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October 26, 1889
Record and Guide.
De/oTED ro f^L EsrME . BUILDIKC AftCrilTECTJl^E .HoUSEWOLD DtOOfyiTlOEi.
BUsiiJess ai^dThemes of GErJEtv^L 1;^t£i\esi
PRICE, PER VEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, . . - JOHN 3V0-
foimnuaicatlons eLould he adtiressed to
C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
/= T. LINDSITi'', Business Manager.
OCTOBER 20, 1839.
By far the most important piece of news which lias been made
public for some time is tlie trafiSc combination of the Chicago &
Northwestern road and the Union Pacific, althougii its effect
upon the stock market has not beeu in any way commensurate
with its importance. Tlie combination is something more tlian a
trafl&c agi'eement, while it falls short of an actual consolidation.
The contract provides for joint tariffs aM trains, settlement of dis¬
putes, divisions of earnings from tlirough trains, proportions of
equipment, rates under competition, and (hat no competitors shall
have advantages over the parties to the agreement. The roads will
be operated as one. whiie each retains its corporate identity. The
agreement specifies nothing as to the territory easfc of Chicago, but
considering the relation of the Vanderbilts to the Nortliwestern
roads it practically means nothing less than a trauaeontinenlal sys¬
tem of roads. Its significance would be hard to over-estimate. It
is the first direct step towards the establishment of such a system,
and in time it will force similar agreements befcween other roads.
The competitors of the New York Central, of the Northwestern and
of the Union Pacific will all be obliged to protect themselves, and
before many years are out the process of consolidation, which
began after tbe panic of 1873, will end in the establishment of some
three or four enormous systems of roads.
The news of continued commercial pros]3ei'ity in Europe, espec¬
ially in Great Britain and Germany, has an interest for us quite
apai't from pliilantliropic considerations. Our foreign trade is
chiefly with these two nations; indeed, as more than 50 per cent,
of all our exports go to Great Britain alone, and nearly S?* per cent,
of our imports come from that country, it is manifest how snhstau.
tial a bridge this commerce must be for the diffusion of prosperity
from one people to the other. .Moreover, by a fortunate concur-
rense, the enlargement of Euglish trade upon terms more or less
satisfactory to the Euglish manufacturer occurs at the very time
when the produce of our farms and fields—the staple of our export
trade—was uever more abimdant, and iu reality awaits the loach-
gtone of a strong foreign demand to become in a sense "active'
wealth, productive of prosperity. It appears that the better times
in Great Britain are principally the result of the expansion of
trade in "new" countries. The Australian demand for products of
everj description is reported to be excellent. The Argentuie
Republic, in developing which the English have invested a great
deal of capital and enterprise, is now becoming a large and profit¬
able customer of theirs. Trade wifch India and the African
colonies bas also greatly increased. The revival of foreign trade
has naturally stimidated activity in the ship-building industry, so
that, on the last day of September there were 521 vessels of 882,749
tons gi-oss under construction in the deekyards of tbe United King¬
dom, compared with 400 vessels of 698,995 tons twelve months ago.
How important the ship-building industry is to Great Britain can
be shown by putting beside the foregoing figures a statement ol the
work uuder construction at the same time in other countries. In
tlie United States 44,495 ions are building, in France (in spite of
heavy bounties) only 16,175 tons, in Italy 24,730 tons, in Germany
81,397 tons, in Holland 20,985 tons and in Norway 14,082 tons.
Our trade with Great Britain is so large, being indeed three-eighths
of our trade with all the world, and our commercial relations
with that country so intimate, that in the nature of things it cau
now be a matter of but a short time before we feel the influence
of the improvement in her fortunes.
The public have no foundation for a judgment as to hoiv wisely,
the Exposition Site Committee have done their work other than in
the reports of tbeir proceedings and " what is said in the papers."
