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July 38, 1888
Record and Guide.
^ ^ ESTABLISHED W WWipH Zi'-^^ 1668. ^
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Published every Saturday.
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Communications should be addi-essed to
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J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
JULY 28, 1888.
Now Ready—The Index to the Conveyances and Projected
Buildings published in The Record and Guide dttring the first six
montlis of the current year. The Index is printed on extra heavy
paper, and, as usual, includes New York and Kings Counties, and
is the most exhaustive ever published. The labor and expense
connected with the work has become so formidable that a charge of
fifty cents is made for this issue, as announced in these colum.ns on
January 21st last. Sidtscribers requiring copies should send in their
orders at once.
Although there was some realizing at the close of the week the
stock market has been fairly strong and more active than for some
time past. It really seems as if things had taken a turn for the
better, and tbe changed aspect of affairs natm-ally sho-ws itself in
a better market for securities. Coal and iron are in greater demand,
the crops so far are good, aud there is a wholesome foreign market
for them. The session of Congress draws to a close, and tlie dis¬
position of the tariff matter will be such that business will uot be
menaced. Altogether the indications are that our fall business will
show an improvement upon that of the three preceding seasons.
There is no likeliliood of any " boom " or buU campaign, but the
outlook for a fan- business is very promising.
It is a real pity that politics and private interests prevent a settle¬
ment of tlie tariff and internal tas question which might give cer¬
tainty to our fiscal policy for the next fifteen years. The tariff was
altered in 1883 upon a demand from tlie country for lower duties
and an extended free Ust. But tlie altered tariff made an increase
of duties in the aggregate. Powerful private interests manipulated
the committees of botli Houses of Congress to their own advantage.
When this was discovered it led to a renevi'al of the tariff agitation,
which has resulted in the passage of the Mills bill. Had tbe pro¬
tectionists been wise, they could have niade the tariff of 1883 eo
reasonable that it would have been useless to talk of amending it
further in the direction of free trade. But the short-sighted greed of
certain powerful protected interests have made this free trade agi¬
Tlie MUls bill is anything but a perfect measure. It is based on
no principle either of protection or free trade. Its chief aim seems
to be to cut down the revenue. Yet tariff reduction often so stimu¬
lates traffic as to increase the revenues. But this Mills bill is not a
radical or a dangerous measure. The average reduction of duties
is from 4.1% to 42% per cent. The country would soon adapt itself
to the new scale. If the Presidential election was not in sight the
Mills bill could be made the basis of a tariff adjustment which
would last many years. It is an open secret that several Republi¬
can Senators, among others Allison of Iowa, would like to vote for
this bill just as it stands. That is, they would prefer it to the existing
tariff. The Record and Guidb has always said that the free list
should be extended^to do so would be a positive boon to manufact¬
urers. It has also held tliat there were many useless duties, and
that some were too high. And yet we have never advocated free
trade as a possibility for this generation. But, of course, there will
be no change in the tariff, for if that bone of contention were out
of the way there would not be much interest in the Presidential
contest. Hence the subject will go over to be settled by tbe Con-
gi-ess, wliich meets in December, 1889. The re-vival of speculation
in Wall sti-eet is largely due to this practical postponement of the
but "Sunset" Cox has the weakness of always trying to do the
popular thing. His overeagerness to please and lack of self-reliance
in emergencies has been the bane of his pohtical life. His length
of service, wit and speaking abilities ought to have made him the
leader of the House, but his desire for approbation has prevented Ms
advancement to the foremost place. But Cox would make a good
and able Mayor, and even a better Governor.
