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Ootober 35, 1884
The Record and Guide,
THE RECORD AND GUIDE.
Published every Saturday.
191 Broadway, N. Y.
om TBAIi, iu adTance, SIX DOLL&RS.
CoramunicatioDs should be addressed to
e. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
OCTOBER 25, 1884,
The various exchanges should adopt a by-law prohibiting their
members from using the nanae of the organization for political
purposes. It ia commendable for any business man to be interested
in the political contests of the day; tut excliauges are designed to
facilitate business not to help political aspirants. The various clubs
in the Stock, Produce aud other Exchanges are de trop; in fact
they are a nuisance. The Real Estate Exchange, when it gets
under way, should not permit any auch foolishness.
The county tickets of the varioua parties have been a suipriae ;
none more tban the one put forth by the Republicans, Some time
since we urged upon tbe various party organizations the wisdom
of nominating representative real estate men, and we even ventured
to mention some namea which we thought would be satisfactory
not only to the realjleatate interests but to citizens generally. The
party conventions have curiously enough put into the field three
gentlemen. Identified with real estate interests, two of them,
indeed, being directly engaged in the business and one is supported
by a large real estate clientele. So far so good. The candidates for
Mayor are all so well known in real estate circles that it is needless
for ua to sound their praises or criticise their shortcomings. May
the beat man win.
The reduction of fares on the West Shore Road to one cent a
mile is a step in the right direction, and all tlie principal trunk
lines which do a large business should be forced to carry passen¬
gers at tbat rate. During the past history of railroading there
has been a steady decrease of the charges on freight, but no cor¬
responding reduction has been made in passenger fares. Freight
of all kinds have to be loaded and unloaded on and off the cars
and bandied at the depots, but tbere is no such trouble or expense
witb passengers, who handle themselves. Yet a ton weight of
human beings is charged ten and fifteen times as much as a ton
weight of freight. Flour is carried between New York and
Chicago at a price which would about cori'espond to $3,50 for
a passenger. Cheaper fares of railroads would create a great
development of the trade of the country, as it would increase
business, stimulate trafBc and give profitable employment to roll,
ing stock. Of course roads running through a sparsely settled
country could not live ou one cent a mile from passengers, but
the trunk lines between the great cities, which make profits on
incredibly low prices for freight, could well afford to make con¬
cessions in passenger rates.
Mr, Wm. H. Vanderbilt's gift to the College of Physicians ana
Surgeons ia a generoua one and wili result doubtless iu giving New
York another fine public building and additional prestige as the
best city in the New World for securing thorough education in any
of the great medical specialties. This is a much wiser benefaction
than the gift of a large sum of money by the late Commodore Van¬
derbilt toa female college in Tennessee. The rich men who have
made their money in New York should do something to adorn and
add to the prestige of the metropolis. But this latest gift calls
attention to the prime defect of medical education in the United
States. No college which instructs physicians and surgeons should
be allowed to sell diplomas to their own students. These evidences
of competency in medicine aud surgery should be granted by some
impartial authority. Our present system is open to the gravest
abuses, and under it literally thousands of incompetent saw-bones
are licensed yearly to practice the medical profession. It is pre-
poaterous to permit institutions which fiourish by the fees of stu¬
dents to be tbe aole judges of the proficiency of their graduates.
It may be ungracious to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the
other medical institutions in this city are anything but pleased at
Mr. Vanderbilt's costly advertisement of one out of mauy deserving
medical schools. /
The Comptroller ^nd the bead of tbe tax arrears office have been
notified that they must leave the new Court House, as the entire
buUding iarequiredW legal purposes. The time has come when
another municipal building is urgently needed. Taypayers are at
a disadvantage tbe way matters are managed at present. The
assessment rolls are kept in the Staats Zeltung building. The Cro¬
ton water rents are paid in Chambers street. Taxes on real estate
in the old brown stone Court House and arrearages of taxes are
looked after at present iu the new Court House. Other matters
connected with real property are attended to in the City Hall.
