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The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
191 Broadway, N. Y.
DECEMBER 9—16, 1882.
PRICE OF RECORD AND GUIDE.
Per Annum, . . . .
Record and Guide, Single Copy,
With Supplement, ♦ -
allowed to tear up our streets and bring travel to a sland-still in
order to lay pipes which begin by exploding themselves, and will
end by exploding the company. It seems that after these two
steam-heating companies get through, there is still another to enter
the field and keep our streets impassable, A third company pro¬
poses to lay pipes to distribute super-heated water, which is to fly
into steam when delivered at its destination in every house. So
our principal down town busiriess thoroughfares are likely to bo
kept disturbed for some time to come.
The President, the leading members of Congress of both i>aities,
the Tariff Commission and the press of all grades of public, opinion,
are agreed that the internal revenues should be simplified and
reduced, that the tariff should be so altered as to make a reduction
in the duties of at least 20 per cent., that many articles should
be put upon the free list, and that such duties as bear hard on
manufacturers and shipbuilders should be swept away. This being
the unanimous feeling, why should not Congress effect these
changes during the present session. The business of the country
cannot recover until it is definitely known under what conditions
production shall ,^o on; manufacturers cannot produce nor mer¬
chants purchase, except from hand to mouth, whf?n a change is
impending in our laws wliich may reduce the market price of
goods, Pjoduction is checked in the face of a declining market.
If the present Congress will not address itself to this needed task
—and it is to be feared it will not—then should the press of the
whole country voice the demand of the business public for the
new Congress to come together on tbe 4th of March, next, to
finally settle this tariff and tax business. The expected change
will make business uuU, and probably lead to numerous failures;
but from the moment the President signs the amended tax and
tariff bills we may expect to see a greafc impetus given to produc¬
tion in every department of business. It is a grave public misfor¬
tune thafc in this age of rapid communication and quick action in
the transaction of business, we should in legislative matters be at
the mercy of the class of pottering, procrastinating lawyers who
compose the great body of our national legislators. Our anti¬
quated constitutional methods of effecting needed reforms incur
laws is a reflection upon the good sense of the American people.
Unless Congress acts promptly, there can be no general recovery
of business, aud Congress, we fear, will not act.
The New York Sun says:
" The Constitution of the United States should be so amended as to
empower the Preadent to veto one or more items of an appropriation bill
while approving the rest of the bill."
But the trouble is that the Constitution requires amending from
end to end. It was framed for three millions of people nearly a
hundred years ago, before the era of telegraph and railways, and it
is oufc of relation witii the nation as it exists to-day. The war for
the suppi'ession of the rebellion had to be fought outside the Consti¬
tution, indeed, in defiance of it. Its machinery for electing a Pres¬
ident has utterly broken down. The Electoral College performs its
duty in a very different way from that prescribed by the Constitu¬
tion. Wo were saved from civil war in 1872 because the candidate of
the Democratic party was a timid, procrastinating old lawyer, who
lacked the grit to insist upon his rights. Our Supreme Court needs
remodeling, for it denies justice, as a new suit entered to-day can¬
not be considered under three years' time. Amending the Consti¬
tution is almost out of the question, owing to the cumbrous machi¬
nery devised for making alterations. The Constitution is a ridicu¬
lously antiquated document and needs changing from "A to
Izzard," We are within six years of the end of the century which
saw the adoption of the Constitution, and we ought to have a brand
new one before the incoming of the 20th century. What we need
is a National Constitutional Convention.
Professor Rossiter W. Raymond has written an article explaining
the cause of the leakage and explosions of the steam pipes which
are being laid under Broadway. He says the nuisance is entirely
due to one company—the American, which is attempting to do its
work cheaply, and without infringing on the Holly patents.
Instead of using the " expansion " joints of the New York Company,
it has constructed "stuffing boxes" at the street corners to take up
the expansion of the mains through each block. All steam engi¬
neers know how impossible it is to keep stuffing boxes tight.
