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Record and Guide
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVAKCE StX DOLLARS.
Fuliltshed every Saturday
TELKPHONB, - - . - ConiLANDT 1370'
Communications should ba addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
T. 1. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
"Enlered at the Post Offioe at New York, N. Y., asseconi<l-cia^ uiafler."
MAY 14, 1898.
THERE is a disposition to attribute recent declines in tlie
stock market of the past few days to political causes,
while, as a matter of fact, they are merely the reactions that
always appear in active markets. It is not surprising to find
speculators'taking profits on such an advance as that already
seen; nor does it require that our fleet should meet a reverse or
Lhat foreign political complications of threatening import should
krise to force a decline of one or two per cent after a rise of ten
per cent. To argue that it does leaves out of count the mechanical
Dperation?: of prices which are present in times of peace as well
).3 in times of war. Of course, the sellers give reasons for selling,
[n Wall Street a man cannot take a hundred dollars profit or
loss without a theory arrayed in flowing verbal adornment to
prove that his act is called for by coming events, which in reality
generally blow his theory to the wind. So to-day the sellers
sell because they feel sure that prices will go to pieces under
malign political or military influences, when as a matter of fact
they know nothing about those influences and are simply secur¬
ing proflts, knowing tbe dangers and uncertainties that attend
jpeculation. What is really surprising—though that, too, has it:
rational explanation—is the readiness with which all offerings
ire absorbed, whether made at home or coming from abroad. The
sxplanation is a confident belief in the minds of the buying pub¬
lic in the position of this country and in the soundness of its
business. This confldence flnds expression not merely in stock
operations, which may always be suspected of being largely
speculative, but also in investment purchases of bonds which are
aow being made in large amount. Belief in the soundness of the
business position is supported by the returns of railroad earn¬
ings and confldence in its continuance by the grain quotations,
which though they may not continue to be as high as they are
aow, guarantee to the farmer a profitable return on his industry
for another year at least. This last fact is of the greatest im¬
portance as bearing on the continued prosperity of the country,
ind has a great deal, if not everything, to ds with the advances
we have seen in railroad shares. People are sure that our arms
are going to he successful on land and sea and that our com¬
mercial position is secured, and prices rise as a consequence of
the elation this causes.
IT is pretty hard on Lord Salisbury that he has to bear abuse
because the Russian diplomatists deceived him, and harder
still that he may go down to posterity as a statesman who failed
simply because he himself introduced a policy of honesty, and
without sympathy for that fact. The cynical view that the pub-
tic has been taught to take of diplomacy generally rob? the diplo¬
mat who acts truthfully and honestly of the credit that is really
due to him and gives the honor and praise to the successful even
though dishonest one. So Count Mouravieff is admired for plac¬
ing Russia in possession of Talienwan and Port Arthur, and al¬
though Lord Salisbury has secured for Britain Wai-hei-wai,
everybody says he is beaten, and so far as material results go he
is. Moral results come later, and the defeat of one generation
may thereby be revenged in the nest. What is most to be feared
is that France, encouraged by the ease with which Britain was
hoodwinked in China, is trying the same game in West Africa,
and it is hardly possible that Lord Salisbury or his country could
quietly accept two such defeats in succession. The question that
is animating all minds abroad is what is to be the outcome of
the Americo-Spanish war? It is stated that, but for the refusal
,of Britain to take imrt, a new European concert was to be formed
^0 treat otu- intervention in Cuba much as Greece's intervention
in Crete was treated, and now there are rumors of intended
pressure to put us in somewhat the same position as Japan was
placed after her war with China. It is to be most sincerely hoped,
'for all concerned, that this will not be attempted. The people of
jtlils country woiUd not endure dictation of that kind for a
moment; nor should Ihey, because If they did lhe.los3.of preatlga
would cost them more than all they will have gained by a Suc¬
cessful prosecution of the war. There is, probably, no very per¬
vading desire tbat we should keep the Philippines, hut if, as a
result of our invasion, it becomes necessary to do so, no oth^r
nation should be permitted to wrest them from us, and there is
no reason why we should surrender them to any other power.
