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Juue 10, 1898
Record and Guide.
ll,f,->i, M::l.ll ?'li,i -,1
PRICE, PER TEAR IIV ADTAIVCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
TBLBFHONBi .... COBTLANDT 1370.
Co mmnii I cations sboatd be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14 & i6 Vesey St.
J. 1. LINDSEY, Bitsinesa Manager,
"Bntered at Ihe Post-office at Neio York. N. ¥., at second-ctaas matter."
JUNE 10, 18»8.
TT is a disputed qnesiiou which has helped the recovery of the
-^ atock market most, Mr. Cleveland's remarks and declaratiou
of his intention to call Congress together to take up the considera¬
tion of currency mattera, or the decline in the price of wheat wliich
induced foreign buying. The practical man will be inclined to give
more importance to the latter, aa having not only a tendency to atop
gold exports but also to furnish the West with funds that it is very
much in ueed of. The announcement of a meeting of Congress
three months hence to commence a loug discussion, whose result
ia not wholly certain to be favorable, judging from the published
remarks of advanced silver men like Senator .Stewart, can hardly
have much effect on tbe actual businessof to-day, while the present
export buying of wheat and other grain, which bids fair to con¬
tinue, albeit at very low prices, is immediately eft'ective for good.
The trouble,about all the remarks from the President aud Treas¬
ury on financial questiona is that tbey have been moatly in the
nature of baby talk: "Have confidence aud you will be saved,
etc." Tills talk about confidence at a time when caah only is
accepted ia tiresome. Will confidence help tbe man who has not
the mouey to meet his bills, or the man wbo holds them and wbo
baa iu hia turn engagements to meell' A feeling of fear accom¬
panies tbe thought that arises in the mind on readiug auch state¬
ments of the kind of financial policy that can be expected from the
people who make them. It is a very unforlmiate thing tbat the
man bas not yet appeared who can take tbe very conflicting cir¬
cumstances of our currency troubles iuto conaideration and pro¬
pose a remedy tbat will be satisfactory. Ie is a
superstition that the time always produces the man.
One who can undo thia currency muddle ought now to appear, but
doea not. So far we only hear of the repeal of tbe Sherman Act, a
thing very mucb to be desired, but which now, to be less harmful
that its continuance, must be accompanied by further legislation to
prevent mischievous consequences from so great a change. What
that preventive and jirotective legialation sbould he should the Sil¬
ver Act be repealed no one in or out of the Administration aeems
to know. Besides the cause already mentioned, tbe financial situa¬
tion has been helped very much by the way in which Chicago and
London have emerged from their troublea, and that here and there
in other directions bright apots appear where all was dark before.
Prices have responded accordingly, but while the principal evil is so
uncertain of cute and while there is still much to overcome the
improvement must necessarily be moderate.
PRESIDENT CLEVELAND has taken a very much needed step
by enlightening the country as to the position the govern¬
ment takes regarding tbe monetary aituation. The silence of all
authoritative voice amid rumors, newspaper tales and the mental
confusion produced by the political treatment of a grave questiou,
hasbeen decidedly perplexing and has added something of uncer¬
tainty and interrogatiou to a coudition of aft'airs where dubiety of
any kind ia harmful. It isn't the known thatis troubling ua to-day,
but the unknown. With the former, calculation is possible. The
mercantile world could adjust to some degree, at least, its position
to conform to new couditions, if it be only thoroughly understood
what the new conditions are. The fore-reaehing of enterprise—the
very point at which we are barred and obstructed to-ilay—would
not he hindered, if only common certainty reajiecting the future
were well establi-shed. The stability which tbe entire commercial
fabric of the country has manifested under the pressure put upou
it lately ahows clearly that our foundations are good and that weak
or rotten placea are uot even so numerous aa one might reasouably
expect. The chief trouble lies in our unscientific monetary systeni
whicb is subjecting UB to a strain which arises not ao much from
within as from Europe. Our silver policy subjects ns to the inci¬
dence of the depression abroad to a greater degree tban is necessary,
by causing the foreigner, ali-eady straitened in ao many direc¬
tions, to view with suspicion his relations with ua. Uutil the Sher¬
man Act be repealed aud the condition of the European markets
greatly improve we cannot reasonably hope for a return of brisk
timea. At present the restoration of confidence, or ratber of the
feeling of security and fixity of conditions, ifi wbat ia most needed.
