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March 34, 1888
Record and Guide.
Dr/ojzi) ]oJ\Eti- Estate . 0uildi;/c Aj^cKitecture .Household DEGOF^iiiotJ.,
BUsit^Ess Alio Themes of GeHera*- 1;^tei\esi
KTABUSHED WM.ARPH 21'-^ IB58.'
PRICE, PER YEAR IIV ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday,
TELEPHONE, - . . JOHN 370.
Communications should bo addi'essed to
C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J, T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MARCH 34, 1888.
As The Record and Guide of to-day will be sent to a large num¬
ber of persons loho never saw it before, it may be icell to explain that
this is the first week in its twenty-first year. An article elsewhers
explains hoio this paper has kept pace with the growth of the metroj)-
oHs. From its beginning it has been the only recognized organ of
the real estate and building interests; but it has also beeti found
indispensable to banking houses, loaning institutions, architects,
decorators, suppliers of building material and house ftirnisliers, as
well as real estate oicners tuid dealers in realty. A glance at our
advertising columns to-day will shoio how important and varied are
the interests represented by The Record and Guide, as well as the
estimation in which it is held by our business public. This publica¬
tion discusses all matters of public interest without party bias, and
its views are not those generally taken by the daily press. Persons
who receive sample copies may like toknow that the pvblication
o'lfice is at No. 191 Broadicay, and that the price is %Q per annum.
Our stock mai'ket has been panicky tliis week, and witli the April
6ettlements ahead it looks as if iirices may be still further depressed.
Everything is lower, inckiding grain, cotton, and nearly all our
staple goods. It was expected we would be shipping gold soou, as
the balance of trade has been largely against us, but our imports
have fallen off, due to the tariff agitation, and then the reduction of
the rate of interest abroad keeps gold on this side of the ocean,
where tlie steady contraction of our currency gives a hope of higher
rctm'ns on time loans. Our spring real estate business looks promis¬
ing, and the new money made in business is more likely to be
invested in land than in securities.
The wonder-worker of the last twenty years has been the elevator.
It is tliis x>erpendicular railroad which has chauged the arcliitecture
on this island by making the great office building and apartment
house possibilities. There would have been no Equitable or Mutual
Life building, no tall tower. Mills building or similar gigantic strnct-
xu-es, were it not for this invention. It utilizes the upper air for
domestic and business purposes. Then there were other factors at
work, such as the "L" roads, which concentrated business in the
lower parts of the island; thus feeding as it were the great office
buildings with i>aying tenants. The vast difference between the
metropolis of to-day compared with the New York of twenty years
ago has been brought about by the elevator, the great buildings and
the " L" roads. Swifter rapid transit, bridges and tunnels and the
Hai'Iem Canal will be the features wliich will change the character
of New York Island in the nest twenty years.
The telephone decision of the Supreme Court was probably
according to law and the facts. Perhaps, after ail, it is just as well
tliat competing capitalists were not allowed to come into the field
and waste money fighting the'Bell people. It would bo the telegi-aph
wars over again, in winch millions were wasted for the benefit of
promoters and budders of unnecessary telegraph posts. It will be
recalled that after the patents of the various sewing maciiine
companies ran out that nearly all the new companies which were
started tost money. The old-established organizations had possession
of tho field and kept it. It lias been a costly lesson to learn, but
comx>8tition is impossible in a natural monopoly such as railroads,
telegraphs, telephones, gas companies and the like. "We say this
notwithstanding the fact that the Bell Telephone is a monstTous
monopoly. The charges for its use are outrageous aud the profits
unjustifiable. After all, the telephone is only a speaking tube. The
general government ought to take the matter in hand and force the
telephone people to serve the public at a reasonable rate. There
should be some legislation also to make the corporation use the
recent inventions, which would be a great advantage to the pubhc.
