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February 13, 1880
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad^w^av, IST. '!2'.
Onr Telephone Call is ... .
OKE YEAR, in adTance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager,
FEBRUARY 13, 1886.
tinue so long as more raoney is got out of rentals than out of
stocks and bonds. The writer to whom we have referred wishes to
correct this state of things by fixing a legal limit beyond which
rents cannot go. Interest rates, he says, are limited by law, divi¬
dends on watered stock are prohibited, why shouli not legal limit
be put on investments in house property ?
The promise of business continues good. The real estate interest
was never more prosperous. The Liberty street Exchange will be
unusually busy all this spring. The brokers are making more trans¬
actions and more money than in any previous season. Architects are
busy with plans, and builders are making contracts for the construc¬
tion of more houses this year than any previous one in the history of
this city. The stock market is strong, transactions are large, the pub¬
lic are buying, and there are indications that we may have a much
higher range of values for all manner of securities. There is an
assurance of cheap money, and the outlook is so hopeful that capi¬
talists are tempted to employ the abundant funds in the reorgani¬
zation of broken-down railway systems. By scaling old debts and
obligations fixed charges can be reduced, and the bankrupted roads
be placed on a paying basis. Altogether we have no cause of com¬
plaint, in view of the distress among the working classes and in
general business which obtains on the other side of the Atlantic.
Philadelphia is discussing the wisdom of selling it« gas works to
a private company. It will be unwise if it does bo. The expe¬
rience of all cities is that natural monopolies like gas and water
had better be controlled by the municipalities. It is true the gas
patronage has been a disturbing and corrupting influence in the
local politics of Philadelphia ; but, after all, the community has
been better treated both in the quality of gas and the price than
have the people of any of the cities in which private corporations
had full swing in furnishing the gas supply. Philadelphia and
Richmond (Va.) are the only two cities which supply gas as they
do water to their citizens, and they are to be congratulated upon
In Europe the supply of gas is kept in the hands of the authori¬
ties, and tho public is far more efficiently and economically served
than in this country. It is true that on the other side of the water
they have learned the secret of good, honest local government,
which is something the American republic has not yet accom¬
plished. Our municipalities are inefficient and corrupt in the
administration of local affairs. This, indeed, ia the problem of
problems in this country. There is hope that with civil service
reform and the lodging of authority and responsibility in executive
officers that we may do better in the future than in the past.
When that time comes there will be no danger in our local govern¬
ments undertaking to supply gas as well as water to its citizens.
We have never taken any stock in legislative action to force our
gas corporations to do our citizens justice. These attempts end in
more plunder for the lobby in every case. There is no reform
worth talking about but the ownership by the city of the plant ol
the gas companies.
" ■ - #--------------------------
la the twenty-four wards of New York there is $277,619,160
worth of real estate exempt from taxation. This is classified as
follows: City property, $188,136,730; United States property,
$13,350,000 ; church property, $43,137,500 ; miscellaneous property,
$33,994,930. The charitable institutions generally come under the
last-named head. This is a monstrous deal of property to escape
taxation. There ought really be no exempt property. The rule
should be to assess every lot and structure within the twenty-four
wards; then let the city donate or make an appropriation for the
different kinds of exempted real estate. This would make dis¬
crimination impossible. The tax exempting authorities would be
forced to save, if charged with tho responsibility of appropriating
money out of the city treasury. Under the present system those
who pay the taxes are necessitated to take niore than their share of
the public burdens.
A wiseacre in the Daily Stochholder complains that the dullness
of trade is due to the enhanced price of land and to the high rents
which prevail in contrast to the low rates of interest, and the
small return for investment in securities. It is unquestionably
true that the better returns from hou^e property than in other
investment is stimulating building in all the centres of population
throughout the country. A vast deal of the floating capital of the
nation is to-day being put in bricks and mortfir, and this ■'s^ill con-
Of course this is an entirely impracticable proposition. If tried
it would defeat its own purpose, for were there any interference
with the rent market it would lead to evasions and put a check to
the building of houses. In the long run house property only
averages about what other investments bring. The multiplication
of dwellings and stores now going on will eventually lead to com¬
petition between landlords, and there will be times when business
troubles will check the growth of cities. The landlords will then
have to take the lean, though they may now be luxuriating on the
fat of the land.
