April 26, 1890
Record and Guide.
De/oteD to H£\L Estaje . SuiLoiKc *;p.cKiTECTviR,E .Housnriouj Degoratioi4.
BU51(Je5s Alto Themes ofGeNei^L .'Nt^i^est
PRICE, PER VEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
PublisJied evei'y Saturday.
TELEPHONE, ■ - • _ JOHN 370.
Communications sbould be addressed to
C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY. Business Manager.
APRIL 26. 1890.
ThereisuomislakiDg the character of the stock market, it is gen¬
uinely buH. The advance began last week, received a vigorous
impetus by the reports from Washington of almost cprtain silver
legislation and constquent inflation of the currency. Wall street
interprfcts tbis a sign of the end of famine and the advent of an era
of plenty. Tbe uncertainty of money rates bas been the broker's
bugbear for some years, and it is not surprising that he is jubilant
at the prospect of steady quotations wnich such a bill as that
agreed upon by tbe Republican caucus at Wasliington presents. In
other quarters, admitting the necessity for more money, the meas¬
ure is looked upon with approval. Some details naturally meet
with objection from silver as well as anti-silver men ; but the more
general opinion is tbat if the experiment of a larger silver coinage
must be undertaken, the way proposed is a good way to do it.
There is a small minority, as there always is on such occasions, who
proclaim di-aster ; but as it is believed that the first results can
only be good in meeting a necessity for an enlarged cm-rency, and
remembered that all legislation is experimental, and that amend¬
ment can prevent any evil which may hereafter be seen in the
operation of the measure, or arrest it if any should unobserved
arise, few ears listen to the jeremiads. Meanwhile, securities con¬
tinue to be benefited by it up to the passage of the Silver bill. As
js more often the case tban not, activity in Wall street is acrom-
panied by dullness outside except in some trades, also largely
affected by speculation. It isa case of Wall street reflecting rather
than preflecting the general prosperity, as is its customary boast.
Apart from the silver legislation, tbere are signs of a continuance
of an advance in stock market quotations, notably the easy rates
for money in all tbe great financial centres, tbe buying of American
securities abroad, and in the continued prosperity of the railroads.
We predicted some time ago that the securities of reorganized
properties would be prominent in any advance that might come.
That has proved to be the case, and the end is not yet.
The bill amending the Block Indexing Act of last year has beeu
signed by the Governor, and there is nothing now to preveut the
rapid progress of the work of making the maps—a work which has,
of course, been temporarily suspended, pending the bill's passage.
The amendments ail relate to the preparation of tbe maps, and do
nothing more than make some alterations in the number and bound¬
aries of the sections which the actual work of preparation bas ren¬
dered advisable. It is encouraging to see that the bill encountered
no real opposition at Albany, and that no attempt haa been made to
nullify the bill of last year.
In Mayor Grant's first annual message to the Board of Aldermen,
he expressed an earnest desire that the rapid transit problem should
be solved during his term, and added that he was willing to receive
suggestions from any one as to the most effective solution. Later,
when his biU was introduced, he denied that he had any pei-sonal
interest in the matter, beyond a disinterested wish to have the
matter satisfactorily adjusted, and professed that he was willing to
consider any amendments which would improve and help to pass
his bill. The hollowness of these pretensions' was clearly enough
shown when the Fassett bill was given to the public. If Mayor
Grant had been sincere in his protestasions, if his main interest had
heen the solution of the difiiculty, and not the making of political
capital out of the solution for himself and Tammauy, lie could very
well have afforded to accept the commission named in the original
Fassett bill. But, no 1 The Fassett bill contained the fatal
defect of not only not being the Mayor's measure, but of
being tbe measure of political opponents, and the verdict went
forth that it should be opposed. On the other band, the part
which the Republicans have played is equally hollow and
false. Mr. Boardman stated early in the winter, that if tbe
Mayor had any suggestions to make as to the commission, they
would, if satisfactory, be considered and incorporated in the biU,
but the Mayor declined to compromise. Nevertheless he developed
a Uttle scheme of his own, and appointed five well-known gentle¬
men of unimpeachable character under the provisions of another bill.
Notice the situation. If the Mayor had been sincere and disinter¬
ested in the matter, he would hive attempted a compromise by sub¬
mitting the names of iiis five irreproachable gentlemen to Messrs.
