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March 21, 1885
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broadway, IST. '^.
ONE TEAR, in adrance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should bo addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MARCH 21, 1885.
The stock market has looked blue during the past week, but the
real estate market, at least so far as the salesrooms are concerned,
was very lively. Investors are disposed to patronize the auctioneers
rather than private dealers, which will be a good thing for the new
Eeal Estate Exchange if this preference continues to grow. Not¬
withstanding the depressed feeling in the security market the busi¬
ness outlook shows signs of improvement. A bear market, for a
time at least, is in order during the spring season.
The United States Senate and Secretary Bayard are dispo.sed to
be belligerent. The few wretched old hulks called war vessels
belonging to the American Navy have been ordered to the coast of
Central America to p'-otect American citizens and overawe the
confederated states who talk of invading Nicaragua. We can
probably aflford to put on a bold front towards these so-called
republics, but we would not dare to use the same tone toward
Chili. That power has at least two war vessels either of which
would be more than a match for fhe whole navy of the United
States. The defenceless condition of our coast and the entire
absence of a navy will force President Cleveland's Cabinet tp speak
with bated breath to any power wh ch has a fleet. Heretofore
American citizens in Central and South America have been forced
to deny their country and claim to be subjects of Queen Victoria to
be protected against the native governments, all because we have
no navy to maintain the honor of the country abroad.
Mayor Grace no doubt means well, but if the poUcy he is pursuing
had obtained in the past the city would never have had any large and
wisely-planned improvements. He would have opposed the laying
out of the Central Park, and vetoed if he could the Riverside Drive,
the Boulevards and the other improvements which have so benefited
and beautified the metropolis. He opposes tlie parks in the annexed
district, objects to a cable road, and seems to think his only interest
is that of the selfish and unenterprising taxpayer. It is not wise to
hamper in every way new and imi^roved systems of intermural tran¬
sit. We have not taken much stock in the people who are managing
the proposed cable road system. They have shown little or no
sense in dealing with the public and the various official authorities,
but cable roads have proven to be great public improvements in
San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and the other cities where
they have been fully tested. If introduced in New York they would,
we are convinced, prove a great advance upon our horse car systems.
The cable companies propose to transfer passangers to any part of
New York for five cents, and by a swifter means of conveyance
than the horse cars. This would be a vast benefit to our citizens.
Mayor Grace ought not to imitate the cheap demagoguery of our
daily press in shouting "job" when any proposition is made to
benefit the public by an improvement. Wheu public work is done
somebody makes money ot it as a matter of course, but a wise
municipal administration would favor all improvements and do
what it could to avoid wasteful expenditure. Mayor Grace may
gain some cheap applause with the present generation of taxpayers,
but in the future annals of the city he will uot be regarded as one
of its benefactors if he continues to bend his energies to putting
a stop to everything in the way of an improvement.
President Cleveland is making haste slowly. He realizes that a
clamor would be raised not only by the Republicans, but by the
civil service backers of Republican antecedents were he to set the
guillotine to work at first in any wholesale way. He is determined,
up to the present, to stand by his civil service reform professions, but
he will probably be forced to succumb in the end as was President
Grant when he first assumed office. The latter honestly tried to rule
without the aid of the politicians, but ended by submitting to all their
behests. But General Grant had the backing of an immense popular
vote when first chosen, and was a strong and obstinate man.
President Cleveland has no such prestige in the way of personal
popularity, nor is it likely that he wiU have any more staying
qualities ; so we expect to see his surrender to the party chiefs
before his alministrition is maiy weeks older. Still it njuet be
confe.i^al that he has shown sense and iirmness so Xar.