This ia au unnecessary inconvenience to tax payers. All matters
affecting real eatate and taxes should be confined to one building.
It ia a pity that the Stewart property on Broadway and Chambers
street waa not secured years ago. The location is desirable and it
could be easily altered ao aa to accommodate the city offices.
What we ought to have, however, is a new municipal building
which would be incombustible, and which, in addition to tbe tax
offices, would have ample accommodations for the County Register
and the County Clerk.
War on the Middlemen.
The machinery of modern industry is dispensing with the middle¬
men, that is, the class which stands between the producer and the
consumer, and makes heavy profits out of both. All the processes
of trade look towards economy. The telegraph minimizes the
time necessary in which to transact business. The railway econo¬
mizes space and time. The pooling arrangements of the irailroads
eliminates swarms of minor dealers who formerly made a living
out of the trangportation interests. The Standard Oil Company,
for instance, not only manufactures all the kerosene used in the
foreign and domestic trade, but it haa entered the retail field, and
in the large cities is selling direct to the consumer and taking the
profits of the jobber and tbe retailer. The success of the co-opera¬
tive movement in England has been the death of the retail trader
in distributing the necessaries of life to families. Then the growth
of the large concerns, such as Arnold & Constable. Macy's, Jordan
& Marsh of Boston, Wannamaker of Philadelphia, Park & Til¬
ford of New York, means the obliteration of multitudes of minor
merchants who, uuder the conditions wbich formerly obtained,
would have made comfortable livings if not fortunes. Tbrou'^h-
out the financial and commercial world the big fiah are eating up
the little ones, and the great middle class is disappearing to be
replaced in time by a few very rich and a very much larger work¬
The tendencies of governments is also to restrict the field in
which fortunes have heretofore been made. The State owner¬
ship of railwaya in Germany and other nations on the continent
reduces the number of people of moderate wealth and throws out
of employment swarms of railway officials who profit at tbe
public expense in England and this country. In Germany recently
tbe government has ordered the purchase of all military food sup¬
plies direct from the farmers, thus dispensing with the middlemen.
In this country some of the leading railway corporations, such aa
the Pennsylvania Central, retails coal to its employes at $3,75 a ton,
thus cutting off the profits of the retailer, who charges $6.50 a ton.
Several of tbe roads running out to Chicago allow their men fo
have their coal at the same price paid by the company. The
retailers invite this discrimination against themselves by the extor¬
tionate price they demand for their services. Take the case of
bread sold iu our baker shops. Flour was never ao cheap as it is
to-day, but the loaves aold in our ahops are no heavier than when
flour coat double its present price. And so with meat; the reduc¬
tion of the wholesale price never leads to any corresponding
reduction in the price of meat sold to our working population.
It is premature as yet to speculate upon the consequences of
this general endeavor to get rid of the middlemen, but it is clear to
see that every improvement in the machinery of commerce ia to do
away wilh waate of either time or money. The tplegraph, the rail¬
way, the bill of exchange, the pooling arrangements, the growth
of vast eatabhahments atthe expense of smallones, the co-operative
movement, but more than all the taking ou of new powers by the
central government, all tend to discriminate against the middle¬
men, the merchant, the retail dealer and all brokers save those who
deal in exchanges. Indeed, as the latter grows in number and
importance, their effect is to reduce the compensation of the mid¬
dleman to a minimun.
Cyrus W. Field, of the Mail and Express, calls Horace White, of
the Evening Post, to account for having maligned him in certain
criticisms which were made ou Field's conduct inthe "L" rail¬
road controversies. Field's sensitiveness touching his financial
honor comes rather late, but then better late than never. It would
be difficult for Mr. White or any other editor to rehabilitate Mr.
Field's reputation in this community. At the same time it must
be confessed that Mr. Horace White has not added to his Western
reputation since his appearance in New York journalism. The tone
of tbe Post has been lowered, and its political outgivings have been
in the worat possible taste. Nearly all our leading journals have
deteriorated in character and ability of late years, but none more