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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 32, no. 821: December 8, 1883

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December 8, 1888 The Record and GuideT 971 THE RECORD AND GUIDE. 191 Broadway, N. Y. TERMS: one: year, in advance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addressed to €. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. DECEMBER 8, 188S. At the rate subscribers are now coming in it looka aa though the 850 names will be aecurad for the "Real Estate Exchange and Auc¬ tion Rooma, Limited," by the close of next week. Tiie institution will then be organized and the price of seats will be advanced fifty per cent. A list of the subscribers is given elsewhere. It embraces nearly all tbe leading real estate dealers and many of the foremost owners of property on this island. What a chorus of applause went up when Judge Gresham was appointed Postmaster-General. Some enthusiastic journals actually nominated him for the presidency. Bat his report, just issued, strips a very common fowl of all his gaudy plumage. Our Post¬ master-General is simply a sra.aU Indiana lawyer. Proaident Aithur has kept oue object steadily in view; no member of his Cabinet will be a candidate in the Republican National Convention. His secre¬ taries seem to be good safe clerks, who faithfully 3.tt6nd to the routine of their offices, but who are al! of them remarkably desti¬ tute of qualitiea which would commend Ihem to voters for high oflSce. In discussing the postal telegraph, Mr, Gresham shows an utter lack of statesmanlike grip. His utterances are those of a third rate lawyer and hide-bound politician. _---------—♦------------ There is reason to believe that tbe Railroad Commission of this State has been captured by the railroad companies. The resolution calling for quarterly reporta has been dropped, although it was unanimously endorsed by the business community and the prese. Tbe commissioners went to the Grand Central Depot to hear law¬ yer Depew and Vice-President Blanchard submit arguments against the resolution, and that ended the whole matter, although Wall street people are not aware of it, and are looking for the reports. The only State Railway Commissioners which are known to have been faithful to their trusts are those of Massachusetts, Illinois and Georgia, and much good has resulted therefrom, but the California Commission is notoriously in the pay Of the railroads. The general government must take this matter in hand, and when they do ifc will be a good thing for the companies as well as the public as it will stop wars and rate cutting, as well as prevent excessive charges. Let us have a National Railway Commission. Ali propositions looking to additional city transportation facili¬ ties should not be looked upon with equal favor. Property holders would do well to watch the scheme for budding elevated and sur¬ face roads to be run by cable. It is a speculation, pure and sim¬ ple, by a syndicate of active financiers. They have persuaded Mayor Edson to appoint a very respectable commission to look iuto their scheme, but the whole matter will bear watching. The franchise will be a very valuable one if granted, and the time has come when the city should refuse to vote away the privileges of our streets to speculators for little or nothing. No company should be permitted to construct any more elevated or surface roads without paying therefor a certain percentage of its gross receipts. Had this policy been pursued with our ferries, gas companies, street and elevated roads, we would now be in receipt of a yearly income that should defray at least half the cost of our city government; but we have allowed corporations to secure these lucrative privileges gratia. The newspapers demand that these franchises be sold to the high¬ est bidder, but this gives a chance for collusion, from which the city would he the loser. If this cable company is granted any privileges the city should demaud afc least ten per cent, of the gross receipts ; for this the corporatioa might guarantee the company freedom from vexatious law suits. The next Legislature ought to pass a law authorizing the city to come to some terms with the elevated roads, the latter to pay a stipulated percentage of their gross receipts yearly in lieu of taxes and assessments, the city to protect the company against claims for damages. In the mean¬ time, this cable company should be watched. The National Bank note issues are by no means of such import¬ ance as the daily press seema to beUeve, There is no danger to the trade of the country if aJl their issues are withdrawn, provided we retain our present stores of bullion and keep the products of our mines from going abroad. In the past four years the average annual increase in the volume of currency has been $89,453,346, toward which National Bank notes bave contributed an average of only $3,958,068 yearly. The total increase in circulation from November, 1879, to November, 1883, was $357,813,486, of which 03.9 per cent, was