Fassett aud Ivins; if the Republicaus had been sincere they would
have accepted these flve gentlemen—in either of which cases the
matter would have been satisfactoi ily adjusted. The conclusion is
that the only earnestness with which either party was animated was
partisan, and nobody can exactly tell \vhat the outcome will be.
The game is more complicated uow than it ever bas been before, the
only certain thing about it being tbat the public necessities will bave
nothing to do with the result, if, indeed, there is any result at all.
After the backsliding of the Senate on the Ballot Reform bill, that
august body will scarcely be in a temper to repeat the exhibition.
It is about time, bye the bye, for Governor Hill to send a message to
the Legislature expressing his grave surprise and his utter condem¬
nation at the way public interests are suffering during the political
combat. The whole squabble from the beginning to the end
has been one of the most disgraceful exhibitions of petty pretense
and deliberate disregard of every consideration of pnblic welfare for
partisan advantage it has ever been our misfortune to witness.
The city, it would appear, is not yet over its electric lighting
troubles. The subways are being built as rapidly as passible ; no
deaths bave occurred of late, and the companies are as a rule able
to supply their customers. The bitch has occurred thi., time in
connection simply witb the city lamps,and tbere isaprospeot of our
streets beiug lighted entirely by gas, unless the Gas Commission re-
advertises for and receives bids which are nearer to thepricewhich
the city has been accustomed to pay^that is, about thirty-one cents
per light per night. For tbe past year there liave been 1,306 public
electric lights in New York, costing $147,713, and divided among
four different compauies. In their bids this year tbese compauies
uniformly advanced their prices some twenty per cent., and if their
bids bad been accepted the city's expenditure for electric light
would have been the larger by a iittle less than $30,000. The Gas
Commission consequently came to the conclusion that rather than
have the city mulcted for such a large sum, there should be no
electric lighting done at all. Tliis was a iirudent conclusion, and
one doubtless unexpected hy the companies. It is probable, if bids
are again called for, fchat the companies would reduce tbeir prices
to, or near to,'those of last year, for $150,000 per annum is not a
sum to be lightly thrown away; as^soon, of course, as tbe impos¬
sibility of getting ^180,000 per annum i'or the same service is clearly
seen. But wbat a farce, under such circumstances, is this adver¬
tising for bids! Some one has said that wbere combination is pos¬
sible, competition is impossible. In this case, if in no other, it cer¬
taiuly produces no competition, for in relation to the city the four
companies are to all intents and purposes a trust. Indeed, if they
wish to exist and make money there is practically no alternative
open to them. Competition under such conditions is ruinous;
combination is necessary. But the conclusion we should wish to
di-aw is not that the city should be deprived of electric lights,
because of the exorbitant charges of private companies, but that
we sbould establish a plant of our own. We bave so frequently
pointed out tbe grounds for this conclusion, and events for the
past six months have so continuously justified it, that it is unneces¬
sary to dwell on them again. Meanwhile we have the prospect
before us of being wifchout electric lights for a year at a time, when
little country towns in overy State in the Union ai'e finding the
means to put them in.
As our daily papers have given so small a share of their valuable
space to the Labor Conference in Berlin, it may not be unintersting,
even at this late hoiu-, to enumerate tbe recommendations which|this
conference has made. Of course the conference had absolutely no
authority—tbeir resolutions being simply "pious opinions" and
not imperative laws. No one is obliged to take any notice of them
any more than Congress is obliged to take any notice of the Presi¬
dent's message; and perhaps it is nofc likely tbat the legislative
bodies of the various nations represented at the conference will give
them a second thoaglit. This constitutes at once the weakness and
the strength of the conference. If the resolutions had been iu any
sense mandatory, it is not hkely that so many would have passed
or that tbe meetings would have been as liarraonious as they were.
The recommendations are moderate and sensible. The employment
of women in mines is unreservedly condemned ; and it is
suggested that women in southern countiies, and children under
twelve should not be allowed to work undergi'ouud. In northern
countries fourteen is substituted as the minimum age. It is
proposed that in mines which are specially dangerous the hours
of work should be shortened. Voluntary agreements betweeu
managers and operatives to regulate tbe output of coal
ai'e recommended; and it is wisely declared that one day's
rest in seven should be secured for workers of every kind. All the
delegates except the French voted for a further resolution tbat such
a day of rest should be Sunday. We should like to know what the
reasons of the French delegates were in thus disagreeing with the