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Maroh 8, 1884
The Record and Guide
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
Published every Saturday.
191 Broadway, N. Y.
ONE ¥EAR;^ iu advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications ahould be addressed to
€. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MAECH 8, 1884.
The paaaage of the Roosevelt bill through the LegiBlature is
justly a matter of felicitation with our citizens, but only because
it ought to lead to other and more vital reforms. The Record and
Guide was the first paper in the city to declare that the time had
come to add to the authority of our executives and cut short the
power of legislative bodies. A Congress or a Legislature, like any
other coi-poration, Is irresponsible; it has neither a body to be
kicked nor a soul to be damned. "We have always held that the
Tweed charter, w^hioh concentrated municipal power in the hands
of four men and reduced the Board of Aldermen to a nullity, waa
the very bept charter New York ever had, as it brought responsi¬
bility home to tbe wrongdoers. Our articles published within the
last two or three years, saying that the only cure for our municipal
woes was to give the Mayor both the authority and the responsi¬
bility for every department of the city government, expressed views
now very generally held. We denounced the so-called citizens'
movement because it had no such programme, and was an organi¬
zation simply to advance the private fortunes of certain ambitious
lawyers. The daily press, however, are now repeating arguments
which w^ere worn threadbare in these columns.
People who live above Eighty-sixth street, between the Fifth
and Third avenues, are very de;irous that there should be an exten¬
sion of the Madison avenue cars to the Harlem River. A large
number of property-holders are urging Mr. Wm. H. Vanderbilt,
who alone haa the power to do so, to make the extension, but he
and his family are reluctant; they say it would be ten years before
the region between Eighty-sixtli street and the Harlem River
would pay for a horae-car line ; but the subject will not be allowed
to sleep, and there are many property-holders interested who are
of the opinion that the extension will be completed before the close
of the present year. It will inevitably lead to another change.
The entire length of Madison avenue to Forty-second street will be
run by cable. It will be remembered that some time since the
Harlem Company came into possession of a great deal of vacant
property at Eighty-sixth street and Madison avenue ; this ground
will be utilized for the steam and cable works needed to propel the
cars up and down Madison avenue. This matter has been thor¬
oughly investigated, and it is believed that the cable service would
not only be cheaper than horae power, but would save time and be
much pleasanter riding. It is to be hoped that Mr. Vanderbilt will
yield to the pressure, for there is real need of a surface road service
between the Third and the Eighth avenues.
The Chamber of Commerce declares for bi-metallism. It says the
metallic money of tho|country should consist of gold and silver coin
of "interchangeable relative value." This is what the American
Commissioners tried to bring about at the Paris Conference. Had
they been successful silver would be coined in all countries as
freely as gold, at a ratio say of 16 to 1. The benighted Herald
declares it cannot understand what the Chamber of Commerce
means by the phrase quoted above, and then it goes on to say :
That a fiaancial crisis is at hand no one will claim; but a continnance
of the present silver policy must eventually precipitate the crisis that has
been foreseen from the very beginning. In France the Director of the
Mint says there is silver circulating to the amount of five hundred and
forty million dollars; and in Germany, where a gold standard prevails,
two hundred and fourteen million dollars. In the United States wo have
about two hundred and thirty million dollars. The difference is, without
any doubt, due to the absence of paper notes of small denominations in
the former countries. Thus in France the smallest note is fifty francs, or
ten dollars. Where, as in thia country, paper issues of one and two dol¬
lars are common, there is little opportunity for silver to circulate as coin.
The present time seems a fitting one to stop printing such bills, and the
Chamber recommends this step to be taken, Already several banks in
this city and elsewhere have signified their willingness to take silver dol¬
lars in lieu of small notes, so that it is not likely that any determined oppo¬
sition will be made to the proposed change.
Now if France has $540,000,000 of silver in circulation, with a
■ population of 87,000,000, and the United States only $330,000,000,
with a population of 55,000,000, where does the crisis which appals
the Herald come in. There has never been any premium on gold
in France, uor has it been driven out of the country, for France,
with 18,000,000 lesa population, bas nearly $300,000,000 more gold
than tbe United Statea. The demand of the Chamber of Commerce
for Congress to withdraw the ones and twos is timely and should
A Good Prospect This Spring.
