December 25, 1886
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broadwav, IST. "Y,
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J. T. LmDSEY, Business Manager,
Vol. XXXVIII. DECEMBER 25, 1886.
A voluvie tvhich should be in the hands of every builder, con¬
tractor, architect, and oioner and dealer in real estate, is now
ready and can be procured at tlie offlce of The Recobd and
Guide. It is a new edition of tlie law relating to buildings in
the City of New YorTc, icitJi added matter, marginal notes and
colored engravings to illustrate tlie subject. It contains tTie law
limiting tTie heiglit of divelling-Tiouses, also the existing MecTianics'
Lien Law, This loorTc is edited by William J. Fryer, Jr., loTiose
original and ivell-tTiought-out comments give it a special value.
The volume will also contain a complete directory of architects
in Neio YorTc, Brooldyn, Jersey City, NeivarTc aiid YonTcei^s. The
booTc is Tiandsomely bound in clotTi, and is sold at the loio price of
seventy-five cents, by mail eigTity-five cents.
The Wall street journals are making a fuss over the Inter-State
Commerce bill. Predictions are made that it will ruin the rail¬
roads if passed. Oiir own judgment is that the CuUura compro¬
mise, if ever enacted, will be the best thing that ever happened for
the great railroads of the country. If a national railway commis¬
sion is enacted it will enforce publicity for one thing. All the rail¬
roads will be compelled to make an exhaustive showing of their
condition and business. The knowledge which directors and their
friends now keep to themselves will be the common property of
all who deal in or own securities. Then the agreements between
roads, called pooling arrangements, will be put upon a legal and
reasonable basis, and profit-destroying competition in the form of
rate wars will not be permitted. There is no danger of any gov¬
ernment bureau injuring an interest which represents nearly 8,000,-
000,000 of dollars. We doubt if the Inter-State bill will pass this
session, but it is a law not only demanded by the public interest
but is one whicli would benefit all who own or deal in securities.
unavailable for the active money business of the country, because
banking institutions dare not advance loans upon it, on account
of possible clouds on title and its slowness of sale, but with the
guaranteeing of the title and a Real Estate Exchange at hand the
time ought to come when conservative institutions would be
willing to advance money on real estate titles or mortgages as
collateral. Take the ease of the pinch of last Wednesday week.
There were literally thousands of brokers and bankers, people of
large means and connections, who could not borrow money except
at extravagant rates. Many of them were owners of real estate, on
which they could not borrow a cent, even if it represented millions.
A radical reform in our land laws that would make the transfer of
titles cheap and sure would in effect mobilize real estate and make
it immediately available for collateral in borrowing money; but
until our laws are changed these title guaranteeing companies can
serve somewhat the same purpose.
New York is a great commonwealth, and it ought to be repre¬
sented in the Senate of the United States by its foremost statesmen.
"William M. Evarts is one of our most popular if not the greatest
lawyer in the State of his adoption, and his associate should be one
of our foremost business men. But Levi P, Morton is not a man of
mark in any respect. He simply represents money, and has never
made a speech or published a document which shows him to be
possessed of even average ability. It was a scandal that a State
like Nevada should be represented by men whose only title of
distinction is their money. But the Empire State cannot afford to
have for its Senator a gentleman who would be suspected of having
bought his way into the most powerful and impressive Upper
Chamber in the world. Let us have a man of mark by all means.
Roscoe Conkling would be tha ideal Republican candidate ; but if
he is not available, Warner Miller, the present Senator, should be
re-elected. He is a man of affairs, represents business interests,
and is enough of a statesman to be willing to vote for Hennepin
canals in the West as well as harbor defenses in the East. But
anybody is better than a mere money-bags to represent this great
The State Bank Superintendent, Willi.s S. Paine, is quite justified
in his decision, permitting savings banks to lend money on bond
and mortgage based on searches of titles of real estate made by
guarantee title companies. These organizations serve a good
purpose as they save the cost of research every time a title passes,
and then they give a money guarantee against errors on their part,
which of course an ordinary lawyer cannot do. In Baltimore and
Philadelphia, where these guarantee companies are well known and
highly appreciated, fiduciary institutions do not hesitate to lend
money upon titles passed upon by these guaranteeing corpo»ations.
