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RECORD AND GUIDE.
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Bl/SDteSS wfoTHEtaES Of GtrfcR^l iNTCRfSl.
' PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturday.
Telephone, Cortlandt 1370.
Communications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET. 14-16 Vesey Street.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
"Entered at the PoBt-Offiee at Xew Tork, N. T.. aa second-olass matter."
MAY 12, 1900.
NO regular or sustained advance in the stock market may be
expected for some time. In the flrst place, the market :'.3
a professional one, a fact that always means an uncertain irreg¬
ular movement, witii the genei-al tendency downward. There
should soon be a rally of some proportions, not only
as a reaction to be naturally expected from the sharp decline,
but because people are becoming saner regarding the re¬
sults of the fall in prices of commodities generally, and because
events In South Africa are trending towards conditions that
ought to have, temporarily at least, a good effect upon prices.
In fact, if our party managers, who are now so deeply thinking
over the probable eJSect of a pro-Boer plank in their platforms,
and for which the pi'o-Boers are beginning to clamor, cannot
induce Lord Roberts to stay his advance for a month or two,
their thinking will he wasted mental effort. The idea of a sym¬
pathy for the Boers for election purposes only, which was pro¬
mulgated in this city this week, is not a nice or dignified one,
and it will not hurt us as a nation if we are spared its further
spread. Another btit lesser consideration is, that it is likely to
hurt business; and, if business must be hurt it surely had better
be for conscientious reasons than for political cant. Regarding
the decline in commodity prices, it may be said there is no
reason for a scare on that account. Such abnormal quotations
for iron and other materials as were prevalent last year could
not possibly continue, but there is no reason for supposing that
the decline will be more than sufficient to hold the business
of consumers, Mr. Carnegie's interview, published a day or so
ago, expressed the correct notion as to the iron and steel trade,
and aimilar conditions wtll be found in other lines. An enor¬
mous commercial movement, such as was gained last year, does
not collapse all at once. Under some conditions it may be main¬
tained for years. For an illustration of this, we have only to
look to Europe, where, after six or seven years of unexampled
prosperity, business is still straining capital resources in order
to expand and develop. In Great Britain average prices were
highest, though stationary, doing the last two months. As a
nation, we are given to regard presidential years as times oE
politieal fetes and to neglect our ordinary pursuits, whether
legitimate or gambling, as a consequence, so that transactions
in all lines fall off and prices with them as a general tendency;
but even this is interrupted by rallies at intervals which havo,
on the whole, a sustaining effect.
FACTS given in another column, relating to the awards re¬
cently announced for property taken for the site of the
new. Hall of Records, bring out some of the injustices imposed
by the law upon owners and others interested in land and build¬
ings taken for public use. In the first place, it is very hard
that any one having an established business, with fittings and
machinery for carrying it on, should be ousted and thrown, so
to say, into the street with all his belongings without the slight¬
est compensation. But this is what the law does. It says the
municipality may take any property it pleases and only pay the
value of the land and any buildings that may be upon it. If a
landlord has parted with any income-producing privilege, which
is marketable and of which the value can be ascertained, that
value shall be deducted from his award for the loss of his fee,
A lessee having only intangible interests,such as good-will or the
like, is simply told to take his belongings and go elsewhere, with
nothing to compensate him for the loss or disturbance of his
business, or the expense of his enforced removal. The landlord,
too, when the city announces its intention of taking his property
has to employ legal aid to secure his just compensation, and this
fact cannot be considered by the Commissioners of Estimate in
making their, award, which ia restricted to the actual market
value of land and buildings at a certain date. This injustice
is so striking that the Chairman of the Commission of Estimate
for the Hall of Records' site calls attention to it, as will be seen
hy his remarks given elsewhere, and it was commented upon in
the articles, published by us some time ago, which treated of the
Injuries Inflicted upon property owners and their tenants by the
provisions, of the law regulating the esercise of the right of emi¬
nent domain by the municipality.
The Borough System.
A QUESTION OF EXTINCTION OR REFORM FOR INCREASED
^* HERE are already signs that the question of the reform of
A the borough system in our municipal government, or it3
entire abolition, will occupy considerable prominence in the discus¬
sion about to take place on the revision of the charter. This week
the Board of Trade and Transportation took the matter up and
referred it to their Committee on City Affairs. Other organiza¬
tions will undoubtedly follow suit and all will finally offer sug¬
gestions to the Charter Revision Commission when opportunity
offers, as to what should be done with the borougha and their
We may expect to see the lines of divergence very sharply
drawn between those who favor and those who oppose the bor¬
ough system. This was the case in the Board of Trade and
Transportation, where one proposition, that each borough
should pay the expenses of its separate management and, pro
rata, its .share of the expenses of the general municipal govern¬
ment, was opposed by another for the abolition of the borough
system with the wiping out of all borough lines and forbidding
variations in the tax rates anywhere in the city. These two
propositions may be taken to fairly express the views most gen¬
erally held, though they have not yet been sufiiciently discussed
to enable anyone to say which the majority favor.
Our two years or more of government by an assembly com¬
posed of such opposing elements as a city so extraordinarily
constructed as this could not fail to bring together, has been
most unsatisfactory. The Assembly has been what was pre¬
dicted for it, a place for the airing of petty jealousies and where
the strife engendered by opposing interests made useful work
impossible. As on the flrst day of its meeting, the Assembly is
to-day a bar to progress and a detriment to the general welfare.
Consequently a cry has gone up for the abolition of the Assem¬
bly and the substitution of some other form of representative
body. The borough boards have, it is claimed, done little but
afford some excellent sinecures for favorites of the party bosses;
and, on that account, it is claimed they should also be abolished.
But, it should be remembered to the favor of the borough boards,
that their rights are few and powers none. The little they could
do in hearing petitions for various small matters and suggesting
improvements, they have done; it is unfair to condemn them for
not doing things they had no power to do. It would certainly
be unwise to retain these boards in their present form; if they
cannot be entrusted with powers to initiate and execute the im¬
provements their boroughs require, they ought to be abolished
as an unnecessary expense to the community. But does not the
little they have done suggest that they could do more and do it
better than a board made up of infusible elements and in which
sectional differences must prove obstructive of all real progress?
Or to put it another way, does not the two years' history of the
Municipal Assembly prove that a body, composed as it is, is in¬
capable of dealing with the multitude of wants, large and small,
that must arise in a city that has the wonderful quality of being
agricultural, and not only manufacturing and commercial as big
cities ordinarily are.
Think what the charter requires from the Councilman and As¬
semblyman from Queens or Richmond, for instance. He is sup¬
posed to understand and pass upon all the requirements of two
commercial commimities like Manhattan and Brooklyn—the
hanging of an awning over a store, the building of a sewer, the
paving of a street like Broadway and other works rising in im¬
portance to the building of a rapid transit railway. AU the time
he has to look to his constituents for their approval of his con¬
duct in the Assembly, this whether he desires re-election or not,
because the local influence will in any case prevail in his mind.
What can he do but be obstructive when he believes, as he is
sure to do, that every improvement made in another borough
lessens the chances of securing those his constituents are im¬
ploring him to get for his own. Then what can the representa¬
tives of commercial Manhattan and Brooklyu care about the
local requirements of two semi-agricultural regions like Queens
and Richmond, where ploughing and the price of hogs, or the
returns of the dairy are the chief subjects of conversation ih
more than nine-tenths of their area. In the Bronx, where land
has gone or is rapidly going out of cultivation owing to the rise