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Decerriber 22, 1900.
RECORD AND GUIDE.
ESTABUSHED-^ iWPH 2l«> 1668.
tofrlEB TO REA^EsTAJI.BuiLDlffe A,RCrirTECTURE,HoiJSEH0LDDEfl(StlUlDl4
Busi[/Ess AftoThemes of GETto^l lf/iEilfsi,.
FBICE PEB YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLABS.
Published every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, CORTLANDT I370.
'Commun I cations should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
/. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
■"Entered at the Post-Offics at New York, N. Y., as second-class matter."
DECEMBER, 22, 1900.
DURING this week buyers on tbe stock market seem to have
lost sigbt of merit. It was not property tbey sought for.
"but the potentiality of early profit; in other words, tbey were
■gambling. There is not enough in tbe situation to warrant the
extent to which prices have been forced, nor can there be truth
in all the stories set afloat of deals and combinations in
the railroad world, which, it is alleged, are to glYe every¬
thing in tbe form of negotiable security a value that it never
had before. It is undoubtedly the case that tbe railroads are
in an exceptionally good position for doing a profitable business.
There is, too, an obvious tendency towards consolidation of rail¬
road interests with a view, not merely to control the carrying
business of large sections of tbe country, but also to secure more
economical operation. Tbat seems the only way in which a
saving can be effected now, freight and passenger rates having
declined so much while the cost of labor and supplies have risen.
Even considering all this, it may be not unreasonably asked,
■where is the business to come from to produce returns upon
■e\en the hundreds of millions of dollars of new values created
in the past seven weeks, to say nothing of those that were un¬
productive at tbe commencement of tbat period? Notwithstand¬
ing those that have been seen there are still many who predict
further rises in prices, and none can gainsay them in tbe light
•of the immediate past, though the probability is that they are
wrong. Another five point advance would be but little more
foolish than the last one, and when the buying fever is on, who
stands upon whether an advance is foolish or sensible? The
vast majority of buyers know nothing whatever of the securities
into which they put tbeir money; all they want is to believe
that the price of the security is going to advance. They do not
expect to hold it very long, only long enough to secure a profit,
hut they do not hy any means always get that. A day comes
when the market is bought to a standstill and the late buyer
finds himself with a high-priced security on his hands and the
market declining. Such a point is looked for now by the
coolest heads, who know that when this point arrives intrinsic
■worth becomes a factor and that there is money to be made in
assisting stock and bond prices and values in reaching a parity.
NEWS frora the European iron trade accentuates the change
that has taken place in the condition of business and
modifies the impression that the success of American iron and
steel abroad was due mainly to the inability of the home makers
to take new orders. The placing of large Clyde orders for plates
in the United States is now followed by the announcement of
the practical collapse of the Scotch iron and steel trade. The
lessened demand has also brought about a big drop in prices of
all forms of manufactured iron in Germany. Another evidence
of declining business is afforded by the profit and loss accounts
for the year of twenty-two British cycle companies, which are
summarized by a London financial paper. From these it appears
that, while only four worked at a loss this year as compared
with five last year, the proflts of the remainder were smaller,
beiug about $520,000 as compared with $670,000 in the previous
year. The rise in French rentes apparent of late is explained
by the notice given by the Government that the surplus of sav¬
ings bank deposits exceeding 1,500 francs would be compulsorily
invested in rentes, at the price prevailing that day, on Decem¬
ber Slst. Depositors have in consequence made large withdrawals
either to invest in rentes in anticipation of an advance or to
place their money in more profitable ways. It is not surprising
that the failures of the German mortgage banks have created
distrust and suspicion, or that there are fears of further trouble
as a consequence of those disasters. The official investigation
of one of those institutions, the Grundschuld Bank, reveals the
facts that the obligations of the concern are very imperfectly
secured by mortgages. Of the $25,000,000, using round figures,
obligations of the bank, it was found that only $13,400,000 was
adequately guaranteed by mortgages; but of these mortgages
only $5,500,000 were found to be first-class. It is shown that
many of the portions of real estate upon which the bank made
loans were in the possession of subsidiary companies of the
bank itself. Even Barnum & Bailey's circus, whose $3,000,000
of stock was subscribed so eagerly in London some years ago,
seems to feel the pressure of bad times, because the last report
to the stockholders, which appears in our exchanges, make much
of the bad weather of the year having interfered with the suc¬
cess of the performances and is apologetic regarding the amount
of the dividend declared. It is not to catalogue the woes of our
friends across the Atlantic that these facts are given, but simply
to emphasize what we have already said of the collapse of busi¬
ness abroad and its relation to our own affairs. Our export
trade will have to contend with the cuts on European manu¬
factured goods and the lessened demand. A transfer of atten¬
tion to American issues is not inconsistent with the foregoings,
but, for the reasons given last week, quite the contrary.
