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Record and Guide.
ESTABLISHED ^ /AARpH 21^"*^ 1868.
De/oXEO to f^L ESRIE BuiLDlHO Ap.Ct<ITECTiJI^E ,HoUSEI^OLD DEGORAmtJ.
Busii^ESS AfJD Themes of Ce^eiv^L 1j>(t£i\est
PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, - - . JOHN 370.
Communications should be addressed to
C, W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MARCH 31, 1888.
The prices on the Stock Exchange are on the down grade. First
it is one active stock and then auotheir that gets a blow betw^een the
eyes. We have reached the time in the spring when prices gen¬
erally go down. April is rarely or never a " bull"' month, and it
looks as lE we were soon to be exporting gold, as the balance of
ti'ade is heavily against us. We may not send much of the yellovr
metal abroad, in view of the plethora of money now in Europe and
the low rate of interest which prevails. Should war be declared or
anything be done to make money dear on the foreign bourses, we
will at once become heavy shippers of gold. There is a decline of
prices in all the staple productions of the world, due to the steady
enhancement of the gold unit, which is now the sole measure of
prices in all the international marts.
The Tory local government bill for England is a very radical meas¬
ure, for it transfers authority in localities from the gentry to the
ratepayers. This last feature has been overlooked in the comments
of our press. In England it is not the landlord who pays the local
taxes, it is the tenants of the houses who are ai^ected by the rates.
It is not likely that they wiU deliberately add to their own taxation
by keeping corrupt oiificials in power or countenancing extravagant
appropriations. It is a pity that taxation in this and other cities
could not be transferred to people who pay rents. It would make
them more conservative.
The time will come in tbis country when we shall want to add to
om- revenues, and that necessity may come sooner than we think
for. When it does it will be well to take a liint from Chancellor
Goschen's proposed tax on race horses. The owners of these costly
luxuries could very well afford to contribute sometliing to the
national Ti-easury. Then bookmakers ought to be forced to pay a
heavy license. The fact is, horse racing is being overdone In tliis
country, and there should be some check to the gambling spirit it
has created and wliich has become a mania among lai"ge classes of
our peojile. The British Chancellor also proposes to tax certain
stock transfers, but he remits a penny in a pound ou the income
tax. This is intended to placate the owners of invested wealth
which are so largely represented in Parliament. Yet the income
tax is a very popular one in England among the masses. It has
been in existence iu Great Britain since the Napoleonic wars, and
there is uo difficulty iu its collection, although statements to the
contrary are constantly being made in our newspapers.
. New York city and county, w^hicli pays nominally 46 per cent,
of the State taxes, but really one-half of them due to the higher
valuation of our property, ought to have at least two of the five
members on the State Board of Assessors, but we have none at all,
and the State Legislature has so far refused to grant us even one.
This is scandalously unjust, for the State Board manages somehow
to throw the heaviest burdens of the State taxation on the metro¬
polis. Were it not for the Erie Canal, which is of such vital impor¬
tance to tills city, it woidd be in order for our citizens to agitate for
the creation of a new State, embracing the populations adjacent to
New York Bay. Our interests hereabout are distinct from Northern
and Western New York and that part of Jersey which does not
front on our harbor or lower bay. An agitation for a new State
might bring Albany to its senses.
The financial legislation of Congress tlireatens to be in the direc¬
tion of paper inflation. Every measure which looks like adding to
the circulation is promptly indorsed. The Senate favors a measure
to replace every national bank note withdrawn with a Treasury
issue of paper, in eflfect thus adding to the revenue of the greenbacks.
Thia is a step backward. The greenback itself is an excrescence
upon our currency issues. Our object should be to have a metalUc
currency, and for every dollar of paper there should be au equivalent
coin of precious metal in the Treasuiy or in the banks. No one pro¬
poses, however, as yet to cancel the greenbacks; we should not con¬
tract our currency when all we have per capita is about $26. France
with a much denser population than ours liae $52 per capita and
rather more gold alone than our total issue of gold, silver and paper.
Of course we are speaking of the amount of currency per head and
not the gross totals.
