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ipril 1», 1890
Record and Guide.
-^ \ ESTJkBUSHED-§/WARPH21"'*'ia68.
BusitJEss AtiD Themes of GeiJeiv^ Ijjtcrest
PRICE, PER VEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
PubUshed every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, ... JOHN 370.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Busineos Manager.
APRIL 19, 1890.
The ease of money and prospective Congresaional action on the
silver question and Treasury disbursements have put the Western
railroad situation oufc of sight for the time being and converted a
bear into a buli market with a suddenness characteristic oi' the
times. The cliief cause of this ciiange is the easy and steady
money rate, and on thia will depend whether stock market quota¬
tions will continue to advance or not. The underlying strengtli of
the market for the last sixty days or more, and the upward move¬
ment in certain securities, suoh as those of the newly reorganized
Atchison, showed that there was a desire on the part of the public
to buy, and that waa proved by the increase of businessin the Stock
Exchange following the dechne of laat week. The situation has a
very close resemblance to what haa taken place in London, where
for a long time business on the stock market waa stagnant, and
brokers and the pre,-5s exercised all their wit in trying to account for
the fact; meanwhile, the problem was solved for them just in pro-
poi'tion as the Bank of England rate was reduced. What happened
there is happening here; with money plentiful, and, it should be
noted at the same time, also vrith signs of a falling off in general
business, funds are seeking occupation in investment and specula¬
tive securities. The probabilities favor a continuance of low-rate
money for the present, and, consequently, a further advance in the
price"of stocks. It muat not be forgotten, however, that the pros¬
pect is not all sunshine. Alton and Missouri Pacific have nofc con¬
sented to join the rate agreement, and the situation cannot be
entirely satisfactory until the Western roads have found some solu¬
tion for their differences. Some years ago Union Pacific was prom¬
inent in a similar fight. Then Union Pacific made an agi'eement
with connecting roads to distribute its business among them at
Omaha, arousing the objection of a competitor we^t of the Missouri,
but also operatiug East, and a fight began which disturbed the
whole railroad situation until it waa settled. Now Union Pacific is
prominent in this struggle, having, by a change of tactics, favored
one of its competitors to the expense of its connections. The hope-
fullest view of this dispute ia that the condition of the disputanta'
business is becoming such that a speedy settlement would seem to
be an absolute necessity. With this arranged, there would be no
obstacle in sight to a general advance.
The failure of the Fassett bill, and with it rapid transit for fchis
city for another year at least, was clearly foreshadowed on Tliuns-
day before the Assembly Committee on Railroads at Albany. Mr.
Beekman was there, and expressed the views of the city authori¬
ties, which we may safely assume are also those of Governor Hill.
The welfare of the metropolis is openly enough cast to the winds,
and the matter is now, what, indeed, it has been mainly from the
beginning, "pure politics." So-called "reasons," of course, were
given for opposing the bill, the chief being that stale piece of
hypocrisy about the infringement of the precious "Home Rule"
principle. This phrase should fool no one. Being interpreted it
means "Mayor's Rule," "Tammany Hall Rule," or "Political
Rule.'' It doea not mean in thia case, and it never has meant, the
"People's Rule," or rule in the interest of the community. The
people of this city badly need rapid transit, and care little whether
it comes through the Republicans or the Democrats, through Mr,
Fassett or the Mayor. It is to be regretted that the Mayor does not
for once, in a matter so vitally important as thia is, rise above
" politics," and make hia acts conform to his worthy pretensions.
Again and again he has declared himbelf in favor of any measure
that will give the city rapid transit, and that he haa only the
interest of the city at heart. What does this fine declaration turn
out to mean ? Merely that he will favor any measure emanating
from himself or his own pariy, aud that he will oppose tooth and
nail, by every political device, measures that arise from any other
source. It is plainly evident that the Mayor has no valid objection
to make to the Fassett bill, for Mr. Beekman said "the rights of
the city"—euphemism for 'rights of Tammany'—" would be pre¬
served if the commissioners named by the Mayor should be incor¬
porated in the bill." In other words, it isn't a question of
measures that is being fought over, but of couunissionera. How
long will this parody of government continue ? How long will the
patience of people last ?
