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December 10, 1885
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
PublisTied every Saturday.
191 Broad^wav, IST. "^.
Our Telepboue Call Is . . • . . JOHN 370*
ONE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Busmess Manager.
DECEMBER 19, 1885.
During December business ia apt to slacken, except in tlie sale
of holiday goods, which this year will be unusually large, as
people have generally made money during the past six months.
Last week the remarkable fact was announced that the domestic
exchanges were the largest known in the history of the country.
This, however, excludes the New York exchanges, which show a
falling off, due to the smaller vohnne of speculation in stocks. The
market, indeed, this montli, has been feverish, and at times depressed,
as it has all along been suspected it would be toward the close of the
year. The death of Mr. Vanderbilt naturally created a very pow¬
erful impression ; but, on the whole, prices have been well main¬
tained, and there is an undertone of strength which promises to
inaugurate an other upward surge in prices before a great while.
The improvement in railroad earnings is (juite marked. The
returns of sixty-live of the principal roads shows an increase over
the November of the previous year of $1,451,450. True, the year
previous was a bad one; and the railroad receipts do not as yet
compare with 1880, 1881 and 1883. But there is every reason to
believe, with greater tonnage now carried and the restored rates,
that next spring will see the largest railway returns ever returned.
The outlook, so far as railway securities are concerned, were never
The Gibb's Investigating Committee has come to an end, after
having done some excellent work. Every State ought to have
a board of censors in permanent session, investigating the
methods and actions of officials. If the sessions were open and
the evidence published it would be a check on public officials, and
add to tlie honesty and efficiency of the public service. The
Romans had their censors, so has the Chinese government to-day.
These legislative committees, such as tlie Gibbs, while they are use¬
ful, are inadequate. There are scores of departments which could
be investigated with profit to the public.
It really looks as if the English people are quite willing"to give
Ireland the Parliamentary home rule, which ParneU and his
friends demand. Not that England wants a semi-independent
State on her coasts, but she is eager to get rid of the Irish members
of Parliament, so that the Lords and Commons can'pay some atten¬
tion to measures affecting the Empire. What a world of annoy¬
ance England would have saved herself, had she acceeded to
O'Connel's demand for a repeal of the Union. Charles S. Parnell
has shown extraordinary ability in the fight he has made for his
country. But will he be equal to the task of guiding Ireland
aright when the Parliament commences its sessions in Dublin ?
The land question will be the great problem to solve.
The filling up of the channels which lead to New York Harbor is
a very serious matter. Thirty feet at least are wanted at low tide
to accomodate ships of heavy draught. But twenty-four feet is all
that can be depended upon. To puc any one of the three channels
in shape to accommodate the shipping of this port will be a work of
time, and will cost a great deal of monej'^. Congress has made
liberal appropriations for New York; but there is a prejudice against
this city, because of the provincial character of our daily press,
which denounces and opposes all improvements in other parts of
the country. It is not willing that interior States should benefit by
the action of the governmeut. But Congress, noVwithstanding the
mean t**mper of our journals, has done well bv this port: and will
doubtless soon mak'* the necessary appropriation for deepening the
east channel, which is the shortest one by two miles.
The Record and Guide has not taken much stock in the war
upon the gas companies ; for it does not see how a municipality or
a legislatiro can deal successfully with any enormously wealthy
corporatioj;s. In this case, the dog's tail should be cut off close
beliind the ears. In other words, the city should furnish gas as it
does water. From the evidence of the company's officers the profits
of the gas company is enormous ; and there is no reason why the
city should not get thir, profit, Ourcity water system is econoijiical
and efficient, and there are no complaints of excessive charges.
The investigation by a legislative body into the affairs of a gas
company usually ends in the division of a certain amount of the
plunder among the investigators.