XT EWSPAPER reporters have been busily engaged during
XiL the past week in running the. tunnel uuder tbe Grand
Central Station to Forty-sixth or Forty-seventh street, and
then through to Broadway, but their efforts have not met with
any considerable encouragement from the Rapid Transit Com¬
mission. On the contrary, it has been explicitly stated at the
office of the Commission that the original Forty-second street
route would be retained. No doubt the Commissioners would
be glad enough if possible to give the tunnel a more gradual
curve under the Grand Central Station, but considering the fact
that the Central Railroad will obviously need for additional
faciiities all the space it can control, both on the surface and in
the air and under the surface, it is simply incredible that they
could permit the burrowing of the tunnel under the station.
At the same time there seems to be this much truth behind the
very doubtful reports which have been current. Negotiations
will be entered into looking to some special underground con¬
nection between the Grand Central Station and Forty-second
street underground station. Such a connection is so obviously
necessary for the convenience of the passengers on both roads
that the actual negotiation of some definite plan ha? only been
a question of time. What the connection amounts to will de¬
pend upon the extent to which the negotiators are disposed to
be mutually accommodating. It may be only a foot-subway
which will enable passengers to transfer from one station to
the other without crossing the surface of Forty-second street.
It may come to some, arrangement whereby iocal trains of the
Central Road can get to the City Hall. It is to be hoped that
the arrangement will be as complete as possible, and that the
special problem of some adequate connection between the two
roads will be merged into the more general and important ques¬
tion of proper terminal facilities at the Grand Central Station.
If the connection is made really complete, and certain local
trains are carried to the City Hall without any transfer of pas¬
sengers It will make an immense difference to many thousands
of people in Bronx and Westchester county. In the end, it is
probable that the municipal underground rapid transit system
will have to have tracks of its own on the East Side parallel
to the Central tracks, which can be used for all the suburban
traffic seeking a really direct southerly outlet on the East
Side. That would be the solution, which would at once relieve
the tracks of the Central Road and give the residents of the
Bronx the service they require; but until such a solution becomes
financially possible the next best thing is some really intimate
and direct connection between the tracks upon Fourth avenue
north and south of Forty-second street.
y. T OTHING more distinguishes the American of the present
1 il time from his ancestor of the beginning of the century
than the former's languid interest in constitutional and legal
questions. The early Araerican delighted above all things in
discussing fundamental problems of legal right and constitu¬
tional law, and it was because he was so much interested in the
statutory basis and issues of his political rights that he was so
successful in constitution-making. But the American of the
present prefers to leave the disposal of such little problems to
non-partisan commissions and party "bosses." The proposed re¬
vision of the charter has aroused practically no discussion at all.
When it was first given out the newspapers more or less doubt¬
fully approved it, and then, in spite of the fact that it was of the
utmost importance, summarily dropped it. The various reform
organizations were satisfied to pass resolutions putting upon
the revision the stamp of their approbation. One or two lawyers