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January i6, 1897.
Record and Guide
ESTABUSHED-^ iHWPH 21!^^ 1668,
DeV&TED id f^EA.L ESTMT.BmLDJjJc A^acKrTECTUnE.HaiiSElfOlLDElWIifTlOlC-
Bi/sit/Ess Alio Themes of GejIeraI IfiTCRESi^
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Published every Saturday.
Telephone, ._...- Coktlandt 1370
Commnnioalions should be addressed to
C. AV". SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street
J T. LiyDSEV. Business Manager.
"EnUred at the Post-o^ce ai A'nv York, N. T., at second-class matter."
JANUARY 16, 1897.
The htijyrovcd ayd enlarged Index to the Record and Guide for
Volume 58, Jnly lo December, 1S9G, '(S now ready for delivery.
Price, $1. The Tndcr non- corcru till real estate transaetiO'ii>i and
(/■ivea a complete record lo aitirei/ances, leases, wortijages, buildinris
projected, auction salcii, etc. Subscribers mshinf/ copies must send
in their orderx al once.
NOT nnuatnvjilly. ;i good doiil is IXMiig made of llio large ti'adL'
balance in favor of this country, shown liy the returns
of our foreign trade for the hiKl governmental year. The excess
exports for this period amount to no less than $325,322,184. It
would have been better for the countiT it, while maintaining
the great volume of exports that this indicates, imports had
bofii more proportioned to exports; hut ou the theory that half a
loaf is better tliau none, it is a mntter for congratulation that tho
exporting halC of our foreign trade has been lively, though the
importing half has been dull. Tho figures also serve a very good
purpose ill removing from llie liniid mind of Wall street fears of
gold exports, because if our merchants have been buying little
and selling much abroad, it follows that the balance thus created
in their favor will offset to a large degree those other factors
not always immediately discoverable that eventually move the
exchange market. More favorable news on the commercial
situation is coming forward almost every day. , Among other
tilings, the interested trade journals report an increase iu the
production of iron; interviews with wholesale and retail mer¬
chants published by our daily contemporaries indicate the prev¬
alence of quite a cheerfnl feeling among distributors. Against
this must be set the tali; of restriction of production coming
from the New England mills, the fact that Washington may
give us au unpleasant surprise any day, although that does not
seem liiiely to-day, and the fact that the coming months, Febru¬
ary and March, not infrequently produce climatic conditions
obstructive to commercial progress. But, notwithstanding these
drawbacks, the conviction that better times are at hand is be¬
coming every day stronger and more general. This is the infer¬
ence also to be drawn froin tlie present strength of tho stock
. market, in whiL-h the most decided feature is the steady demand
for bonds of reorganized properties or properties about to be
reorganized and which are still on the speculative lists.
ANOTHER great sni-plus, this time of from $10,000,000 to
$12,000,000, is likely to be reported at the close of the
fiscal year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and be a further
evidence of the continued commercial prosperity of Great Bri¬
tain because the increases are made wholly in the items of in¬
come that have their rise and fall from business activity or de¬
pression. The dullness on the London Exchange would be
remarkable, if it did not bear out an observation, once cuiTent
on this side of the Atlantic, that speculation is most active after
the culmination of, and not during a commercial boom. The in¬
crease in the volume of business did not, however, put up prices
as a rule. The high estimate put by Dr. George F. Becker upon
the gold production of the Band for the next 25 years should
favorably effect the value of gold mining shares predicated on
that industry. This estimate is £700,000,000, and carries with it
an assurance of much better dividends than have hitherto been
paid. This somewhat offsets the ten'ible news from India that
cannot fail to be having a bad effect upon Indian trade. Famine
and plague make au awful combination that indirectly and
oventunlly include widespread commercial disaster. Exposi¬
tions are going ont of fashion, as is proved by the indifference
of the French public to the 1900 Paris Exposition bonds, whicli
are now being sold by tho underwriters at a loss of 10 per cent.
Bourse operations in Germany are restricted by the new law,
but trade and manufactures are satisfactory. Encouraged by
tlie success of the 4 per cent loan issued a year ago, Austria-
Hungary proposes to emit the next one at SV^ per cent.
