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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 20, no. 488: July 21, 1877

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XX. NEW YOEK, SATURDAY, JULY 21, 1877. No. 488. Published Weekly by TERMS. one: YBAR. hi advance....SlO.OO. Communications should be addresse d to C. MV. SWKET, Nos. 345 AND 347 Broadway. LEGAL DECISIONS. In October, 1873, the parties entered into a con¬ tract by which plaintiff agreed to seU certain premises in New York City to defendant, and to convey in October, 1874, by warranty deed, with full covenants. Defendant, upon deUvery of said deed, agreed to pay the purchase price. The premises in question were conveyed to plamtiff by one Dietz by deed dated May 1, 1872. Dietz was at that time the owner in fee of the premises; he was a married man; his wife did not join in the deed, and is still Uving, and has executed no release or conveyance of her inchoate right of dower. In March, 1873, Dietz commenced an action against his wife for divorce, on the ground of adiUtery. She appeared and answered, setting up counter allegations of adultery on the part of her husband. The referee found that neither party was entitled to a divorce, the charges made on both sides being ti-ue. The plaintiff having tendered to defendant a full warranty 'deed signed by himself only, claiming that his wife was not entitled to dower on the ground that she was guilty of adultery, although no judgment of divorce was granted. The defendant refused to accept the deed without her signature, and claimed that her adultery did not work a forfeit¬ ure of dower, it not having been foUowed by a decree of divorce a vinculo. The Court held that though the wif e was declared, by the finding of fact of the referee, to have committed adultery, yet never adjudged therefor to be divorced from her husband, she is stiU his wife, and entitled to dower in his lands, if she survives him. This pos- sibiUty of dower affected the title tendered by plaintiff, and the defendant was not bound to accept the same. Although the Revised Statutes declare, that in cases of divorce dissolving the marriage contract for the misconduct of the wife she shall not be endowed, the true iaterpretation of the statute is a judgment for divorce dissolving the marriage contract. One Briggs entered into an agreement, in writing, under seal, with one L. P. Hurlburd, who was acting for, and under the authority of, one T. M. Partridge, "whereby Briggs sold, and the said Partridge, through said Hurlburd, bought" a certain described piece of land " for the sum of $7,200, which said sum the said Part¬ ridge, through his said agent (the said Hurlburd), agreed to pay" as specified. The deed was to be deUvered on February 1, 1874, and the said Part¬ ridge, through said Hurlburd, paid, on the deUv¬ ery of the contract, $100. On the first day of February, 1874, the said Briggs was ready to de¬ liver the deed, but Partridge faUed to fulfil the agreement or to take title to the property. In an action brought against Partridge to cppipel per¬ formance of the agreement, the coinplamt was dismissed, the Judge holding that Partridge was not a party to the agreement; that he did not sign it himself; that his name does not appear in it; that the covenants in such agreement are solely between Briggs ahd Hurlburd. The agreement was under seal,'and Hm-lburd was, in fact, act¬ ing in the transaction as the agent of Partridge, under an oral authority. The question comes up in this case, Can ih© yendor ia a sealed agreement for the sale of land enforce it as the simple con¬ tract of a person not mentioned in the instru¬ ment, on proof that the vendee named therein, and who signed and sealed it as his contract, had. oral authority from such third person to enter into the contract of purchase and acted as his agent in the transaction. The Judge claims that no authority for this proposition can be cited, holding that there is a distinction between sealed and unsealed contracts. If the contract had not been sealed, and proof had been made that Hurl¬ burd had oral authority from Partridge to make the contract, as unquestionably was the case, then Partridge would have been bound by the contract. In regard to unsealed contracts, the doctrine is now fuUy established that a principal may be charged upon a written parol executory contract, not under seal, entered into by an agent in his own name, within his authority, although the name of the principal does not appear in the instrument, and was not disclosed, and the party dealing with the agent supposed that he was act¬ ing for himself, and this doctriue obtains as weU in respect to contracts which are required to be in writing, as to those where a writing is not es¬ sential to their vaUdity. MARKET REVIEW. THE LUMBER TRADE OF NEW YORK Last week we referred to the want of system shown in the management of the lumber trade of this city, and printed therewith some suggestions from a cor¬ respondent regarding means deemed judicious to place the arrivals in shape for selling. From other sources the same views have come to us, and we can see no reason why our wholesale lumber dealers, and, if needs be, the retailers, too, cannot associate them¬ selves together for mutual benefit and protection. Every leading article of merchandise, except lumber, in the city has something in the way of a Board of Trade, &c., either as a separate institution or as a par¬ cel of some larger exchange, and we suggest again to our merchants dealing in the product of the forest that they take steps to procure an