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January i, 1898.
Record and Guide
ESTABUSHO)'^ rfjlRpH Sw!^ 1868.
Bi/sii/EssAfto Themes ofGESER^UiftEiifsi.,.
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
riiblinlifd every Saiwrday
TKLErHONE, . - . . COKTLANDT 1370.
Communications Bhould be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
J". 1. LINBSEY, Business Maiuujer.
"Entered at the Post-0fflc6 at New York, N. Y., as second-class mailer."
JANUARY 1, 1898.
THE year just closed Is one to which the business world can
look back with satisfaction. If 1898 does proportionately
as well for the trade, commerce and industry of the country
there will be every reason to be satisfied with it. It will be re¬
membered that last year began in much doubt and perplexity.
The gold policy had triumphed as far as the elections were con¬
cerned; but it remained to be seen how election pledges would
be carried out and generally whether the choice of the nation
had been a wise one or not. What was needed most was assur¬
ance that there would be no tampering with the standard of
values. This came in due course by the selection of Lyman B.
Gage to carry the Treasury portfolio; and it may be remarked,
in connection with the recent talk of his resignation of it, that
such an event, pending the selection of an equally satisfactory
successor, would be nothing short of a calamity to business.
Mr. Gage directly represents business interests in the Cabinet.
It will be remembered that the discussion and passage of the
unfortunate Dingley Tarifi Act, and the accompanying silence
in Washington on currency reform, created much uneasiness
and there were signs in May last of coming panic, when Mr.
Gage publicly renewed the administration's ante-election
pledges, thereby removing the danger of financial disturbance
and starting the advance in prices and activity in business gen¬
erally that has continued to this day and promises to continue
for a good time to come. There is no reason to doubt that while
Mr. McKinley occupies the presidential chair, no interference
with our currency standard will be permitted. But Mr. Gage
is a practical financier and business man and on him the public
relies to guide the administration in the proper path of currency
reform. While there is no expectation of much in that line this
year, there is a feeling that the foundation will be laid for good
work hereafter and basing their calculations on a continuation
of public confidence in the security of the Treasury, and the
friendship this country enjoys all over the world, the business
_ community are making preparations for increased activity in the
coming spring. Last year at this time, we assured our readers
of the improvement approaching; this year we predict a con¬
tinuance of the movement, with a natural and proper growth
ANOTHER of our hopes of a year ago, that the world had
learned wisdom and would settle its differences peace¬
ably in the year to come, was realized. It is true the Greco-
Turkish war was fought; but, as this Increased the political and
diplomatic complications began over Crete, the fact that a solu¬
tion of the whole trouble was found satisfactory to the complex
interests involved should support the belief that war is becom¬
ing a matter of remoter resort than ever. It may be that the
cause of this is not an altogether moral one; that the selfish
fears of the consequences of letting loose the awful forces that
now constitute national defences, have more to do with the
preservation of peace than love of it for its own sake. Yet even
this is an improvement upon the readiness to abandon discuss¬
ion for arms on the least provocation that marked mankind
until quite recently. It may be that "the interests of European
peace" may require the partition of China, and although that
will look like the agreement of rival brigands to despoil the help¬
less wayfarer, it would be better than partition after a conflict.
Pour of the great powers have taken up the positions they in¬
tend to occupy, permanently if they can, and while the outlook
is somewhat cloudy in Corea, we shall probably see triumphs of
diplomacy the outcome, rather than of arms. Were It other¬
wise business abroad would be thrown into a condition of panic
by the prospects created by the recent piratical occupations of
territory and the assembling of fleets. Poor China has grown so
old and helpless that nothing in the way of severe resistance can
be expected from her. She la no match for the least of the five
powers that are bullying her, and must presumably go the way
of the weak—the "way of India and Africa. The only question
seems to be which of her oppressors will get most from her.
The situation is a singular one and significant of the altered
conditions of international politics. A game of territorial ac¬
quisition is being played by the four greatest nations of the
earth, whose armaments are assembled for practical work if
need be, yet trade, commerce and finance are apparently quite
unaffected by the whole proceeding.
