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March 16, 1889
Record and Guide.
ESTABLISHED "^ J^ARPH 21"^ 1868.
De/oTeD to R.E>,L EsRTE , BuiLDlf/O ^R.CrflTECTJR.E .KoUSEllOLD DeG0F?AT10[J.
BiJsiiJess aiJd Themes of GtyjERAL I;>Jtei\es7
PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday,
TELEPHONE, ■ ■ - JOHN 370.
^'-ommimlcations should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway
r. T. LINDSEY, Bitsin.e.ss Manager.
MARCH 16, 1889.
President Harrison ought to call an extra session of Congress, to
convene not later than May 15th next. The busmess of the countiy
will get into a tangle unless' Congress acts judiciously iu dealing
with the surplus and finances. Of course a tariff discussion would
be inevitable, and would occasion more or less disturbance. But if
Congress met in May it ought to appropriate the surplus money in
the Treasury for needed improvements—that is to say, the money
now unused in the Treasury should be devoted to river and liarbor
improvements, sea-coast defenses, and tlie rehabilitation of our
merchant marine, as set forth inthePresident'sinaugural. All tins
could be done before midsummer. A recess could then be taken
until October 1st, when the tarifl might be taken up and tliat
important matter settled before the holidays. This programme
would dispose of the surplus in a way that would stimulate the
business of the country. The tariff debate would not then be so
mucli a cause of disturbance. The appointment of office-seekers is
something there need be no hurry about.
We learn that among the last official acts of ex-Secretary of the
Treasury Fairchild was to close the purchase of a plot of gi'ound on
the west side of the city, on West street, a short distance above
llth street. The exact location, price, and the name of the broker
conducting the uesotiatiou, are all witliin our knowledge, but we
withhold them for the present, as we are further informed that
SecretaiT Windom lias directed that no fui-ther steps be taken in the
matier for the present.
The stock market has been dull and depressed during the week;
indeed,[there seems to be a cloud hanging over Wall street. There is
fear that the great copper syndicate may yet cause disaster; that
some catastrophe may occur in New England, or that unexpected
weakness may be developed among the Grangers. Tlien, the
administration has not as yet given any indication as to its financial
pohcy. Still, there is some favorable features in the situation—
money is easy, we are shipping a great deal of corn and jjrovisions,
and have a great deal of wheat to send abroad, for wliich we will
get Irom ten to flfteen cents a bushel more that we received last
year. We are not shippiug any gold as yet, which is surprising in
view of tlie heavy balance of trade against us. Tins shows that
European capitahsts are still investing their money in the United
States. The real estate mai-ket show s more signs of Hfe and strengtli
than do any of the other great marts of trade.
The atmosphere of St. Louis tends to loosen the tongues and force
an expression of tlie rea opinion from railroad magnates. It
was in that region that the late Wra. H. Vanderbilt expressed a
rather contemptuous opinion of the people in a phrase which has
passed into a proverb. Sometiiing over a year ago Chauncey M.
Depew unbosomed himself to a St. Louis repf>rter in a way that
created a small panic in Wall street. He foretold the rate wars
and the railroad depression wliich was to come from the paralleling
and overbuilding of the Western roads. His remarks had such a
serious eSect on stock values that he tried to explain away Ills
. forecasts : but the latter were short of the truth, and a republica¬
tion of that interview would show that Mr. Depew would make an
I admirable contributor to our "Prophetic Department." And now Jay
Gould has been talking in a most astonishingly candid way. It is a
I notable fact that for the last fifteen years Mr. Gould has always
; talked buUish. He has had securities to sell, and he was careful not
\ to injure the market by any gruesome utterances. But in his last
; interview he admits" that the railroad shuation in the West has not
j been in as bad a condition for thirty years. There has been unsea-
\ sonable and unreasonable overbuilding. Then Texas is one of the
ii'orst States in the Hnion in wbich to run railroads, as it has to
'depend on cotton and cattle, and has very few manufactures.
.This ia suprisingly frank. Can it be that the tide has turned, and
that Mr. Gould thinks the time has come to buy back Missom-i-
Pacific? He certainly contemplates an alliance with Riclimond
Terminal, which will give him splendid trans-continental roads.
