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fiecember 24, 1887
The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
IQl Broadway, IST. "Y.
Onr Telephone Call la - - - -
0.\C ¥EAR, ia advance, SIX DOLLARS.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J, T. LINDSEY, Busmess Manager.
DECEMBER 24. 1887.
The Catharine Lorillard Wolfe estate has been managed
shrewdly by lhe executors who have been offering it for sale.
They were careful not to put it all upon the market at one time or
in competition with other desirable properties. At every aale
there has been a large attendance, the bidding has been spirited
and the prices very good indeed. Several moraU are to be drawn
from this fact. One is that auctioneers should try to make all
sales as attractive to the public as our partition sales and those
ordered by the executors of well-known estates. The investing
public, at least those who attend auctions, have not the confidence
they might have in the ordinary offerings of realty iu the auction
room. It should be the object of the Exchange, with the co-opera¬
tion of the auctioneers, to make every sale as trustworthy as those
by order of the court, or when offered by executors of a dead
Then there is another point to be kept in mind. This sale was
held in the dullest month of the year, on the verge of a world-wide
holiday; yet it ^as as successful as any sale for the year in the
numbers "collected, in the active bidding, and in the prices realized.
This shows the absurdity of crowding our real estate business into a
few months of the spring and fall. Even in the real estate feeasons,
so called, the sales are practically confined to five days a week and
to one hour in each day. "We have always held that desirable
realty could command its price as well in midwinter or mid¬
summer as in the spring and fall. Bonds, stocks, cotton, grain,
the metals, lumber, every article, in short, dealt in on exchanges,
is quite as marketable in one season as another, and so it should be
with real estate. We venture to predict that a partition sale, or
the disposal of a well-known estate, would draw as large a crowd
and secure as good prices in January as in March or April,
Dealers would be greatly advantaged if they could get rid of the
tradition of the time when New York waa a small town. It ia
becoming one of the greatest cities in the world, and ita business
methods should change with the growth of the metropolis.
The lessons of past tariff legislation seem to have been lost upon
the Administration. Since the Civil War every attempt to reduce
duties by a comprehensive bill involving the tariff in its entirety
has failed. Yet important and numerous changea have been made
from time to time by the passing of special acta affecting certain
claaaes of goods. The tariff protected industries affects so many
and such vital interests that their united opposition is always
sufficiently powerful to kill any radical or comprehensive scheme
of revenue reform. For years past in these columns we have
pointed out that the vfay to get tariff reform was by means of
different bills which might be carried through Congreas separately.
Oue of theae should be an enactment for extending the free list and
for admitting goods which brought in no revenue. Such a measure
would have no opposition worth mentioning, for it would be favored
by protectionists as well as free traders. Another bill might
aim at correcting the Custom House regulationa, which are now in
a tangle and a aource of great annoyance and expenae to all who
deal in dutiable goods. Then metals might be dealt with in another
bill, and so on. This would give us tariff reform in time, but it
might take several sessions of Congreas to effect the desired results.
But the news from AVashington is that the Administration
intends to introduce a bill covering the whole ground. It is now in
the course of preparation by the President, Secretary of the
Treasury, and Speaker Carlisle, aided by experts. It is safe to
predict that this measure will ultimately fail. In a general way it
may aeem to get the approval of the Senate and House, but it will
be amended so as to be objectionable, and then will be killed after
a wearisome debate. We judge that the influencea behind Presi¬
dent Cleveland really do not want tariff reform during the present
session. What they are after ia a political cry with whioh to go to
the country and carry the next election. The President will prob¬
ably veto all appropriations, except the absolutely neceaaary ones,
which would aim at getting rid of the Treasury surplus. The
Opposition to the President's policy would be stigmatized as corrupt,
for it will be identified with projects for spending money which iC
will be claimed were for unworthy objects.
