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November 17, 1900.
RECORD AND GUIDE.
DeAteD to Rf^LEsTUT.BuiLDif/c ft;RCri'n^eTui¥.Ko'JSErioiDDEQ(H««i
BusiiJess a[JdThemes OF GE|fei^l ljfTER,Esi.
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLI.ARS.
PiibUshed every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, CORTLANDT I37O.
Commuuicatlons should be addressed to
C. W. S'WEET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
-Entered ut the Post-Office at Ncio Yorlc, N. 1'., as second-elass matter."
NOVEiMBER 17, 1900.
A RATIONAL method of buying having followed the indis¬
criminate rush to the stocli marliet a more healthy tone
prevails there. It is encouraging to notice that what are most
sought are securities with a record for stability or which promise
profits in the near future. However, many of the stoclts and
lionds that are being taken for investment now are selling for all
they are worth, but the large amount of investment capital that
has come in sight since the election makes buyers less particular
than they were, and, doubtless, many of them think that, with
good business assured, they may take some risks that they would
not otherwise do and that they will have an opportunity to get
out before bad times come, being meantime compensated by
comparatively high rates on their money. This movement will
be regulated by the prospective money rate. So long as this
leaves a satisfactory difference between itself and the returns
that may be obtained on paying securities, the buying of the lat¬
ter will go on. As to the general business situation, those who
are willing to allow for a period of preparation before activity
are satisfied with it. The foreign trade returns for October re¬
veal a very encouraging condition in that line of our commercial
affairs, exports increasing so enormously~$37,000,000, or about
20% more than in the same month of last year. At the same
time imports declined. The figures are full of flattering signifi¬
cance for our commerce and finance.
' -1 HE change that is coming over the commercial and indus-
!■ trial position of Europe is illustrated by the London
"Economist's" report ou the course of prices last month, at the
close of which the index figures stood at 2167, the lowest since
. December of last year. The decline was most pronounced in cot¬
ton, wool, metals aud manufactures thereof, from which it is
concluded that there can be no doubt of the slackening of
activity in some important branches of the national industries.
Writers on the coal trade entertain the view that the best times
are passed and that the. inevitable bad time, that always follows
great activity, is not very far distant. Lessened coal consumption
and lower prices can only be due to one cause, the diminution of
industrial activity, the domestic demand rather growing than
diminishing with the course of time and without regard to prices
or production. Another fact that is full of similar signiflcance
is the great break in prices of the stocks of two affiliated German
mortgage companies, the Prussian Hypotheken Aktien Bank and
the Deutsche Grundschuld Bauk, the first of which recently sus¬
tained a loss of 67% and the second one of 73%. The 4% issues of
the Hypotheken Aktien Bank, secured by mortgages, also
dropped, recording in a fortnight figures of about 99 and 84. The
relations of the two companies were very intimate and their
financial methods have been shown by their own statements
to have been so unsound that it is feared their obligations will
turn out to be inadequately guaranteed. An ofl5cial investigation
is being made. The declining state of objects of speculation and
investment hitherto favorites abroad is turning people's atten¬
tion to the new field of operations on this side of the Atlantic
where, some of the European financial journals say, there is the
most encouraging prospect for a wealth-producing movement the
world ever saw. It will be unfortunate if the European buying
of Americans proves belated, but the top of such a movement
as we have seen in the past two weeks and one occurring at the
opening of winter, is hardly the opportunity conservative minds
would wish for. Governmental demands upon the money mar¬
ket are likely to he heavy during the coming year. Both Great
^ Britain and Germany must borrow to meet military expenses,
^^and the report that the first will guarantee a Transvaal loan of
£50,000,000 at 3% has all the air of probability. This will start
the new colony with an unwelcome annual interest burden of
£1,500,000, and, of course, a heavy sinking fund requirement
against which there is sure to be a howl, though it is in line with
the ministerial policy previously declared, that the Transvaal
must pay part at least of the cost of the war. The process out¬
lined is easier than the payment down that was first feared
would be. It is apparently the intention of the Government to
deal gently with the colony and give it time to recover from the
disasters of war, a fact that accounts for the buoyancy of Kaffirs
in the London and Continental markets.
