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Mai-ch S3,' 188&
Record and Guide.
■^^ ^ ESTABLISHED
oy --^__ /* ESTABLISHED *u/f ^
Dev^FO to IH'- ESTAJE. BuiLDIf/G AncKlTECTdl^E .HoUSEtJoLD DEGDI^notJ.
Bl/5I^/ES3 A^JDThemes of GejJei^I 1;Jt£i\es-i
PRICE, PER TEAR IIV ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, - - - JOHN 370.
f onmnmlcatfons should be addressed to
C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager,
MAECH 23, 1889.
The Record and Guide this week enters upon the twenty-second
year of ita existence.
The business of the country is suffering because of the uncertainty
respecting the fiscal policy of the administration. The surplus
continues to accumulate, and the Secretary of the Treasury has no
means of getting it into the channels of trade, unless by bond
pui'chases, which would involve heavy and wasteful bonuses to tbe
rich corporations and individuals who own tbe national debt. This
money is needed for productive public improvements, such as
steamships for our proposed merchant marine, aea-coast defenses,
and river aud harbor improvements. Then, as Secretary Tracy
says: " We want more wai- ships, the swiftest and heaviest afloat,"
But to attain these desirable results an extra session of Congress
must be called. Should that body meet on May 15th, the neces¬
sary appropriations to get rid of the surplus in a way beneflcial to
the country could be made before midsummer. The consideration
of the tariff could be postponed until later in the year. President
Harrison wiil make a serious mistake if he does not call au extra
session of Congress within the coming two months.
WaU "street just now is flat, stale aud unprofltable. Neither
bulls nor bears seem to have any courage. The investing public
have bought all the bonds they care to purchase, but speculators
can see no margin in securities at present prices; hence the dullness
which rules in the "street," and which will not come to an end
unless an unexpected disaster brings on a free selling movement. We
see nothing in sight which would advance prices. Should an extra
session of Congi-ess be called there would then be hope of some
activity in the market. There is more money in real estate and
building than in dealing in any other speculative marts of the
The key to the troubles In the West and Northwest is the owner¬
ship of the Soo line by the Canadian Pacific. This Soo line was
built by Sam Thomas, Calvin S. Brice, Jolm G-. Moore and tbeir
associated, with tbe intention of selling it to some connecting system
of roads. It will be remembered that it is a shorter route to the
East than any of the roads which ran to Chicago, which city it
does not pay tribute to. The Soo line was offered to the Vander¬
bilts, and the Mich. Central people were veiy desirous of secm-iug
it, as it would be a splendid feeder to that road, aud consequently
to lines furthur east. But Wm. K. Vanderbilt was in Em-ope,
Chauncey M. Depew was on his usual summer jaunt, and Corne¬
lius Vanderbilt declined to act in a matter of so much moment.
So the property passed into the possession of the Canadian Pacific,
and the rate cutting that followed is due to the blunder made by
the Vanderbilts is not securing the property. We explained this
matter at full length when tbe property was transferred to the
It is about time the truth was told about the Vanderbilt family
and the management of the roads under their care. Cornelius is
a conservative Christian gentleman who is always doing what good
he can to hia fellow-men, but he lacks personal initiative and self-
assertion. He probably also is trammeled by the wills of his (;rand-
father and father. Wm. K. Vanderbilt has far more disposition to
speculate and enter into new enterprises, but he undoubtedly is
held in check hy the limitations d£ tbe will of his father. The
other members of the family do not count. Incidents like the
want of power or will to purchase the Soo route will in time
destroy the prestige of the Vanderbilts; their system of roads is
not well managed. The improvements they make are forced upon
them by their trunk line rivals. It was the Pennsylvania Centi-al
which obliged the New York Central to have limited expresses,
dining-room and saloon cars, and improved sleepers and vestibuled
cars. They were anticipated in every one of these modern accom¬
modations by their competitor. A specimen of Vanderbilt manage¬
ment when there is no competition is furnished by the Harlem
Road, which is by all odds the worst-handled road running out of
New York City. Its customers pay the heaviest dividends of any
road hereabouts and get the poorest accommodations.