The new pai-k bill di-awn by Corporation Counsel Beekman is
not the extremely objectionable measure that the Ives bill was, for
which it is a substitute. Its provisions are not of the sweeping
unlimited " do-as-you-please " character which made the former
bill both unwise- and dangerous. The Park Commissioners, accord¬
ing to the new measm-e, are to have maps made showing exactly
what changes they deemadvisabie in the park boundaries,andthese
having received the approval of the Sinking Fund Commissioners
are to be publicly exhibited, aud, after criticisms have been
considered, submitted to the Legislature for final approval. If any
action of the kind were really needed, a bill like this one might be
acceptable; but what most people cannot see is that there is to-day
any urgency to " rectify " boundaries or touch the new parks at all.
It is, of course, a good thing for the city to have a quick eye for
"irregularities," but when they exist only in park boundaries the
necessity for hasty action is not apparent. The people yet have
not seen the new parks and next year or the year after, or at a
future day even more distant, we can all approach the subject of
boundaries so much more intelligently than at present. The city
will then have grown a littie larger than it is to-day, and perhaps
the exact place which these new public playgrounds are to take in
the life of the city will be more clearly discernible. As we have
seeu lately the sentiment of the community is overwhelmingly in
favor of leaving the parks for the present just as they are. Why
should this sentiment not be respected V It will be found that
nothing is to be gained by anybody by contesting it.
So the ejDlendid Broadway Arcade scheme is killed by the
decision of the Court of Appeals. Tliis puts back rapid transit on
solid earth from thi-ee to five years. Mr. Melville C. Smith has
hard luck in this matter. He is a man of wonderful address and
resources, and has spent over thirty of the best years of his life in
trying to carry out this most magnificent scheme. It was indorsed
by the State Legislatm-e; but the late Governor Hoffman defeated it
in deference to the demands of the Tammany Eing. What a dif¬
ference it would have made in New York had the Arcade plan been
In the meantime, other schemes which have been held in the
background because of the Arcade road are awaiting action on the
bill which Corporation Counsel Beekman bas drawn up as the con¬
tribution of the city officials to the solution of the rapid ti-ansit
problem. It was introduced into the Legislatm-e yesterday, and
takes the shape of an additional amendment to the Eapid Transit
act of 1875. Briefly stated, it provides for the appointment of a
commission of five persons by the Mayor, whicli commission is to
have power to fix routes and determine the character of the roads.
They are to decide as to the need of such roads within thu-ty days
of organization, and the route or routes within sixty days. When
a decision has been reached the plans ai-e to be submitted for
approval to the Sinking Fund Commissioners, who have the power
to modify them. The commission is charged with fixing theannual
contribution of the sanctioned railroad to the City Treasury, and
]:>rocuring the necessary consent either of property owners or of
the commissioner appointed in lieu thereof by the Supreme Court.
Furthermore, the bill makes it the duty of the Sinking Fund Com¬
missioners to obtain from the Board of Aldermen permission to use
the streets and seli the franchise to the highest bidder at public
The bill, thougli framed to have the appearance of a general
measm-e, is palpably special legislation affecting New York City
only, and tliequestion whether it is constitutional or not is pretty
certain to be raised. Moreover, it should have contained some
provision whereby any road or roads built would lapse in time into
the jjossession of the city. The measure, however, is of reai value,
as it removes the source of legislative sanction from Albany to this
city. This would be a great gain in the matter of dii-ectness, and
would obviate a host of delays incidental to legislation in the State
Capitol, Upon aU schemes yet beard from, however, the commis¬
sion could rpport almost off-hand. What is really needed by the
city is not discussion but prompt action, and there is no reason for
expecting that any scheme adopted by the commission will not
be beset by the antagonisms, objections and legal delays which
liave met every plan proposed for giviugthe city rapid transit.
The flrst thing the commission should do is to grant permission
to the elevated roads to add another track to their lines. This is
the speediest remedy for the rapid transit difficulty that exists;
and while it would not permanently settle it, it would make things
vastly better for a time, while some really adequate system of
transportation is building. Almost anything is better than the
present inactivity which is injuring immensely the material
interests of the city. The population which should be settling in