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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 17, no. 427: May 20, 1876

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EAL Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XVII. NEW YOEK, SATUEDAY, MAY 20, 1876. No. 427. Published Weekly by THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION C. W. SWEET...............Pbesident and Tbeasuber -PEESTON I. SWEET...........Seckexaey. L. ISEAELS.........................Business Manageb TEEMS. ONE TBA.R, in advance....$10 00. Communications should be addressed to O. SV. S^WEET, ,__^___________ ^^^- 345 and 347 Broadway. HOW EAILWAYS AFFECT CEN- TEES OF POPULATION. Persons interested in real estate or our rail¬ way system should not faH to read tlie two re¬ markable papers in the Atlantic Monthly for May and June, written by Charles Francis Adams, Jr. They furnish food for thought, which those who are about investing would do well to con¬ sider. Indeed, all the previous contributions of this member of the Adams family on the railroad system bear marks of great sagacity, enlarged views, and a perception of the future which is extremely rare with the prominent publicists of this country. It is one of the misfortunes of our American public life that it does not devel¬ op statesmen. We have shrewd politicians, skillful manipulators, men of great practical sense in dealing with present emergencies, a few of fair eloquence, but statesmen in the higher and larger sense are woefuUy lacking. Take any of the gentlemen who ate prominently named for the presidency in both the great parties and, with, perhaps, two exceptions, none of them have delivered any speeches which bear marks of a very high order of mind. It has not, indeed, been found neoepsary that our Presidents should be statesmen. Good com¬ mon sense, personal honesty, abiUty to deal with current events with tact, are about all the qualities which our people seem to consider, requisite for the Presidency. Indeed, voters seem to have generaUy distrusted mere orators; and our most distinguished speakers—the Web- Bters, Clays, Bentons, Calhouns, and Sewards— have failed in their ambition to become Presi¬ dents. Militaiy men, persons unable to make speeches, who have had a reputation for fair common sense, are what the American voter instinctively demands; hence the Harrisons, Taylors, Lincolns, and Grants, rather than the great speakers or philosophical pohtical think¬ ers. But revenons a nos moutons. Charles Prancis Adams, Jr., is really a philosophical siatesman. His writings on tha raikoad question are mark¬ ed by.the same high qualities which have made De ToequeviUe so authoritative a wi-iter on cur« rent poUtical history. Mr. Adams in his recent pubUcations points out, with great force and ad¬ mirable clearness, the absurdity of supposing that the mxiltiplioation of raUroads secures com¬ petition. The railro^a is a natwal monopoly, and the whole system cannot thiive unless some understanding is arrived at, or some combina¬ tion is made with reference to freights and fares. But the point which principally interests our readers as New" Yorkers in 'Mr. Adams' vati¬ cinations is the damage which, nshe points out, is being done to the former great raUroad cen¬ tres by the natural extension of the railway sys¬ tem. The first and immediate effect of new raih'oads was the enhancement and concentra¬ tion of business in certain gi-eat centres of trade and commerce. The large cities were built up at the expense of the smaller communities as soon as they became termini of raikoads. Chi¬ cago and New York profited more than any other points in the country by the necessary concen¬ tration of raUroad depots at these two points. But recently there has been a change. Both New York .and Chicago are now suffering trom the more recent extension of railroads. It is an ominous circumstance for the metropolis that the opening of the Centennial was signal¬ ized by a train Irom Boston passing aroimd and avoiding New York, instead of stoppiag here. Chicago also finds that, in their anx¬ iety for business, merchants in the Eastern seaports are quite as wjlling to buy at Quin¬ ey, Peoria and Milwaukee, as they are at Chicago; for they cannot see why Chicago should exact a tribute on the grain trade of the West. Business now goes around, and on the other side of Chicago, and this unification of the railway syatem will in time destroy the monopoly of the great railroad centres of the past. This iu itself is not to be regret- ed, but we judge that in the not very distant future the seaport cities will gain by this necessary discrimination against the inland cities. If the Liverpool or New York grain merchant was formerly compeUed to go to Chicago because the depots for grain were there, it of course allowed that city to levy a toU upon the business so transacted. But shippers have found that they can escape the taxes which Chicago has put upon the com¬ merce of the Northwest by dealing directly with the rural grain merchants at their local depols. The telegraph, wbich first helped the monopoly of the large cities, is now working against them. There is nothing to prevent the shipper in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore or Boston from sending to the various smaUer depots to fill up his orders for grain or cattle, and he is doing so. The telegraph, in other words, is destroying the monopoly of the internal railroad cities. This, by the way, is not Mr. Adams' comment on this circumstance, but our own. He simply points out the fact that the raih-oad no longer buUds up inland ports, but rather helps take away the cdncenti-ation of business firom any one quarter. He overlooks, in his admirable pa¬ per, the influence, of the telegraph in destroy¬ ing the moiiopoly of certain localities; but this universalizing, so to speak, of trade as dis¬ tinct from localizing does not apjply to seaport cities. The grain and other products to be sent abroad must, after all, come to the seacoast, and the four large ports on the Atlantic coast will necessarUy, in time and as the country grows, become more and more important as points of import and export. With the new avenues of con>munication and the facilities of telegraphing, there is no necessity for the grain of the Northwest being stored in Chicago. Once on the cars, it may as well come right through to the East. But it must be deposited at a shipping port, and hence we judge that New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and perhaps some other ports whose trade has not yet been developed, will profit enormously by the pioductions of the West. The only three other ports which are certain to have a great future are San Francisco, New Orleans and Galveston. San Francisco will grow with tho growth of the Pacific trade; New Orleans will regain much of her old traffic as soon a> the mouths of the Mississippi are accessible to ocean vessels; whUe Galveston, with the new improve¬ ments they are making, will have twenty feat of water on its bar, and will have bahind it a coun¬ try full of vegetable, animal and mineral wealth. Galveston is destined to a far greater future than New Orleans, and wiU in time compete with Baltimore and Boston, if not with New York. This railroad question is one which vitaUy in¬ terests aU New York property dealers, and it should be considered firom every point of view. ------------------*--*^h * ----------— GOLD AND SILVEE. One of the reasons for the hard times which affects all civilized nations to-day is the substi¬ tution in so many countries of gold alone as the unit in place of gold and silver. The demon¬ etizing of sUver in Germany and several of the other continental coimtries has had the ef¬ fect of greatly enhancing the value of gold, or, in other words, in reducing prices, making the gold doUar purchase far more than it would when the two metals were available for currency. This reverses the whole course of modem industry and banking. Our banking and commercial systems have heretofore been on the side of the debtor class. The various devices of paper money and bills of exchange led to the enhance¬ ment of prices by making more numerous the tokens by which wealth was ex«hanged. We read with wonder of how in the times of the Tu- dors and Plantagenets that a few pennies would buy a sheep. This was possible in a poor community where coin'was scarce, and paper money, bank notes, and biUs of exchange were aU unknown. The stock of gold and sUver in the world was smaU, and a very little money went a great ways; but from the invention of bills of exchange by the Italian Jews towards the close ashes of such a size would be imposing, I hope