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April 30, 1898.
Record and Guide
Bi/siWess Alto Themes of GejIer^I iKiOipsi^
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday
TKLEFHONB, .... COKTLANDT 1370"
Communications should be addressed to
C. "W. SWEET, 14^16 Vesey Street.
/. 2. LINBSEY, Business Manager.
"Mntered at the Post Offlee at !fcto York, JV, P., as second-class malter."
APRIL 30, 1S98.
FOLLOWING on Secretary Gage's visit, a more cheerful view
of the situation is taken in Wall Street. The preparations
that are being made to issue a governmeDt loan have a tendency
to improve things considerably. The satisfaction that is said to
be felt in banking circles, over the reported terms of the loan,
must be due to relief felt on finding that no pressure is to be
brought to bear on them to talte a 3 per cent, currency loan at
par, but that it is to be a popular loan. The banks may be called
upon to underwrite the loan, but that is the kind of thing they do
most cheerfully. However, the issue of a successful government
loan has invariably benefited tbe market for other securities, and
the one about to appear will probably do tbe same. Tbere are
two other things tbat should be borne in mind, that have a most
favorable bearing on the situation: One is the large government
expenditures, recent and prospective; and the other, the high
price for wheat. The widespread, beneficial influence of these
two things alone is sufficient to offset anything unfavorable that
can be seen in tbe situation to-day. There are apparent besides
symptoms of the subsidence of the war scare. There is no enemy
thundering at our gates. So far he, poor fellow, has shown a
somewhat ludicrous indisposition to force himself upon our hos¬
pitality, and people here are beginning to think, no doubt rightly,
that they need not fear disturbance from him and may just as
well go about their ordinary affairs in the usual way.
ance. If every stadow of a liability that falls upon the con¬
solidated city under the provisions of tbe charter is to be taken
as debt within tbe meaning of the constitutional limitation, there
would be nothing to say against tbe position taken by Mr. Coler.
But we do not think it is. Of tbe excess, $24,224,846.79 is appor¬
tioned to the former New York City, and $25,968,399.61 to the ter^
ritory consolldat.ed with it. While not admitting that the
amount in the latter case is as large as the Comptroller says it Is,
the debt limit was certainly exceeded in that territory prior to
actual consolidation. It was to relieve the most important parts
of that territory from financial embarrassment that consolidation
was forced upon New York City, and the Comptroller now only
supplies to some extent the measure of tbe fact previously known
positively, but not in detail. Exception may be taken to the'
ComptroUer's finding as to old New York's debt, because it in¬
cludes $19,743,230.30, representing the cost of opening and widen¬
ing streets—included with some hesitation by the Comptroller
himself, and claimed to be exempt by competent authority;
$7,179,789.40 additional water fund, the constitution itself exempt¬
ing from the debt limitation bonds issued to provide for the sup¬
ply of water. These two items alone would remove the excess
attributed to New York City. Moreover, the principle laid down
in the opinion of the Corporation Counsel, which guided the
framing of the Comptroller's statement and practically amount's
to this, that the face of a contract becomes part of the city's debt'
included in the constitutional limitation the moment the contr^t
is made and without regard to the time when payment haa to be"
made, has yet to receive the support of the Courts as applicable"
under all the many and complicated circumstances that surrounij
the position of the city as constituted to-day. Those who ar^''
most immediately unfavorably affected by the position taken by"
the Comptroller are the city's contractors. Unfortunately the'
Comptroller has not yet determined the date, when, as he claiiri^,
the debt limit was reached. This is necessary in order to ascei^-
tain which of the city's contracts he considers' legal and wbibh'
not. In omitting to do this before publishing his statement He'"'
has increased the already serious embarrassment that, existed^
He makes no promise as to wheu he will supply this omisslorij'
nor does he seem to have presented his plan for affording relief,
and the contractors are simply told to wait. Meantime, allthe
latter are in a very unpleasant position, from which they can'
probably only relieve themselves by forcing the fighting atid
compelling the Comptroller to sustain or abandon hia pdaltloii'
before the courts. ■ j:
EUROPE has settled down to the conclusion that money is
going to be dearer, as a result of growing home demands
and the sharp call from this country. Rates have been advanced
in every financial centre, and, the fact being determined, busi¬
ness is accommodating itself to it. The unexampled prosperity
of Britain continties to be manifest, not only through the budget
recently presented in Parliament, but also from trade centres.
