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December 18, 1886
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad^wav, l^T. IT.
Oar Teleplione Call is.....JOHN 370.
ONE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communicatious should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
Vol. XXXVIII. DECEMBER 18, 1886.
A volume which should be in the hands of every huilder, con¬
tractor, architect, and oioner and dealer in real estate, is now
ready and can he procured at the office of The Record and
Guide. It is a new edition of the law relating to huildings in
the City of Neio YorTe, loith added matter, marginal notes and
colored engravings to illustrate the subject. It contains the law
limiting the height of dwelling-houses, also the existing Mechanics'"
Lien Laio. This worJe is edited by William J. Fryer, Jr., whose
original and well-thought-out comments give it a special value.
Tlie volume will also contain a complete directory of architects
in New York, Brooldyn, Jersey City, NewarTc and YonTcers. The
booTc is Tiandsomely bound in clotTi, and is sold at tTie low price of
seventy-Jive ce^its, by mail eigTity-fwe cents.
The past has been an exciting week in all the markets. Stocks
have had a tremendous tumble, and the grain, provision, cotton
and coffee markets have all been weak. There has been an abnor¬
mal tightening of money, a great part of which is due to manipu¬
lation. Our readers will bear witness that we pointed out a possi¬
bility of trouble towards the close of the year; but the bulls have
been so successful for two months past that they were blind to all
the signs of the times. This is a dull season for real estate, and
the tornado in Wall street did not affect the Liberty street
Exchange. Dealers in realty are very confident as to the future,
and predict a very large business when the spring season opens.
The stock market will naturally be depressed for some time to
come, but good securities ought to be a purchase for investors at
the prevailing figures.
As a matter of record we publish to-day the results of the four
annual contests for directors of the Real Estate Exchange. It
will be noticed that only five of the original members will be in
the board which is to serve during the coming year. Two have
died, and the others have retired, or have not been re-elected. This
table shows the effect of cumulative voting, which is a novelty in
the organiz.-tion of corporations in this country. It must be con¬
fessed that all interests have a fair show under this scheme. The
majority keeps control, as they should do, but the minority is
always represented. Under the cumulative vote the Real Estate
Exchange can never become a close corporation.
situation will be regarded from all points of view. The decision
will finally rest with the majority. But the minority cannot com¬
plain of the final issue, as its views will be presented for all they
are worth. The proceedings of the new Board will be watched
with interest, and the directors will doubtless feel that they cannot
afford to indulge in personal differences. Our readers will bear
witness that this publication has not been the organ of any faction.
We deprecate all attempts to magnify one interest represented in
the Exchange at the expense of any other. We have declined to
be a party to any dispute, and are interested solely in the prosperity
and integrity of the real estate business of the metropolis.
The break in the stock market was attributed by some of the
foolish bears last week to the danger of the passage of the Inter-
State Commerce Bill. As a matter of fact, the day on which the
general government will undertake some control of the railway
system of the country will be an auspicious one for all who are
interested in the securities of our transportation lines. While a
national railroad commission would naturally look out for the
interest of the public, it would also guard the rights of property.
The voluntary pooling arrangements now in operation will come to
an end whenever scanty crops decrease the business of the trans¬
portation companies. There is little or no competition in rates
when the roads have all they can do, but the most sacred engage¬
ments are at an end when business falls off. While the govern¬
ment would prevent excessive rates or unjust discriminations it
would also hold corporations to their agreements with each other.
There will be an assurance of the value of railroad property the
moment it passes under the oversight and protection of the repre¬
sentatives of the nation.
There should be no difference as to the future course of the
governing power in the Exchange. It must aim to raise high the
standard of business honor among real estate dealers. All ques¬
tionable practices must be discountenanced, whether they are in
the Auction Room or in the dealings of brokers with one another
or with their customers. Then the possibilities of the Exchange
must be developed in all its departments. The question of dividends
should not be the first consideration, but even the business
prosperity of the Exchange will depend largely upon the attitude
it will aasume in dealing with public questions. • There are ways
in which the revenues of the corporation can be increased legiti¬
mately, and this is a matter whioh naturally will be considered by
the new Board of Directors.
Now that the election is over it is sincerely to be hoped that the
various interestg^n the Real Estate Exchange will become more
harmonious. It is not an unwholesorhe symptom when a keen
intierest is manifested in a contest for the control of so important
an institution as one which represents the real estate interest, not
only of New York, but of the surrounding country. Anything is
better than stagnation or indifference. A very capable Board of
Directors has been chosen, and if they do not all think alike on
matters of policy so much the better for the Exchange, as the
There is an honest difference of opinion as to the proposed
amendments to the constitution of the Exchange. It is desirable
that the number of directors should be increased. There is no
objection to a gratuity fund, and ifc would be useful, perhaps, to
have an arbitration committee with a legal status. But the pro¬
posal to do away with cumulative voting is objectionable and will
be earnestly opposed by many influential shareholders. So far no
interest has been injured by^minority representation. It would not
be wise to give the whole power of the Exchange into the hands of
a party which could control a bare majority of the shares. The
capital stock is small, and it is inevitable that a ring would soon get
possession of the Liberiy street institution were the cumulative vote
abolished. There are now 500 share-holding members, and any group
of twenty-flve or more can have their representative in the Board of
Direction. But with the minorities' right swept away, 251 members
could do as they pleased without reference to the other 249, and
as is inevitable in all such cases the 251 would be dominated by a
very few persons who would wield the whole power of the
Exchange, thus transforming it into a very close corporation—a
result which does not seem to us at all desirable. Undoubtedly,
under the present system, it is possible that a person obnoxious to
the majority may be returned. But one or even three or four
dissenting directors, while they cannot control the corporation, can
expose if not prevent the carrying oufc of unwise or objectionable
. The Herald is urging upon Congress the passing of appropria¬
tions to build a line of steamers, which could be used for conveying
merchandise in peace times, while available for commerce destroy¬
ers in tho event of war. While our coasts are defenseless against
any power having an armored fleet we have no ships that could
capture merchant vessels by way of reprisal in case of war. The
ownership of ten or fifteen of the swiftest steam vessels on the
ocean would put us in a position to retaliate upon any naval power
which would threaten our seacoast. Then these vessels could be
contracted out for carrying merchandise to the principal ports of
the Old World. This would also give employment to our now idle
naval officers. We have repeatedly made this suggestion in these
columns, and the Herald shows great good sense in taking this
important matter up. It has evidently made a hit, for there seems
to have been many responses to its articles on this subjecfc. Still
there is no hope that our present Democratic Congress will do any¬
thing of the kind, _______^
The Sun newspaper also is doing a good work ia demanding of
Congress that our seacoast be defended by guns, forts, torpedos
and ships—none of which we have at present. Unfortunately, the
Sun has trained with that faction of the Democratic party which
opposes all appropriations for internal" or seacoast improvements.
The great Northwest wants the waters of the Mississippi to be joined
to the Lakes by the proposed Hennepin Canal. But the Sun and the
Democratic economists howl "job" whenever this great national
improvement is suggested. A clear waterway from the Mississippi
by way of the Lakes to the Atlantic coast would benefit the East
as well as the Northwest, and more especially the commerce of
New York. But Randall, Holman, and their supporters oppose the
Hennepin Canal and all similar improvements; hence the Western
Congressmen, equally shortsighted and unpatriotic, vote against all
appropriations to benefit the Eastern seaports. Surely the time
m.ust come when at least one-third of the House of Representatives
will be elected upon a general ticket, so that the interests of the