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The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
IQl Broadwav^, 3Sr, 1^.
Onr Telephone Call Is.....JOUN 370.
ONE YEAR, in adyance, SIX DOLLARS.
Commuaic^tious should be addressed fco
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
Vol. XXXVIII. OCTOBER 23, 1886.
Tlie business condition of the country is excellent. Our iron
aud steel Industries are unexpectedly prosperous. True, more
money was made by the iron men in 1879 and 1880, but the produc¬
tion just now of pig and manufactured iron and steel ia vastly
greater than during any previous period in the history of the
country. Notwithstanding the mild weather the consumption of
coal is steadily increasing; a fact due to the activity of all our
raanufacLures. What looks like a speculation in cotton goods has
set in, aud manufacturers are making profits that would enable
them to pay from 11 to 113^ cents a pound for raw cotton, yet the
latter commands but a little ov^er 9 ceuts in the open market. The
speculation in stocks continue, but a formidable bear party has
made its appearance and there has been a good deal of hammering
of specialties during the past two weeks. The general course of
prices continues upward, but as yet there is no apparent danger of
any serious setback. The real estate market is in a very healthy
condition, and dealers as well as sellers of property have no reason
to complain—the former of the number of transactions or the latter
of the prices.
Wliichever of the candidates is chosen on the second of Novem¬
ber next, New York is x)retty sure of electing a good Mayor. No
publication has mentioned Theodore Roosevelt for that office so
often and so heartily as The Record and G-uide. Abram Hewitt is
an old favorite of ours, and when the Democratic party were talking
about candidates for Governor and President we have backed him
up warmly for those positions. His oration at the opening of the
Brooklyn Bridge was an effort that could not be surpassed by any
orator in the country. New York honors itself when such candidates
as Roosevelt and Hewitt are put in nomination for its chief magis¬
tracy. Indeed we can afford to be generous even to Henry
George, for it is confessed on every side that his being in the field
forced the two existing parties to put their best men to the fore.
Henry George's Jetters to Abram Hewitt are two of the most power¬
ful and pointed political documents ever issued in this country.
Even should he be elected, which does not seem at all probable, we
do not believe any direful consequences would result. People who
own improved property would not be harmed even if George
could carry out his one whimsy, which is that aU land should be
taxed alike whether improved or unimproved. In that case vacant
lots would bear a larger share of the public burdens while improved
realty would be relieved of the heavy imposts it now bears. Bul
the present; generation of vacant lot owners may sleep in peace, for
there is no likelihoDd of any action of the kind in any State in the
Union for the next century.
There will probably be one good result from the Mayoralty contest
this fall. It may serve to wean over the laboring population from
supporting the "Tim Campbells," "Fatty Walshes," «'FrankSpin-
olas," "Johnny O'Briens" and the liquor dealing political influence
generally. It is to our working people we are mainly indebted for
the present condition of our city politics. The contractors and the
city politicians have furnished the organizing talent and the candi¬
dates, but the laboring people have supplied the votes to help these
people exploit the city treasury. If Henry George can succeed in
breaking up this monstrous alliance between our poorer population
and the disreputable crew who now represent us at Albany and the
City Hall he will have done a real public service.
Indeed it can be safely asserted thafc in nearly every large city in
the country the contractors of the public works are the real rulers
of municipal governments. It is they who dictate tlie nominations
and get possession of the machinery by which money is extracted
from the pockets of the taxpayers. Of course we do not believe
that either Messrs. Roosevelt or Hewitt would lend themselves to
the schemes of the contractors, but then these nominations were
made because of a candidacy of Henry George and the partial
revolt of our laboring classes against the local political machines.
There is one plank in the labor movement upon which Henry
George is standing which has not attracted the attention it
deserved. It says " that in public work the direct employment of
labor should be preferred to the system which gives contractors a
chance to defraud the city while grinding their workmen," This
is probably far in advance of public opinion, but it is undeniable
that our contract system is a fraud and a nuisance. Ifc does noi
give us honest work at the lowest cost. It has led to the organiza¬
tion of a, vast conspiracy upon the part of a body of contractors,
who not only corrupt public officials and plunder the city, but who
have become the controlers of the local political machines.