The Democrats are not unreasonable in dem.anding a fair share
of the offices now monopolized by the Republicans. They have
been out of power for twenty-four years, and no sensible Repub¬
hcau would object to the heads of departments being filled by
trustworthy Democrats. It will only be fair, too, that vacancies,
when they occur, not subject to civil service rules, should be filled
by members of the party which carried the last election. There is
no justice in a civil service, the working of which would be to give a
monopoly of all the offices to a defeated party. This publication
has always held that business principles must be applied to the
public service, and that competent officers must not be displaced
merely because the political complexion of administration has
changed. Indeed, we cannot understand why Postmaster Pearson
should not give place to a Democrat; but whoever is appointed
should be pledged not to remove efficient subordinates. The way the
" mugwump " organs are commenting upon the few appointments
that have been made looks as though they are getting ready to
break with the new administration.
The elements of discontent with President Cleveland's Cabinet
are many and obvious. The Senate is oppo.sed to him politically,
and in the House the Democratic majority is small. Then there are
only four Northern Senators in the Democratic ranks, while the
ablest and most active supporters of the administration are in the
Southern wing of the Democratic party. It foUows that the recom¬
mendations for office by Senators and Representatives wOl be Largely
Southern, and this will quickly lead to discontent in tlie North.
The" mugwumps" are honest and well meaning, but in their ranks
is a large assortment of chronic cranks and malcontents who will
pass over to the opposition on the very first opportunity. Then
President Cleveland made a capital political blunder before he was
in office in antagonizing the bi-metallic interest, which was over¬
whelmingly strong in his own party and in the South and We st.
But independent men of all parties should stand by the new admin¬
istration until its ability in the conduct of public affairs is fully
The Proposed New Parks.
Just at present there is a good deal of feeling manifested between
the frieuds and opponents of the proposed new system of parks
in the annexed district. There would probably have been no
controversy were it not for the adoption of the Constitutional
Amendment prohibiting an increase of the city debt beyond 10 per
cent of the valuation of the real estate of the municipality. Had
that amendment to the constitution not been endorsed, the necessary
lands would have been condemned and long date bonds issued for the
payment of the same. But under the conditions of the acts author¬
izing the new parks a very summary method is provided for secur¬
ing payment to tbe owners whose lands are taken. Tax payers
may be called upon to pay a very large sum of money, how much
is not yet known, within a very short period of time. It is this
possibility which is made the e-xcuse for trying to reverse the legisla¬
tion of last year authorizing the establishment of these parks.
Of course the interests represented on both sides of this contro¬
versy are somewhat mixed. The tax payers and officials who
object care very little for the benefits the proposed parks may con¬
fer upon people who will reside within the limits of New York ten
or twenty years hence. All they know or care for is that heavy
expenses wOl be incurrred, which tliey will be called upon to pay,
and for which they can see no immediate equivalent so far as they
are concerned. Then, on the other side, there are powerful selfish in¬
terests brought into play. The owners of poor lands are very anxious
to sell them to the city at an exorbitant price. Contractors also know
that in the construction of parkways and the making of park improve¬
ments there is a great deal of work to be done, and they, of course,
are on the lookout for lucrative jobs. Then property-holders near
the new parks know that tbe latter would enhance the value of
their property. It is the fact that there are personal interests at
work on behalf of the parks, which discredits the proposed pur¬
chase in the eyes of the more conservative taxpayers of this city.
But after all those who have the larger interests and the future
splendor of the metropolis at heart favor these parks, even the one
at Pelham Bay. They have been planned in a large, wise and
liberal way, and if carried out will add greatly to the attractioni
of the American metropolis. Should they be constructed, the New
Yorkers of the next century will recall with gratitude and admira¬
tion the services of those who planned these noble preserves.
De Witt ('lintou, it will be remembered, in his day, proposed a
great parkway 1,000 feet wide, midway between the Hudson aud
North Rivers, and running from Twenty-third street to the Harlem
River. It was put aside as impracticable, yet what a splendid
improvement it would have been if sanctioned by the then city
authorities. From an artistic aud recreative pointof vie wit would
have been as fine a monument to Clinton's fame as is the Erie
Canal to the correctness of his business instinct. And so of these
If the sinking fund could be treated in a sensible way there would