SOUTH AFRICA isn't the only spot where "raids" are engi¬
neered and men find occupation and gloi-y in robbing other
people of tlieir property. In New York and vicinity the modern
phase of buccaneering is understood, but the entei-prise is car¬
ried ou iu a more ignoble style than was Dr. Jim's, The coveted
territory, too, isn't a whit less profitable than the Transvaal
gold mines. There is also this analogy between our domestic
affair and the African one, the seizure is to be made under cover
of a high-sounding plausibility. Thievery doesn't sound well,
and no man is bound to apply the word to his own transactions
wheu the language is rich enough to afford liim a more euphoni¬
ous syononyjn. Jameson's cry was "Freedom;" and at home
here the ery is "Greater New York." Both stand for "Raid."
From the outset we have been opposed to Greater New York;
not to the mere project of consolidating some of tlie outlying
territory witli the metropolis; but to the scheme or method
by which this political unification is to be accomplished.
A large part of the new charter has now been published. A
man with only one eye can comprehend what it means, and
foresee the couditious which it is certain to create. If the out¬
look doesn't alarm the citizens of Manhattan Island it is because
they are to be aroused only by some explosion or detonating
attack upou their persons and property. The sight of a burglar
at work at their front door doesn't disturb them so long as the
fellow doesn't make a violent noise. If the Greater New York
Charter is not a burglarious attack upon the small stock of
decency and efficiency in our cily government, then one can
never be certain as to what is and what is not a fully equipped
Considering what tliis community is in the light of its past
history, considering its political possibilities, its measure ot
righteousness in the administration of its municipal affairs, this
charter, dashed off in unseemly aud unnecessary haste, as a
penny-a-liner makes "copy," is the most outrageous document
of the kind that has ever been concocted. Should it bo adopted
iu its present shape, or with merely such amendments as the
political machine at Albany may vouchsafe, there will be a
reign of chaos and civil terror in this community for the next
decade at least. In a sense, of course, wo are U very floe people,
very alert, sagacious and infinitely capable of self-government.
That is the rhetoric of the situation. The hard truth is, we are
an ignorant, inalert, boss-ridden crowd, of extreme inefficiency
iu the administration of our own public affairs. For more than
tweuty-flve years we have been struggling in a spasmodic,
disunited, clamorous fashion to free ourselves from one de¬
grading bossism or other, so that our city may obtain for the
millions spent upon it the commonest elements of civilization—
clean streets, an honest police force and the like—controlled by
officials of the lowest order of honesty. After a generation of
effort we have succeeded in getting a slippery hold of one or
two decencies. To obtain even this much we have passed
through the mud of every species of political degradation. We
have made aud endured every sad experiment circumstances
pei-mitted. It is only the other day the Lexow Committee gave
to the world the last chapter of the shame of this city. Y'et
it is proposed, by the new charter, to throw us back again upon
eveiy form and device of government that our past has
damned. Can there he any possible doubt as to what may be
expected from little local boards, legislative government, divided
authority, scattered responsibility? We have tried repeatedly to
arouse our readers to the gravity of the situation. When the
Greater New York project was before them for a vote we pointed
out the great danger it contained for New l^'ork real estate. Any¬
body who cares, now, to look at the charter can see that the
raid ou the real estnte of Manhattan Island is not far off. The
present metropolis will be at the mercy of the annexed districts
—the villages and farm lands that are to be part of the new city.
Take, as an example, the matter of policing the new territory.
It is proposed that the force everywhere is to be paid according
to the same standard—the standard of New York City proper.
The salaries will come, of course, from the common treasury,
but naturally Manhattan Island will be the real paymaster.
Similarly with all improvements. What defense will Manhattan
have against tho combined attack of the surrounding petty
boroughs? They will combine, of course—this one for a new
borough hall, that one for a new bridge; this one for parks, the
other for something else. "Deals" and "dickers" will bo the
order of procedure. Politicians will ask for nothing better,
indeed it is easier to spend money after their manner in the quiet
places of, the inflated city than on Broadway, where the critical
faculty has finer sight. Higher taxation and fewer improve¬
ments on Manhattan Island are the inevitable result. A year or
two after the charter goes into force it will be useless to talk of