The monopoly now forbids then- employment because those who
own the patents cannot make use of them without infringing upon
the rights of the Bell people. The fact is, in time both the tele-
gTaph and telephone must become a part of our national Post-office
Despite the clamors iu press and on the platform against centi-ali-
zation tho tendency in that direction becomes more marked every
day: Last year an effort was started to unify tlie debt laws of the
several States, as merchants and traders found it impossible to <lo
business with any intelligence when the laws relating to the collec¬
tion of debts varied so greatly in the several States. Senator Van
Cott wants this State to appoint a commission and invite other
States to do the same so that some united recojnmendations can bo
made which would induce all the States to harmonize the laws
relating to marriage and divorce, bankruptcy, debts, partnerships
and the hke. The confusion now existing is simply iutctlerable.
Women are wives in one State and only mistresses in another. A
child may be legitimate in New Jersey, and a bastard in New York
or Pennsylvania. This leads to grievous troubles iu families and
complications in inheritances. Tins movement for unifying our
laws is backed up by such jurists as ex-Judges Davis and Dillon,
ex-Surrogate Rollins and many eminent lawyers, but it will he a
long, long time before anything can be accomplished.
Of coiu'se the proper way to effect these objects would bc by
changes in the organic law of the nation, giving the general govern¬
ment a supervising authority over subjects like marriage, divorce,
education, laws relating to debtor and creditor, and the like. This
was why some j'ears ago The Record and Guide tried to start an
agitation in favor of holding a national convention to revise the
constitution of the United States, which needs many new provisions
to fit it for the conditions of our age of steam and electricity. We
thought that the centenary of our constitution would bo a good
time to hold such a convention. But tbis proposition failed of any
immediate response, yet several circumstances have occurred since,
showuig that the same object we had in view is likely to be accom¬
plished in another manner. The Interstate Commerce act is the
first step in nationalizing our railroad system. Blair's Educational
bill, wliich is certain to pass sometime or other, will put the nation
in control of our common school system, and this movement started
by Senator Van Cott will educate our people to the necessity of
amendments to onr national constitution, making uniform regula¬
tions throughout the Union relating to man'iage, divorce aud mer¬
Spend the Surplus Productively.
The time has come wheu press aud platfonn should unite to voice
the rising indignation of the country at the criminal ai)athy of Con¬
gi'ess in not disposing of the surplus now in the Treasury in such a
way as to remove it permanently as a meuace to busiuess, and thus
allow trade to revive legitimately. It is now nearly fom* months
since this Congress first met in session. For six months previous
there had been a semi-panic in business, due to the absorption of
tlie currency of the countiy in the Treasury. It was the business
of our representatives to have promptly addressed themselves to the
task of releasing these excessive accumulations in such a way as to
stimulate the depressed industries of the nation. It ^^'as folly
unspeakable to first precipitate a debate on our tariff' and tax la\\'s,
for that was sure to take at least six months in a body composed
almost exclusively of lawyers, the habit of whose lives Jias been
to talk and procrastinate and never act excojit under com])ulston.
Even a reduction of the tariff if it were effected might uivolvo an
increase in the revenues. What Congress should have done
immediately it met was to
Spend the surplus productively.
That is to say, not to pass another swindling pension bill, but to
take up, one by one, the many worthy objects which -would repay
a hundred-fold any outlay on them made by the government.
There are certain needed public inipro'V'emcnts which ought to be
commenced at once, such as the deepening of the channel in the
lower harbor of New York to a permanent depth of 30 feet, which
would allow the largest steamers to enter aud leave onr port at any
time. There are hundreds of works quite as important and as
imperatively needed in other parts of the country, such as iniiting
the Mississippi with the lakes by the proposed Plennejiin Canal, a
work as vital in its way as was the original opening of tiic Erie
Canal. Tlion there is the enlargement of the Sault De Marie, a
channel which now does a larger business than the Suez Canal, and
wliich is of immeasm-able importance to the Northwest. But tlie
main thing to be kept in mind is to
Spend the siuphis productively.
Our sea-coast cities are wholly defenseless. Fivebilhon dollars of
property is absolutely at the mercy of any foreign power which has
an iron-clad fleet. We have neither fortifications, guns, war ships,
floating batteries or a torpedo service. Forty milhon dollars would
not be too much to appropriate for defensive pin-poses. This would
stimulate all our iron, steel and allied [industries, and would be the
starting point for a general revival_of business,|,for_it would be an