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November lo, 1900.
RECORD AND GUIDE.
Dn&pDPRP^EJTMt.BUlLOIffe ^^ITECTURE .^OUSiJlOLD DE0C5(f,-ml
Bi/sdfess AifoThemes OF GeHer^L iNitii^si.
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
Piibltshed every Satvrday.
TELEPHONE. CORTLAND 1.170.
Communications shonid be addressed to
C. W. SWE3ET. 14-16 Vesey Street.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
•Entered at the Post-Office at Neic York. N. Y., os second-olass matter.-'
NOVEMBER 10, 1900.
IF the rest of the business world responds to the political result
of this week as Wall Street has done, we shall have a very
undesirable boom, and one which cannot by reason of the pace
be long lived. But this is not likely to happen. Wall Street
has a trick of taking either good or had fortune in large quan¬
tities in short periods, while outside of it either is taken more
leisurely. We do not mean to say that a collapse In the stock
market is imminent. A buying movement such as that begun
last Wednesday is carried along for some time by its own ve¬
locity, and we shall yet see higher prices before its force is
spent. The practical guarantee of an administration pledged
above all things to encourage business creates confidence in a
continuation of steady progress, which gives a new value to
many securities in the lower classes, so that they are now sought
by Investors where they were neglected before, and broaden
the market correspondingly. The activity in other lines noticed
in the past week or two is increasing, and altogether the out¬
look is most encouraging. What is to be most sincerely hoped
is that the country will maintain its reason and not attempt to
go ahead too fast or too far at once. The past, sixteen months
have been a period of rest from the high pressure of the pre¬
ceding three years and a new era of activity may be confidently
expected. We must all remember, however, tbat we have not
immediately back of us four years of dullness, liquidation and
unusually restricted consumption as was the case in 1896 and
that, tlierefore. the pace for the next four years is not only
likely to he, but had better be slower. Of all the features of the
present situation, the most encouraging is that capital is begin¬
ning to flow out in normal volume anfl money is to be obtained
at fair rates for every kind of enterprise, the high rates of the
recent past being due entirely to the caution of loaners who
were determined to risk nothing so long as there was a speck
of cloud in the political sky that reflected upon currency values.
Wall Street is the first to benefit from this change of policy in
the money market, but in due time the flow of loanable funds
will reach all other centres of business life. As the demand
grows the funds available for speculation will lessen and proba¬
bly be the eventual check to the present buying movement, but
that is not yet. Looking a little into the near future, the chief
characteristic to be discerned is a resumption of that process of
trade and industrial combination and consolidation that was so
apparent until checked by the political struggle in which it was
an issue and from which it has triumphantly emerged. The
speculative and investment possibilities offered by the renewal
of this process are those that will be most eagerly looked for
as affording the best opportunities for the profltable employment
of capital. Meanwhile the winter should be more a season of prep¬
aration than of actual operations, which should appear with ap¬
propriate prominence in the spring.
^* HE influence the United States is exerting in the business
^ world at large is illustrated by the sympathetic response
made by all the chief exchanges of Europe to the rise in security
prices on this side of the Atlantic. This shows how closely our late
political contest was watched from afar and the immense issues
that hung upon a favorable outcome. The fact that the United
States has a credit balance abroad of something in the neigh¬
borhood, and rather more than less, of !f300,000,000, is sufficient
to explain the European attitude; for, should it have been neces¬
sary from any cause to suddenly call home any large part of
this immense reserve, it would have been followed by disastrous
effects abroad in the present condition of the money market
there. As it is the newly awakening American demand for bor-
rowable funds will cause a continuous drain upon Europe for
some time to come and increase the tension which la still ap¬
parent there, probably, also before the close of the year forcing
that advance in the Bank of England's discount rate which
the bank itself has been working so cleverly, and hitherto so
successfully, to avoid. While the speculative position is mo¬
mentarily improved, the European industrial outlook is only
slightly benefited by recent events. The great industries, espe¬
cially the textile and metallic, have no present hope of an in¬
crease in demand for their outputs, but they expect to be re¬
lieved somewhat from the pressure of American competition, as
larger consumption and flrmer prices attract manufacturers here
more to their home markets. At the same time it is felt that
American competition has come to stay, though its force may
vary with circumstances from time to time, and be stronger in
one direction than in another. Thus, British coal producers are
relieved to find that the cost of laying down American coal in
Europe rather favors their own product just now, but cotton
manufacturers see in the yearly increasing consumption of raw
cotton on this side of the Atlantic a sign of greater opposition
in the great markets for cotton goods—India, China and Japan.
However, the immediate anxiety hinges on money, and tbis will
continue until the yearly settlements have been provided for at
least, if not until they are made. In the interval there are likely
to be moments of discomfort to those whose commitments are
large and unwieldy.
USINESS men all over the country will draw a breath of
relief at the decisive victory, which for a second time
has been won by the cause of sound money and commercial in¬
tegrity. Is it too much to hope that during the next presidential
campaign the normal and wholesome course of business will
not be cheeked by a similar attack upon the foundations of an
honest and stable financial system? It is a perpetual source
of surprise to foreign observers that the United States, which
is preeminently a commercial and industrial country, should
every four years wage its electoral campaigns upon issues which
throw the business of the country into confusion and make its
prosperity partly dependent upon the doubtful and fiuctuating
chances of the ballot box. During the Cleveland period it was
tariff agitation which made manufacturers and merchants uncer¬
tain as to how their business would be affected by the election.
During the Bryan period the more serious issue of a sound cur¬
rency took its place. But the tariff issue has now dropped out
of sight, and if the foreign market continues to increase in
value, we shal! doubtless see the protected manufacturers them¬
selves moving in time for free raw materials. With the tariff issue
set aside, there is at all events a good chance that the gold
standard will not again be threatened, for Bryan was obviously
afraid of the issue during this campaign and would gladly have
blotted out part of his earlier record. If it were not for one
thing the matter could almost certainly be considered settled,
and for this danger the Republicans themselves are responsible.
Throughout the whole of the campaign they have forced the
prosperity argument to the front, and have, as it were, made
the administration responsible for a continuance of good times.
But no administration can prevent the prosperity coming to an
end.andbeingsucceeded by business depression. If about 1903 such
business depression should, from causes which Mr. Mark Hanna
cannot control, be prevalent and severe, an agitator like Bryan
would have a good opportunity to bang the heads of the Repub¬
licans with the dinner pail, no longer full, of their own making.
The only way to get rid of the confusion and loss, which follows
from mixing politics with business, is to argue and act as if busi¬
ness stood chiefly upon its own legs—which it does. It can be
very much hurt by bad legislative management; but the good
management which makes prosperity is the product of American
energy and enterprise, and not of Republican administration.
VERY probably President McKinley's most difiicult problem
during the coming four years will not he China, the
Philippines or the War Department, but Cuba. It will undoubt¬
edly require the greatest self-restraint on the part of the Amer¬
ican people and the greatest tact upon the part of
the President and his Governor-General to put the re¬
lations between this country and the Cubans upou a basis
whereby American interests are secured anfl Cuban ambitions
satisfled. There can be no doubt that the Cubans desire a de¬
gree of independence which might become dangerous to Amer¬
ican interests; that they desire, for instance, to retain complete
control over their own foreign affairs, and to make American
interference in the business of tbe island as unimportant as that
of Spain. On the other hand, it is evident that the President
believes, and not unjustly, that the interest of the United States
in the island, and the sacrifices which we have made on Its be-