed, until the franchise is actually sold,
can we afford to draw a sigh of relief. Even uuder the bill itself,
there are so mauy different parties in interest to be satisfied that
there will probably be a long squabble before any route is settled
It is perhaps just as well that the Chapin project for abridge over
the East River has failed in the Senate Committee, Thei-e is not any
question, indeed, but that new facilities are needed, and tbat with
all convenient dispatch; buc they can be more cheaply, more expeÂ¬
ditiously provided by tho building of a couple of tunnels and the
strengthening of the present structure. Better terminal facilitrics
will do much to increase tbe carrying capacity of tlie bridge; and
if, in addition to the terminal?, provision could be made for the
running of heavier trains, it is probable that the i>resent crush