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February 1, 1885
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad-way, N". "X".
ONE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Conmiimications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
FEBRUARY 7, 1885.
The new Real Estate Exchange, it is now settled, will open in
March. A committee has been apiwinted to celebrate the event
with fitting ceremonies. It is understood that the exchange is now
in fact the owner of fhe salesroom No. Ill Broadway, the good will
and business of whicli have been purcliased from the heirs of the
late owner, Frank Fowler. The salesroom will be kept open until
the hall of the new exchange is in readiness when it will be closed
and its archives removed to the new real estate centre in Liberty
street. There will be twenty-two auctioneer stands in the new
exchange and it has been decided to limit the competition for them
to members of the exchange who are auctioneers and to dealers who
now have stands at No. Ill Broadway. The exchange might make
more perhaps by throwing the stands open to general competition
but that coui-se might deprive reputable auctioneers of a chance
to transact busine.ss, and would open the way for advertising
schemes having little or no relation to real estate. The object in
view is to help all existing real estate interests. All the old tenants
of the new exchange building have renewed for the year and the
officers say that the new offices will all be rented before the Ist of
May. The total rental will amount to at least 6 per cent, on the
capital stock of the exchange, which i^ $.500,000. This, of course, is
exclusive of what will be derived from the business of the auction-
room and the other sources of income. AH the recent sales of the
Btcck of the exchange have been above par.
It seems incredible that an Arab victory in northeastern Africa
.sliould put up the price of grain in Chicago, and dieck an advance
in tho stock market ;of New York. Yet, sucli was the effect of
the fall of Kartoum on Tliursday and Friday hist. The better
price of wheat was because it was supposed that the British defeat
would lead to complications in Europe that might bring on a gen¬
eral war, in which event, of course, there would be a heavy demand
for our grain ; but war also would lead to tlie selling of American
securities, which would lower prices on the New York stock market.
All this shows how sensitive are the great exchanges to news from
any part of the world.
But the business situation, notwithstanding, continues to
improve. Tliere is unquestionably a better state of feeling in all
departments of trade. The metals are in greater demand which
shows that tools are needed, also a sign for better times coming.
The stock market has been buoyant, due to the undoubted increase
in the receipts of the railroads and the better tone pervading busi¬
ness. There is every evidence, too, that capitalists are getting
tired of liaving their funds idle in bank earning no interest. A
very active demand has sprung up in bonds wliich are sure of SJ^
per cent, interest or less. It looks now as tliough March and April
would see a large dejiletion of the great surplus over the legal
requirements now iu our banks. The i eal estate market also has
become more active and it now seems certain that we will have a
good building year. There will be very few costly structures
erected, but an unusually large number of modest dwellings will
be constructed on the west side, the upper end of the island and in
the Twenty-tUird and Tweiity-fou th wards. There will be many
improvements also in store property on the avenues.
A high license bill has been introduced into the Pennsylvania
Legislature, levying a tax of $500 per annum upon licenses to sell
liquor in cities of the first and second-class ; $250 to be charged for
cities of the third, fourth and fifth class, and $150 in all other cities,
towns and villages. Tiie money is to l)e paid into the county treas¬
uries : this is in addition to the tax which now is paid to the State
Treasury. There ought to be a high license law in this State. It is
computed that ten out of the fifteen cents paid over the counter
for drinks are clear profit to the vender. A high and stringent
license law would greatly reduce the number of liquor saloons and
add to the respectability of the busiuess. In the Western cities this
has been found a profitable source of income. In Chicago, where
the law was not strictly enforced because of the opposition of Mayor
Harrison, the city treasury profited bv the license tax tl.fiOO.OOO.
An effective license law in New York would bring us in at least
$3,000,000 ; almoot enough to support our public schools.