This paper has always endeavored to deal fairly with the real
estate interests. When realty waa under a cloud and its outlook
unpromising we bave always said so, though holders of real estate
and unsold buildings were very reluctant to have the facts known ;
but we have held that the first consideration of a newspaper was
to tell the truth and not to give currency to pleasant delusions.
From 1874 to 1878 The Record and Guide was what might be
called a bear-paper, "We held out no illusive hopes of a revival in
business when all the tendencies were in quite a different direc¬
tion. During December and January just past we were inclined
to be somewhat bearish, for, together with the very best judges of
the market, we thought that the prices of houses as well as rentals
would be lower than they were last year. But we are happy to
confess that in that particular forecast we were mistaken. The
comparison we give in another column between the Conveyances,
Mortgages and Projected Buildings of the month of February in
1883 and 1884 shows a large balance in favor of this year. There
has been no diminishing of rents worthy of mention, the number
of transactions and the amounts invested are larger this year than
last, while the mortgage indebtedness created by the new transac¬
tions is less. If building goes on as projected, the total this year
will exceed last year by many millions of dollars. These are not
rosy statements meant to help the market; they are justified by
the figures w^e give in this week's paper.
There are'several causes operating to help sustain the real estate
market. Money is cheap, and its owners are looking out for invest¬
ments. The stock market has proven a delusion and a snare dur¬
ing the last two years and a-half to the most far-seeing and pru¬
dent of investors. General business during the same period has
been unprofitable, but real estate has had no "boom," pricea are
normal, the city is growing rapidly and there is a constant and
increasing demand both for residences and stores. There is plenty
of property which will brmg from 5 to 9 per cent., and real estate
has about it an element of certainty which is very tempting to
conservative investors. Were our laws such as to permit the cheap,
easy and rapid transfers of real eatate, there would soon be a veri¬
table boom in realty. It would attract all the unemployed money
of the country, but unhappily our existing lawa make titles inse¬
cure. It takes a month to search a title, and the costs are inordi¬
nate. Tbis is the only impediment to-day to a great speculative
movement in real property.
All the indications are for a very active spring trade, the sales¬
room is crowded whenever a good piece of property is offered, and
the bidding generally exceeds tbe expectations of tbe auctioneers
and their clients.
That Legal Tender Decision.
Some time since The Recoed and Goide urged that a national
convention be called to revise tbe constitution of the United States,
to meet, say, on the anniversary of the adoption of our present con¬
stitution, some eight years hence. The proposition attracted more
or less attention throughout the country, but the leading news¬
papers declined to discuss the matter. We ventured to predict,
however, that a reconsideration of our fundamental law was inevi¬
table and that something would soon occur to revive the idea of
extensive alterations in the constitution, which could only be for¬
mulated by a national convention. Surely enough numberless
papers are now insisting upon an amendment to the constitution
to counteract the effect of the recent legal tender decision of the
Supreme Court of the United Statea. The highest court in the
nation has solemnly endorsed the theories of the cranks who have
been advocating unlimited greenbacks and fiat or law-made
money. Mankind in all ages has understood that the government
stamp must recognize only the actual value of the coin upon which
it is impressed. A government treasury note without any basis of
actual value which cannot be converted into gold or silver is simply
a printed lie and all the governments in the world, backed by the
courts of every nation, could not make that piece of paper other
than a lie. The philosopher, Hume, long ago explained that what¬
ever lacked weight and extension could not be mado into some¬
thing by any decree of man. The dollar under our Supreme
Court's decision ia a myth, a dream, a metaphysical entity, having
no basis of fact—that is, neither weight nor size to give it
This decision is as monstrous and will have almost as important
effects as the famous Dred Scott deciaion. That was an offense to
the moral sense of the nation. The recent legal tender decision ia
an insult to the common sense of mankind. Two things ought to