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Record and Guid
^ ^^ . ESTABLISHED'^ WftRCH 21"^ 1858.
De/oTED to R^L EsTME . BuiLD1J/G ^R,cK|TECTvJR,E .^OUSEIIOLD DEC50ftATIOfJ.
Bifsii^Ess aiJd Themes Of Cej^eraL I;^tei\est
PRICE, PER VEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, . - . JOHN 370.
^roromunications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway,
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
FEBRUARY 16, 1889.
Steel rails sold at $35 per ton duriug the past week, the lowest
price ever recorded in tliis country. There does uot seem to be any
prospect of recovery in value because of the geiieral stoppage oj
new railway construction. The depression in the iron and steel
business is a bad sign. General trade is reported as large and active
for the season, but proftts have been cut down to a miuimuiu.
Merchants aud traders are not over-sanguine as to the future, in view
of the change iu the administration, Tlie stock market has been
feverisla, but it seems to reflect tlie honest judgment of investors and
traders. Certain groups of securities |decline invaiue and others
advance. Those that have beeu ou the down track, such as Illinois
Central, Burlington & Quincy and Rock Island, have heretofore
been firmly held by the most conservative investors, while the
stocks which are advancing are tli03e roads east of the Mississippi
River, several of them non-dividend affairs, a class of securities
never in favor with cautious business men. Yet the " street" shows
real judgjieut in dijcriminating as it does. In the olden times this
peculiarity of the niarket would have been attributed to Jay Gould's
manipulations, but it is generally conceded that beyond strength-
cuing his position in tlie Soutli aud Southwest, he is not concerning
himself in the general market. There are two parties in the
■•street," both well organized. The bulls have had their innings
and the bears will have theh-s before the season goes much further.
It is worth noting that after any unusual period of activity in
railroad building or speculation, a number of ;^railroad magnates
fall into discredit when pay-day comes. Just at present the officers
of the Rock Island, Atchison, B. &Q., and Illinois Central are being
roundly denounced by the press as persons who ought to be in
prison for tJieir misdeeds, yet these gentlemen represent the most
powerful railroad combinations in the country, aud their bond and
stockholders belong to the very cream of the business community.
Still, liquidation is going on in all these roads, based on the theory
that the presidents and managing directors are flagrantly dishonest.
Just at present they cannot defend themselves, for the public wiil
not listen to them; but perhaps thei-e may be another side to
The cattle-raisers of the West have induced the leading legisla¬
tors and executive offi.cers of eleven States to meet in convention to
see what can be done to protect them from the exactions of the
great slaughtering firms which monoijolize the dressed beef and the
pork packing business in Chicago. These latter concerns stand
between the cattle-growers and the meat consumers, and fix the
price for both. The Senate of the United States appointed a com¬
mittee, of which Mr. Vest was chairman, to investigate this matter;
but it is one of the defects of our great legislative machine, that it
cannot act quickly or efficiently. "Hence came this appeal of the
ranchman to the authorities of the Western States." That there is
an abuse to be corrected is evident by the readiness by wliich the
States responded. It is understood that Pennsylvania bas asked
permission to enter into the forthcoming convention. Altogether
this shows au anoipalous state of affairs. The State authorities are
asked to take sides in a purely business matter, and they seem dis¬
posed to do so.
There is general complaint that the Western farmers are keeping
back their corn which, at this season of the year, should be moving
to .market very freely. Thisseeuisthemoresurprisingin viewof the
phenomenally large crop of last year. But it should be remembered
that thpre was a deficiency in previous crops, not only of corn, but
of hay, which had to be made good; tbeu it should also be recalled
that not more than 7 per cent, of the whole crop is moved to market
as corn. It is iu the shape of pork, lard, cattle, whisky and
glucose, that corn enters into the consumption of the country.
Practically, therefore, the enormous crop of this cereal is consumed
within the townships or counties where it grows. Indeed, were
the whole two billions bushels, of last year's crop, to be moved by
railroad, it would require double the railroad capacity of the whole
p oujitry to do it, to the exclusion . of alj othey freight, Tlje ^'ood
effects of the great corn yield of the past year will be felt, later on,
by the additions it will make to the animal crop of the country.