T^ URING the week the resignation of Thomas J. Brady, Com-
-^-^ missioner of Buildings of the Boroughs of Manhattan and
Bronx and President of the Board of Buildings of the whole
city, has been announced. The news will be received with re¬
gret by people interested in the building trades. The position
which he has occupied is no sinicure and demands in the man
who fills it a great deal of shrewdness, tact and patience in deal¬
ing with the complicated situations which arise. During Mr.
Brady's two terms, as Superintendent and Commissioner sev¬
erally, he has earned a great deal of popularity by the way in
which he has administered the ofliee, and he has avoided the
constant frictions which arose during the incumbency of the
gentleman who followed his first and preceded his second term.
Mr. Brady's resignation is an entirely voluntary act. He has
simply arrived at a preference for private instead of the cares
of public business. He will, there is no reason to doubt, be suc¬
ceeded by the present Superintendent of the Department, John
A. Dooner, who, of course, will have the appointment of his
own successor. It is to be hoped that the new commissioner will
prove as acceptable as his predecessor, for which hope there
is good ground, in that the gentleman named for the post has
been very popular as Superintendent and has the advantage of
an acquaintance with the traditions established by Mr. Brady.
-T- HE movement in favor of the municipal ownership of
■i. natural monopolies is making considerable headway in
Chicago. The Municipal Street Railway Commission, after sev¬
eral months of exhaustive study of the traction problem, have
prepared several bills for introduction at the coming session of
the State Legislature. In the first place it is proposed to confer
upon the city authorities the specific right to own and operate
street railways. Then the city will be empowered either to ne¬
gotiate for the purchase of the present street railway plants
within the city limits, or if necessary to build an entirety new
system. A second bill permits the municipality to lay out a com¬
prehensive system of down-town subways, and to issue bonds to
pay for their construction. Before, however, any bonds can be
issued either to buy the street railways or to build subways
the question must be submitted to popular vote. Nor is this all.
The City Council has lately recorded itself in favor of the munic¬
ipal ownership of all gas and electric light plants, and a commis¬
sion is to be appointed by Mayor Harrison to draft a law which
will secure this result. In the meantime the Council has also
adopted a resolution fixing the minimum price of gas, after the
first of next January, at 75 cents per 1,000 feet. These pro¬
posals seem to have aroused very little opposition on their
merits. Nevertheless they will not pass the Legislature with¬
out a very tough fight. The financial interests which control
the transit system of Chicago are enormously powerful, and are
as unscrupulous as they are powerful. Neither is the 'disinter¬
ested public opinion of the city entirely in favor of such a com¬
prehensive scheme of municipal ownership. It is not disputed
that the city would in the long run mane money by taking eare
of its own transit facilities, but many people are afraid to trust
their municipal servants with such opportunities for corruption
and mismanagement. It is the old objection which turns up
whenever such schemes are proposed, and it is to be hoped that
it will incite the people interested to municipal reform.
ONE of the greatest evils of our system of condemning prop¬
erty for pubiic use, of which much has been written late¬
ly, is the vesting of title in the city before payment. Au absurd
illustration of this evil is found in the case of the armory site
on Lexington avenue and Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth
streets. Title vested in the city September 23, and as the prop¬
erty was not immediately required, the Comptroller, as he was
in duty bound to do, leased the improvements on monthly ten¬
ancies to the parties who bid the most therefor. We understand
that some of the late owners, who have not yet received a cent
of payment and may not for a long time to come, and who may
be dependent on the income of their property, have been asked
by the lessees under the city what they will give to be allowed
to remain in possession of the properties which by legal fiat