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August 9, 1890
Record and Guide.
'^^ V ESTJfflLISHlD^I(WPHau^>868.
DpM to m- EsT/Ji. BuiLoijfc Apprfrrtcrvflv ,KcwsntoiD DEoon^TloH.
BUsiifess ai(d Themes or GijioflA- 1j<tci\,est
PRICE, PER ¥EAR IN ADTANCE, SII DOLLARS.
PuMi^ied every Saturday.
TeUIPHONK, - . . COBIXANDI 1370.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
AUGUST 9, 1890.
WATJ. STREET, at present, seems determined to be dull. Cer¬
tain specialties are active and fluctuating, but otherwise the
stock market is most stale and uninteresting. News good and bad is
received alike apathetically. The exports of gold were checked
during the past week by raising the price of money in our own
market, and, as affairs in the Argentine Republic have decidedly
improved, and as the premium on gold in that over-financiered and
financiering country has been largely reduced, we may expect
that the foreign support givn to prices in Wall street .will be
resumed, as, indeed, it has been during the latter part of this week.
Railroad earnings continue large, but this is such an old story that
it would scarcely be wise to depend on it to cause an advance in
prices. The crop reports are contradictory but rather tend to the
conclusion that we shall have enough for our home consumption, but
very little for export. Meanwhile general business continues satis¬
factory, and in certain lines of trade phenomenally active. Alto¬
gether there is not much to fear, and a good deal to hope for in
the prospect, for it is hardly likely that speculation can continue
dull as soon as the fall season sets in.
A REFORM, like a man, has seven ages, through which it must
pass from the time it is first bom in tbe brain of some ingen¬
ious mechanic in ideas, until it reaches the steady and assured
position given it by maturity and tbe friendship of our intellectual
*'leading lights." The principles of land transfer reform which
we have been urging for so long in the columns of this paper-
principles which, in spite of their easy applicability and immense
utility, are but meagrely understood and appreciated—are, we hope
and believe, shortly to enter into a more advanced period of growth.
A greater currency will be given to them by a man whose opinions,
though not always readable, are generally worth reading. Prof.
Gk)ldwin Smith, who has had opportunities to observe the practical
workings of the Torrens' system in certain of the Canadian prov¬
inces has, we are creditably informed, imparted some at the enthus¬
iasm derived from these .observations to Mr. Edward Atkinson.
The latter is a cautious and shrewd gentleman—a piece of " slow-
burning construction," as it were—but he has, so we understand,
been won over to the Torrens' system, and has in hand an article
wbich will shortly be published in one of the leading illustrated
monthlies, explaining the principles of this method of land transfer
and advocating their application to the several States of the Amer¬
ican Union. Some discussion will assuredly result from this arti¬
cle. There are certain of the newspapers who follow in Mr. Atkin¬
son's wake and echo his opinions with persistence; the maga¬
zine itself has a large circulation; and the reform, when it
becomes understood will, we are sure, commend itself to intelligent
men whose interests do not lie the other way. Tlien, if a few
executives will take it up and bring it forward as a popular reform,
the different journals of the country, who pretend to lead, but in
reality follow public opinion, will adopt a "policy" in connection
with it as dictated by their various interests; and we shall
have a state of things which will undoubtedly lead to an applica¬
tion of the system. It is particularly necessary to popularize the
reform in this State. We have taken a first step in this city, one
not so important in itself as in what it will pave the way for. The
additions which must be made to this beginning should not be
made piecemeal, but should be passed in a lump; and as there will
be some opposition to this completion of the reform, its friends
sbould be aided by popular support, and by an intelligent apprehen¬
sion of the issues involved.
A S the Block Indexing bill goes into operation on January 1st,
-*^ and consequently as there are still but flve months or less to
elapse before that date, it may not be amiss to ask the Mayor and the
Register why it is that money has not been appropriated by the
Board of Estimate and Ai^nntionment to pay for the making up
of the books required under the provisions of tbe new act. There
was enough delay last fall before tiie Board could be persuaded to
approTuriate t)i9 mooi^j neoeasary to prepare tbe maps, and if the
same procrastinating policy is to hinder the preparation of the
books, it will not, perhaps, be malapropos, to remind the Mayor
that until they are prepared there will be no recording of convey¬
ances and mortgages in this city after January 1st, for the present
bill repeals former recording acts in relation to New York County.