The contest over the presidency of the Board of Aldermen prom¬
ises to be quite exciting. Mr. Nooney really made a very fair
record for himself, particularly in the Board of Estimates. Many
of the County Democracy think that he has been unfairly treated,
aud he has been put in the field by the Irving Hall Democracy and
the Committee of One Hundred. Ii is not unlikely that the Henry
George men may quietly vote for him at the polls. He is a
butcher, and his friends, as well as Mr. Nooney, say that his profes¬
sion has been spoken of desparagingly by Mr. Hewitt, but this the
latter denies. The Republicans have put in the field an Alderman
who refused to vote for the Broadway steal, which is a good
recommendation nowadays. Mr. Hewitt himself is resp':>nsible for
the selection of Park Commissioner Beekman, who would certainly
make an admirable acting Mayor in case his chief was disabled.
Mr. Beekman is well known in real estate circles, and is a member
of the Liberty Street Exchange. He is a great friend of Mayor
Grace, but he may lose some votes in the annexed district on account
of his pronounced hostility to the new parks.
The proposition for an appropriation by the Board of Education
of $60,000 annually, to train our public school children in the
industrial arts, is in keeping with what is taking place all over the
country. We have found out that Continental Europe—that is,
France, Switzerland and Germany—is far ahead of us in training
the common people for the work of life. It is mortifying fco our
pride that the most skilled and artistic workmen in our manufacto¬
ries aud shops are foreigners. We have the mosfc quick-witted,
inventive and industrious population on earth, but in technical
education we are far in the rear of the foremost nations of the
Old World. Our public school system is behind that of other
nations in this respect.
Technical schools are multiplying in all parts of the country.
The late Peter Cooper was far in advance of his time when he
organized and endowed the .Art Union which bears his name, but
no private person or corporation can educate a whole people in the
industrial arts. This gigantic but necessary work must be per¬
formed by the municipality, the State and the nation. In the
meantime, technical schools are multiplying. In lasfc week's
Record and Guide, notice was taken of a three-story brick
shop, which was to be erected afc No. 34 Stuyvesant sfcreefc, to train
Hebrew children in the industrial artsj This is a new departure
for the Jewish race. While it has been noted for its pre-eminence
in trade it has rather avoided manual labor of any kind.
Of course tax-payers will look with some concern upon the large
appropriations which will be needed to give an industrial education
to the children in our common schools, but the community will be
benefited by the new departure in education in many ways. It
will supply mechanics for all the trades which are now dominated
by the trades unions, the rules of which generally create an arti¬
ficial scarcity of skilled workmen in their various occupations.
Then boys and girls trained for industrial pursuits are a far more
benefit to the community than swarms of unskilled work people.
By all means let New York lead the van in this important change
in our educational system. Our New York College should be
reorganized, the study of Greek and Latin abolished, and the young
men who enter should be trained for a business life or the higher
Property-holders living in the neighborhood of Morningside
Park have recently received applications from lawyers to protect
them against an unjust assessment levy. As is usual in such
cases the lawyers propose to fight the assessment, and say they
will be satisfied with 25 per cent, of the money saved by the lot
owners. The facts in this case seem to be, that back in the " '60's"
an assessment was levied but was of such a fraudulent character
that the property-holders were never asked to pay it and it fell out
of sight; but certain shrewd lawyers thought they saw a way to
turn an honest penny, and they made an application in court for a
mandamus to force the city authorities to levy this iniquitous
assessment. Knowing very well that the courts would not finally
confirm the assessment, the lawyers realized that they had a dead
sure thing in fighting it, and they planned this neat little raid on
the quadrilateral lot owners. The court, however, denied the
application. There ought to be some way of punishing such