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January 17, 188.5
The Record and Guide.
e hiding away of the third person v
ange and stimulates eonsuraption-
11(7 away. A country as large as <
T.atioii 3,000,n00 to our population very S.tlurday.
a gre.-itor ratio, aud scattered ovei -j,^ -^rr
'>oK' near money enough to do'
OXE YE.IR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Coiiiniunications should be addre.ssed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
JANUARY 17, 1885.
Tho liopefiil symptoms in business were in the .ascendancy last
week, but the announcement on Friday morning of the great iron
failure in Pittsburg and tlie suspension of the house of Cisco & Co.,
in this citj-, demoralized all the markets of the country. It will be
some daj's before we know whether anything worse is to happen.
These large failures often affect other firms injuriously, and until
the Jiublic is reassured there is not likeh' to be a restoration of
financial confidence. There are still many hopeful symptoms.
Tbe balance of foreign trade is in our favor, the prices of grain and
cotton have advanced ; metals are firm and the mills have more
employment, hut then, again, instead of p.aying the debt dvie us in
gold, EurojK? is sending back our securities and tbe distress in trade
in the old world is having its effect upon our markets. But rail¬
road returns for January and February will be mucli larger than
for the same months last J'ear, and this will eventually improve
prices on the Stock Exchange, at least for the grain-carrying
roads. Real estate is as yet dull and is not likely to recover its tone
until the spring business opens.
Mr. Richard Arnold, of the firm of Arnold, Constable & Co., is a
believer in New York property, and he shows his faith in it by
large and frequent investments. He is in favor of a railro.ad on
Broadway, which he thinks would help that thoroughfare. Centres
of trade will, he telieves, follow population up tlie island. Union
square, in his judgment, within ten j-ears time will be the centre of
the wholesale dry goods trade, and within fifteen j-ears our wealthier
cla.sses will find their homes between the Central Park and the
Harlem River. Our working population will be forced to hire, in
his view, into the annexed district. Far seeing investors, like Mr.
John H. Sherwood, have long held the views now expressed bj- Mr.
Arnold. Mr. Sherwood was among the first to realize the future of
Murray Hill, but of late j'ears he has made his investments north of
the Central Park, Fifth avenue, he fears, may become a thorough¬
fare for business, and hence rich people who like quiet will prefer
Sixth, Seventh and St. Nicholas avenues and the cross streets above
One Hundred and Tenth street for homes. This region is not likely
to be vexed by traffic or traversed bj- horse cars. Mr. Sherwood
believes that there will be some ab.atement in the i)rice of realty
generallj', but that certain favored localities in New York in the
line of improvement will appreciate in value.
up into a state of frenzj' a few years back over a River and Harbor
bill which appropriated |19,000,000 for national works of undoubted
utility. It was never provel that $100,000 of that sum was for
an unworthy object. The country could spend with advantage, as
w.as proven at the time by the national engineering experts, $.iO,-
000,000 annu.ally; hut under the inspiration of our misleading press
the wrath of the voteris was directed against some of the best men
in our national councils because they believed our treastiry surplus
could not be better spent than in m iking wise and needel iniblic
Then there is another view of the question, $400,000,000 in five
years' time would give us <a navj-, batteries of guns, a torpedo ser¬
vice to protect our now defenceless sea coast cities. It would also
give us ocean steam lines carrying the American flag to the princi-
l)al ports of the world; but a proposition to use the nation's money
collectively for the emplojinent of labor and the prosecution of
useful work is responded to by a shout of indignation from tho
press ot the country; j-et scarcely a word is said against voting
these monstrous sums into the pockets of the pension claim agents.
Why is it that our local press uses al its thunders in denouncing
appropriations of money by the government for strictly legitimate
purjioses, and practically acquiesces in the really monstrous appro¬
priations proposed in Congress, such, for instance, as those for pen¬
sions? The cities of the nation are growing rapidly, and they
need postoffices, custom houses and courts in which to transact
strictly necessary business. There is an appropriation before Con¬
gress setting aside some $6,000,000 for this essential work. The
time is well chosen, building material was never so cheap, and it
would be wise to keep labor employed in these hard times. But
every reference to this matter in the press stigmatizes the proposi¬
tion as a " log rolling job." There seems to be an impression among
editors that their readers delight in regarding every legitimate
appropriation as a swindle. But here is the Mexican pension out¬
rage which has passed the Senate, and will be put through the
House shortly unless the whole country protests. It appropriates
$2.5,000,000 additional per annum in payment of pensions, all of
which are a gross fraud upon the nation. During the last five years
we have spent $300,000,000 for pensions, of which only $15,000,000
have been distributed in the South. AVith this Mexican pension
bill added we will spend $400,000,000 within the next five years, of
which it is estimated but $20,000,000 will go to the South.