There are 1,185,121 tons of shipping under construction. The labor
market generally, according to offlcial returns, shows steady im¬
provement. Even the cotton trade of Lancashire, which has been
depressed for so long, is reporting considerably increased sales. In
France and Germany general trade is good, and Austria-Hun¬
gary is showing signs of revival under improved harvest prospects
and the better price for grain, the last-mentioned fact also
helping Argentina and India, The Indian budget, when finally
presented, dissipates the reports circulated in advance of its pub¬
lication that a surplus would be created to be used to put tbe cur¬
rency on a gold basis. Owing to the deficits of the past two years
and the continued business depression, the government will have
hard work to make both ends meet, so that it is not reasonable
to suppose anything will be done with a matter that requires large
resources to insure success. Australia makes a good statement of
foreign trade in 1897, and its gold production increased by about
$10,000,000. The Rand output for the first three months of tne year
was 937,708 ounces, compared with 652,899 ounces for the same
time last year, the gain being equivalent to about $5,500,000. An
official return of the average ton value of French merchandise ex¬
ported Is significant of tbe decline in prices in the past twenty
years or so. In 1875 it was 686 francs; in 1882, 781 francs.; in
1888, 601 francs; in 1893, 509 francs, and in 1896, 467 francs.
OUR READERS have doubtless made themselves acquainted
with the statement of Comptroller Coler, in relation to the
financial condition of the clty.through the extended reports there¬
of that have appeared in tbe daily newspapers. The final finding,
an excess of $50,193,246.40 over the legal limit of debt, made offi¬
cially, is sufficient to alarm anyone who accepted it as unques¬
tioned, and the Comptroller's position as incontrovertible. The
statement carries on its face a determination to make the worst
showing possible that makes it impossible of immediate accept-
CONVEYANCE and mortgage statistics relating to Miifi-"'
hattan and The Bronx for the first three months of QxH
year disclose a falling off in the money value of the former aiid'
an increase in both the number and value of the latter cofli""
pared with the same period of last year. The conveyances in¬
creased 80 in the total number, and tbere was at the same tinie
an increase in tbe numher filed with nominal considerations. Iii'
the first quarter of 1S97, out of a total of 4,083, the consideratioull"
were given in 1,929, and amounted to $34,825,100. Last quafter
out of 4,163, the considerations were given in only 1,808, aild'-
amounted to $27,364,948, The mortgages increased froni 4,1#'
in the first quarter of last year to 4,374 this, and^ the aniouiit''
loaned from $48,738,207 to $60,927,075, if we leave out of ttii-'
count $18,000,000 made to secui-e bonds of public companies,' anB-
to $78,927,075 with them. Our net increase of about $12,000,006
is made up of, in round figures, $5,100,000 at over 5 per c^nt";-
$1,250,000 at 5 per cent, and $5,650,000 at less than 6 per celit^
The mortgages accepted by banks and insurance and trust coiffi
panies increased by $7,000,000, besides the $18,000,000 previously
mentioned. From these figures it will be seen that theW'
has been a good deal of borrowing on all classes of property;-
and as much for other purposes as for improvements. The li^t^
three months has seen a considerable falling off in the buildlrte^-
movement. Our figures for the thirteen weeks, when collate'a,'
disclose a loss of over $2,000,000 in plans filed with the Deptti-t-
ment of BuUdings, compared with the same time laat year^ sCiid'
when examined closely, that this loss is wholly due to' th'e^'
absence of big buildings, which class has made such a consider¬
able figure for some years past. The flling of plans for flats alid^
tenements goes on as if there never had been any obstructive"
legislation, and in defiance of constant assertions that there httS^
been over-building in that line. We find that there were plStia^^'
filed for 491 fiats and tenements in the first quarter of this yeafj
against 425 in the same time last year, and with an Incre^ed'.
total estimated cost of $3,339,600. Office buildings, churched;'
etc., or the large and public enterprises were 8 less in niitfib6r'^'
and $4,442,850 less in cost. Dwellings also are less in favor,
there having been 102 fewer plans and a decrease In total' esti¬
mated cost of $995,310 in that class. On the whole, there is' ntft'"
so much of a falling off in the quantity of buildings for wtlcli'
plans are being filed this year, the difference on the whole num-