Making Mr. RandaU chairman of the Committee on Appropria¬
tions and 9 member of the Committee on Rules, settles the ques¬
tion that there can be no real tariff reform this aeSsion. That poli¬
tician's past history and the Pennsylvania interests he represents
will force him to do this session what he has done in all previous
ones—antagonize, secretly if not openly, all efforts for tariff
reform. It looks to us as if there might bo a serious crisis in
the buainess of the country during the coming spring, for it is
evident that Congress will do nothing to reduce the surplus, which
will keep on accumulating to the embarrassment of all trade. The
internal revenue tax on tobacco may be taken off, and sugar may be
made free of impost duty, but it is doubtful if much more will be
done for the next six months.
Mayor Hewitt, according to an Evening Post reporter, favors
a viaduct road running between blocks with bridges over
the streets as being the only practicable scheme for giving
New York real rapid transit; hence he is disposed to object to
the widening of Elm street, as it would involve the building of au
underground tunnel road between the Brooklyu Bridge and the
43d street depot. The viaduct scheme was the one favored by the
old Tweed ring. We do not say this to itj disparagement, for that
ring had some men of brains among its members. We have always
held that the city charter of the Tweed ring was the beat New
York ever had. The Board of Estimatea waa one of the features
which we still retain. But the viaduct plan is open to the objec¬
tion that it would be very expensive. Mayor Hewitt is reported
as saying that the municipality mast build it, as no private corpor¬
ation could risk so much money. But the Mayor, after building it
with the city's money, proposes to lease it to a corporation; in other
words, to make it a present to some Jay Gould or Huntington, as the
government did the Union and Central Pacific roads after it had
furnished money and lands five times over to build them.
Our taxpayers would hardly consent to favor any scheme which
would involve the spending of vast sums of money to make a
public improvement for the pecuniary benefit of a corporation.
The experiment might be tried of the city running the road itself
for the accommodation of the traveling community. Notwith¬
standing our defective local government, much of the city work is
well done—the care and distribution of Croton water for instance.
Politicians are bad enougli, but the management of corporations is
ten times worse. Compare, for instance, our Croton water with
our gas service. Who complains of the former ? and who does not
complain of the latter? Note the charges of the express companies
and contrast them with the efficient and cheap postal service of the
general government. It ia a pity the city could not test the run¬
ning of a cable or horse-car line iu competition with the grasping
managers of private corporations.
It is agreed that the city must have more rapid transit than it
has now. But why is it Mayor Hewitt opposes improvements in
our railroad system which would give us swifter communication?
The elevated road people are willing to lay additional rails so as to
run through trains, or at least trains that would stop infrequently
on the central part of the island. Given proper facilities, the time
between South Ferry and Harlem could be cut down nearly one-
half; yet the Mayor aud hia Corporation Counsel have put every
obstacle in the way, and expects support from our citizens in his
perverse course because of the popular dislike to the principal
owners of the elevated system.
Still, even if the elevated roads were worked and managed for
all they were worth, there is a further need for a swift means of
conveyance on a solid foundation, such as a viaduct, a surface or
an underground road. The Arcade under Broadway is the ideal
scheme, for it would give us rapid transit along the backbone of
the island and would supply both the east and west sides above
14th street. The proposed tunnel under the widened Elm street
would reduce the time between the City Hall and the Harlem
River, but tunnel travel is unpleasant and unwholesome. The bulk
of our city people would prefer the elevated roads even if more
time was spent in patronizing them. The people on the west side
are already demanding some swif ter meana of conveyance. They
prefer an elevated structure. Perhaps their wants could in a
measure be met by a high elevated road over the ends of the piers
on the North River, and running from the Battery to Spuyten
Duyvil Creek. The Mayor says the Evening Post quoted him
wrongly as to the viaduct scheme, but he promises to give hia views
at length iu bis forthcoming message.
IThe Lumber Trade dinner at Delmonico's was a highly successful
affair, and was significant in showing how all the larger trade
interests are crystalizing into organizations for mutual protection.