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RECORD AND GUIDE.
â DrVoTEi) TO FlEAL CfnAn. ^\Tilu^t #^rrECTURE .HouseUoid DegorjudiI*
BusitJEss aiJd Themes of GstIer^. IjftERfsT.
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS
Pabtished eVerv Saturdag
Communlcationa should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-liS Vesey Street, New YorK
J. T. LINDSEY, Buaineaa ManaEs'
Telephone, Cortlandt 1370
'Entered at the Post Office at New Tark, N. Y., as second-class matter.'
OCTOBER 12, 1901.
DURING all the recent decline in stock market Quotations tbe
professional bear "policy bas been decidedly skippish, and
it was the continued liquidation that forced prices down more
than professional sales for the short account. It was not surprisÂ¬
ing, then, that the shorts rushed to cover on a seemingly authenÂ¬
tic report tbat the financing of tbe big railroad combinations
made in the past year was about to be begun. The shorts' idea
was tbat if^such were the facts tbe best financial opinion in the
country had reached the conclusion tbat tbe time had arrived
when tbis work, which must be done sooner or later, could be
begun with certainty of securing a favorable public and an
equally favorable money market. In carrying out the work it
would be necessary, during the preliminaries at least, to throw
strong support into the market, in which case any one short cTc
stocks would suffer severely. Though the story was denied, the
market remained strong until the close of the week, and the
Street were still unwilling to receive this denial with confidence.
The theoretical position taken was quite sound: K the great railÂ¬
road purchases, made to control territory, are to be put before
the public in the shape of new issues of securities, it may unÂ¬
doubtedly be taken as an expression of tbe best kind of opinion
on the general situation and stock market quotations would
advance, first on interested, and later on public buying; but, so
far, the quotations themselves do not indicate tbe presence of any
extraordinary stimulant to an advance, and the changes of the
week may just as readily be attributed to one of these rallys that
come at intervals in a declining market as a consequence of techÂ¬
nical conditions, as to the report mentioned, especially as the
downward movement bad previously continued practically withÂ¬
out interruption for. three weeks.
HAR'RASS'E'D by present and threatened by further penal
statutes, tbe property-owner, no matter what bis political
predilections, must have read with a sense of satisfaction one
sentence in tbe speech of acceptance of tbe Democratic nominee
for Mayor, which was: "I have not made, nor shall I ever make,
any promise that any law on the statute book shall not be enÂ¬
forced. Nor will I, on tbe other hand, promise that, if I be
elected, tbe Mayor will subordinate the great vital functions of
his administration to a futile, corrupting, blackmailing effort to
enforce every one of the vast number of misdemeanor statutes
whicb, as I have said, turn into nominal crimes acts which in
themselves are perfectly innocent."
NOT unnaturally, German finan-cial circles are becoming anÂ¬
noyed and alarmed by the attention that is heing given
abroad to the dark side of their situation, while little or none is
given to tbe other. They frankly admit tbat business is bad,
and that a good many industrial concerns have been brought to
tbe groundânot without scandal. But they say these are comÂ¬
paratively few, while there are fifty-five hundred joinc stock
companies in the Empire, tbe most of wbich, by their prudent
policy of tbe boom years 1895-1900, are riding the storm safely.
They urge, too, tbat nearly all the companies that have been
brought to the ground through fraudulent practices were viewed
for years with suspicion at home, and their failure therefore did
not come as such a shock there as it did abroad. All this means
that the decline in business in Germany is accompanied by only
the same unwholesome disclosures that appear in similar moveÂ¬
ments elsewhere, and tbat inherent, basic conditions are as sound
there as elsewhere. Tbis is true; but it does not alter the fact
that times are hard for a good many concerns in Germany,
amounting to an industrial depression, and foreigners have to
take this fact into account as well as the proportions of the
rascality divulged in forming opinions of tbe general situation
and credit. Business throughout Europe continues to be deÂ¬
pressed, but tbe facts regarding Germany have more prominence
because of tbe continued exposure of rottenness in ber banking
circles. Contracting trade and industry are still evidenced by
tbe decreasing volume of foreign trade in every country publish-'
ing returns, and by the failure of national income to meet expenÂ¬
ditures, which one head of tbe Treasury announces after another.