It is probable that the people of the islands are not capable.of
self-government, and the duty of governing them ia not a pleas¬
ant one to look forward to, but we wil! not be at nb;5rty to re¬
fuse responsibilities we ourselves have created. A Cuba in each
hemisphere will be a big undertaking, but not one beyond oiir
powers, if we find it necessary for the welfare of the people
themselves and our own honor to accept it. The talk of, intei;-
venticn to protect the trade interests of any particular nation la
pure bosh; surely German, British or French interests in the
Philippines will be as safe in American hands as they have been
in Spanish, These matters and the popular demonstrations tn
Southern Europe are what will give the turn to European busi¬
ness, but these influences are not yet well enough defined to
enable us to see the direction in which they will move things.
The issue of so many government loans, Russia. Japan, Greece
an-. Spain, all being in the market, though all not successfully
so, promises activity Jn financial circles, but trade is likely to bs
checked because ot the ominous sounds coming from poUtical
WE are, as it seems, soon to be officially informed that the
Jate city administration did not exceed the debt limit
after all. Already we are told that the Fund for Street and Park
Openings should not have been included in the debt state-
m_ent, and there are other deductions which will be made from
the Comptroller's figures which will remove the excess of $24,7
000,000 debited to late New York City, This is very remarkable,
but not a bit surprising to those who know anything about the
matter. As a result of this change of mind on the part of. the
present administration, the contracLors who hold the city's war¬
rants for work done will get their money, the work begun will
be finished and the contracts made by Mayor Strong and his
subordinates wiil, with such exceptions as are hereafter to bs
selected, be begun and carried out. This is just what wq
thought would be the case, only we feared that it would have to
be brought about by litigation. We have no disposition to tako
offence at the fact that the result desired has been obtained
without recourse tp the courts, but rather to congratulate tb9
city's contractors on emerging from a trouble that ought nevo^
to have been inflicted upon them without the annoyance and ex¬
pense of a legal fight. At the same time, however, we feel com¬
pelled to state that the situation is not entirely satisfactory. Tha
injustice done to individuals has heen removed, but the com-"
munity still labor under a disability, through tUe opinion of the
legal adviser of the administration that contract debt is debt
within the meaning of the constitution. So long as this opinion
controls the action of the city government it will be an obstacla
to that free and generous development that the City of New York
needs. It should also be borne in mind that, admitting that prior
to consolidation this city was in good credit, there still remains,
the excess of $25,000,000 charged against the other component
parts, and since consolidation against the consolidated city. Are
we to have no more improvements until this illegal excess of the
debt limit has been offset by increased real estate valuations and
the action of the sinking funds? Up to this time the finances of
the city have been regulated by the sound business principle that
an obligation does not become a debt until it is due. Under tho
ruling of the Corporation Counsel, accepted by the Comptroller,
this has been modified so that an obligation to pay contingent oil.
value being received, is a debt from the moment it is made and
hefore value has been received. This may be the law, but it ia.
not business or common sense; and, being neither, we doubt that"
it can receive acceptance by the courts as law. However, that
may be, the question ought to be decided as soon as possible,,
otherwise no new work involving large expenditures can bo
undertaken for many years to come. It has been difiicult enough'
to get improvements made heretofore, but how much more difB-
cult will it be to get any administration to accept them if they
thereby tie up the city's credit and prevent the execution of lea--
ser and equally necessary ones.
HE BOWERY" is one of the historic street namea in this
city and ought to be cherished on that account. For-
this reason the property-owners on that interesting thorough¬
fare receive very little outside support in their efforts to have the '
name of the thoroughfare so designated changed to South Thlr4
or Cooper avenue. Changing its name will, not change the.
character of a street; that waa proven when "South Fifth.