So it seems Tammany Hall is thinking of running Samuel Sulli¬
van Cox for Mayor of New York. Mr. Cox would make an admir¬
able and honest executive officer. He would be hke and yet unhke
Mayor Hewitt. He is quite as good, if not a better speaker, though
the present Mayor is a more pungent writer. Both men are weak,
but in opposite directions. Mr. Hewitt is a notional crank in many
things ^nd he glories in taking extreme and unpopular- positions,
Senator Chase, of Rhode Island, lias made an exhaustive report
showing the advantages foreign nations liave in possessing a
" parcels post" service. He wants to abolish the fourth class of
mail matter by absorbing it in the tliird class, reducing the rate of
postage from one cent to half a cent an ounce. Were our govern¬
ment to imitate foreign govei-nments m this matter it would
wonderfully stimulate the retail trade of the country. The express
companies are a heavy tax upon the internal commerce of the
nation. Then- service is efficient, but the rates they chai-ge,
especially for long distances are extravagantly liigh. Manufact¬
urers and great store-keepers in Em-ope have an immense advantage
over merchants in this counti-y in that tbey have the Post-office
service at their command to distribtite their wares. Our express
companies are confined, of com-se, to service at railroad stations;
but our Post-office system reaches tens of thousands of places to
which the express companies have not access.
But the press, which now practically draws from $12,000,000 to
$15,000,000 per annum from the public treasury tlu-ough the carl-iage
of its mails for far less than cost will very generally join with the
express companies in preventing our government from interfering
with the latter. Our nevi^apapers oppose waterway improvements
by the central authority because this cheaper transportation would
interfere with the great raih-oad corporations. Here is the New
York Times opposing Senator Chase's bill, as it did two-cent
postage. But everyone who bas traveled abroad must have been
struck witb the marvelous cheapness with which packages c3n be
sent tlu-ough the European post-offices.
Our express companies are very profitable concerns. Their stock
commands high figui-es, and they nearly all i)ay good dividends.
A recent computation shows tliat were tbey consolidated into one
giant corporation they would save over $1,000,000 per annum. At
present they have duplicate offices in many places and numerous
unnecessary officers. It would not be surprising if £^ some time in
the not distant future the express companies would pass under one
management; but it is obvious they are money-wasting corpora¬
tions. They do a service for the country which the country could
do for itself far more economically. Of course a postal service in
this counti-y would mean more than it does in Europe. It would
cover 3,603,884 square miles. In Great Britain aud Ireland the
postal service includes 138,358 square miles, while in Germany it is
308,938 square miles. But then Great Britain's parcels posts now
takes in all its colonies and dependencies covering half the globe,
while there is an international service on the Continent. Of course
tliis is paternal government, but it is not the less a benefit to the
nation which enjoys^it,
The best estimate of tlie world's crop of wheat is that this year it
will fall short from tlie aggi-egate of 1887 by about 100,000,000
bushels. Russia and India will have more than last year, tint there
is a shortage over all the rest of the world, the United States included;
hence the strength of the wheat market, especially in futures.
For three years we have bad very cheap wheat the world over,
and tliis bas doubtless led to the cm-tailment of the acreage devoted
to that cereal. In the calculations of chances wheat ought to be
somewhat dearer for several years to come. Tliis may uot be a
cheerful prospect for bread eaters, but a higher price for agricultural
products will be beneficial to a farming community and will enable
them to consume more manufactured goods.
A good indication is the large growtli of our ship-building indus¬
try. During March, April, May and June the Commissioner of
Navigation has enrolled steam vessels of 74,851 tons, against
59,558 tons during the same months last year, and 24,718 tons of
sailing vessels, against 9,614 tons last year. These figm-es, of course,
relate to coastwise and interior tonnage and not to foreign trade.
Our coastwise and internal commerce is rapidly and largely
increasing and would be wonderfully stimulated were our govern¬
ment liberal in its appropriations to imjirove our waterways and
would spend needed money on our harbors and coasts.
We hear a great deal of the Russian railway to Sarmacand, but
the English are not idle. They are working on the Candahar
Railway, which is building five thousand feet above the sea level,
from Killa Abdulla to Quetta. It will soon be at Candahar, which
is not far from Herat. Sometime or other this latter point will be a
bone of contention between Russia and Great Britain. The fate of
India may be decided upou the plains of Central Asia.