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Uaroh 15, 1^4
The Record and Guide
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
Published every Saturday.
)1 Broadway, N.
ONE TEAR, io advance, !^1X DOLLARS.
CoEomunicattoiiB ahould be addreased to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T, LINDSEY. Business Manager.
MARCH 15. 1884.
The propoaed building law doea not seem to be mailing much
headway at Albany. Some difficulty appears to have arisen in
regard to the Board of Arbitration and the power to be vested in
the hands of the Superintendent of Buildings. Thai ofScial at
present has large discretionary powers, and it would be well should
the law be made more specific bo as to strip the oflice of tlie almoBt
unlimited authority which it now confers upon the holder. It is
stated in more than one quarter that Inapector Esterbrook will not
long be retained in his present capacity. No doubt)|many builders
in thia city would hail with satisfaction his removal, but are they
sure that he may not be succeeded by a politician who will work
the office for all it is worth ? It is, of cour9e, imperative that the
law should be so amended as to define the duties of the Superin¬
tendent in certain cases, but should it not be so amended, who is
to guarantee the builders of this city from being harrassed ten
times aa much as they complain of being at present ? The board
of experts propoaed is the only safeguard agaiast any abuse of
power, wittingly or otherwise, by the present or future superin¬
tendent. This body would be composed of six experts, to whom
architects, builders and othera would be able to appeal against the
decisions of tlie inspector should they feel aggrieved thereat. To
provide against frivolous appeals a deposit of twenty-five dollars
would be required, to be forfeited should the decision be against
the appellant. Such a provision should undoubtedly be embodied
in the new measure, as it would ensure the owners of property in
this city from being unnecessarily harrassed by the Inapector of
Buildings, be he erratic and competent or incapable and corrupt.
To show the glorious uncertainty of our laws, a case or rather
two cases have occurred which ought to make our judiciary the
laughing stock of the country. The "VVeBiern Union Telegraph
Company is testing ita rights of way in several States of the Union,
among others Massachuaetta and Illinois. Of course, in each
inatance the case was tried in a United States court. In these two
States a decision has been rendered during the past week. The
facts io each case were preciselyaiike, but in one court the decision
was in favor of the telegraph company and in the other against it.
If the press would only emphasize tbe frequent folly of our courts,
their waste of time and money, and the needless expense of the
legal machiaery of this country, they would be doing a public
service. The appalling disclosures of the results of receiverships
in the cases of corporations attract no attention from the press.
The point has never been made that England cau hang its murder¬
ers within a couple of months after the commission of a crime, but
even so obvious a murderer as Guiteau was allowed to live a year
after his deliberate murder of the chief magistrate of the country
in open day and in the presence of scores of witnesses. The legal
fetich ia atill worahipped by the American press and public.
will be remembered that a scheme similar to this was suggested in
The Record and Guide a short time since. At any rate, tbe ele¬
vator at the corner of One Hundred and Sixteenth atreet and
Eighth avenue is a fixed fact.
Are We Drifting into War?
The Lasker business has been a huge blunder from the start.
The resolutiona should never have been passed by our Congress.
It was taking sides in a party contest within a nation with which
we were on friendly terma. Then the State Department is to
blame. It published Minister Sargent's private dispatches about
Germany's action on the pork question. These were free and easy
comments upon the German government, which is permissible in
all ministers, but wbich are held sacred by the home government.
Of course, the publication caused Mr. S&,rgent to be put on an
unfriendly footing with Bismarck, and now thia same Secretary
Frelinghuysen adds insult to injury by insinuating in hia dispatch
that Bismarck was impertinent and that he did not represent the
German nation. Bismarck's return of the resolutions was cour¬
teous in terms, and no fault could be found with the wording of
his dispatch. Representative Hiscock's resolution in the House
was also insulting to Prince Bismarck. All this crimination and
recrimination for nothing would not amount to much if the United
States were in a position to resent insult or was a naval power of
the meanest pretensions. But while we have all the conceit of a
really powerful nation in war, we are, as a matter of fact,
pitiably and contemptibly weak as a naval power. We are utterly
unprotected. If anybody wishes to know how powerless we are,
let them read the article on the subject in the March numher of the
North American Review. Bismarck could capture our wholecoast,
including Washington and New York, within aix weeks after a dec¬
laration of war. We have neither navy nor guns, nor could we get
any defences for our harbors in less than three years. As the writer
in the North American points out, our torpedo system, which is
our vague panacea for foreign aggression, is utterly useless with¬
out guns to protect torpedo works from the assaults of the enemy.