Leakages are inevitable, and Prof. Raymond regards the work of
this company as a nuisance which should be abated by the strong
hand of the law. It shows the chaotic character of our local Gov-
erumeut, wlieu aa ixapecunious or a foolishly-managed company is
Individuality in Household Decoration.
The past ten yeara has seen a marvellous change in the interior
of our houses. The aesthetic movement begun by Eastlake, William
Morris and the much-ridiculed Anglo-sesthetic school, has wholly
reformed the styles of furniture, wall paper and general interior
decoration. It cannot be said, however, that all the changes have
been improvements. Nbt because of the laclc of any taste or skill
on the part of the originators of the reform, but on account of thw
want of good sense and artistic trammg of the well-to-do classes
who wish to be in the fashion, by redecorating their homes in con¬
formity with high art.
On the one hand, there was a natural desire to utilize the stores of
furniture constructed in what maybe termed the pre-artistic period.
It was difficult to get mechanics to change their metJiods, for wo
had then no American schools of design where they might
receive the necessary instruction. This resulted in compromises
between the old order of things and the new theories, which has
led to much incongruous fitting and altering of the in:erior of many
homes. Instead of being an ensemble, many a pretentious parlor is
a piece of patch-work, in which the ugly old forms have to do duty
side by side with furniture and decorations, the product of more
recent times. As the years pass by, this incongruity will be
remedied by the gradual disuse of the older patterns of furnituro
and the substitution of the more artistic varieties now manu¬
factured. But no thorough reform will be effected until the true
principles of art, as applied to household decoration, are better
understood by our wealthy people as well as by the artizans
themselves. Then, again, there is a slavish spirit of subserviency
abroad to certain authorities on artistic decoration. The heads of
houses—whether of the sterner or softer sex—having no cultivated
taste of their own in such matters, are apt to defer to that of some
artist who has achieved distinction in his art. In formative
periods, when fashions are changing, it is the most pronounced and
extravagant exponents of the new school wlio attract the most
attention. It is Oscar Wilde, rather thau Ruskin, Eastlake and
Morris, who is supposed to represent the new movement. Hence,
there will be seen in many otherwise well-ordered houses, an imita¬
tion of an outre school of decoration which may, in a sense, be
artistic, bufc which is not subordinated to good taste.
Every house, as well as every home, should be individualized.
It should be an expression of the good sense and artistic instincts
of those by whom it is occupied. Ifc is not to be expected that
wealthy people are to be their own architects, artists or decorative
designers, but they ought to be able to tell what they want, and
then depend upon professional skill to give form to their ideas.
Several of the so-called schools of art should be discredited fot
having used a certain set of ideas in all their works. Tiffany, for
instance, has achieved some distinction by ornate and fanciful
paintings and designs. But his mystical fancies are singularly out
of place on some subjects. His decoration of Dr. Chapin's church
is a case in poinfc. To the back of the minister is a fantastic figure
which has bet^n irreverently described as "Oscar Wilde in night
dress." There is nothing about ifc that suggests connection with the
Christian religion or any of the legends of the church. Ifc would
be far more in place aa an adornment to a music hall. But Tiffany
is tne fashion in certain circles, and his abstract and fancifuv
designs make their appearance in connection with the most incon¬
There is a great field in this country for the artist, the architect
and the decorator who has ideas of his own, provided they are
subordinated to the acknowledged principles of true art. We are
growing in population and wealth, and articles of taste and luxury
are becoming more and more in demand. We need more thorough
schools and more scientific training, but more than all, wo need
patrons of art, who shall be nofc only good critics, but who can
themselves help the designer by telling him ^vhafc is required. Iu
other words, we want greater individuality in all constructive
work connected with our houses and homes.
The Tribune is giving Congress very good advice. It recom¬
mends the passage of the tariff as amended by the very much
abused, but very intelligent, tariff commission. If alter<»d at all, it
should be iu the direction pf lower duties on all articles used by
manufacturers and shipbuilders. But the amendments need not
take a week to consider. The new tariff might be signed, by the
President; oy the fifteenth of January. Theu i£ all internal taxes