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November 26, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
IQl Broad.v7ay, IST. "ST.
Oar Teleplioue Call Is
ONE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Gonununications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager,
NOVEMBER 26. 1887.
Considering that it haa been a broken holiday week, the stock
market has been reasonably strong. The bulls expect to see rather
better prices within the coming two weeks. There is a vague
hope that Congress, as soon as it meets, will do something to get
the surplus in the Treasury out into the channels of trade. Of
course this is what Congress should do, and it would be an excel¬
lent thing, not only for the stock market, but for the business of
the country, if the unnecessary funds in the Treasury vaults were
paid out for works of public utility. But the chances are against
any such timely action by the national Legislature, The danger is
that Congressmen will plunge into a debate on questions of tariff
and taxation which will embarrass every manufacturer and trader
in the country ; the surplus in the meantime steadily accumulat¬
ing. If this should be the actual course of the Representatives and
Senators, we may look for a bad state of affairs during the winter
months. Our legislators are, with few exceptions, lawyers, and their
profe<3sional instinct is to talk interminably and to procrastinate
when they should act.
The condition of affairs abroad is very critical. In France all is
in confusion, due to the scandals in the family circle of President
Grevy which has led to his resignation, while Germany is facing
the possibility of the death, not only of the Emperor and his son,
but of his grandson ; in which case the heir to the Imperial throne
will be a child five years old. Thia would involve a Regency, in
which Queen Victoria's daughter would practically be the reigning
ruler. '* Sir Oracle" has what would seem to be a whimsical conceit
this week. He thinks that among the poasibilities of the future
is that of a temporary dictatorship in France, and a Federal Republic
with Socialistic leadings in Germany.
It is evident from indications in the press that a determined
effort will be made in the next Congress to get the government to
help establish scramship lines to various foreign ports. Senators
Sherman and Frye, as well as President Depew, with a number of
other leading men, points out that the time has come when we
must seek foreign markets for our surplus manufactured goods.
We cannot always depend upon cotton, grain, provisions and petro¬
leum to pay for the imports we get from abroad. It is a well-known
international maxim that ** trade follows the flag." England pays
$4,880 every day for steamship subsidies. At the next session of
Parliament $500,000 a year will be appropriated for a steamship
line between Japan and the western terminus of the Canadian and
Pacific Railway, Germany pays $1,000,000 a year and France
$900,000 per annum for the establishment of steamship lines in the
Australian trade alone,
So far the United States has discouraged all efforts to establish
steamship lines. The Australian government stands willing to give
handsome subsidies to a line between the British colonies in the
Pacific and our coast if our government will reciprocate, but we
discriminate in favor of foreign lines and will give nothing to
encourage trade or to see our flag in foreign ports. It has been
suggested that to foster our trade there should be some monetary
agreement between the United States, Mexico aud the South
American States involving the coinage of a silver dollar and minor
coins of equal value in all the nations bound by the treaty. This it
is believed would tend to increase our commerce with the rich
countries to the south of us.
It is curious how insular our people have been in the past. When
Secretary Seward negotiated the treaty for St. Thomas it was
promptly sat upon by an American Senate. Gen. Grant's efforts
to secure St. Domingo and Samana Bay, so as to give us a status
in the West Indies, were among the most unpopular acts of his
administration. Yet he was clearly right and the majority of our
people were clearly wrong in this matter. The Sandwich Islands
ought to have been under our flag long ago, for they are indispen¬
sable as coaling stations in view of the enormous ocean traffic we
will some day have on the Pacific.
of war that can compete with chose of other countries, we will be
able to assume a more aggressive attitude and need not fear secur¬
ing a foothold on islands beyond our own coasts, and which are
indispensable as coaling stations for countries having a foreign
commerce. The completion of the Panama Canal will present a
grave problem to the Americau people—for its control by foreign
powers would be an abandonment of the Monroe doctrine. Some
day we will again contest with England the primacy of the ocean #
But we are having the nucleus of a navy constructed. When
we have fortifl.catioQS, guns to defend our harbors and a few ships
The Ability of Railroad Men.