By definitely defining the Government'.^ position aud by establish¬
ing a date for possible legislative rectification of obvious defects in
our mouetary system Mr. Cleveland haa made an important contri¬
bution to better times.
What Municipal Government Eequire.s.
BUSINESS men have done, are doing and will do a great deal
for tbia couutry, but they will never purify our elections,
reform onr municipal politics and become our mayors aud adminis¬
trators. The only place they have in the atate is the humble, but
important place of citizen and voter. If once this (vere thoroughly
understood a great deal of erroneous reasoning would be cleared
up and a great many false hopes wouid be dissipated. Business
men have never directed the policy of nations in the past and
unless circumstances change they are never likely to do so in the
future when they have interfered in politics. Their influeuce in
our political life has, on the whole, beeu pernicious. Their buainess
training has not fitted them for political activity. As a rule they
have bought their way into power and have used it badly after tbey
have attained it. Fortunately very few of them have reacbed this
kind of eminence; generally speaking tbey have stood apart and
permitted the lawyers and the politicians to prevail iu our legisla¬
tive and executive chambers, indeed their disinclination to inter-
feie in politics except where their own interests are concerued has
been so marked that the wiae men have long surrendered all
expectation that busineas would prove to be a good training achool
for statesmanship and legialation.
It is ouly within the sphere of municipal politics that great things
are expected of the buainess man. Nearly alt the reform move¬
ments appeal to this class. The People's Municipal League, it will
be remembered, appealed particularly to tbe exchanges, and called
itself a business man's movement; and it will also be remembered
that uot only did the exchanges refuse to interfere, but that the
short and disastrous campaign of that body was managed almost
entirely by lawyers and clergymen. The view that it is in business
men we must truat for our municipal well-being has some founda¬
tion in history. Public corporations have in the past
been directed almost entirely by the local commercial
interests. It was these interests that created the cities,
won corporate rights and charters from the Kings and
nobleman, and then took care of the thiuga which tbey had made.
In Europe tae forms of tbeir administration atill remain, aud the
tradition is so soundly based in the ideas aud habits of the Euro¬
pean city residents tbat these forms bave been in mauy casea suc¬
cessfully adapted to the uew conditions. But in this country we
are rapidly fastening upon ourselves a tradition of a very different
charaeter, and one which it will be veryldifficult to ahake off. For a
great variety of reasons our business men have not taken any geu¬
eral and considerable inteiest in local affairs. It is the fashion to
upbraid tbe^r espec table merchant lor bis apathy in the face
of all the evils of municipal t government in this country;
but it is more important to explain a well-distributed social fact
such as tbis tban it is to denounce those who are responsible for it.
The conditions iu our American cities have always differed in most
important ways from the conditions prevailing in European citie",
Our public corporations bave never had to fight for their rights and
privileges, and hence the dift'erent trades never had to organize
closely .so as to obtain recognition and maintain their grants of
power. The legislatures were, in tbe beginning, willing to give
them liberal charters, and our business men were left entirely free
to push their own private ends. At the same time tbe unde¬
veloped state of tbe country and its great resources offered lai'ge
rewards to those who would devote all their ener¬
gies to business. Broadly speaking, the inditt'erence of
our commercial classes to the responsibilities of manag-
ino- their local affau's has beeu due to these two causes—their
absence of any necessity for organized co-operative action, aud
their enormous material eucce-ss. Other coudilions have entered
into the result', but these our present purpose does not require
that we should mention. It was inevitable under such circum'
stances that gradually another class would step into the
places that the business men failed to fill; and auch a class is uow
in complete possession. But these politicians, instead of being
qualifled for the important positions that they till, have beeu
brought up in the worst possible training scimol for such responsi¬
bility. They owe their best energies to their organization, and their
manner of life and associations divorce them most eft'ectually from
the intelligence, knovvledge and public spirit of the community.
The fact that such a class have obtiiined so much power is signifi¬
cant. In a way Bourke Cocbran is right. Tammany has made an
important contribution to tlie solution of tbe problem of municipal
government. In a way, also, Mr. Croker is right. Under present