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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 29, no. 737: April 29, 1882

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XXIX. NEW TOEK, SATUEDAY, APEIL 29, 1882. No. 737 Published Weekly by The Real Estate Record Association TERMS: ONE YEAR, ttt advance.....$6.00 Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. After Mayl, The Real Estate Record offices will be found in the Mercantile Bank Building, 191 Broadway, corner of Dey street. The Forrestry Congress, which has just adjourned at Cincinnati, was a notable gathering and its work ought to result in good to the community. The waste of timber is simply criminal, and we are already beginning to feel its disastrous effects in freshets and droughts, as well as the abnormally high price of lumber -where most needed. Every energy of the nation, the State and the locality should be brought to bear to promote the growth of trees. The sanitary reasons are as strong as the economical, for reclothing mountain sides and the banks of rivers with woods so heed¬ lessly cut down. The croakers are pointing out that there are too many railroads underway, and especially that there are more than can ever be needed reaching out from New York to other parts of the country. The Philadel¬ phia roads have all an outlet in this city, the Baltimore & Ohio is bent on securing a right of way to New York, and the Ontario & Western, Delaware & Lackawanna, and the "West Shore & Buffalo will be feeders to the metropolis. In the ancient world alFroads led to Rome, and railway building in North America ultimately is designed to reach this port. There may be a waste of capital in the stock of these enterprises, but their construction will add to the value of realty in New York. It was during the paper money inflation period that the experiment was first at¬ tempted of building immense and costly structures for business and office purposes. The Equitable building, the Drexel & Mor¬ gan building, the Tribune and "Western Union structures, and the large concern at the corner of Fourteenth street and Broad¬ way, as well as others, date from this very costly period. It was predicted that they would be financial failures, but it did not so turn out, and upon the revival of prosperity well posted capitalists eagerly entered upon a career of building even more gigantic stmc- tures. Hence theBoreel Building, "Fort" Sherman, comer Broadway and Wall street, the London, Liverpool and Globe BuUd ing and scores of others, while last but not least the great Mills building on Broad street. These great edifices wtU certainly pay, pro¬ vided no catastrophe affects the trade of New York. Plans filed in the Building De¬ partment continue to show the confidence of persons of large means in big buildings, for domestic as well as office purposes, instead of little ones. RECHARTERING THE BANKS. Between now and the close of February, 1883, the charters of three hundred and ninety-three national banks will have ex¬ pired. These institutions have a capital of $91,985,950, and their total issues of notes is $67,853,910. Unless an enabling act is passed, all these banks must go into liqui¬ dation. They must be wound up and started afresh. If the present Congress gives no relief, it foUows that the circulation will be withdrawn, about $150,000,000 of loans called in, and a sufficient amount of assets sold to create a first-class currency panic, when stocks will be actually given away in Wall street. The votes show that a decided ma¬ jority of the House of Representatives is favorable to the banks, but that there is' great difference of opinion as to the provi¬ sions under which the national banks should reorganize. Our national banking system came into existence while a gigantic civil war was raging, and one of its main objects was to create a market for the floating of Government bonds. But the war closed eighteen years ago, and it is realized that new conditions have arisen which demand some changes in the reorganization of our banking system, and it is in this honest difference of opinion lies the peril of a failure of Congress to recharter the banks in such a way as to prevent a violent contraction of the currency. Ex-Secretary of the Treasm*y, John Sher¬ man, is of opinion that every bank ought to be reorganized after twenty years of exist¬ ence. There is danger that these financial institutions may have skeletons in their vaults in the way of worthless assets. During the bard times a great many of bad debts must have been made; two-thirds of the business men of the country failed, and these same bankrupts were in many cases the managers of the national banks. It was always a mystery how the national banks managed to live through the crises which ruined their customers. Perhaps if all the national banks were forced into liquidation, the mystery would be explained. Until this bank matter is settled, an uneasy feeling will prevail in financial circles. The wise thing to do would be to extend the charters of certain groups of banks in such a way that no more than ten would be wound up each month ; but they all should be required to reorganize, and the limit of their corporate life should not be more than twenty years. It is a pity Congress could not act upon this matter at once, for, if settled satisfactorily, it would remove one cloud, and a very lowering one, from the financial horizon. We have not thought it worth while here to discuss the question of the substitution of Treasury notes for .national bank bills. Whatever arguments there may be in favor of that scheme, it is not likely to be indorsed by either the Senate or House, and if it should gef through Con¬ gress it would be promptly vetoed by Pres¬ ident Arthur. The hesitancy which has been observed in the real estate market within the last ten days is attributed in certain quarters to tbe fear that Congress may not act wisely in dealing with the bank problem. A state of affairs that would involve a great displacement and violent contractions of the currency would be dis¬ astrous not only to stock values but to the price of real estate, at least temporarily. AGRARIANISM IN NEW YORK. The real estate interest of New York is a very heavy contributor to the revenues of the New York Herald. The houses for sale and to rent cover page after page of that paper, daily. Yet this journal, so munifi¬ cently supported by the owners of realty, has become the organ of 3 class of tenants who are \jnable or unwilling to pay their just rents. An anti-landlord cry may have a meaning in Ireland, but it certainly has none under our laws. What is a landlord in the United States? He is simply a person who, having spare means, has bought or buUt houses which he rents to those who wish to occupy them. The money is in¬ vested for the same reason that any other property or commodity is bought, either for use or to allow somebody else to occupy for a consideration. The landlord, in providing homes for those who have not got them, per¬ forms a social function honorable in itself because necessary. In the laws of all coun¬ tries, provision is made for the prompt col¬ lection of rent, and the processes are neces¬ sarily summary, for if the landlord cannot get the return for his money promptly, he will do one of two things, he will raise the rent to insTire himself against loss and annoyance in its collection, or he will decline to rent his houses. Any popular or legislative action which prevents him from collecting what is due promptly, would be a severe tax on the renting community, for investors would not build new houses and landlords would advance the price of those in the mar¬ ket to make up for the delinquencies of their tenants. There is really no comparison between farm land as rented in Ireland and house property as let in New York. In the case of the Irish farm, the value is given to it by the labor of the tenant. The complaint has been that the improvements he makes are taken advantage of by the landlord to in¬ crease his rent, but the occupant of a house in New York or Brooklyn, or of apartments in a house, gives no additional value to his holdings; indeed, as a matter of fact, the tenement is more or less depreciated by the fact of its occupancy, and, therefore, while in the one case it may be cruel to evict a tenant from the home which he in part created, there can be no hardship in forcing a person to leave a house or suite of rooms, : the rent of which he is unable or unwilling