But the Senate seems disposed to call a halt ou the House bill to
issue fractional paper notes of the value of ten, fifteen and twenty-five
cents each. The objections to this legislation is that we ah-eady
have more silver minor coin than the retail trade of the country
calls for. The cost of the issue would be quite considerable and the
losses on this kind of cuiTency would fall almost entirely upon the
poor. Many millions of the old fractional notes are still unredeemed
and are undoubtedly lost. Curiously enough several of our gold
monometallic journals favor this issue of paper fi-actional cun-ency.
Newspapers like it, as it enables subscribers to send small change
through the mails. Tlien manufacturers and merchants who have a
large parcel business are desirous of a currency by which payments
can be sent tlu-ough the post-ofiice. The postal notes were designed
to expedite busiuess of this kind, but the official red tape makes them
inconvenient and costly. Our own objection to these fractional
notes is that they discourage the use of the precious metals in which
we are vitally interested iu mining as a nation, while they educate
our people to believe that paper is real money instead of its repre¬
sentative, which fact will in time be forgotten and will thus lead to
the issue of fiat money.
Ours is an immense country, with innumerable waterways and
harbors on lake and ocean fronts. The gro%vth of our enormous
internal commerce calls for the improvemant of these waterways
aud harbors, aud the amount of work to be done is naturally very
great. The local government engineers state officially that we
ought to expend one hundred and sixty millions per annum for
some years in order to give the needed f acifities to the internal com¬
merce of the country. Knowing how impossible it would be to get
Congress to sanction so large a sum, the chief of the government
engineers asks for only forty millions. On his reduced estimates
the House Committee has introduced a bill asking for less than
twenty millions, whicli is a ridiculously small sum iu view of the
failm-e of the appropriations for interual improvement and repair
during the last two years. The inadequacy of tlie proposed expen¬
ditures is shown in ttie fact that the harbor of New York gets only
two hundred thousand dollars, when to^deepen the channel in the
lower bay properly would cost nearly fom- million dollars. One
hundred and fifty thousand dollars is to be giveu to the Harlem
River improvement, when the total cost of that work will be nearer
two millions. This gives us an idea of the inadequacy of the appro¬
priations generally, and yet quite a large sum is appropriated for
the lower Mississippi, not one-tenth enough, however, to insure
against inundations due to any exceptional rise in that river. If we
are as niggardly in the future as in the past, the recent appalling
catastrophe due to the breaking of the banks of the Yellow River in
China will be repeated iu our Mississippi Valley. A large sum is
also appropriated to the Sault St. Marie Ship Canal, through which
more tonnage will pass than thi-ough the Suez Canal. The appro¬
priations should have been five million for this work, inatead of less
than one million,
But the newspapers have commenced to clamor against the new
River aud Harbor bill. It does look so honest to object to the
spending of money by the government. A thievish pension bill gets
no such criticism, though it is money worse than ^vasted. In the
bill so unjustly vetoed by President Arthur there was an appropri¬
ation for a locality called Cheesequakes, and how the wits of the
press did play upon that name to cast odium upon the bilLof which
nine-tenths of the appropriation were for objects of undoubted merit.
In the bill now before the House it is proposed to deepen the Wing
Wang River in Oregon. What a chance is here for the newspaper
humorists. It is very probable this tremendous press opposition to
waterway improvements is really inspired by the great railway
corporations who naturally want to have the whole carrying trade
of the country at their mercy. Of course some kind of a river and
harbor bill will get through Congress, but it will be promptly vetoed
by President Cleveland quite irrespective of its merits. The dema¬
gogues iu the press and on the platform will applaud him for
vetoing any bill appropriating the government money for public
objects, however desu-able. But nevertheless he will sign another
pension bill, not\vithstanding that we have already given eight
hundred and eighty-three millions to the survivors of the Union
Army, of which it is notorious that fully one-half has been gobbled
up by pension agents, malingerers and bounty jumpers. '
The people of the island of St. Thomas,[in the West Indies, wluch
now belongs to Denmark, are very anxious to be annexed tO' the
United States. It has a fine harbor, and will be a very important
locality if it belonged to a really powei-ful nation. At the close of
the civil war Secretary Seward negotiated a treaty for its transfer
to the United States, but tlie Senate refused to confinn the bargain.
Whenever we take a new depai-tm-e as a nation aud resolve to
become a great commercial pojver we will be eager to possess our-