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August 4, 1900.
RECORD AND GUIDE.
Busnfeas ^ifoThemes of Gej^L IfftCTF*!.;
'■^PRlCE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
PuWalied every Baturday.
Telbphonk, Cortlandt 1370.
Gommunlcationa should be addresfled to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Veiey Street.
7. r. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
"Entered at the Post-Offloe at New Tork, N. Y.. as aecond-class matter."
AUGUST 4, imO.
Tlie Index io Yohi'me LX V oJ the Becord and Guide, covering the
period hetiveen January 1st and June 30, 1000, ^"s no-w
ready for delivery. Frice, $1. Tliis Index in its enlarged
form is now 'recognised as indispensable to every one engaged or
interested in real estate and buiiding operations. It covers all
transactions—deeds, mortgages, leases, auction sales, building plans
iiled, etc. Orders J^or the Index should be sent at once to the
o#ce 0/ publieaiion, 14 and 16 Vesey Street.
M EITHER buying nor selling, the public keep away from
the market, and consequently the traders have it all to
themselves. News good or bad is without effect. The declara¬
tion of the dividends on Union Paciflc and Baltimore & Ohio,
and better income statements from other railroads induced
some buying of the railroad list at the close of the
week. At one time it seemed as if the trading element
had become tired of operating among themselves and, having
failed to secure any outside following in their endeavors to
start a bull movement, had gone on the other tack and were
talking of a big decline, basing their opinion upon an ex¬
pected election scare. The idea was, of course, to shake out
the long stock that holders persistently refuse to sell. It is
possible that with the actual opening of the political campaign
timid people may become frightened and throw over their stocks
as they did in '96 and the market suffer a relapse in conse¬
quence. It may be taken for granted, however, that stocks will
be a good buy on the relapse so produced, as they were in '96.
It will be remembered that the turn came that year the day
after the Bryan Madison Square meeting. Perhaps we may
have to wait for a renewal of activity in the market until a
similar indication of the final result at the polls gives the signal
and points the way in which operations are most advisable.
Meantime, hy harping on probable dangers in home politics and
probable trouble through involvements abroad—in China and
elsewhere—it may be possible for those who are now consider¬
ing the short side of the market with a view to making proflts
to induce weak-minded people to throw over a good deal of
stocks and bonds. Such a movement would be manipulated and
forced and not justified by any features of the general situation
that are apparent at this hour. In measuring the conditions at
home some good men regard uneasily the prevailing belief in
the sureness of the sound money victory next November, fearing
that it may make sound money men careless and they would
not be sorry if the latter got a hint that victory is not to he
obtained by neglecting to participate in the opening campaign
or failing to record votes at the polls.
IT has been customary to consider that taxes of any year he-
came a lien on property when the Municipal Assembly pass
and the Mayor approves the ordinance levying them; and in the
absence of contract provision to the contrary, the seller or buyer
of a piece of realty paid the taxes according to whether title
passed before or after the passage of the ordinance. This idea
has been upset by a recent decision of the Supreme Court, Ap¬
pellate Division, in the case of Burr v. Palmer and another as
executors. The question involved was whether the taxes of
1899 were or were not a lien on a piece of real property situated
in Brooklyn on August 10th, and the decision turned upon a
clause of section 1017 of the Charter of the City of New York,
a part of which reads as follows: "All taxes and all assess¬
ments for local improvements and all water rents, and the in¬
terest and charges thereon, which may, in the City of New York,
as by this act constituted, hereafter be laid or may have hereto¬
fore been laid, upon any real estate now in said city, shall con¬
tinue to be, until paid, a lien thereon, and shall be preferred in
payment to all other charges." Plaintiff claimed that the taxes
of 1899 were laid and became a lien on each separate parcel of
real estate, and consequently on the lot in question, within the
words of this section when, on July 25, the Municipal Assembly
passed and on August Sth the Mayor approved the ordinance
levying such taxes. The defendant contended that the taxes did
not become, a lien until the warrant for collection had been
delivered to the collector and was sustained by the Court, which
held that, under the provisions of the charter of the City of
New York, taxes do not become liens upon real estate until the
speciflc amounts of the taxes against property have been ex¬
tended upon the assessment rolls, and the rolls and warrants
for collection have been delivered to the receiver of taxes. It
is the fact of the power to issue and the actual issuing of Uie
warrant which determines the time when the taxes become a
lien, for it is only then that the processes prescribed for the
assessment of the taxes have become complete. It will now
follow, so long as this decision rules the practice, that taxes will
be paid by the seller or buyer according to whether title passes
before or after the delivery of the warrants for collection to
the receiver of taxes, instead of before or after the passage of the
ordinance levying the taxes as heretofore. An objection made
to tuis IS that, while the passage of the ordinance levying the
taxes was done in a measure at a fixed time each year, it may
be possible to hasten or delay the delivery of the warrant for
collection so that there may be considerable differences in the
actual days when taxes become liens on property one year from
Cure for Panics.
A WILL-O'-THE-WISP THAT BEGUILES ECOiNOMISTS.
A N article in the current number of "The Engineering Maga-
-^"^ zine," from the pen of George H. Hull, entitled "Industrial
Depression and the Pig-iron Reserve,"has already attracted some
attention, and is likely to attract more because of its ingenious-
ness and accompanying ingenuousness. The author claims that
abnormally high prices for pig-iron by checking the use of that
material are responsible for industrial depressions, and that it
follows that if a reserve is always kept on hand suihcient to keep
the price at about a normal level industrial activity will flow
on uninterruptedly from year to year and industrial depressions
will be known no more. Mr. Hull endeavors to show by statis¬
tics that depressions are confined to iron-producing countries,
becoming more frequent as their production grows and con¬
temporaneous among such nations in proportion as their several
productions have approached each other in amount; and that
other, or, as we may assume, nations that do not produce iron
do not share in these depressions to any material extent. Paren¬
thetically it may be said that the cycle of depression that passed
around the world, beginning in Australia in 1888 and ending in
the United States in 1893, contradicts both these assertions. His
deduction that the creation of a pig-iron reserve equal to a few
months' needs would prevent industrial depressions, though,
apparently to him, following as a matter of course, will not
appear to other students of the question quite so easy or so clear.
A cure for panics and trade depressions is the ignus fatuus
that has beguiled many a thinker across the morass of statistics,
and it is permissible to believe that the author of this interesting
paper is being misled by one of these dim mysterious lights that
lead only to embarrassment. Iron, b'y its prime importance in
modern industry, has been for many years regarded as the
barometer of trade, but not as the whole of industry, and, while
generally a leader in the rise and fall of prices, only a partici¬
pant in a common commercial movement in which all other
commodities share. The stabilitation of iron prices, if such a
thing were possible, would go a long way to securing stability
in industry, but not all the way. Take it, for example, that the
price of iron were held at a normal flgure by a reserve of supply,
would that prevent panic and depression if the United States
should be afflicted by widespread agricultural disaster? We
think not. But, it may be argued, such a disaster is too unlikely
to permit it to be employed to meet an apparently probable
proposition. Take copper, then, for illustration. This metal ia
produced in large quantities to meet a demand for electrical
appliances and for many other purposes for which iron is un¬
fitted or inferior. Would the stability of iron prices avert panic
and depression if an over-production of copper made the capital
invested in copper mining and manufacturing unproductive?
We think not again.
It is pointed out in the article under review that the United
States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Bel¬
gium have each appointed commissions to discover the cause
of trade depressions and all have failed to do so, though they
had the beneflt of.the testimony of thousands of witnesses; it