There has been some dispute as to tlie value of the property on
the norfchwest corner of Grand and Elm streets, on which the hall
of the Board of Education stands at present. It has been claimed
that this parcel could be sold for over $3S5,000, which would be
sufficient to cover not only the expense of the plot on 59th atreet,
which the Board has purchased, but also of the new building
which they will erect. Sales of property in the vicinity of the
corner in question do not, however, bear out this statement. The
plot on which the present liall stands is 50.1x100.1. A lot
on the southwest corner of the same streets, 25x80.3,
aold in May of last year for $31,500. The lot adjoining
on Grand street, 18.3x80.4, was sold at the aame time
for $19,60U, and the lot adjoining on Elm street S5xl00,
for $17,000. Thus a plot with a frontage of 43.8 on Grand
street xl05.8 on Elm, together with an interior plot, 35x57.10, in
all about 5,991 square feet, has changed hands for a total of $68,100,
whereas the plot on which the present hall ia aituated contains only
a little over 5,000 square feet. Furthermore, we undeistand that
$100,000 was recently offered and refused for a plot 6Bxll3 on the
nr.-rtheast coi'ner of Grand and Elm. So that after due allowance
for the fact that in the case of the souihwest corner there waa a
smaller frontage on Grand atreet, that there may have been an
increase in value since the salea were made, and that the plot, if
sold as one parcel instead of piecemeal would perhaps have
been worth a larger sum, and after making allowance for
the fact that the ofifer of $100,000 for the northeast corner was
refused, ifc is extremely improbable that the preaent hall of the
Board would bring the price which was paid for the plot on 59th
street, let alone the cost of the new building. Consequently it would
appear that it was not right for the Board of Education to go to this
extra expense when the school accommodationa are as insufficient
as they are at present, and that the erection of the new building
on 59th street can be justified only by a successful effort to increase .
the present school facilities.
Recent Experiences in Prohibiting Oombination.
It is now about ten years .5ince Henry D. Lloyd and others began
to fill the magazines with startling arraignments of combinations
of various sorts, and to predict awful thinga if theae potential
monopolies were not destroyed while young. The tendency to
combine had developed among the railroads at a ttill earlier date
and was so demonstrably necessary to the most economical railroad
service that most who studied the problem were inclined to
acquiesce in it. Those who did not study the problem had, bow-
ever, the loudest voices, and their cry for the prohibition of pools
and the perpetuation of railroad competition was recognized in the
ahape finally given to the Interstate Commerce Act.
Outside of railroad affairs the courts have latterly ahown a ten¬
dency to do nearly ail that positive legislation could accomplish
towards the prohibiting of trusts and all combinations in defeat of
competition. From Louisiana to Maine and California to New
York the trend of the decisions has been steadily against the trusts,
and the New York committee that ao laboriously investigated the
subject declined to recommend legislation merely because it held
that the common law, as now interpreted, is entirely adequate to
deal with them—in fact to keep them out of existence. Tlie anti¬
trust lawyers almost always take pains to quote the decision of
Lord Coke, iu which it is affirmed -that there are three results of
monopoly: "(1) That the price of the commodity will be raised ;
(3) that the commodity vrill not be so good as before; (3) that it
tends to the impoverishment of divers artizans, artificers and
It will be noticed that tbis dictum of Coke's is a mere finding of
facfc in the examination of the old-fashioned legal monopolies. It
would seem that this finding of fact, now nearly three centuries
old, need not bar the way to a re-examination of the effects of
monopoly, especially since the origin of existing monopolies ia
different from those of the time of Coke. But lawyers do not
willingly study economics, and the results are not always satis¬
factory when they do.
In spite of the adverse attitude of legislators and lawyers during
the laat few years the process of combining has gone merrily on.
The history of raih-oads and railroad legislation indicates that to
prohibit pools leads to the absorption of small roads. If roada can
not combine they will consolidate. Historically considered the
poohng ])rocea3 has been little but a device for keeping small and
competing roads iu autonomous existence. Two parallel lines of
track extend for a long distance out of St. Louis. Though virtually
owned by one company they cannot be united because a law of
Misaouii forbids parallel roads to unite. This law seems to be the
last possibility in the way of forbidding railroad combination, and
this law is futile. The operation of the anti-pooling clause in the
Interstate act has been to promote fighting for territory in the
West, which will certainly lead to consolidation after enough debil¬
itating rate wars have heen fought out.