Prime Minister William E. Gladstone in a letter to the Tribune of
this city makes an appeal for a union in sentunent and action
between the United States and Great Britain. The Pall Mall
Gazette is also out with an article pleading for an understanding
between English-speaking peoples. It argues that tlie newly
awakened ambition of the United States to take part in interna¬
tional affiiirs, as shown by recent treaties and the presence of Amer¬
ican representatives at the Berlin-Congo conference, are steps in the
direction of a practical union between Great Britain and the United
States. The meaning of all this is that England finds herself
i.solated in Europe by tho newly developed foreign policy of the
Cerman Empire. Her relation to her ancient ally, France, is very
much strained, and in her eagerness for new allies she has formed
a combination with Italy, and has allowed the latter country to
become possessed of territory on the Red Sea. Tliis letter of Mr.
Gladstone and the article in the Pall Mall Gazelle are meant to
pave the way for some understanding between the " mother coun¬
try" and her giant offspring this side of the Atlantic.
In Premier Gladstone's letter occurs the following statement of
an important fact : " Baron Ziucke, no incompetent calculator,
reckons that the English-speaking peoples of the world an hundred
years hence will jirobably number a thousand millions. Some
French author, wliose name I unfortunately forget, in a recent esti¬
mate places them some\ifhat lower ; at what precise figure I do not
recollect, but it is like 600 or 800 millions. A century back I suppose
they were not much, if at all, beyond fifteen millions ; I also sup¬
pose we may now take them at an hundred." The future increase
will, of course, be greatest in this country, but the islands of the
Pacific are increasing marvellously in numbers. The Greater Britain
of the future will not be in the North Atlantic, but in the South
Pacific, and our future contests for power and world-wide com¬
merce will be with the English-speaking nations at the antipodes.
When America has a foreign policy worthy of herself it will take
tliese into account, as well as the powers heretofore so mighty
whose headquarters are east of the Atlantic and north of the Medi¬
The reform in the land laws seems to be " in the air " in every
part of the civilized world. A bill is about to be introduced into
the Dominion Parliament to change the system of land registration
in the northwestern provinces of Canada, so as to facilitate land
transactions in all the new territories. Bradstreets thus summarizes
the bill as it has been prepared in Winnipeg: " By this act the old
method of registering deeds upon every change of proprietorship
and searches for abstract of titles will be done away with, and a
certificate only from the registrar will in future be necessary to
establish ownership. In cases of sale or transfers, simply transfer
certificate to purcliase will be rei]uired, which in turn will be de¬
posited with the registrar, who will issue new certificates." In
other words this is the Torrens act which has been so long in oper¬
ation in Australia and New Zealand, and which has proved so suc¬
cessful in facilitating transfers and relieving purchasers of the
costs, waste of time and uncertainty of title, which are such a nui¬
sance to land owners and purchasers in the United States. Prussia
has similar land laws to these, and the French land system has for
half a century been in advance of that of Great Britain and the
United States for cheapness and certainty. The land reformers in
the British Islands are openly agitating for the Torrens laws,
which, if naturalized in England, Wales and Scotland, would effect
a mighty revolution.
It is to the credit of Dwight H. Olmstead that he was the first
American to draw attention to the great superiority of the Austra¬
lian land laws as compared with those in vogue in the United
States. The essential feature of Ihe Torrens laws is the guarantee
of the title by the government, wliich it does by recognizing tha
record in the land register's oflice as valid. But Mr. Olmstead has
been induced to give up his advocacy of the Torrens laws, at least
for the present, out of deference, we hear, to the opinion of tlie
lawyers who do not believe, or want to believe, that simplicity and
certainty of title, and very little waste of time or money are possi¬
ble in the land laws of this country. Real estate owners and
dealers, however, will look at this matter from a different stand¬
point, and will be likely to think that what is practicable in Aus¬
tralia, New Zealand and Prussia cannot be impossible in the United
States. Mr. Olmstead and his friends are trying to patch up the
old laws so as to relieve real estate people from some of the pains
and penalties now imposed by our preposterous land laws. They
want to make titles a little more certain, and relieve purchasers of
some of the needless expense to which they are now subject, but
real estate owners and dealers will never rest satisfied until they get
rid of all unnecessary impediments to the transfer of real property.
Tn tlie Pnissinn Innrl Ip-tra tli
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