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February 14, 1885
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad-way, IsT. 'ST.
ONE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Comnuuiications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
FEBRUARY 14, 1885.
The business outlook is more promising than at any time since
1881. All departments of trade report progress. Stocks have been
buoyant and with good reason; for railway wars are being settled and
all the trunk lines report increased earnings and excellent pros-
jiects up to the close of this crop year. There is also a very
good feeling in the real estate market. It now looks as though
there may be as large a business as was transacted in the
Spring of 1884. Owners of money seem to have become tired of
leaving it lie in banks without interest, and are disposed to
invest in good bonds, stocks and valuable real estate.
The Board of State Assessors make some very important sugges¬
tions to the Legislature. They allege that there is favoritism in the
way in which real estate taxes are levied in the rural districts.
Poor farmers and owners of small liouses are taxed at a much
higher rate than are the more prosperous owners of country prop
erty. In other words, the local a.ssessors are influenced in a way
that may be understood to place the burden upon the poorer tax¬
payers. The board also think that the State should receive an
income from taxes on inheritances and legacies. The recipients of
these favors consider it no hardship to give a percentage to the
State. In England, Pennsylvania and other states the income
derived from these sources is very large. The board also renewed
their recommendation of last year, that a tax should be laid on all
incomes over $10,000 per anntim. If these recommendations are
heeded and a high licence law also passed the State will be in
receipt of such large sums of money as to relieve real estate of a
large part of its tax burdens.
When the Real Estate Exchange memorialized Congress to make
an appropriation for defending Ne''? York Harbor it invited the
other exchanges to send similar memorials so as to bring a pres¬
sure to bear upon the government. The Produce Exchange
complied at once. The Chamber of Commerce had already peti¬
tioned the national legislature on this subject. It would be well if
all the exchanges were occasionally to unite and use their influence
with Congress and the State and City Governments to forward
The Real Estate Exchange is rapidly approaching completion,
the finishing touches are now being made upon the building and it
will be in readiness for occupancy in March. The formal opening
will take place sometime during that month. Apropos of this
matter the heirs of Francis D. Fowler deny emphatically the state¬
ment made in the issue of The Record and Guide, of February 7,
that the good-will and business of the salesroom No. Ill Broadway
had been purchased by the new Real Estate Exchange. Such they
say is not the fact. No agreement has been made and no contract
signed making any such transfer.
The moral of the following paragraph from the Chicago Tribune
respecting the hanging of three murderers in Iowa, is obvious on
Terrible as lynch law is, the people of Audubon cannot be condemneil (or
their act. Seven murders have been committed in their county in the last
three years, and not one of the murderers has been punished. They were
not waiTanted in waiting any longer for the coui-ts to act. There could be
but one change of venue gi-anted to the Jellerson murderers, and that was
from the lawyers to the people. Justice having utterly failedito be adminis¬
tered by the courts, it was their duty to administer it or there was no
security for society.
The Evening Post condemns the sentiment expressed above on
the ground that it justifies dynamiters and others in taking the law
into their own hands to satisfy their real or imaginary grievances.
But should not a dififerent moral be drawn ? Would there be any
vigilance committees or Judge Lynch proceedings like the above If
our courts did their duty ? Is not the whole machinery of the law
out of geai- ? And does not justice miscarry not only in civil but
in criminal cases ? It seems to be impossible to reform our legal
machinery, because aU law-making and law-executing are in the
hands of one profession, wliic!' j :cf!ts by the litigation, the waste
and tJM'anoertainty that now preTail,
Less Law and More Justice.
The reduced aggregate sums of money paid out to lawyers and
courts in Philadelphia has already been noted. Title compairiea
have taken away the real estate business of the lawyers, and the
various institutions holding trust funds are settling disputes by
arbitration committees. The sum total saved by the business com¬
munity is said to be very large compared with former years.
Philadelphia lawyers are proverbially smart, but it seems they were
somewhat too smart, and their former customers are trying quite
successfully to get along without them.