Still, the conditions in the financial market are a little better
than they'were a week ago. Money ia not so tight and governÂ¬
ment bonds higher, which, though all tbat can be said at present
is better than having to say there is no spark of encouragement
The Latest Swindle.
~P" HE ingenuity of Man is always an interesting study, but
^ often it possesses a peculiar piquancy when manifested in
an attempt to make a iiving entirely at the expense of "the other
fellow." Every trade and profession can furnish its examples of
tricks and devices originated by swindlers, usually along the
line of some perversion of legitimate conditions and practices.
Were some enquiring mind to compile for us a list of swindles
and malpractices, grouping them in classes or types, with the
necessary historical dissertation, we should surely have an
amusing, if not a valuable, volume.
The author of sucb a work would discover not a little material'
for bis purpose within the limits of tbe real estate and building
trades. Indeed, some of his most valuable "finds" would be
made in those fields, for apparently tbe ground here is very
fruitful, and the looseness and multiplicity of transactions in
these industries offer special inducements for indirect and shady
methods of gaining a livelihood. Everyone who .has had any
experience within these trades is acquainted with the commoner
"lay-outs" that have been devised from time to time by the
genius of rascality to trap tbe incautious and the ignorant; and
everyone, too, is more or less on the lookout for new modificaÂ¬
tions of the old games, which, like the tricks of beggars, are
undergoing constant development. The cork-leg, the sightless
eye, tbe distortions of paralysisâall these "make-ups" of the inÂ¬
digents' trade are effective in proportion to tbeir novelty. In
like manner with trade swindles, there is a perpetual need for
something new, and as at times, by force of inspiration or happy
chance, new swindles, particularly deceptive and efficient, are
concocted, it is not always possible even for the wary to avoid
The latest "lay-out" worked in the buiiding trades is of a
particularly subtle and offensive character. It pertains at present
to tbe work of plastering only, but as the game can be quite as
effective in other departments of construction, we may watch
witb certainty for its extension. A, let us say, is a builder on his
own account about to commence the construction of a tenement
or an apartment house. He is approached by B, a plasterer, who
desires tbe contract in his own line of trade. As though to obtain
tbis.B makes certain representations regarding his capability and
responsibility, and quotes prices to whicb A listens, resulting'
for tbe time being in a negative or an indefinite result. ThereÂ¬
after A sees no more of B until he, A, has given out bis written
contract for the plastering of his buildings to D. Then B reapÂ¬
pears, protesting that he holds a "verbal" contract from A for
the work. Perhaps, as in one case we know of, B, to strengthen
bis position and give it a greater air of plausibility, enters A's
buildings on Saturday afternoon, or at some other "off" time,
when workmen are not on the premises, and then rapidly plasters
the side of a wall or a few square yards of ceiling.
In support of his bogus claim, B promptly places a lien on the
job for the full amount of tbe alleged "verbal" contract. Of
course, if A is a man possessed of large capital, and happily quite
indifferent as to the effect of this act upon his commercial credit
with other contractors, and is at the same time independent of
building loans, he can by slow process of law worry out of his
predicament. But if he is not so easily circumstancedâ^and how
very few are?âhe is seriously threatened witb disaster. His
creditors become alarmed. In the contention between himself
and tbe fraudulent plasterer B, even A's friends are liable to be
But even with this, his specific trouble is not over; for, as soon
as D, the bona fide contractor, puts bis men to work on A's
building, B steps in, demands a place for his workmen, resulting
in the dispute being carried to tbe union by tbe walking deleÂ¬
gate. Now, tbe union is not a court of law. It cannot decide
the issue; and what, in the name of justice, can 'be done but
leave tbe warring contractors to fight it out, making tbe job in
the meantime one of "days' l-abor!"âso the union judicially
determines. Tbe delegate, of course, is installed as foreman, and
after tbat life goes easily and even merrily with those plasterers.
Opposition to this on the part of A is useless, unless A is preÂ¬
pared for a strike; and that, of course, would mean delay and
still further loss of credit and cash. A can do nothing but accept