From these it certainly appears that the committee have acted in a
very hap-hazard way in selecting a site, and have so frequently
changed their minds as to its exact limits that really the question
before the pabhc is, " What site is the committee now on?" rather
.than " What site is the Exhibition to be on?" They seem to have
acted upon the Irishman's instruction astothebestwayofshpoting:
" Close your eyes, fire, and then see what you have hit." From
the first tbe committee have clearly recognized that without tlie
Bloomingdale Asylum property the Exposition was an impossibility
on the site selected. Under these circumstances it would naturally
be thouglit that the very first thing the committee would do,
even before they permitted their minds to rest on the site a.s one
to be considered, would be to find out whether the asylum build¬
ings could be vacated in time for the Fair. Apparently, it is at this
absurdly late hour that the discovery is being made. On Wednes¬
day last Mr. James M. Brown, the chairman of the Board of Gov¬
ernors, said: "It seems to me it will be impossible to give up the
use of this property for the World's Fair, for it will be at least three
years before our buildings at White Plains will be ready. We
cannot turn the inmates of the asylum adrift. That, I think, is
what we shall be obliged to tell the committee." That the com¬
mittee should have to be informed on a matter of this importance,
whicii some of the best informed say determines whether the site
is or is not available, is scarcely to be credited.
The advisability of scattering the Fair buildings iu different parte
of the city grows ; and, the more the difliculty as to site perplexes
us, the wider does this become as a door of escape. The pressure of
public sentiment, to continue the simile, has certainly put the door
ajar at present. There are so many advantages attached to this
plan that it is strange it has uot received more attention than it has
before this. In the first place it will make the Site Committee inde-
pent of grasping or recalcitrant property-holders on the site they
have selected, and the knowledge that tbe use of their land is not
of material importance and could easily be dispensed with would
make property-holders more inclined to he liberal and forego
profits. Scatter the buildings, and it would matter little whether
tbe Bloomingdale land was vacated in time or not. The maiu
building, or machinery hall, or both, could be put on the Riverside-
Morningside site; and otlier sites, all of them centrally located if
needs be, could be chosen for the ether buildings; or, if this veere
not done, Inwood, Van Courtlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park
could be used.
So, after all, the stories that were sent forth so much to the satis¬
faction of our national pride, that the new cruiser Baltimore was a
magnificent success and the fastest afloat turn out to be inaccu¬
rate. The figures made public with so much demonstration, as to
the vessel's speed and horse-power, were merely guess-work, aud,
judging from the official report just issued, must have been com¬
pounded of what the contractors felt the vessel was doing and the
record of the patent log used, which, by the way, it appears was
made for a speed of ouly ten knots ! Instead of developing 9,000
horsepower or 1,000 horse-power more than the contract called
for, aud thus entitling the builders to a premium of $100,000, only
8,977 horse-power was developed and the deficiency entails a pen¬
alty of $9,212. This is a poorer result than is to be read on the
frice of the figures, for it must not be forgotten that Secretary
Whitney, "for the encouragement of American shipbuilders,"
consented to reduce the horse-power requirements 1,000 horse¬
power below what the designs of Mr. White called for, and what
the English builders had guaranteed to the Spanish^Government
on thesame design; for tbe Baltimore was designed for the Spanish
Government by W. H. White, now the Chief Naval Constiiictor of
the British navy, and was to develop 10,750 horse-power; but
Spain built a larger vessel instead, the Reina Regenta, of 5,600 tons
and 11,500 horse-power, which was launched on the Clyde in 1887,
and Secretary Wlijtney purchased the discarded plans.
Not alone in the case of the Baltimore, which was followed by a
ludicrous undeceiving, but in all "trial trips " the public are some¬
what fooled. The recent manoeuvres of the British fleet clearly
showed that the speed that vessels attain on trial trips under
the extraordinary conditions that then prevail are at best only a
distant indication of their capacity under ordinary circumstances.
Vessels are built, and upon the result of their "trial trip" are
classed, as the case may be, as seventeen, eighteen, nineteen or per¬
haps twenty-knot boats. The public then take it for granted tbat
the nation possesses cruiseis capable of that speed. TJiis is a delu¬
sion. It is safe to say that very few wai'ships ever develop their
contract speed after they have been accepted from the contractor's
hands. It is out of the question for the government to go to fche
expense or to take tbe pains that the contractor does to get speed.
And, as a consequence the nineteeu-knofc boat in the contractor's
hands does only seventeen knots, if indeed she does that wben in
the possession of the government. Ifc is a curious fact, too, fchat gov¬
ernments are continually building vesfels solely for speed intended
to be able fco capture "anything afloat;" yet, in spite of magnifi¬
cent trial trip records, there is not a single cruiser in existence that
the fast Transatlantic liners could not play with. The City of
Paris, twice the size of the largest cruiser, and built nofc solely for
speed as cruisei"s are, but to meet commercial exigencies and carry
passengers and freight, bas steamed 3,788 knots in less than six days