Another good cornjcrop this year would be a splendid thing, not
only for the West, but for the whole nation.
Tlie disposition for States to act separately or iu groups apart
from other States may set a precedent that will have far-
reaching consequences. As t!ie country grows the different sections
will have diverse interests, and some constitutional machinery
should be provided under which these groups of States could work
together, provided that in so doing they did not interfere with other
syndicates of States, if that term may be used. For example, the
Pacific coast States may have matters vitally affecting them but of
little or no interest to the rest of the country, and so with the manu¬
facturing or cotton-growing States. By acting together they can
direct the attention of Congress to specific remedies wiiicli they
think would do them good. This would give flexibihty to our insti¬
tutions aud perhaps prevt-nt the disruption of the Union at some
future time. Some day the United States will include all the
country to the north as well as the islands to the south. Under our
present working Constitution Congress cannot deal wisely with all
our widely varied interests, Henceencouragementshould be given
to groups of Sates acting togetJier for any common object.
In the last General Assembly in Illinois a bill was introduced
prohibiting the sale of doctored liquor. As a correspondent puts it,
" it fell by the wayside." Such measures usually do, Presumably
it was flain by the liquor interest. This session the same bill has
reappeared in the Senate, but iu a very attenuated form; whisky
having been removed from the operation of the act. Of course
this cheats the very purpose of the measure, and renders it of very
little value; for the quantity of whisky consumed is many times
greater than tbat of the total of ail other spirituous liquors. The
probability is, ho%vever, that this bill, too, will be of more beneflt
to politicians thau the public; but this should not prevent people
recognizing what a valuable contribution the enactment of such a
measure would be towards minimizing tiie liquor evil.
The total suppression of the liquor evil which many well inten-
tioned persons are trying to compass means, of course, the extinc¬
tion of one of the strongest of human appetites. It is little short of
superstition, due to the pious belief iu the efficacy of wax and
parcliment so prevalent nowadays, to suppose that this can beaccom-
plished summarily by legislation. Legislation, indeed, may close
certain avenues to the evil, but, like a dammed stream, it at once
flows into other channels. Proof of this is fm-nished by Maine. All
tldngs considered, drunkenness m that State, to-day, in spite of total
prohibition, is not much less than elsewhere. As to high license,
the chief results are to make drink dearer and reduce the number
of saloons, thus lessening temptation. This, no doubt, curtails
drinking, though to what extent it is not easy to say. There can be
no question, however, that a very great deal of the evil^of drinking
is due to tlie vile doctored stuff that passes for whisky, brandy
and so forth. This is something within the experience of every
one, and perhaps it would not be too much to say that the mental
and physical harm done by bad drink is the greater part of all the
evil done hy liquor. It is not generally known that a heavy per¬
centage of the sph-its consumed in this country is almost taste¬
less, alcohol distilled from corn, the flavor and color of whicb
are due solely to doctoring. The same stuff is made to represent
whisky, brandy, gin, rum, or whatever may be requii-ed. We all
know that spirits may be distilled from nearly everything in the
vegetable world, but the true whisky flavor is natural only to
the distillate obtained from barley. The spirit of rye also has a
flavor specially its own, and the aim of the " compounder" is to
give either of these flavors to the alcohol obtained from corn and
cheaper grains. The odor, flavor and mellowness if the real article
are thus obtained wholly by adulteration. There can be no doubt
tbat it would conduce greatly to the moral and physical welfare of
Society if the sale of a very great deal of this " doctored" drink
was prohibited. A bill to this effect iias as little chance of being
adopted at once in this State as in Illinois ; but this should not deter
the friends of temperance from action, A practical reform measure
of this iiind would receive the support of a large class who wil^
have nothing to do with prohibition or extreme measures of
One of the first things that would have to be decided in any
movement against adulterated liquor is, what is adulteration?
As a rule the materials used for " doctoring" are harmless euough,
being burnt sugar, prone juice aud substances of a like nature.
The really objectionable article js the spirit itself, which usually
contains mucii fusil oil, varying in amount according to the .
care taken in the distillation. This, as is well known, is the most
obnoxious element to health in all spirituous drink ; but how can a
constituent part of an article be an adulteration V With true
>vhisky, whicli improves with age and thus Ijccomes more valuable