December 15, 1900.
RECORD AND (JUIDE.
^ ESTABUSHED-^ ii\WpH 2L^ 1868.
Busit^ESs Atto Themes of GejJer^L Imter^si.
PRICE PEB YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
Published every Saturdav.
TELEPHONE, CORTLANDT 1370-
Commnnlcations should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
/. T. UNDSEY, Business Manager.
'•Entered at the Post-Offics at New York, E. Y.. as second-class matter.-
DECEMBER 15, 1900.
LIKE tlie hibernating bear, the stock market is living on its
own fat, which must in a moderate space of time become
exhausted by this process of inter-nutrition. In tbe main quo¬
tations have fully discounted all the good in a future long
enough to discount safely. This is proved by tbe. fact that tbe
prices of best issues of both stocks and bonds, those that re¬
sponded to political encouragement first, have been practically
stationary for weeks, or are somewhat lower than tbey were
ten days after the election. It is the ragtag and bobtail that
have kept up the animation since. How long this will go on
it is hard to say, because the public is in a very jubilant mood
looking forward to some years of good business, with endless
development in many known directions and expecting it to ap¬
pear from others yet unknown to help to keep up the boom.
Here and there may be found an event of the most encouraging
significance as, for instance, the purchase of the independent
anthracite interests through the agency of Erie, by the. other in¬
terest in the same trade concerned to secure unity of action
for the maintenance, and perhaps advance of coal prices. But
taking the general run of rumors upon which most people are
satisfled to buy stocks, not so much ground can be found for
their confidence. We hear of coming dividends which are not
justified by known earnings and of combinations for which
there is no apparent reason whatever. A week or two will pro¬
vide some disappointments to offset the present overconfidence.
The unfavorable developments abroad, however, are likely to
have a less depressing influence on our market than some
seem to think. Temporarily they may help to bring prices down,
but in the long run they are likely to prove more helpful than
harmful- They foreshadow the withdrawal of capital from
home use, much of which, unless in the unlikely contingency that
we are disappointed of the prosperity we hope for, will seek
employment on this side of the Atlantic, and so aid the business
boom we are so confidently expecting- This foreign capital has,
however, yet to reach us through slow processes, and meantime
our marliets must sympathetically feel, in more or less degree,
the effects of whatever is bad in the situation of other countries
with which we are commercially related.
THE most important event of the week to European business
circles is the statement made by the German Minister
of Finance that the empire must now look forward to some
years of diminishing business. This is only an official conflrma¬
tion, stated with the conservatism natural to such an author¬
ity, of the view held for some time In financial and commercial
circles, and the grounds for which have been from time to time
given in this column during the past few months. It is now
weeks since ws recorded the failure of the two mortgage banks,
the Hypotheken Aktienbank and the Grundschuld Bank of Ber¬
lin and the assumption of their control by the government,
which is attracting so much attention now. A great business
grew up in Germany of late years in mortgage securities, aud
there are many hanks besides those named concerned in it;
but, as those were the leaders in the business, it is not sur¬
prising to learn that their troubles have discredited the issues
of the others. This cireum.stance is a decided symptom of an
unsound flnancial condition, and is likely to have far-reaching
dolorous effects. We on this side of the Atlantic know only
too well what such failures mean, and cannot be blind to the
results likely to follow in the German money market, especially
as they occur at a tirae when, of all periods of the year, money
is in most demand. It is more than likely tbat London must
send gold to Berlin, and as London bas no more, and perhaps
not as much as that market needs, whence will it draw to make
good the shipments to Germany? The money market has, too.
to prepare for large governmental, municipal and probably, also,
colonial demands. The British government wants $80,000,000,
the German $20,000,000, and the British colonies and municipali¬
ties that withheld their demands from the market on the out¬
break of the Boer war fifteen months ago so as to leave it free
to the Imperial government, must be feeling the pressure of
need and soon be compelled to make their wants known. Not¬
withstanding those things there is likely to be a good demand
for government issues, their security wili be sought in preference
to that of the issues of private corporations, as is always the
case when capital forsaking industry accumulates in the great
money centres. It was in the bad times following the Baring
failure that consols sold at 114, and it wa,s during the good
times, commercially, that succeeded those bad times that these
securities have gone below par. For the same- reason German
bonds are favorably affected by the present troubles, the more
nervous investors are anxious to get their capital away from
the troubled waters of trade and speculation into the haven
of government issues, which have all the wealth of the empire
for their protection. Government bonds wili therefore be in
greater demand, but they will not satisfy the bolder capitalists
who, having no longer the hope of proflt in home industries
for some time to come, will look abroad for more fruitful flelds
of investment for the period of depression at home, and whither
can they better direct their gk-'.nces than toward the United
States, whioh has ouly passed one phase of its era of prosperity
and has a greater one now in view?
/*^ OLD or silver medalists of the Paris Exposition will be dis-
^—T appointed to learn that if they wish to receive their medals
they must pay for them- A communication from the General
Commission informs such exhibitors that the distribution will
consist of the medal in bronze, and that if they wish for a similar
medal in either of the precious metals as the award may have
been, it can be had on application to the Paris Mint, and pay¬
ment of the cost, which will be about 22f if in silver, and 710f
in gold. The delivery will not take place before the months of
March or April nest. We have long known that Europe was
pressed for money; but we thought the need was least in France
and certainly had no idea that it was as great as this imposition
on the medalists would lead anyone to believe.
A TABLE given in a report of the Tax Department recently
■*^ issued proves that there are good grounds for the com¬
plaints made by taxpayers in Manhattan of the disproportion of
the burden put upon them as compared with that property own¬
ers in the other boroughs have to bear. This table contains the
amounts required of each of the five boroughs and their several
percentages of the total tax levy of this year. It is:
Manhattan......$59,480,196.78 being 72% of the total.
Bronx .......... 3,292,556,20 " 4 " "
Brooklyn ....... 16,106,209,65 " 19'^
Queens ......... 2,572,874.65 " 3:^
Richmond ...... 1,087,360.31 " 1% " "
Total .......$82,539,197-59 100
It is also stated that real estate pays $71,758,392.50, leaving $10,-
780,805.09 paid on personalty. The amount realized on real estate
includes the proceeds of the franchise tax, $4,969,748,58 of which
one-third is paid on property assessed by the Tax Department
prior to the passage of the Franchise Tax Law, which would
indicate that the actual proceeds of that law in this city should
be $3,313,185.72, as nearly as they can be ascertained.
The latter facts are, however, only noted in passing. The sig¬
nificant thing is that more than seven-tenths of the revenue
raised by taxation comes from one borough, which also con¬
tributes an even larger proportion of the $10,000,000 from' the
general fund that is applied to the reduction of the gross budget.
It is obvious that there is here a case for relief. Such relief
could surely have come through a system that would have made
the several boroughs self-supporting. The Charter Revision
Commission has not thought it advisable to go as far as that;
but they propose to construct and empower the new board of
estimate and apportionment in a way that will make the cir¬
cumstances of the several boroughs factors in limiting their
respective expenditures. While they propose that the boroughs
shall have large powers for their own management and develop¬
ment, the commission also propose that the board shall make the
annual appropriations for their support and have a veto upon their
expenditures. Besides this, the change in tbe system of fixing
salaries, hitherto a fruitful source of extravagance, ought to go
a good way towards equalizing expenditures; because instead of
.the Manhattan standard being extended to the rural sections of
the city, the conditions of living in the latter are to have a bear¬
ing in arranging the pay of the officials employed there. There