April 7, 1888
Record and Guide.
^ ^^ ESTABLISHED ^M,W\CH21'-i^ 1868. ^
DEV^TEO to K^\- BSWE , ©UlLDIf/c AP;Ct(!TECTJI^E ,KoUSEllOLD DeQORATIoH.
BUsif/Ess Atio Themes op GeSei^I- I^tcrest
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Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, - - - JOHN 370,
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Brtsiness Manager.
APftIL 7, 1888.
"Wall street has been more lively for the past few days, and stocks
have advanced so sharply that the " bears " were forced to cover.
Several new factors were at work to produce thia result. The
Western labor troubles will soon be over. Rates wUl probably be
restored, and it may be found that the Western roads have formed
a gigantic trust to maintain prices. It is certain that Chicago is
buying stocks, but the main support of our market has been Euro¬
pean buying. We ought just now to be shipping gold, for the
balance of trade is lieavily against us. Tbat we are not doing so is
proof positive that European investors are picking up American
bonds and stocks, which are inti-iusically very cheap. But the
conditions are not all favorable, and it is not improbable that the
lowest prices of the year are yet before us. The Treasury surplus ia
accumulating, the tariff debate has not yet begun, and President
Cleveland has not commenced vetoing necessary appropriations,
which there is a strong probability he ^'UI do before the session
closes. But the chances look to a more active stock market than
we have had for the past sis months.
The aale of the Jumel lots has made the city owners of unim¬
proved propei'ty feel quite happy. The falling off of new building
on tliis island made vacant lot owners somewhat appreliensive.
Prudent and far-seeing capitalists realize that tiiere is a practical
corner tu real estate on this island. If house construction contin¬
ues at the same rate as during the last five years there wiU be
comparatively few vacant lots this side of the Harlem River by the
year 1000. There is no investment so certain of a good return as
the putting of money into unimproved property within the limits
of New York city. There is nothing to be said against investments
in Kings County or on the Jersey shore, for population is increasing
all around New York Bay with great rapidity. But there is two
dollars to be made in New York to one outside of its limits in real
estate investments. Just at present property may be slow of sale,
but the ultimate result is^sure to be satisfactory.
The newspapers with great unanimity are against strikes by the
working men. They show, which is true enough, that these labor
wars are wasteful, and that the men generally come out second
best. Indeed, the journals seem to argue that no matter who may
be in the wrong originally the workman, under any circumstances,
must never strike. But it may be questioned whether, after all, the
great corporations do not lose more than their striking employes.
The men live somehow; they are sustained by their unions and their
fellow-workmen, aud in time they get other employment. But the
losses they inflict upon coi-porations are exceedingly heavy, and can
never be made good. Take tho case of the Third avenue horse-car
road. The dispute was over the compensation of a few of the minor
employes, and would not have made a difference of a thousand
dollars a year to the company, but Henry Hart and lua co-directors
fought the battle out and lost so heavily that the market price of
the stock fell off one-half ; no dividends were declared for a year,
and then only a reduced one, and the value of the property haa been
' permanently injured. The strike on the Missouri Pacific two years
ago was one of the prime causes of the dechne of the value of its
stock from one hundred and ten to near seventy. Jay Gould would
neither compromise nor arbitrate, yet the matter could have been
settled iu a week's time, with but a trifling addition to the yearly
expense account. Reading stock before the strike sold at over
seventy-one : since the strike it lias been quoted at fifty-five. A
loss of one million and a half is acknowledged. The C, B. & Q. is
going tlirough a similar experience. It will be lucky if it gets off
with a loss less than two millions. Yet, had it agreed to pay its
engineers what all the other companies were paying, which was all
that was asked, it would not have added more than seven thousand
dollars per annum to its pay roll.