In view of this fact, it woulA 6eem wise that the money should be
appropriated and the work begun immediately. Five months is
little enough time to gee up the thousands of books needed.
THERE are two matters in connection with municipal affairs in
this city that are just now more desirable than any others
that could easily be named, to wit: the election of a capable Mayor
and the obtainment of efiScient rap'd transit legislation. The latter
is perhaps the more important of the two, because, if the attempt
to elect a good Mayor should fail, there will still remain an oppor¬
tunity to try again; but if a political transit bill be paesed next
winter and the construction of some ill-devised system of roads be
begun, it seems as if the opportunity which now exists to make a
thorough ani comprehensive revision of the city's transit system
may be lost for years. The growth and general prosperity of the
city depend so much upon the question of transjiortation, whether
politicians and persons seeking to advance their own interests can
control this transit matter or whether the people can control it,
that to pass a righteous transit bill is, probably, of more importance
than has yet been realized. The transit bill outlined in The
Record and Guide of July 12 begins by asking the public what
transit facilities they need, then provides for the appointment ot
engineers and commissioners under conditions which guard theae
appoLntments from improper influences, and when the technical
plan has been made, aiSords the people full opportunity to say in
what form they wish to have the enabling legislation framed. Fur¬
thermore, the commissioners who draw up the enabling legislation
will be stimulated to do tbeir work well, by knowing tbat if they
do it badly it is likely to be condemned by public opinion and fail
to pass. Under the act of 1875, or the Fassett act, tbe commis¬
sioners might betray tbeir trust at pleasure, and no power exists to
undo their work. Under the well-considered measure proposed,
the work of building an adequate transit system can be entered
upon just as soon as work upon an inferior system, authorized by
a political bill, can be. It would be an honor for any repre¬
sentative body of citizens to take the initiative in announcing their
intention to draw and popularize the suggested transit bUl. Were
we to say definitely who might gracefully aid fittingly take the
initiative in adopting this non-political tiansit bill, which considers
no other interests than that of persons who want cheap, rapid and
convenient facilities for traveling about the city, we should be
inclined to specify the People's Municipal League, the Bar Asso¬
ciation, the Real Elstate E}xchange, the Stock Exchange, the Cham¬
ber of Commerce, or several or all of these organizations acting in
IT is the easiest thing in the world to locate some short pieces of
imaginary road here or there and say that it will ser/e a cer¬
tain part of the city with transit facilities; so easy, indeed, that tbe
town is full of ignoramuses who are given to making these dlap-
dash locations; although every sane man knows that to work out a
transit system in this piecemeal way wDuld produce an expensive
and cumbersome arrangement of railways. To start at the begin
ning of the problem, by ascertaining what transit facilities persons
in different parts of the city want, and then to devise a system to
meet this general want, is a very complex work, and has never been
done thoroughly and never will be done until a board of engineers
is appointed and given time and money with which to make sur¬
veys and investigations. On the merits of the case, tbe proposi¬
tions of the numerous Ignoramuses-with-a-plan, who are not rail¬
way experts and are not possessed of the information to be obtained
only from surveys and expert investigations, are mostly trash. And
yet whatever such men say, " goes," or appears to. In preparing
a plan for extending the boundaries of the cty, in codifying a sys¬
tem of laws, in changing the character of capital punishment, we
appoint commissioners to make a preliminary examination and
the people pass upon it at the next legislative session.
That is a sensible and business-like way to deal with every complex
and weighty public question. But to jumble up the plan-making,
and the carrying out of the plan in one bill, to consider the advice
of politicians and the suggestions and plans of merchants and
lawyers, as though tbey were well-informed and disinterested rail¬
road experts, is ridiculous in the extreme. What would we say if
the Pennsylvania Railroad, in building a new line, should follow
the advice of a number of politicians, storekeepers and merchants.
This class of men would be silent for their reputations' sake before
the officials of the company. They would recognize that the matter
was one for experts, engineers and others to pronounce on. But
because the vwpiA transit question is in a sense a political matter,
lots of men are vain enough to imagine it is proper for tbem to
diop their pens, get from their desks and from behind their coimters
and dictaUnia 7 lay down tHiat kind of road the city nedds, how