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April 3, 1886
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
IQl BroacilTT^a-v, IST. IT.
Our Teleplione Call is.....JOHIV 370.
ONE YEAR, in adyance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LUSTDSEY, Business Manager.
APRIL 8, 1886.
The manner in which taxes are levied in this city, and the facili¬
ties and means which exist in the Department of Taxes and Assess¬
ments for carrying out this important branch of the public service,
is not generally known. We publish this week the report of a com¬
mittee of the Real Estate Exchange, which will be pi interest to
owners of property, dealers, agents, lawyers and others connected
with dealings in real estate. The report shows how the general work
of the Tax Department is conducted, what qualifications apprais¬
ers possess, what method is generally adopted in determining the
values of real estate, and what the conditions are which induce
the assessors to change values from year to year, together with the
recommendations of the committee in the direction of remedying
the inequality in the valuations which now exist.
We ventured last week to question the wisdom of Jay Gould in
declining to arbitrate or settle the difficulties with his employes in
view of the matter being taken up by Congress. There is a dema¬
gogical element in that body which could be easily induced to take
extreme action against corporations if a demand was made by a
body of voters such as the Knights of Labor and the trades unions
can command. The swindling pension bills, which have received
congressional and executive indorsement, show to what lengths
the average politician will go to satisfy the soldier vote, which is a
very small one comj)ared with what the labor unions can control
in any matter in which they are interested. The local Knights of
Labor made a blunder in ordering the strike and Mr. Powderly
promptly repaired to St. Louis to have the matter adjusted; but
Superintendent Hoxie, under instruction from Mr. Gould, refused
to recognize him officially, with the result that the strike continued
for nearly a month, and has ended without satisfying either party
to the dispute.
This delay has given the demagogues the chance they wanted to
bring the matter up in Congress, and the corporate interests of the
country have Mr. Jay Gould lo thank for furnishing a programme
under which the laboring masses may be induced to take political
action. So far the working people, as such, have utterly refused
to have anything to do with politics. Although they comprise
nine-tenths of the voters, labor parties and labor candidates have
heretofore been of no account politically. Their votes have figured
under the head of scattering. Every conservative interest in the
country demanded that no issue should be presented which would
tempt or force the laboring people to cast their ballots for parties
or candidates that are committed to programmes adverse to the
rights of property. In prolonging this unnecessary strike, and in
threatening to deprive the woriiing people of their homes because
of the strike, Jay Gould has done more to convert the working
classes to socialistic and communistic theories than ten thousand
crazy agitators like Justus Schwab or Herr Most.
While there is not much good to be expected from arbitra¬
tion courts established by law for the settlement of labor disputes,
experience has shown that understandings arrived at between the
workingmen's unions and employers tend to give satisfaction and
keep the peace in the world of production. The practical opera¬
tion of courts in this country is to prolong litigation and give the
legal profession profitable employment. Then the decisions of such
courts, when rendered, are binding only upon employers who are
responsible, but cannot be enforced against working people who
are generally irresponsible. Not so when the arbitration is between
employers dealing with aa organized body like the Knights of
Labor. There are no technicalities which either party are inter¬
ested in wasting time over, while the Knights of Laboi', or Brother¬
hood of Engineers, or indeed any of the large trade unions can
lledge that their numbers will abide by the decision. Congi-ess-
man O'Neii and Governor Hill, of this State, may mean well in
proposing Federal and State arbitration courts, but the real solu¬
tion of the difficulty is an understanding arrived at betweon the
employers and the great workingmen's organizations. This way
of settling disputes without resort to law was first discovered by
the great exchanges, which are so impressed at the waste and
expense of courts that a member who goes to law to settle a dis¬
pute with a fellow member loses his seat and membership.
Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, last Sunday, alluded to the labor
troubles ia a similar spirit, and almost in the words of an article in
The Record and Guide published on March 13 th. We tried to
poinfc out some of the good results likely to spring from labor
organizations. Among other things, Mr. Beecher said : "Labor
organizations educate men in law, good neighborhood and knowl¬
edge. In them men learn new laws and new elements of submis¬
sion. To the vast mass of men the process of organization is
wholesome and educating. It will be found ultimately that
40,000,000 of men organized are more powerful than 1,000,000 of
larger brain and more capital. * * - I admire the behavior of
organized labor to-day. The self-restraint is wonderful. They have
put themselves but little to shame. There is the virtue and dis¬
cipline that make men. But I have not said these things to apolo¬
gize for or defend workingmen. I know their faults, and shall not
hesitate to speak of them and to them at the proper time ; bufc I
want to reassure the alarm among good people." All true enough !
But the working people are not angels. They ar& of fcen cruelly
unjust to their employers, and, when they have a chance, exact
from them the mosfc humiliating condifcions.
Congress should lose no time in throwing open the Indian terri¬
tory to settlement. It is simjily p>reposterous to put a region aa
large as all France under conditions which make it an artificial
desert. To the northeast and south are cities and cultivated farms;
but the Indian territory, one of the finest lands the sun ever shone
upon, is given over to a few thriftless Indians wiio make no use of
the bounties of nature. The Indians are rich in lands and money,
and no sentimental considerations should stand in the way of the
opening of this fine territory. Were this done it would prove a
new era of i^rosperity to the Northwesfc.
The Connecticut Legislafcure has passed resolutions calling upon
Congress to promptly take measures for putting our sea-board in a
state of defense. Similar resolutions should be passed by the New
York Legislature, as well as the States likely to be affected in the
event of a foreign war. Then all our exchanges should memori¬
alize Congress on this vital matfcer. Even with liberal appropria¬
tions it would be five years before we could be in a partial sfcate of
defense. But Congress will do nothing but talk. It is as certain
as any event in the future that some naval power will plunder our
defenceless sea-coast cities unless we put them in a state of defense.
It will show criminal folly and shortsightedness if we do not make
immediate provision for this exceedingly probable contingency.
Prime Minister Gladstone will have a hard time of it in getting
the House of Commons to indorse his Irish home rule and land
purchase proposition. It looks now as if there will be a dissolution
of Parliament before the close of the year. Mr. Parnell is upon
record as predicting that in the event of a new election there would
not be much change in the strength of the relative parties in the
House of Commons to be elected. Some seventy Tories owe their
seats to the Irish vote. These members will lose their elections, but
an anti-home rule cry in England would probably give the Tories
many seats now held by Liberals. The defection of Mr. Chamber¬
lain is a very serious matter for Mr. Gladstone, who has very few
speakers of ability outside of the Irish ranks to second his efforts
to do justice to Ireland. The future of Great Britain is not hope¬
ful. German competition is injuring its trade and underselling its
manufactures. Its workmen are unemployed, while Ireland is in a
state of threatened revolt. Then the decline in silver is causing
profound discontent in all its Asiatic possessions.
A possible disaster impends over Chicago and New Orleans
The news comes that the former city is likely to be submerged by
Lake Michigan, the level of which has been steadily rising for
years. New Orleans is in danger, it seems, of being left high and
dry, for the waters of the Mississippi are finding their way to the
Gulf by way of the Atchafalaya. This Atchafalaya is a bayou, or
rather a series of bayous, running from the Mississippi at a point
considerably above Baton Rouge and it empties into the Gulf at
I'our League Bay, 150 miles west of the Mississippi Delta. The
Atchafalaya is growing in size each month, and its volume of
water, which all comes out of the Mississippi, has grown much
faster than the engineers who examined it two years ago predicted.
This being the case it wiU not be long before it will be easier to stop
the flow of the Mississippi itself than of the Atchafalaya. There is
a reason for the water flowing through the latter river; it is a much
shorter route to the Gulf, and therefore the fall per mile is greater,
making a swifter current. However, we doubt that New Orleans
is in much danger as yet; and as for Chicago, it will rise equal to
the occasion—indeed, that city has been twice raised already.
Geologists say that there is a subsiding of our Atlantic coast from
Cape May to Cape Cod, and about a thousand years from now this