-----------------♦----------------- . \ - ''■
THE next Legislature will be'one ^at s^oiild \e wabched 'i'
closely, particularly by thei'-eal es^feite i&erest^. In^the
first place, the politician is likely to be particularly active in the
next session, and it is equally sure that a great part of his ac¬
tivity will take the direction of Greater New York, which-, with; ■
its crude charter and the conflict of interests of one sort and
another which are sure to arise therefrom, will have or will be
supposed to have tremendous possibilities for plunder. Careful
attention should also be given by real estate men to the organi¬
zation and working of the new city government, with its double
Legislature and its powerful departments. Unless there is greater ,.
watchfulness than in the past and unless there is greater unity 0
real estalfe is likely to suffer seriously. The las attention which
real estate men collectively have given to State' and Municipal
affairs will be more productive of trouble and evil in the future
than hitherto. The old policy of indifference while the Legisla¬
ture is in session, followed by noisy complaints when the shoe
pinches, should be abandoned for a more effective method. An
active and energetic committee on legislation is needed this
year more than ever.
IN some quarters there is apprehension that the Building Law
will be radically changed at the coming session of the Leg¬
islature. There need be no uneasiness on this point. Any ex¬
tensive alteration of the law as it stands at present is impracti¬
cable and, besides, with the new charter going into effect and
the new administration taking office, it would be impossible to
get a law into shape in time for legislative action, even if the
greater part of the necessary preliminary work had already
been done. As a matter of fact, of course, nothing has been
done, and the mere labor of preparing a law, not to speak of the
dilficulty of harmonizing conflicting interests would . require
much longer time than there is between now and the date of ad¬
journment of the Legislature. To pass a measure of the magni¬
tude and of the importance of the building law it should be
drafted and ready for presentation to Albany shortly after Jan¬
uary 1. The fear we have spoken of is plainly without founda¬
tion. The building law will stay in its present shape save, per¬
haps, for the small modifications which every Legislature makes.
ANOTHER SMALL PARK.
A small park has been laid out by the Board of Street Open¬
ing and Innprovement, to connect Mulberry Bend and Paradise
Parks, The boundaries of the new park are thus located in the
resolution of the Board: Beginning at a point at the northwest
corner of Worth and Baxter etreets, thence northerly along the
line of Baxter street, 112 feet 9^^ inches, thence westerly at a
right angle, or nearly so, diBtant 100 feet 8V2 inches, to the land
of the Five Points House of Industry, thence southerly along
said property 33 feet 4 Inches to the northerly line of Worth
street, thence easterly along said line 148 feet 6 inches to the
point or place of beginning. The Corporation Counsel has been
instructed to begin condemnation proceedings.
THOSE TUNNELS AND BRIDGES.
Guatav Lindenthal, writing in the "Railroad Gazette," has the
following to say of the schemes for bridging and tunneling
across the Hudson River: "There is undeniably a great deal of
humbug in the promotion and agitation of various tunnel and
bridge schemes across the North River. But out of it will grow
in time, no doubt, both kinds of crossings. As an illustration of
how it works I may mention that one of the numerous tunnel
schemes was claimed by its promoters to be especially advan¬
tageously located; the prospectus set forth in glowing array the
millions of passengers and tons of freight which were sure to
pass through it, and which, at moderate rates, would produce a
revenue of ample margin. Terminals and connections were pro¬
vided, and the cost of the work was fortified by the combined
guarantees, so called, of several contractors, and everything
looked convincing. When the scheme was submitted to trans¬
portation interests, it was quickly shown that a continuous pro¬
cession of trains through the double-track tunnel at 10 miles per
hour, and with three minutes' headway throughout the whole
year, could pass only a small fraction of the annual traffic which
the promoters had assumed as the basis of a profitable revenue.
Of course it let the wind out of the scheme without the need of
further investigation. As to a certain bridge scheme, very much
exploited in the newspapers. It were a waste of effort for me to
show its hopeless condition."