This new pension legislation is simply monstrous. The whole
country should ring with indignation at the conspirators who are
voting these vast sums out of Ihe pockets of tax-payers and into
the pockets of claim agents and the legal sharks who hang around
the Capitol. Black lists should be published giving the names of
those who vote for these pensions aud they should be made infa¬
mous ia the localities in which they live. The countrv wsis worked
The temper dis])layed by the press toward the elevated roads is
not creditable to the public opinion it is supposed to represent. Tho
"L" roads have been an unmixed blessing to New York. They
have added immensely to the area of taxable property and given us
the swiftest, cheapest and most pleasant intormural travel in the
world. Of their own accord, without any prom])tin.g, the managers
have doubled the commission hours and reduced the f.ares to five
cents (m Sundays. Their charters give them the right to charge
higher fares than they have.ever exacted—yet the snarling curs of
the press never miss a chance to lift their legs over the " L " system
of roads. Tho unpopularity of these roads recalls the old saying
about giving a good dog a bad name and then hanging him. The
prejudice, no doubt, is due to the manipulation of its stocks by its
past and present owners. This, of course, cannot be defended ; but
the fact remains that the company, as a company, has been of
immense lienefit to the metropolis in every way.
But the " L" roads should not be allowed to evade taxation by
moving their principal office out of town, or in any other way. Tho
stations and stilts should not, however, be taxed as real estate.
They occupy streets and sidewalks that were public projierty, which
the city was glad to allow the company to use because of the great
benefit it was V)elieved would result to the municipality by running
steam cars the whole length of the island. Nor is it equity to
.assess damages on the Manhattan corporation for the property
injured when it has added tens of millions to the value of other
property, for which it gets no consideration. But the com¬
pany should be made to pay an assessment of four or five
per cent, upon its gross receipts. This principle has always been
.advocated by The Record and Guide, and has been recognized
in the franchise to be given to the Broadway Railro.ad. The basis
of Judge Pratt's decision is all wrong. He laid the ta.x on structure
which was diminisliing in value yearly, and if his decision holds
gootl the Manhattan Company paid its highest tax when it did the
least business, and its lowest tax will be during the year 1885, when
it will carry more passengers than ever before. The recent action of
the directors of the Manh.attan Company would seem to be an effort
to have Judge Pratt's decision finally endorsed by the full bench of
the Supreme Court. Indeed, an income tax on all property, corpo¬
rate and private, is the best and justest way of raising a revenue.
Not only the Manhattan Com pan j', but all the companies which use
our streets, should pay a regular assessment on their gross earnings.
The ferry companies, gas companies, telegraph and telephone com¬
panies, the steam heating company and all corporations or individ¬
uals who make use of the public streets and highways should pay
an income tax into the city treasury. Had tliis sj'stem been inau¬
gurated forty years ago, the revenue from this source would by
this time prove a sensible relief to real estate taxpayers who now
bear all the municipal burdens.
William H. Vanderbilt has done an excellent thing for himself
and his family by his generous offer to forgive the debt due him by
General U. S. Grant. Rich men in this country are not as popular
or influential as they might be. because of their Lack of public
spirit and unwillingness to do a generous thing when the times call
for it. So far as the public can see, as a class, our millionaires are
self-seeking and pecuniarily immoral. As manipulators of great
corporations they deliauch our Legislatures and corrupt the courts.
They have monopolized the property of the people and get as much
while giving as little as they can in return to the public. The
founder of the Vanderbilt family was very generally regarded as an
old screw. Jay Gould was never known to give money except to
help bribe a Legislature, influence a court, or elect a presidential
candidate who would favor his schemes. He is said to have all the
domestic virtues and if doubtless a kindle-enough man in privat*^