But, asks the reader, how about Chauncey M, Depew ? Is not he
one of the greatest raih-oad men in the country ? We are sorry to
have to destroy illusions, but Mr. Depew is out of place in his
present position. He is a " round man in asquare hole" as president
of a great coi-poration. Mr. Depew is a wise and witty lawyer, a
man of sense and tacfc who would make an excellent United States
Senator and might pass muster even as President of tbe United
States. He was originally employed by the old Commodore to
look after tbe Albany lobby and to fix legislation affecting the
Central Roads. Tbis accounts for his acquaintance with James
Husted and the kings of the lobby. The Vanderbilt family are
reserved in manner and unready of speech, and tbey naturally
admired the bright and facile lawyer. They put him in positions
for wbich he was unfitted. There are very few lawyers who have
made successes as railroad presidents. Instead of attendino- to
his duties as the executive of a great corporation, Mr, Depew
spends too much time in making after-dinner speeches, in attending
political conventions and keeping an open house for interviewing
reporters. Every summer he makes a trip to Europe. Yet some¬
how the impression has got abroad that Mr. Depew has made the
Central Road what it is. That great corporation owes its prestige
to Commodore Vanderbilt. All the good Chauncey M. Depew did
for the road was in tbe skill and address he showed in manipu¬
lating the lobby in Albany; but the truth is thg truth, and
there is no sense in crediting Mr. Depew with abilities which he
does not possess.
The favorite objection to giving the Manhattan Company the
terminal facilities it asks for is that to do so would, amonf^ other
bad things, ruin the Battery Park, The park is undoubtedly a
pleasant spot; it gives the city a green and shady looii from the
deck of incoming steamers, is haunted by civic memories, and
(during the night-time) by gentlemen of a free habit and nntram-
meled leisure. Its preservation intact on these accounts is undoubt¬
edly to be desired greatly, but persona who have been freed by a
gi-acious Providence from the current unreasoning antipathy to all
things good and bad conniscted with the name of Gould ask whether
it might not be wise to forego a part of the present uses of the
park, valuable as they are, for the benefit of the entire community.
Tlie purposes of a park, as usually understood, are to supply to the
people fresh air and certain other comforts. If the open space at
the Battery can do this indirectly for some half a million passengers
a day whereas now it is of direct service to perhaps Jess than one
thousand, why not put it to tbe greater use ? Were the Manhattan
Company granted terminal facilities tbat would increase the
capacity of the elevated roads the fresh air which the park is
supposed to give to a large part of the community, but does not
would really be bestowed in the shape of a more aijequate
breathing space in cars and consequently a purer atmosphere.
Moreover the seats which even in summer are seldom filled in the
park and are positively useless in winter might, through the instru¬
mentality of these extra '' facilities," it ould become so much seatino-
space in our unhealthy packed ears, and minister to the comfort of
people all the year round.
This may appear a httle fanciful, but the matter can be stated in
a more practical way: Cannot the present condition of Battery Park
be maintained at too gi-eat a cost when a little curtailment of its
uses would beneflt the entire city incalculably ? Instead of risiiio-
in opposition at the name of Gould, might it not be better to first
consider a little and see whether the advantages to be obtained
from concessions to the Manhattan Company might not greatly
outweigh the disadvantages. Mr. Gould says he cau give to the
city ample accommodation if the terminal facilities of the roads
were increaned. Good. We have been crying for this for years.
And why should we not give the roads the facilities they ask for on
a guarantee tbat they will seat every passenger that purchases a
ticket. If this were done, would not something be gained well
worth a few square feet of the Battery Park? Oue thino- is certain,
tbe Mauhattan Company can do without the desired facilities much
longer tban the public can tolerate the present condition of rapid
transit. The company can oppose other schemes, while the growth
of tbe city is stunted and its interests suffer the loss of as mauy
dollars as the company would gain mills by obtaining the conces¬
sions they now ask for. Reasonable meu must see that the impera¬
tive need of the city for better transportation cau be satisfled
at once by the elevated roads while we are carrying out some better
system now in tbe embryonic state.
The sad fate that the Hudson River Tunnel has hitherto bad is
bnt another example of the danger of projecting any improvement