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December 10, 1898,
Record and Guide
BUSOfesS AI^ lUEVES Of GejIEI^ lKlCDpl«
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday,
TXLEPHONB, COBTLUTDT 137(X
GamiDunlGallons should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET. 14-16 Veiey Street.
J. 1. ZrNDSET, BuBiness Manager.
'• Entered at the Post-OSife at New York, N. Y., as second-class matter,"
DECEMBER 10, 1898.
SPECIAL stress has been laid this week on the favorable for¬
eign trade balances reported for several years past as in¬
dications of the unusual prosperity of the country, and tbis has
tended to prolong. If not to renew the cheerful view the public
have taken of corporate securities as a medium for the use of
surplus capital. Consequently, the stock market has a very
active appearance, and the bond market Is unqualifiedly good,
the buying movement there having reached issues which hitherto
have not created much esteem for themselves in tbe mind of the
Investor. In tbe stock market there were some irregularities
In the dealings, which suggested that a good deal of realizing is
going on and that purchases are being made with more discrimi¬
nation than is usual. The issues that are practically demon¬
strating how they have benefited by improved commercial con¬
ditions are, of course, most favored, and as bas heen previously
pointed out, in times of renewed business energy new develop¬
ments directly affecting this or tbat issue are constantly crop¬
ping out. The thing to do just now is to judge which are tht
stocks that have had their advance and which not.
ALTHOUGH the criticism of the policy of France towards
Great Britain, delivered by tbe latter's ambassador in
Paris, was decidedly a startling matter, the severity of the shock
seems to have been sustained by the newspapers only. As
to the motive of this remarkable address, tbe most feasible one
imaginable is that, failing to receive a demand for an explana¬
tion of the "pin prick" accusation made so often by responsible
statesmen at home, tbe British Government hoped to force that
demand by bellowing the accusation in tbe ear of the French
ministry; while, of course, not wanting to force an appeal to
arms, the British Government evidently, as is shown by Mr.
Chamberlain's speech following so directly after that of Sir Ed¬
mund Monson, does want to open certain questions, which, once
opened, must be settled ia order to avoid war, and whieh the
French Government does not think it opportune to discuss so
soon after its repulse at Fashoda. Meanwhile, by disregarding
the British am'bassador's outbreak, the French Government has
the credit of maintaining the traditions of the old diplomacy,
which certainly is superior in outward dignity to, if ethically
it is no better than, the so-called new. The calmness with which
the French Government has received this incident doubtless ex¬
plains the small effect it bad in the financial centres of Europe.
Only a retaliation In kind, and such a thing is quite unlikely,
would upset tbis confidence. The Franco-Italian treaty is a
good move, not only in drawing the two countries concerned
closer together, but also in creating the hope that it will result
in improving Italian finances, which have suffered severely
through the loss of trade the estrangement of the two countries
occasioned. In eleven years, from 1886 to 1896 inclusive, France's
portion of Italy's total imports declined from 21.3 per cent to
11.4 per cent, and of her exports, from 43.3 per cent to 14.5 per
cent; meanwhile trade elsewhere failed to make good the loss.
This Is one of the penalties Italy has paid for her part in the
Triple Alliance. Germany's present monetary stringency is ex¬
plained In recent correspondence by tbe heavy drafts on capital
at home and abroad in the past two years. The most important
of these are roughly estimated thus: Loans to China and Russia,
$200,000,000; home municipal loans, 1100,000,000; new industrial
issues, $250,000,000, Electrical Industries in Germany are esti¬
mated to consume $75,000,000, and similar industries floated with
German capital abroad, $50,000,000 each year. It is now thought
probable that a halt was called in time, and tbat the new year
will bring relief to the money market of the Fatherland.