exchange of views upon the propriety of forming such a body. Some reform is needed most positively in the manner of seUing cargoes, as any one who has made the attempt can testify, and every market reporter's experience shows remarkable and wide variations in views as to prices. The custom is now, on arrival, to canvass the trade from all dealers within a circuit of ten or a dozen miles, to find a buyer in need of the particular kinds of lumber, then get the best offer, and finally dis¬ pose of the cargo to the highest bidder. The con¬ sequence is, that while this. is going on, the cargo Ues afloat for weeks, with constantly increasing expenses of demurrage, dockage, support of crew, &c., untU at last it is sold, being frequently at a loss to the shipper, and at no quotable market rate. To overcome this, in a measure, it is proposed that sales at auction be held on a plan umUarto that in vogue at the ports of Great Britain. If properly car¬ ried out these sales could be so amended as to reach the eye of the entire trade, and those in want of any particular offering b6 thus enabled to see their way to stock without becoming subject to the crowding that must ensue did the seUer discover their wants, whUe at the same time the competition must protect re¬ ceivers to the full extent of the current value of car¬ goes at least. We know from personal experience that but of any ten dealers two may possibly quote close enough together to be caUed alike, but the bal¬ ance are almost sure to have eight different views of the situation between them, and each individual wiU insist that he, and only he, is the triie exponent of the condition of the lumber market. An improvement on this is sadly needed, and a system of public sales seems as yet the most feeble plan proposed for giy^ ing t]^e lagrket rfgnlar oijad ^sitive shape. REAL ESTATE MARKET. The week closes without any notable incident. Every transaction made at the Exchange Salesroom was in pursuance of the order of the Court, and, with two or three exceptions, the plaintiff in the action was permitted to bid in the property offered for sale. Nu¬ merous adjournments were made, and on Tuesday last no sales whatever took place, the entire Ust hav¬ ing been adjourned. The notable transfers of the week are the foUowing: The four-story brick dwell¬ ing known as No. 104 West Fifty-seventh street, bet¬ ween Sixth and Seventh avenues, the consideration for which is 538,000; and the four-story dwelUng on the same street, known as 108, which was sold for 837,000. Mr. S. Bellman has caused to be recorded a deed conve3nng a plot of land, comprising the front of the block, on the west side of Madison avenue, ex¬ tending from Forty-fifth to Forty-sixth street, by 180 . feet in depth, for which it is reported he paid the sum of $198,000. Fourteen four-story brown stone front houses wUl be erected thereon. The Commissioners of Taxes and Assessments, in justification of the increase of $2,776,918 made for the year 1877 on the assessed value of real estate in the city of New York, over that for the year 1876, state that such increased sum is far less than the value of the new buildings completed or erected during the year, and that the sum of increase which would have represented the value of the new buildings, has been diminished by the reductions made in the assessed value of property in the unimproved portions of the Twelfth, Nineteenth and Twenty-second wards. In some sections of two of these wards—the Twelfth and Twenty-second—the decline from the highest prices has been equal to fifty or sixty per cent. So great has been the decUne in this kind of property that prices have sunk to, and even below, the assessed valuations, and a revision and reduction were, there¬ fore, compeUed. In the lower sections of the same ward many buildings have been constructed, so that the Twenty-second ward shows a large increase in ag¬ gregate values. In the Nineteenth ward, building has been exceedingly active, and this ward also exhibits a considerable increase. With regard to west side unimproved property, the Commissioners are of opinion that its market value is extremely unsettled, and that an investment-in such property, in order to save a purchaser from loss, should double in value every seven or eight years, leaving out of question any UabiUty for assessments for pubUc improvements. The problems, then, that present themselves to the mind of the operator are something like these: What is there in the present condition of business affairs and of poUtical affairs—so far as they relate to the financial condition of the country, touching the cur¬ rency and the tariff—which wUl warrant the assump¬ tion that the property offered wiU double in value during the next seven years? WiU a successful method of rapid transit produce the desired result? WUl the increase in the population be such as to bring the property into demand within the time stated? Prices must, therefore, vary, according to the judgment of buyers on these points, and also with the measure of the necessities of the seUer and the duty imposed on the Commissioners of placing values upon such properties is most dififtcult. Mr. Charles C. Colgate has purchased from Messrs. Duggin & Crossman the house on the south-east cor¬ ner of Madison avenue and Fifty-fifth street, with lot 18x85, for $33,000 cash. The house is not yet even en¬ closed, but is to be finished and ready for occupancy by December 1st. This sale shows a derriand, at profit¬ able figures to the buUders, from the wealthy class of pur population, for strictly first cUss work, and it