The Federal Buildings in New York—Need for Several
The United States government owns and occupies the following
buildings in this city, viz.: The court house and postoffice build¬
ings; the sub treasury building, and the assay buildings, adjoining
the sub-treasury on Wall street; the custom-house, and the barge
office building on the Battery. In addition, the government leases
a building on Exchange place, in tl;e rear of the custom-house, for
the naval offices; and also leases the block of ground with buildings
thereon, formerly a sugar refinery, bounded^by Laight, Washington,
Hubert and West streets, for tlie appraiser's stores.
The supervising architect, in his annual report, lately made to the
Secretary of the Treasury, calls attention to the necessity for the
immediate construction of an appraiser's stores building, with the
statement that the government has already paid out for rent and
repairs upon the building now occupied for that purpose the sum of
$1,012,672. Not only is the construction of a fire-proof and con¬
venient building for the appraiser's stores a necessity, but several
other new buildings for government purposes are needed. The
assay buildings are old and rickety and unfit for modern operation,
and their limited capacity for assay purposes out of all proportion
to the value~of the ground upon which they stand. The custom¬
house building is old, poorly lighted, badly ventilated, with more
waste than available room; never quite adapted to the purpose to
which it was put, and entirely inadequate for tho customs business
of the present time. There is no longer any good reason why the
custom-Iiouse, or the assay buildings, or even the sub-treasury,
should be located in Wall street, or in the neighborhood of that
street. Merchants and importers are yearly getting further and
further up town, and a dozen other localities would be quite ns
convenient as WaU street for captains and owners of vessels in
obtaining clearance papers.
It has been suggested that the government purchase a large plot
of ground, and erect thereon modern and suitable buildings of the
most substantial and fire resisting qualities. Opinions will differ
as to the selection of a site; but probably a water frontage along the
west side, somewhere in the neighborhood of Chambers street,
would be quite as suitable as any. A plot of sufficient size could
only be obtained by condemnation, and this would require the joint
act of Congress and the State Legislature. Then all the federal
buildings, excepting only the post-office, should be gathered
together—the custom-house, the appraiser's stores, the barge office,
the sub-treasury, the assay buildings—not necessarily under one
roof, but arranged with a system and for a purpose. The sale of
the Wall street properties would go very far toward paying for the
new buildings. The governraent originally paid for the custom¬
house building and land (the old Merchants' Exchange) one million
dollars; it would bring a much larger sum now. But be the cost
what it may, a new location must be had and new buildings erected
to meet the constantly increasing requirements of business; and fhe
sooner the matter is taken in hand the better. As its full accom¬
plishment will consume at least five years* time, the effect on the
values of Wall street and surrounding properties would be but
slight by the removal of the federal offices to a different locality,
The demand of the Brooklyn bridge people for more land at the
New York end of the bridge is reasonable. It seems to be pretty
clear that larger trains are needed to accommodate the traffic with
convenience, or even with safety. At the same time New Yorkers,
who are called upon to pay taxes for this purpose, have reason to
feel sore. Brooklya has out-witted New York at every point since
the bridge was first projected. It is now run at a loss, for the pur¬
pose of building up Brooklyn at the expense of NewYork. In this
it is entirely different from the elevated road. These, at the cost
of much injustice to individuals, greatly increased the tax-paying
capacity of real estate on Manhattan Island ; but the bridge taxes
New York, while all its benefits go to Brooklyn. Its tendency is,
of course, to equalize the value of land on Long Island and on Man¬
hattan Island, by raising the former ard lowering the latter. The
great metropolitan community is a gainer by this ; but the munici¬
pality of New York is a loser. Before loug it will be generally
recognized that the existence of the bridge furnishes one of the
strongest arguments for the consolidation of the two cities.
Cyrus W. Field thinks the government should control the tele¬
graphic service. He is right for once. The business secrets of the
country, the quotations of the markets, the private affairs of our
people, should not be handed over to euch care-takers as Jay Gould
and his associates. If every post-office was a telegraph station, it
would be an immense convenience to the public. We would also
have cheaper and better service, were all the lines under control of
the general government. Every other nation on earth owns it tele¬
graph liaes, and we should do the same. Then the ocean cables of