Labor and Business in Europe and America.
The laboring classes of Europe have been suffering for want of
work for several years past. All over the continent, as well as in
England, there has been a steady fall in prices and a consequent
check given to industrial enterprises because of the natural reluc¬
tance of manufacturers to produce goods on a falling market. It
is, however, a curious fact that the greatest distress has been in the
gold unit countries, especially in England, which has had the
advantage, such as it is, of having had the gold unit in force since
1830. England seems to be suffering under a greater industrial
depression than any of the commercial nations. This influenced the
voting for the members of the Parliament which has just come into
power. The Liberals lost in the cities, for to the Liberal goverment
was attributed the depression i'l trade. Then the Tories lost ground
among the new agricultural voters, for Hodge somehow got it into
his head that the landlords were to blame for the hard times, so
he cast his ballot for Radicals of the Chamberlain type who
promised him " three acres and a cow." The discontent among
the British laborers culminated in a rijt a few days since which
put a part of London for a time at the mercy of a mob.
At this distance there does not seem any reason why the police
should have interfered with the speakers. It was their interposition
which created the riot. The speakers only claimed the right of
being heard. The resolutions were harmless enough. They called
upon the government to protect home industry, to supply \vork for
the people if possible, and to organize bureaus in the government
to look after the interests of commerce and agriculture. Discon¬
tent of any kind affecting large masses of people is much more
likely to be dangerous when the dissatisfaction cannot be expressed
by speech or publication.
Herr Most was being constantly imprisoned in Germany and
England ; but in this country, while his speech is just as wild, he
has been severely let alone, and no harm has come out of it. The
police of all cities are apt to be too previous. The Communists and
Socialists have a bad name, and the averaga officer regards them as
fair game to club before the presumed culprits have had time to
break the peace.
On this side of the water we have also labor troubles, but in
nearly every instance the discontent has been caused by too little
wages or by too long hours of labor. The English working class
ask for employment, without any reference to wages or hours.
What a commentary this fact is upon the current discussions of
the silver question in this country. President Cleveland in his
message. Secretary Manning in his report, the Eastern press almost
unanimously, have been telliiag U6 that our laboring classes were
the greatest sufferers by the coinage of the silver dollars. We were
paying them in a depreciated .coin. The continuance of the silver
law was to result in the loss of 20 per cent, in the wages of Ameri¬
can workmen ; yet here are our distressed laboring classes demand¬
ing more wages and fewer hoiirs of labor, and in many cases
employers are willing to meet them half way. There are no silver
dollars in England ; every one is pg,id in gold, which is the sole unit
of value, and yet the working.classes in town and country are so
discontented as to be on the verge of rebellion.. Ought not this one
fact lead such of our people as have honesMy advocated the gold
standard to review the matter again, to see if there is not a mistake
somewhere. We respectfully call the attention of the New York
Tribune, Times, Herald, Finmcial Chronicle, and the other gold
unit papers to explain. ;
There is no reason to believe, however, that there will be any
change of financial policy on the part of the gold unit nations of
Europe. When Mr. William Henry Hurlbert telegraphed to the Sun
that Germany was ready to remonetize silver we predicted that
nothing was more unlikely. Within the last few days the propo¬
sition was made ia the Reichstag to initiate measures re-establish¬
ing bi-metallism throughout. Europe; but the cable news of last
Tuesday states that there were so few persons to support the motion
that the mover withdrew ifc.. The fact of the matter is Germany is
out of debt^praotically, and is ambitious to become a great manu*