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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 10, no. 249: December 21, 1872

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AND BUILDERS* GUIDE. Vol. X. ■ [NEW YOEK, SATURDAY, DECExMBER 21, 1872. No. 249. Published Weeklu l)v%l THE REAL ESTATB RECORD ASSOCIATION. TEEMS. One year, in advance......................$6 CO All communications should he addressed to -7 AND 9 WAURKN' STRHHT. No receipt for money due the Rv^at, EsT/VTR Record will he acknowledged unless signed hy one oF our rej,'nlar collectors. Henhy D. S.mitii or Tho.mas F. CaMiMiNG.'^. All bills for collection will be sent from the olhoe on a regu¬ larly printed form. LIFE INSURANCE GAMBLING.! f !" After, proving conclusively that life insur¬ ance rates -were twenty per cent, higher than they should be, the Mutual backs down from its proposal to adopt an honest rate and agrees to continue to please its customers for the benefit of tbe small semi-bankrupt concerns wMcb are its rivals. This action is very remarkable from a business point of view. A. T. Stewart, for instance, is enabled by his immense capital and the admirable organization of his business to sell his goods twenty per cent, cheaper than any of his feebler rivals in the dry-goods trade, making a good profit where they would net a loss. Now suppose these rivals, instead of going out of tbe business, in the proper course of trade, should combiae, and rush, into print to denounce the great establishment which offered to serve the community by cheapening neces. sary articles of wear. Such action would be preposterous, and Mr. Stewart would be justi¬ fied iu paying no beed to the clamor. As a mat¬ ter of fact his house is full of employes who tried to be Ms rivals, but, not being able to sell as he, they failed. The sfcruggle for Ufe the weakest going to the wall, is a law of nature and obtains in trade and society as well as in the organic world about us. Let it be understood then, hereafter, that all who deal with the Mutual and allied companies pay, according to their own actuaries and of¬ ficers, twenty per cent, more than is necessar5^ Of course the real loss to the customers of these companies is very much greater. Indeed, as a matter of fact, the life insurance companies take three dollars out of the community for every one they return to the heurs of their cus¬ tomers. - ■ ■ Api'opos of an article on Life Insurance last week we have received the following note:— IIVall sxkeet, Dec. 14, 1872. To THE Editob of The Real Estate Record. Tour article on '' Life Insurance " is splendid —jolly from beginning to end. By Jove, if you -wall now and then dig into those robbers, you wUl do a big thing. The thieves are, as you say, the meanest kind of pickpockets, for they steal, not from Jay ■Gould, Dan Drew, or others of our crowd, but from the orphan and widow. Those compa¬ nies have more ribs yet; punch every damned one of them. Tours truly. One op tiie Eobbers. There is many a true word said in jest, and though the above came to us unsigned, we have no doubt it is from an officer of one of the Life companies who is aware of the fraudulent character of the whole business. It is indeed the meanest and most treacherous kind of gam¬ bling, in which the companies play with stocked cards and loaded dice; their victims in every case being the widows and orphans of the poor and struggling. Of course we do not wish to be understood as impugning the characters of all who are en¬ gaged in life insurance. No doubt the great majority of officers and managers mean to be as honest as the law allows and circumstances permit, but the whole conception and conduct of the business is necessarily demoralizing. The individual stakes his money and his L'fe against a certain sum to be paid his heirs. No sentimental considerations can make anything out of this but gambling in its most horrible and offensive form. The players on both sides take their chances with the odds heavily in favor of the "bank." Indeed, the companies which represent, the latter, even the best of them, play a '' skinning" game. Morrissey and Chamberlain give twice the show to their cus¬ tomers that the Mutual and Equitable do to theirs. Of course this villanous business will go on until the ruin which follows all fraud super¬ venes. In marvelling at the wealth of the of¬ ficers of these companies, we must bear in mind that the same Providence which created foxes also ordained geese. A Correction.—An architectural friend, to whose opinions we attach the highest value, has drawn our attention to an error in the re¬ marks we recently made concerning the new Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church ; in which we stated that the muUions of the windows ■ are of wood, whereas they are of stone. He also thinks that the natural ten¬ dency of those remarks is to bring discred¬ it upon the talents and capacity of the archi. tect of the building. The error which we made respecting the windows we have much pleasure in rectifying, and have only to add, that if the remarks merit¬ ed the interpretation imputed to them, nothing could have been farther from ouir thought and intention. So far were we, indeed, from wish¬ ing to attribute any lack of capacity or talent to the architect—of this church — that wc distinctly said, one reason why the peculiarities to which we objected in this building were" to be more than usuaUy regretted, was because every portion of it showed an amount of skUl and study in the designer which could easUy have afforded to dispense" with the prevailing fashion of striving after meretricious novelty. Among the many wretched platitudes with which downright ignorance has defaced the city, under the pretended name of Gothic architecture, it is so refreshing to meet with a building which, as in this case, exhibits thor¬ ough knowledge, motive, and earnest thought in the designer, that v/e should be veiy sorry to do it injustice. With aU its peculiarities, it is so immeasurably superior to the gen- eraUty of churches hitherto erected in New Tork, that the author of it may be fairly ranked among the very few architects in our midst to whom we can look for anything like progress in art. With all the boldness, ear¬ nestness of thought, originality and inventive faculty which it exhibits, this edifice has failed in being a perfect model of Gothic architec¬ ture only because the designer of it allowed his love of eccentricity to misapply, in manifold instances, the very beauties of which he has been evidently so dUigent and successful a student. THE METROPOLITAN MTTSEUM OF NEW YORK. This excellent institution—stUl so young that many New Torkers are probably not even aware of its establishment among us—bids fair, by the energy and judgment displayed at the com¬ mencement of its management, to speedily com¬ pete with some of its most reno-vvned European cotemporaries. A purchase has recently been made of General di Cernola's celebrated collec¬ tion, which excites no Uttle envious comment among our cousins across the water. It ap¬ pears that this same coUection had been previ¬ ously offered to the British Museum at a price far below its actual value ; but, either through misapprehension of its preciousness or mistaken economy, the offer was neglected which has been so wisely accepted by the managers of our Museum. Now that the oversight is past re¬ demption, the authorities of the British Museum are severely censured by the press for their re¬ missness, and the London Athenceum, whUe con¬ gratulating New Tork upon its great bargain, confesses that the EngUsh have lost what they should have bought at any reasonable price. So far has this censure gone, that Mr. Newton, of the British Museum, is actuaUy about to pub¬ lish what may be called an apology for the ac¬ tion of the Museum authorities. The Athenamm, in commenting upon this rare coUection of an¬ tiquities, thus describes them : "There are many specimens of Greek glass, such as lachrymatories, jars, vases, bottles, etc. Although rarely remarkable for size, these ex-