Attention is called to the remarks of a broker representing one of
the largest railway interests in the country, on this subject of court
and legal expenses. He tells a representative of this paper that the
railway managers are anj'thing but satisfied with their legal
advisers. The sums paid to lawyers represent such enormous
figures that they seriously reduce the income of the most solvent
roads. Following the example of the great business exchanges the
railroad managers for some time past have been submitting their dis¬
putes to arbitration. The same gentleman states he understands that
in business circles there is a growing feeling that something must
be done to save the waste of time and money which follows a
resort to the courts in settling disputes.
It may be asked, if courts are so costly and procrastinating as to
be worse than useless in .settling business disputes, why the popular
reverence for the judiciary and the general acceptance of the maxim
that " the law is the perfection of human reason?" The answer is
to be found in the history of free institutions. The time was when
the king was the source of all law. From his J -^as no
appeal. This power was. of course, abused, and hence the popular
protests which gave England Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights,
trial by jury, and the legal machinery which was intended to pro¬
tect the citizen in jierson and property against the exactions of
King and Noble. The law became the bulwark of poptilar rights
and its procrastinating methods were used to save the commoner
from the evil results of arbitrary power. In France the Bastile was
destroyed because kings, their ministers or their minions could con¬
sign citizens to its dungeons without a trial by a simple lettre de
cachet. It was the Law which intervened to protect the citizen, and
hence the reverence in which it has been justly held.
But the nineteenth century ushered in a new era; kings and
nobles lost their power, and the people, tlirough parliaments and
congresses, have learnt how to govern themselves. But the law
with all its procrastinating methods is an inheritence of the pre¬
vious centuries. Its tedious and complicated machinery which
was designed to protect the people against their hereditary rulers,
has now become a pubUc nuisance. The vast dealings in personal
property which have characterized this century and which are done
through exchanges are outside the protection of the law. This is
an age of steam and electricity. All the agencies of modern inven¬
tion and commerce are designed to save time, diminish space and
economize expenditure. But our inherited legal machinery utterly
refuses to change its (character. The miscarriage of justice due to
the delays of our courts has brought Judge Lynch into existence
whose mission it has been to administer swift justice to social out¬
laws. It was only the other day that three men were hung in Iowa
for a hideous crime which the courts would not punish. It is only
a few months back when the citizens of Cincinnati arose and burned
down their court house because it was impossible to bring murder¬
ers and malefactors to justice within its walls. In Connecticut
there have been many revolting murders, of late years, but no man
is ever hung in that so-called land of steady habits. Under the
decision of our Court of Appeals, and the tendency of our laws, it is
next to impossible to bring an assassin to justice in this state.
In the business world, however, there is no need of Judge Lynch.
Arbitrators familiar with the technicalities of each occupation are
destined to replace the court in numberless cases. This matter has
been satisfactorily settled by the experience of all the great
exchanges. As a nation we are indebted to the lawyers. They
have furnished nearly all our presidents, governors and legislators
since the foundation of the republic. All our statesmen have been
trained in the profession of the law. In war they have not been so
successful. At the beginning of the rebellion the lawyers fairly
swarmed in the armies north and south but it is a notable fact that
at the close of the war every successful general, north and south,
without exception, was a graduate of West Point. The lawyers
were conspicuous failures in the conduct of armies. Nor have they
distinguished themselves in the world of business. Among our
railway managers, Franklin B. Gowan is about the only lawyer.
He is a man of wonderful fertility of resource and persuasive
powers, but what a wreck he has made of one of the finest railroads
and manufacturing properties in the world.
Mayor Edson's acts at the close of his administration were very
freely criticized by this journal, but, notwithstanding his punish¬
ment for contempt of court, we cannot but regard it as a libel upon
justice. The Mayor and Common Council had a clear legal right
to nominate a successor to Hubert O. Thompson, and the intervea