Commission for carrying out the work. This, involving as It
does the creation of a special New York county debt, which
would be of doubtful legality In any case, requires for Its execu¬
tion that the Legislature shall suspend the application of a
principle already laid down to prevent the duplication of the
debts of cities whose boundaries also form counties, that may
become parts of other municipal corporations. Rapid transit
is not backed by a party strong enough to undertake such up¬
hill work as this, and to meet also the opposition of the existing
municipal administration. Judging by the opinions that have
come from the City Hall in the past day or two, any bill for
constructing an underground railroad on the city's credit would
be vetoed by the Mayor. As the matter stands then to-day
rapid transit must undergo another long spell of waiting, or ap¬
peal to private capital for help. It appears to us, looking at the
many needs of the city and the peculiarities of its financial con¬
dition, that not only must rapid transit but others of our im¬
portant municipal improvements must be carried out by private
capital, if they are to be carried out at all.
THOSE whose hopes are centered upon the provision of un¬
derground rapid transit will not find much comfort in the
plan repeiitly suggested hy the president ol the Rapid Traiiait
"STYLE" IN REAL ESTATE rNVESTMENTS.
■^po MANAGE real estate profitably has not been entirely an
■^ easy task in recent years. Tbat.we all confess. It has uot, per¬
haps, been more diffieult than to conduct successfully any other
form of business during times of general depression, but this
thought has not comforted brokers and owners who have been
wrestling with the real estate conditions of the past decade. A
catalogue of the plagues that have vexed us may well remain
unpublished, partly because many of them were merely tempo¬
rary visitations, and arose frora causes which lie outside of real
estate. They are passing away with the improveraent of general
business. Some troubles, however, were and are organic, and
among these must be counted those arising from tbe transitional
condition in whieh so much New York realty has been placed
hy the recent expansion and development of the city. We mean
more particularly by this the shifting that has occurred of trade
and other centres, and the changes that have been made in the
construction and equipment of tiuildings. The latter, we know,
have been especially revolutionary. They have disturbed the real
estate owner within a few years more than the previous quarter
of a century's slower evolution. In these and in other similar
matters events are moving at a pace so accelerated that now
an important part of real estate calculations is to calculate or
evaluate change itseif. We do not intend to convey the idea
that this more rapid evolution is detrimental, on the whole, to
real estate. Clearly, however, it may work decidedly adversely to
the real estate owner personally, because be is hot always ready
or prepared to meet all the new conditions which the shifting
times may thrust upon him.
Students of the situation have, of course, recognized this.
They have seen also that what may he called the "competitive
elements" In real estate'are infinitely more numerous now than
tbey have ever been. We dcubt, however, whether an entirely
new factor, or rather one which has acquired lately a very much
greater value and Intensity has received in real estate operations,
the attention it deserves. We refer to the factor of "style."
To illustrate. Everybody knows how rapidly buildings become
"old fashioned" and "out of date" in the matter cf equipment.
Here invention has been so busy. Even novelty, sheer novelty,
for its own sake, has been so industriously sought after that
lay people who, a few years ago, paid little attention to matters
of equipment, plumbing, etc., have greatly trained their faculties
cf observation. Indeed, "modern improvements" is now a terra
which covers a very much shorter period than it did. In some
things it has scarcely a rigid application beyond the current year.
Now. It is likewise with "style"—style in architecture, style
In decorati.ons, and not only in the forms these take, but in the
materials in which they are expressed.
Two or three decades ago this thing, "style," was compara¬
tively stationary. Certainly, it hardly counted at all as a factor
that the investor had to allow for in his calculations. His brown¬
stone front, his high stoop, his Corinthian porch without, hia
walnut trim and white marble raantelpieces within, would be
as much in "vogue," and quite as salable, so far as he could see,
five years thence as on the first day of purchase. Style was not
then an affair df a season. It counted, to be sure. In a way,
but for nothing like what it bas come to count for. On the part
of the public there was no such demand for mere "mode" in the
decorative and ornamental parts of buildings as exists to-day;
Indeed, decoration was then a very much smaller element in our
buildings that it has come to be.
This is the age of the decorator. That person Is present every¬
where. You can't escape him. He is one of tbe busiest of bodies
lu a busy 'vyorld, and change and novelty an^ ik^ essence Qf m»