We are actually drifting into a war in which we will be utterly
defenceless. A treaty of peace is about to be concluded between
Germany and Russia. There is alao existing treaties between Ger¬
many, Austria, Italy and Spain. Fiance will be powerless to help
us, and England will only be too glad to see the great Republic
crippled and humiliated. Of course, Germany's only object would
be plunder, and she ceuld probably exact as heavy an indemnity
from the United State* as ahe did from France. If we escape a
war, it will not be because of any exercise of wisdom on the part
of the State Department, Ck>ngres9, or the American press.
John H. Sherwood, John D. Crimmins, Edward King, Daniel R.
KendaU and Simon Sterne have organized a company to be called
the "North Central Park Improvement Company," which, with a
capital of |100,000, intends to erect certain buildings on Eighth
avenue, above tbe park, which will form a new departure in
elevated road travelling in this city. These gentlemen intend to
erect one or more bouaes at one of the corners extending from One
Hundred and Fifteenth to One Hundred and Eighteenth streets.
The peculiarity of these houses is that they will contain elevators
which can be used by persons who wish to ride up or down upon the
Metropolitan Road. The One Hundred and Sixteenth stree"; station
is now sixty feet from the street below, and, of course, is a severe
strain upon women, and sick and aged persons. Tbe elevator,
however, will make it the most popular station of any on the
other sections of tlie west or east aide roada. There are rumors
that, aa soon as the trouble between the Manhattan and Metropol¬
itan is arranged, that the Manhattan Company will acquire title to
the houses adjoining, all stations, both on the east and west
Bide, with a view to improving them and putting in elevators for
The Policy to Pursue.
Every intelligent business man will agree that the first duty of
American citizens is to amend the constitution;so as to nullify the
recent dangerous decision of the Supreme Court giving Congress
power to cie&te fiat money, or perhaps, to speak more accurately,
to issue any amount of paper as a legal tender without demanding
its convertibility into gold or silver coin.
But so far the comments of the eastern press have been singularly
unwise. They bave discredited the decision, and pointed out the
tremendous evil it will some day bring upon the country. But
with incredible folly these same journals have denounced the use
of silver as well as inconvertible paper, placing them indeed to¬
gether as evils of equal magnitude. Now this will not do. The
United States is a bi-metallic nation. If ita people had to choose
between silver and gold they would accept the formi?r, which is the
money of all mankind and required by them daily, whereas gold is
the money of the banking and commercial classes alone and rarely
finds its way into the hands of the people. Nine hundred millions
of the thirteen hundred millions who live on this planet use silver
exclusively, and know nothing of gold. The three hundred millions
who dwell in the coun.tries having the gold unit also use silver
largely in their retail trade. Hence, it is the supremest folly to
suppose that the indispensable white metal must give way to the
yellow metal so^rarely used by the children of men. The policy aa
well as the interest of the United Statea ia to be bi-metallic. The
extension of our trade is in the direction of Central and South
America and Asia, which are inhabited by excluaively silver using
people, while it ia also our interest to maintain our present trade
with thegold using countries. Despite the united protests of the
mono-metallic East, the United States has determined to uphold
the equal use of the two metals. We called two conferences which
met at Paris to get other nations to agree to international bi-met-
allism, and there is not any—the slightest—evidence that Congress
will pay any heed to the demands of the eastern press discrediting
sdver. The wild statements made in our papers, unsupported by
any facta, would make the person uttering them in the House or
Senate a laughing stock.
If the eastern press is in earnest in discrediting the Supreme
the use of passengers, aa well as the occupants of the houses. It I Court's decision and getting it reversed it must make common