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The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad^w^av, 3Sr. "ST.
Our Teleplione Call Is .... . JOHN 370.
Oi\E YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Commmiications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MAECH 20, 1886.
The business situation is somewhat more clouded than it v^as last
week. An uneasy feeling has prevailed in Wall street and stocks
have declined; the Coalers very materially. The scheme of the
Reading trustees failed to give satisfaction, and unless amended
the coal sfcocks will continue depressed and the whole markefc will
sympathize. The labor strikes have received a check by the resist¬
ance offered to the Knights of Labor by the Southwestern Railway
companies. Aparfc from the stock market and the strikes, there is
much thafc is hopeful in the state of business. There is a fair con¬
sumption of goods, the mills are all afc work, labor is in demand
and the buUding trade never promised better. Real estate brokers
have nothing to complain of, for fchis will be the greatest buying and
building spring ever known to the metropolis.
The supplement we publish this week gives the argument of a
majorifcy of the Land Transfer Reform Commission, who favor the
lofc system of indexing. Four weeks ago we published the argu¬
ment in favor of the block system. Ifc is to be hoped that the
Legislature will adopt one or the other, for either would be a great
improvement upon the wasteful and complicated system of trans¬
ferring real estate now in vogue. An eminent member of the bar
gives ifc as his opinion that if this Legislature does not act on the
reporfc of the commissioners there is no hope of land transfer
reform for many years to come. This important matter is now
before the Bar Association, but it is doubtful if that body's action
will be helpful to land reform. We are still of the opinion that the
true solution is to copy the land laws in vogue in the South Pacific
colonies of Great Britain and in the Kingdom of Prussia, as well as
other German States. This involves a government or a municipal
guarantee of title as per diagram on map. This system is at ouce
cheap, expeditious and certain. Under it there is no necessity for
searches, no delay, and only a small fee to be paid, while there is
never any doubt as to security of title. There is an agitation for
just such a law in England, and ifc looks as if it will be adopted
there before ic is here. In the meantime our readers would do well
to carefully peruse the document signed by Commissioners South¬
mayd, Riker, Coggeshall and Strong.
In view of the interest excited by the operations of the Knights
of Labor, we publish elsewhere the platform and declarafcion of
principles of that order. The Knights say they have no intention
of forming a political party, which is probably true enough, as all
that the great bulk of their members really care for is higher
wages, better treatment and shorter hours of labor. The mass of
the working people in any country have never yefc been interested
in the so-called reforms put forth in their name by socialist theo-
rizers and professional agitators. The English labor unions, which
in the past were better organized than those in this country, have
never been seduced into taking political action, though often urged
to do so. In the Central Labor Union of this city, the mosfc power¬
ful local labor organization, political questions of all kinds are
interdicted. In the platform of. the Knights of Labor, which we
publish, will be found a number of proposed measures, some of
which are good, others indifferent, and a few that are bad. There
is a leaning towards the Greenback heresy, which would be mis¬
chievous were the working classes generally to take that ground.
But so far the Knights have nofc entered the political field, yet no
doubt they will attempt to influence the regular party organiza¬
tions. Their leaders have shown the possession of high qual¬
ities, for they have maintained discipline in the ranks of some of
the roughest of the working people, and have in hundreds of
instances prevented strikes by a resort to arbitration. The organi¬
zation has three perils to face—violence on the part of its members,
a persistence in^njustifiable demands on employers, and a resort to
political action. If either of these three mistakes are made, that
wUl be the beginning of the end of the Knights of Labor. But the
platform of principles we give are worthy of careful perusal.
single district system, but is open to the objection that it would
give the Democrats in any ordinary election a unanimous board.
A legislative body composed entirely of the members of one party
could never be relied upon for good public service. The Republi¬
cans who control some seventy to eighty thousand votes in this
city would be practically disfranchised. The true remedy for
abuse of powers by legislative bodies is the transfer of responsibility
and authority from them to executive heads of departments.