It has been frequently said that the ablest men in the country
were absorbed by the railroad interest, and we think that, so far as
the executive and legal departments are concerned, this is true.
Corporations pay good wages, and naturally command good talent.
The executive departments of a railroad demand prompt, energetic
service, and, as a rule, railroads absorb a large portion of the most
active and enterprising men of the country. But, when it comes
to the owners of railroads, to the men who shape their policv
towards the communities which furnish them with traffic, we do
not think this rule holds good. Au illustration of this is found in
the fact that they rarely meet a public demand frankly and will¬
ingly. They wait until the public discontent takes form in
proposed legislation, and then oppose the legislation, even when
the chances are even that it would benefit alike the railroads and
the public. Even so able and popular a man as Chauncey M.
Depew vigorously opposed the establishing of a railroad commis¬
sion in the State of New York, which he has since publicly
acknowledged to be a benefit to all concerned. Yet it took six
years of vigorous agitation by the merchants of New York, who
were obliged to carry the matter into politics throughout the State
before the relief sought for could be obtained; a relief, the princi¬
ples of which are embodied in the common law, and appeal to the
average citizen's sense of justice.
Apparently railroads are always ready to meet competition, but
care little for justice. This attitude on the part of men who own
and control railroads naturally finds its reflection in their subordi¬
nates in the executive departments. Tfaey are always ready to
favor the large shippers who have a " pull;" but the small shipper is
apparently a forgotten man, and suffers accordingly. The men
who fix the freight tariffs seem to forgec that the small shipper,
with whom they do not often come iu contact, has any rights which
are bound to be respected. A striking illustration of this is found
in the present classification of freight.
Before the Interstate Commerce law was enacted, the classifica¬
tion on West-bound freight made few differences on account of
quantity shipped, and these were generally upon articles of large
bulk and low value, in which the commercial unit of sale was a
carload. As soon as the Interstate Commerce law was enacted,
however, a new classification was made, which endeavored to
merge the East and West-bound classifications ; and greatly dis¬
criminated against the smaller nhippers, by putting hundreds of
articles upon which the commercial unit of sale is a single package
into a higher classification, when they were not shipped in carload
lots, thus preventing small merchants throughout the country from
buying their goods in New York, to their own detriment and that
of the merchants, manufacturers and real estate owners of the
East, as well as the railroads themselves.
The merchant who trades in the East usually visits New York
at least once or twice a year, thus benefiting the passenger traffic
of the roads, as well as the hotels and merchants of the metropolis.
The same is true of the army of commercial travelers of the East,
who penetrate into every nook and corner of the country, each of
whom spends upon an average two dollars a day or six hundred
dollars a year for railroad fares.Jand a smuch more for hotels and
sundry expens*5s. If there are a hundred thousand of these, it
would indicate an annual revenue to the railroads alone of
$60,000,000 from this source.
It is to the interest of the railroads to foster this trade, and also
to haul the materials of the West to the factories of the East and
the finished |Troducts back aeiain, as well as the food and other sup¬
plies for the large population of operatives ; but yet, directly in
the face of theae facts, a classification aud tariff of rates on our
railroads is made which tends to destroy all these great advan¬
tages, cripple existing industries and impair existing real estate
values more than any other thing which could happen. If this is
not a reflection upon the ability of leading railroad men who con¬
trol the policy of our great corporations, we do not know what is.
While announcing that they will comply with the letter and
spirit of the Interstate Commerce law, they go directly against it
by continuing in the form of classification the unjust discrimina¬
tions in favor of large shippers, wliich they formerly made in the
shape of rebates or special rates. They contribute directly to the
building up of large shippers to a point where they can dictate to
railroads. They encourage the unequal distribution of wealth, and
furnish a soil in which the ideas of Anarchy and Socialism flourish.
The sense of injustice, felt by the masses in turn, finds expression