One of the drawbacks in dealing in real estate in New York is the^
time it requires to pass upon titles. But after these corporations
are fairly at work every parcel of property of any note ■will have
its history given in their books, and abstracts of titles can be
forwarded at once, and so money'can be advanced promptly upon
the presentation of a guaranteed title.
The extension of this system of guaranteeing titles should lead
to what may be called the mobilization of real estate. It is now
A Compromise on Silver.
Our Eastern press of all parties have been the bitter enemies of
silver coinage both before and after the passage of the bill making
the coinage compulsory, in February, 1878. They predicted all
manner of disaster if J such a law should go into force. They said
it would drive gold out of the country, but the truth is we now
have three dollars in gold to one in 1878. It was claimed that our
national bonds would be discredited. The fact has been, whereas
we paid 5 and 6 per cent, on our government indebtedness in 1878,
we could now easily float a national loan at less then 3 per cent. It
was said that silver coinage would ruin the trade of the country,
but it was followed by a remarkable revival of industry which still
Very naturally the country has stood by silver coinage despite
the efforts of the Eastern press. The latter were backed up by the
money lenders— that is, the bankers—who deliberately placed them
selves on record at all their conventions and in all their utterances
against the use of silver as money. It would be a sorry exhibit to
put upon record the resolutions of the bankers at their conven¬
tions and the published statements of the leading national bank
presidents, including gentlemen who stand as high as Messrs, Coe,
Baldwin, Perkins, Vermilyea, Williams and a half a dozen ofchers
who represented the united interests of the national banks of the
metropolis. These gentlemen continued their outcry against silver
down to a recent date, with all the facts staring them in the face
which discredited their direful prophecies of evil to come because
of silver coinage. They knew of the immense development of
business due to the silver coinage, they were aware that the United
States has been the only prosperous nation in the world since 1878
but their instincts as money lenders got the better of their public
spirit, and it was they who influenced our press to take grounds
against the business interests of the country.
But it looks as if a new departure had been made, Mr. William
P. St. John, president of the Mercantile National Bank of New
York, is out in a document, which shows that he at least under¬
stands the silver question thoroughly. He has, ib seems, drawn up
a bill, which was introduced into the House by a silver advocate
last Tuesday. It provides for the continued coinage of silver
until the limit of $500,000,000 is reached—that is about double the
amount now coined. This would give $7.00 to silver per capita,
which would not be excessive, as in France there are 600,000,000
silver dollars or about $14.00 per capita. Yet the silver five-franc
pieces are lighter by 3 per cent, than our silver dollars. But the
new law, if enacted, provides for fewer silver dollars but more half
and quarter dollars. Then all the subsidiary coinage is to be of
full weight. Elsewhere we give the salient points of Mr. St. John's
very intelligent speech on this subject.
There may be some trouble in inducing the silver men in Con¬
gress to accept this compromise. If they do so it will be with tbe
understanding tha*; the New York banks will change their policy
towards silver, and recognize it as a friend and not as an enemy.
They will take it on deposit and pass it through the Clearing
House the same as other money. The matter has been laid before
the associated bank presidents of New York, and there is good
reason to believe that they will come to terms if the silver men in
Congress are willing to limit the coinage to $500,000,000.
Mr. Sc, John deserves a great deal of credit in leadmg in this
movement. The other bank presidents must realize that they have
put themselves wholly in the wrong in the past. The facts have
never warranted the position they have taken, and the South and
the West, as well as the business community, have cause to be
aggrieved at their action, for had they succeeded in discrediting
silver by stopping its coinage they would have struck a disastrous
blow at the prosperity of the nation.
The newspapers have a good deal to say about the quarrels
between the Knights of Labor and the Trades Unions, and they
emphasize every petty dispute among the societies of workingmen
to convey the impression that they must eventually break down