gold, 33.6 per cent, silver, and 4,5 per cent. National Bank notes. The gold notes and silver certificates have saved the country from a disastrous panic, due to the contraction of the bank paper money. Our best monetary policy would be to 1st the banks retire from the business of issuing currency and encourage in every way the coinage and circulation of gold and silver or certificates representing the same. A real estate agent in tlie Tribune expresses himself as follows : Not one in a hundred of the large—mind, I emphasize the word " large " —real estate transactions are properly reported, even in the official rec¬ ords. You buy a piece of properfcy afc $30,000; it is to your interest and that of the seller, who has more lots to sell in the same neighborhood, to report the sale at, say, $50,001. The larger amount is put in the deed as the consideration. It gets registered at the same figure; andfrom the Register's office the false record goes to the papers as a bona fide sale for the largest amount. It is simply bulling a poor market, Unfortunately, there is too much truth iu this statement. Sales are reported by speculative brokers, which are mere "washes," intended to deceive unwary purchasers. Tlien " trades" are quite common, in which a cash value is given to " swops " of property, where perhaps little or no money consideration was included. The official transfers themselves are tampered with, and the record is made to lie, for the purpose of bolstering up the price of adjoining properties or to deceive future purchasers. It is lamentable fchat in dealings in realty, the most certain of all kinds of property, that these practices should be so common. One argument for a Real Estate Exchange is that it would furnish an accurate test of prices in every case where property was publicly sold. An Exchange could not afford to have its good name smirched by "washed" sales or "Peter Funk" auctioneering. Title deeds ought to be honest in respect to price, and property owners should ask the Legislature to pass a law requiring that the sum actually paid shall be inserted in the deed. It is an open question whether a bonajide purchaser cannot under our laws demand of the seller the sum actually named in the deed. Why might not heirs demaud an evidence that the price stipulated had been paid? A judge who would give a decision to tbis effect would do much to bring about honest dealings in realty, and it would create a panic among trad¬ ers who make a practice of giving false coneiderationa in the titles when property is transferred. What Congress Should Do. WhUe the recommendations contained in the President's mes¬ sage, if carried out, would do little or nothing to revive business activity, still they afford a basis which, if Congress builds upon wisely, would do much to improve the trade of the country. The President admits that we ought to have a defensive navy, a torpedo service, and guns and floating batteries sufficient to guard our wealthy seaboard cities. Liberal appropriations for these objects would partially revive our iron and stoel industries, and sympa¬ thetically affect a vast circle of industries. We have tho money in the Treasury, which, if used thus productively, would exert a most beneficial influence. But after providing for the defense of our seaboard, and putting us in a position to resist attack. Congress might go further and authorize the construction of a fleet of fifteen to twenty of the largest and swiftest kind of steel steamers. They should be equal in every respect, and surpass, if possible, the very best and largest of the steamships belonging to the foreign transatlantic lines. With these vessels we could establish direct trade relations with other nations, under our own flag. They would be officered in part by our own naval officers, and so constructed thafc fchey could be changed into war vessels in case of international complications. It is not to be expected that they would be self-supporting, but they would be cheaper than maintaining our present na^y, which now enjoys the unique distinction, as General McClellan says, of being unable "neither to fight nor run away." These vessels need not in¬ terfere with private enterprize, as fchey could be contracted out to American shipping firms, on terms which would enable them to coiflpete with the great foreign lines which now monopolize the external carrying trade of the country. To supply the country with cruisers, guns,' a torpedo service, floating batteries aud the ships such as we have above indicated would take a great deal of money, far more than our annual surplus for many years fco come, bufc every dollar so laid out would be worth fifty in its effect upon the trade of the country. It would revive all our great iron and steel works ; our seaboard would again become the scene of great manufacturing activity, while the results of tbe expenditures would be especially beneficial to seaports like New York. But it is idle to expect any such farseeing aud wise action on the part of Congreas. If sucb a scheme were proposed, nothwith-