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July 20, 1889
Record and Guide.
ESTABLISHED^ N\ARj;H21ii^ 1658.^
DeVOTEO TO REA.L Es,rME , SuiLoiKo A;R.Ci(lTECTdI^E ,h(oUSEWOLD DECOR^norf,
■ BiJ5if/E5s aiJd Themes of GeHei^L IjVhi^esi
PRICE, PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIS DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, - - - JOHN 370.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W, SWEET. 191 Broadway.
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
JULY 20, 18S9.
The stock market during the past week has been dtii!; and, con-
sideriug the persistent bear attacks upon it, as steady as could be
expected. Its future depends, as al! summer markets do, upon the
outcome of the crops. There will be the usual telegrams from
Chicago and points West, telling of disaster in this section or that,
and these telegrams will have the usual amount of truth in them.
Very often tliey are sent with the intent to deceive, and even when
they are true they are false by implication, for they do not tell the
whole truth. Every year necessarily there are certain sections where
droughts or rains hurt tlie crops. Whenever aud wherever this
occurs it is telegrajihed East, the consensus of these items making
a large enough total to scare unthmking speculators. There are
no telegraphs, however, from the vast sections where the weather
pursues the even tenor of its way. This practice of proclaiming all
the bad news reminds one of Bacon's story, so often quoted, of the
mariner, who upon going to sea was advised to wear around his neck
a piece of the holy cross. A list was shown him of all those who had
been saved by this blessed method. The seafarer looked at the list
and said: '' Yes ; but where are those that were drowned ?" These
misleatliug telegrams, however, really affect the market very little.
It is only a widespread disaster such as a frost extending over a
number of States that would provide justification for a serious fall
in values. To that extent dealers in the "street" are in the hands of
the weather God.
The Gas Commission Itave just completed letting the contracts
for the electric lights in this city during the coming year. The
price to he paid for every lamp per night varies from 24 to 45
cents. Chicago pays for the same service 15 cents, and in some
cities out West the cost is as low as Scents. By-and-by citizens,
instead of grumbling about the amount of their tax bills will
investigate for themselves the expenses of the city. One of the
fii'st things that will strike them will be the vast amount of money
wliich the municipality throws away as profits to corporations.
Chicago obtains its electric light at half the price New York pays
because it has ceased to pay tribute to monopolies or dividends on
their watered stock. The city owns its own electric light plant and
consequently obtains the light it needs at cost. The difference
between 15 cents and 45 which New York pays consists largely of
"profits." Elsewhere we publish a statement reported to have
been made by Comptroller Myers to the effect that the city's
expenses could be met entirely by the proceeds from franchises
which are now granted to corporations for notJiing or next to
nothing. Tbis is in substance what The Record and Guide has
been saying for years, but this is the first indication that our city
ofiBcials are recognizing the truth of it. It is to be hoped that
Comptroller Meyers will not be content with merely stating the
fact he recognizes, but will use his efforts to realize it.
The annual objurgation of the New York tenement house has now
fairly commenced. There is no doubt that the tenement house is
very far from being an ideal habitation and is the cause of much
physical and moral degeneration. But to cry out against tenement
house owners and builders as some papers are doing, as though they
were responsible for the evils of tenement life, is about as ridicu¬
lous as to criticise the manufacturers of high silk hats because that
kind of head gear is absurd and badly adapted to its purpose,.
There are tenement houses, not because there is anything in human
nature that specially delights in building such dwellings, but
because there is what may be termed " tenement house people "—
people who find that such habitations on the whole suit tbeir condi¬
tion better than do any other. Before we can get rid of the tene¬
ments we must get rid of the conditions wiiich make the tenement
a necessity. To do this, one thing perhaps above all others is
needed in New York, and tbat is cheap, adequate rapid transit.
People of small means can not live even in the northern part of tbis
city if they wish to. Our present means of transjiortation are too
slow. Our population must huddle together because it cannot
gsgamJ, JIk c;italH:hment 'ii adequate rapid transit would be one
of the most powerful blows that could be dealt at the tenement
house and its evils.