Boards of Aldermen and legislatures should be shorn of their
present power for mischief. The source of all our governmental
troubles is the great authority now lodged in irresponsible legisla¬
tures composed almost entirely of lawyers without practice or
character in their profession.
Now it is proposed by Senator Daly to elect the Aldermen on a
general ticket. This would be an improvement on the present
Henry Labouchere, editor of the London Truth, and a leading
radical member of Parliament, in a letter to the Tribune recently,
pays a high compliment to the American Senate. He says it is the
ablest debating body in the w^orld. It was, however, some years
ago when Mr. Labouchere visited this country. The debates this
year are not creditable to our national Senate. Its time has been
taken up with discussions respecting office-holding. No President
has ever made fewer changes than Mr. Cleveland. Yet, although
the vast bulk of office-holders are still members of the Republican
party, the Senate, under the leadership of Mr. Edmunds, has spent
the best parfc of its time in badgering the Executive on the subject
of appointments. There are vital questions wbich need to be con¬
sidered, but they have so far received little or no attention, because
of the intense interest of the Republican-majority of the Senate in
certain office-holders. The course of the Vermont Senator espe¬
cially has lowered him greatly in the esteem of right-thinking men
of both parties.
Cyrus W. Field is making ifc hot for Governor Eobinson and his
Council for awarding the bonds of the New York & New England
road to a syndicate of his friends for a smaller price than was
offered for them by a New York syndicate, composed of Field and
his associates. The State treasury losfc some $94,000 in conse¬
quence, while the subsequent rise in the market value of the bonds
pufc over $300,000 into the pockets of the syndicate who were
favored by Governor Eobinson. The Boston Republican press are
unanimous in defending the action of the Governor of Massachu¬
setts, but there can scarcely be two opinions outside of interested
circles. The award could only have been made by officials who
lacked sense or honesty, and.no one believes or says that Governor
Eobinson and his council are fools. We are not among the admir¬
ers of Mr. Field, but if he succeeds in discrediting the officials who
made this unaccountable award he will have performed a
The following is the substance of a letter sent to us by an officer
of one of the largest corporations in America, if nofc in the world.
For obvious reasons we cannofc give the name :
Editor Record and Guide:
Sir—It gives me every week a great deal of pleasm-e to read The Record
AND Guide. I confess having much confidence in the suggestions contained
therein. I am in full accord wifch your senfciments expressed in the article
of last week respecting the Broadway Surface RaUroad Company. Every
paper seems to recommend the annuUment of its charter, without seeming
to care at aU for the interest of the persons who inno3ently invested in its
securities. In fact some seem to think there are no innocent ones. Permit
me to speak on behalf of a lady who bought in July last of Messrs. Ver¬
milye &.Co. $5,000 of its five per cent, first mortgage bosds at a premium of
111, as a good, safe and permanent investment, and who is now very much
alarmed. I sincerely trust that the guilty parties be punished, bufc may the
innocent ones be protected. g.
The above expresses the sentiments of many clear-headed and
sensible business men. No one who has any moral sense would
champion the cause of Jake Sharp or excuse his conduct, bufc this
wild outcry in the average newspaper of to-day to annul charters
granted in accordance with law, and thereby punishing innocent
holders of securities, is really an alarming symptom of the times.
There is no security for property, if legislatures can punish people
for taking advantage of laws which are on the statute book. The
temptation for the ordinary editor to advise illegal action when
anything goes wrong seems to be difficult to resist. It looks so vir¬
tuous to denounce evil-doing, but the suggestions made by the
press for correcting an unfortunate state of things have very often
a most mischievous tendency.
There is not much in the pasfc history of the cable company pro¬
moters to commend. Some of the measures they have taken to
accomplish their objecfc showed a want of business sense ; and then
there is reason to believe that the company has used money in
reprehensible ways. But the course of the press towards the cable
enterprise is indefensible. If the company succeeds in carrying
out its scheme New York city, will be greatly benefited. Five
cents will give a passenger transfer tickets to ride to any parfc of
the city, and then propulsion by cable insures transit at eight to