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September 1. 1888
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
191 Broadway, N.Y.
ONE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communicatioas should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway,
J. T, LINDSEY, Business Manager.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1883.
Real Estate dealera, auctioneers, brokers and owners are invited
to send a postal card to the offl.ce of The Record and Guide as to
whether they are or are not in favor of the formation of an Ex¬
change which would deal exclusively in real estate. We wish to
get an expression of opinion on this matter from bona fide real
estate people. If a sufficient number favor the project, it will be an
easy matter for those interested to come together and organize
such an institution from the list so collected.
Citizens' committees are being organized in all the principal
cities to try and effect reforms in municipal matters. The good
work of the Committee of One Hundred in Philadelphia has
borne fruit, and the example of what Mayor Low has effected iu
Broolvlyn has had its effect. In New York the Citizens' Aasocia-
tiou of last year is again in tiie Qeld, but we fear it is
being engineered for purely personal ends. Ita published
prograuioie is provokingly vague. Nothing is said about the
necessity for responaible government, indeed all it aima to effect is
a balance of power party, eo that it can make terms with the lead¬
ers of the other parties. That is to say the newspapers are to be
used to help the political fortunes of certain lawyers who are in
league with Simon Sterne and company. This was all the Citizens'
Association amounted to last year. Tax payers and others who
desire good government should distrust any party which does not
call for responsible executives in place of boards, commissions and
legislative bodies. Then the reformers should make it plain to the
public that they are not office seekers themselves. If there is a
justifiable suspicion that the Citizens' Association is simply
intended to make certain lawyers candidates for judicial positions
it will certainly come to grief.
Some of tbe financial journals are looking for gold shipments
hitherward early in October. It is pointed out that the commer¬
cial balance of trade in our favor last year was $126,000,000. It is
also noted that while our exports promise to be as large as laat
year, our imports show a decided reduction. But there is sonie doubt
about our importing gold. It certainly will not take place while
the market rate of interest on the bourses of Europe ia higher than
it is in New York. Then, have not the English and Continental
investors paid the debt by the sale of American securities during
the past spring and summer? Like other investors, Englishmen
sell on a falling market and buy only when prices are rising. If
we should have gold imports, or even a hope that the yellow metal
will reach our shores, it will entirely change the temper of Wall
street, and the liquidation which has been in process for some time
would be arrested. Indeed, temporarily, the current would be
reversed. We are inclined to believe that sometime this fall
there will be a recovery in prices, and a better feeling in trade as
well as in Wall street.
The article on "Frozen Facts," in last, week's Rbcord and
Guide, was copied in part by a city journal, but the paragraph
quoted contained an error of the types which waa very provoking.
We tried to point out that the greenbacker's theory of the value of
the government fiat was justified by the different estimates put by
the business world upon the greenback, the trade dollar and the
standard dollar. But the word "not" somehow crept in, and
made us appear to say the very reverse of the point we wished to
make. In the current discussions about silver money it is taken
for granted that the government, by its fiat, cannot give value to
a metal which has depreciated ; but the trade dollar controversy
shows how mistaken is this view. The standard dollar contains
seven grains less silver thau the tradeldollar, yet the latter is driven
out of circulation, and no one will now take them in exchange for
a standard dollar. Then there is the greenback and the bank note,
which have no intrinsic value whatever, yet they are preferred to
coin for transacting ordinary business. Yet were one to heed the
lamentations of the daily press over the silver coinage it would be
supposed we were to be swamped by a worthlesa currency, when—
as we have demonstrated in these columns—were we to keep on
coining silver dollars up to the end of this century, their parity
with gold would always be maintained. This has been proved by
the history of France, where, with a population of 20,000,000 less,
there is four times the silver afloat in the banks and iu the hands
of the people than the total of our silver coinage.
Now that the Northern Pacific road has been completed, the time
has come to place a just estimate upon the services of the very re¬
markable man who has brought that great enterprise to a success¬
ful iasue. Henry Villard is of German birth aud started in life as
a poor journalist. In eighteen years be has achieved wealth aud
distinction without at the same time compromising his good name.
He has put brains, hard work and honest money iuto the great trans¬
continental line with which his name will alwaysbeindisaolubly
connected, but so far no finauoial scandel smirches his fair fame.
The road is well constructed and will be a benefit for evermore to
the vast regions of country it passes through. It is a public im¬
provement of vital importance, not only to the great Northwest
and the Paciflc coast but to the whole nation. If the victor of
many battlefields ranks below the man who makes two blades of
grass grow where one grew before, what is to be said of Henry
Villard who has opened up vast sections of wild country for settle
ment? Within a few years hundreds of thousands of happy homes
will be planted from Lalte Superior to the Pacific Ocean on lands
which now form part of a vast wilderness.
The Record and Guide has not regarded any of the new trans¬
continental roads as being good investments for persons who
wished to get a certa'.n raturn for their outlay of money ; but
there can be no question as to the great value of these new lines to
the country tbey pass through aud to tlie nation at large. From a
large and national point of view these enterprises are more than
justified. We cannot overdo railroad building iu the long run, for,
as Poor in his last Manual points oui;, we will need eventually
over 300,000 miles of road, whereas the close of this year will see
only 115,000 miles completed.
The Northi^rn Pacific may yet cause grievous losses to its pro¬
jectors but they can fairly claim to have subserved public ends by
honorable means. So far as known there has been no designedly
dishonest statements made to tlie public. Presideut Villard even
now is engaged in an excellent work. He is advertising the
country and especially the Northwest by giving German publicists,
capitalists and editors a chance to see with their own eyes the
marvellously rich regions he has opened up to settlement and
Should this enterprise meet with uo disaster financially Mr. Vil¬
lard will take his place as the very foremost man iu WaU street.
Vanderbilt has retired and Jay Gould cannot, iu the course of
nature, long retain his present commanding position. Sbould Mr,
Villard come to the front it would purify the financial atmosphere,
for he is a man of honor, culture and commanding character.
Curing the Woes of Labor.
The Congressional Committee who are enquiring into the condi¬
tion of the laboring classes will be very much puzzled in making
up their report. The remedies for the poverty of the masses sug¬
gested by the various witnesses are so diverse and conflicting, that
the commission will probably ignore them all and submit some
vague recommendations of their own. Inquiries like these are con¬
ducted in a somewhat better fashion in Great Britain. There in¬
vestigations are undertaken by experts, whose reports to Parlia¬
ment are of very great value, as they cover the whole ground, and
are summarized by some of the ablest literary and scientific men in
the United Kingdom.
But this labor investigation will not be without its value. It
shows at least the tendencies of current speculative theories. It
will be noticed that nearly all the schemes involve the use of the
central authority. The democratic dogmas which demanded liberty
of action, and which resented the interference of government in
the conduct of human affairs are no longer popular among
the working classes. It is evident now that the central govern¬
ment exercises a powerful influence over the well-being of the
community, and that the highest good is not attained by setting
free the selflsh passions of men to spend their forces in acquiring
property at the expense of their fellows. Common schools, public
parks, the courts, the police, and even the tariff, are ali due to a
kind of communal spirit, in which the state or nation undertakes
to provide for the general good. Hence it is to be noticed that
among the recommendations made to the Congressional Commit¬
tee nearly all involve the idea of enlarged powers by the general
government. The latter is asked to nationalize the telegraph, to
institute bureaus to look after the interests of labor and transporta¬
tion ; the post office is to carry parcels, and more than one of the
witnesses urge the government to work the mines of the nation for
the benefit of the country at large. Thia last may seem impracti¬
cable, but in ancient Greece the precious metal mines were worked