Some change will have to take place after the coming census is
taken either m tbe number of Congressional representatives or in
the ratio of Congressional representaticn to the inhabitants. The
House at present consists of 325 members, one for every 154,325
inhabitants, on the basis of the tenth census. Assuming a population
of about 65,000,000, tins would mean either over 420 representatives
on the same basis, or an increase of the ratio of constituency to
about one to every 200,000. It has been the usual custom
to enlarge both the number of representatives and the size
of the constituency, and it is to be presumed that the same course
will be followed this time. Three hundred and seventy-five repre¬
sentatives are by no means too large a number for a poptdation of
65,000,000. There would be objections, however, to such an increase
if tbe House continue to sit as they do now. Ah-eady there is such
a shuffling, rustling and whispering that a speaker cannot be heard
thirty feet away unless the importance of the occasion warrants an
unusual amount of quietude and attention. Add fifty more whis¬
perers and rustlers and tbe din might become mibearable. The
House ought to follow the suggestion of ex-Mayor Hewitt and
divide its ball into two sections, one to be devoted to debating and
to be arranged with benches, as it is in the House of Commons, the
other to he fitted with the present desks, whereat the legislator
could read his papers aud write his letters.
Of course very many of those large investments of foreign capi¬
tal in this country which we have heard of lately are purely mythi¬
cal. The foreigner is not buying up our industries in any such
wholesale way as rumor and report say. But even if it were ail
true the cry raised by many newspapers against " foreign capital'»
would not be a whit less silly than it is. It is diflScult to see how
the investment of capital, foreign or native, in industry cau affect
the condition of tbis country any way hut favorably. Its chief
results are the employment of labor and the development of om-
resources. Most of our railroads have been built and many of our
largest enterprises established by foreign capital, and no one com¬
plains. The objections made now are due to a mental limitation,
which may be termed economic myopia—a shortsightedness, which
prevents many people from seeing the whole of the matter at once,
They see that this inflow of capital makes life harder for a few
individuals, and not looking further to see the greater benefits
which accrue to the nation at large they cry against it. It is in this
way that some people denounce labor-saving machines as an evil.
They notice that a few individuals are put out of work for a time
by the introduction of some device, but they ignore the greater
benefits which tbe whole community obtain.
There is much comicalness to be found between the lines in the
reports wbich the daily newspapers give of the "severe''lecture
whicli Superintendent Murray gave to the captains and officers of
the police force under him, to the effect that the saloons, pool
rooms aud other gambling dens in the city must be closed—as
though the police were just beginning their efforts in this direction.
The reports said the Superintendent assured his subordinates that
be was really in earnest. The trouble is, something more is needed
than the Superintendent's assertion to convince law-breakers that
any one is in earnest in the matter. The mere knowledge that any
earnestness existed would, without further action, close half the
illegal places in the city. The trouble is, uo one believes in the
earnestness either of the law, or the police, or the Supermtendent.
Our excise law and laws against gatubling are simply stupendous
farces and create nearly as much criminality as they suppress. It
is of a different kind it is trtie.
The talk about a railroad trust, embracing all the competing lines
in the Northwest, is premature. Undoubtedly there will some time
be'SUch a combination. When a passerby sees a plot of vacant
gi'Ound in the heart of a great city he cau predict with all the cer¬
tainty in the world that before many years are out tbat property
will be improved. Tbe parcel's value is derived from the advan¬
tages it possesses for improvement. It makes no difference who the
owner is; if the man has common sense he will not pay heavy
taxes over a long series of years and get no retm-n whatever for the
expenditure. So it is with two competing railroads. They begin
by fighting; and not being able to destroy they simply exhaust one
another. Then they think the matter over, feel tbeir empty
pockets, and enter into negotiations for consolidation. As lOHg as
the competition is severe the combination is inevitable. In addition,
there is another way in which two railroads consolidate. One eats
up tbe other. In both cases it will be seen that the co-operation is
forced, if not on the two companies, at least upon one of them.
The history of the railroads in this country is one continued illus¬
tration of these facts. The period of most rapid consohdation was
that subsequent to 1873, wben the collapse of the inflation previous
to that time left most of the companies in such a weakened con-