Thornton, in his book on wages and labor unions, shows that in
aU contests between labor and capital in England, where the
employers were united, they alwaya liave had the best of it, but
that the final issue was a correction of any real grievances from
which the workmen suffered. The employers learned a lesson by
the losses in strikes, aud subsequently always arranged matters so
as not to have them recur. In tlie telegraphei-s' sti-ike the Western
Union Company won an apparent victory, but the operators have
been better treated ever since. Mr. Austin Corbin has been obliged to
make concessions to the miners, and after the bitter experiences of
the C, B. & Q. it is not likely that railway systems wfll risk similar
losses if their employes have any real cause of discontent. At this
time the conditions of trade are against the laborers ; they are cer¬
tain to lose every time they engage in a fight this year. They would
do well to consent to some reduction in wages rather than quarrel
with their employers, for work will be slack all this year, due to
the mismanagement of our finances by Congress and the Adminis¬
The question as to how to jjut an end to, railway strikes is begin¬
ning to be discussed in an intelHgent way, not indeed by the news¬
papers, but by business meu and college professors. Professor Had¬
ley, of Yale, does not think conspiracy laws or arbitration will be
effectual. He favors greater consideration on the part of corpora¬
tions to their employes. The working people, he says, should look
to their employers for good treatment, promotion and increase of
pay, rather than to labor unions. One of the largest stock houses
on Wall street, Moore & Schley, seem to favor in their circulars the
proposition first put forward by The Record and Guide, that the
government should assume control of the employes of the trans¬
portation lines, making them, iu fact, part of the police force of the
nation. John H. Davis & Co., another Wall street house, advocates
a licensing system—tJiat is, every engineer, conductor, switchman
and brakeman must not be permitted to serve until they have
passed an examination and received a certificate of fitness; tins
license to be revokable when there is misconduct on the part of the
recipient. Of course, this would be government conti'ol under an¬
other form, for it would entail a Federal Bureau and regulations
and penalties prescribed by Congress:
Something clearly must be done. Our business community cannot
-permit corporations or their employes to block up the avenues of
travel for days and months. Talk about Anarchy; we are having it
in its worst form. What with armed and riotous workmen on one
side and Pinkerton's sharpshooters on the other we are rapidly
drifting back to the state of affairs prevailing iu the Middle Ages,
when the leading families had their armed retainers and were often
able to defy municipal and local governments. This last trouble
was precipitated by the officers of the C, B. & Q. road. Manager
Stone, it seems, told the engineers to "strike and be damned." Mr,
Ai-thur has repeated over and over again that the corporation
wanted a strike and deliberately provoked one. The Rock Island,
in a formal legal document, says the C, B. & Q. has been creating
confusion in order to force all railroads west of the Mississippi to
form a vast trust to put an end to railroad wars in the far Weat.
The conduct of these Burlington oflicials is very different from that
adopted by the N. Y. Central R. R., whicli has never had any strikes.
President Chauncey M. Depew, in a recent interview, tells how the
Vanderbilt lines treat their employes.
" I don't like to advise others, but my way is to keop my door constantly
open to our employf^s, see their committees, hear their demands and remedy
their grievances when it is possible to do so and when the demands are
reasonable. The main elements of success iu this world are good sense,
good temper and minding your own business. That's how we kept out of
the fight in 1877."
" What is your opinion of the Brotherhood of Engineers?"
" I always found them a very inteUigent body of men, and Arthur I look
upon as a man of good sense and courage, to whose wisdom the Brotherhood
owes its present strength."
The Rhode Island State election, as well as the local elections
held tliroughout the couutry, have been quite generally in favor of
the Republicans, This ought to be a reminder to the Democratic
Administration that popular favor is fickle and tliat a dawdling
Congress which neglects the business interests of the counti-y may
be a peril to the party iu power. The Democrats are committing
serious mistakes. They are neglecting the business taterests of the
nation, they are opposing civil service reform, and, locally, they are
favoring the free sale of liquor at a tune when the current of feeling
all over the couutry demands high license and legislation to restrict
the sale of strong drink. President Grover Cleveland stands well with
the country. He has a great advantage in being ah-eady in power,
for the past traditions of our country favor the re-election for a
second term of any President who has done fairly well in his high
office. But the country will not stand a return to the spoils system.
The demand from aU localities is that the liquor business should be
taxed to make good at least the damages it inflicts on the community.
Then if the party in power fails to meet the just expectations of the
business public by a proper financial legislation, even Grover Cleve¬
land may be beaten for the Presidency, It will be recalled that the
Democrats are not as numerous in this Congress as they were in