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The Record and guide: v. 36, no. 920: October 31, 1885

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October 81, 1886 The Record and Guide. 1183 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Published every Saturday. IQl Broadv\rav, IST. "^. Our Telephone CaU is.....JOHN 370. TERMS: ONE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS. ConiDimiioations should be addressed to €. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Busmess Manager. Vol. XXXVI. OCTOBER 31, 1885. No. 920 There has been no change for the woi*se in the outlook for gen¬ eral business. The domestic exchanges show an enlarged volume of trade. The activity in orders for coal and iron continue, traffic on the railroads is much larger than at this time last year, and from the West especially comes word of the deficiency of cars and more offering of business than the road can handle. The local stock market is not so excited as it was and the bears have made their reappearance, as there are many who now believe the market is a sale whenever it gets an extra head of steam on. But tbere is a well-grounded belief that even if quotations should fall off another upward movement would be in order before November closes. The death of General McClellau so soon after that of Geueral Grant naturally provokes comparison between these two distin¬ guished military leaders. The former was severely criticised for his excessive caution, but it should be remembered that the army he commanded was an untried one—the men were undisciplined, while the officers, largely composed oC lawyers and politicians, were, as subsequent events proved, unfitted for their duties. There was, indeed, early in the war a prejudice against West Point, but a little experience in active field operations discredited the civilians, and long before the end of the war the military men trained at West Point filled every important position in the armies North and South. General McClellan was aware better thau anyone else in the country of the danger of operating offensively with an army of green troops led by incompetent politicians and civilians. Some¬ thing could be done with such troops defending fortifications or behind intrenchmeuts, and this was all that was required of the Southern soldiers under General Lee. The loss of the Army of the Potomac would have involved the capture of Washington, and perhai^s Baltimore and Philadelphia. The army General Grant commanded wheu he set out to make the campaign ot the Wilderness was a very different one from that controlled by General McClellan. The men were seasoned veterans, while the officers had been trained iu the stern school of war for their duties. One cannot help asking the question what if the posi¬ tions of the two generals had been reversed, and Grant had com¬ manded the Army of the Potomac early in the war and McClellan later on. Would Grant have dared to attack Lee's intrenchmeuts with the uutrained and badly led battalions which had been hastily marshalled on to Potomac for the defence of Washington and the suppression of the reoellion ? Then again, would McClellan have been so over-cautious were he in command of so veteran a body of troops as those with which General Grant finally ended the war? Several of the daily papers are complimenting Judge Barrett for the prompt manner in which the trial of Ferdinand Ward was conducted. The praise is deserved; but should not the newspapers overcome somewhat their awe of the Bench and more often call Courts to account for the preposterous length of trials and the use¬ less and wastefid litigation which they permit V Our administra¬ tion of justice has long been a scandal in this regard. Yet our press has doae nothing to correct the evil; on the contrary, when some of these procrastinating judges have filled their terms of office the demand is made that they be renominated and re-elected without inquiry into their efficiency as presiding officers of the Court. The simple fact is, our Court machinery is practically though perhaps unconsciously organized not to dispense ju stice but to add to the emoluments of the legal profession. One cannot help but feel some pity for '' Convict" Fish, as he calls himself. He has lost everything—a large fortune—his good name and his liberty. His overt acts do not seem to have been intention¬ ally criminal, for he would never have invested his means in real estate if he thought he was making his money fraudulently, and run the risk of detection. He was clearly the victim of Ferdinand Ward's extraordinary power of creating confidence on the part of those he dealt with. Many women and some men have this gift of personal fascination; indeed, all human beings possess it more or less, but Ferdinand Ward was a psychological wonder in this respect. If the latter had escaped or was punished lightly public opinion would have demanded that Fish be released from prison, for he was the victim of monstrous frauds which there is no evidence that he originated or abetted, for he has so far been the greatest sufferer from them. What a remarkable story this of Ward's is from begin¬ ning to end. It is the very romance of financial rascality. Ward is in every way an exceptional personage, and, what must be par¬ ticularly mortifying to Fish and other clever men who were duped, he was as much a fool as a knave. Taxpayers iu New York are unaware of the exact facts with regard to the growth of their fiscal burdens. The following table, showing the rate of taxation for every year as far back as 1830, is, we think, interesting and instructive : leSO................$ .36 18.51.............$ .91 1874.............$2.80 1836 .........i......46 1852................96 1H:5............... 2.94 1838...............56 18.53............. 1.23 1876............... 2.80 1841..............66 1854............... 1.05 1877............... 2.65 1855............... 1.20 1878................ 2.55 1842. 1813., 1844. 1845. 1846., 1847. 1848. 1849. 1850., .79 .. 1.05 .. 1.05 .. 1.07 .. 1.18 .. 1.13 1856.... ia57.. . 1858.... 18.59.... 1870.... 1871.... 1872. .. 1873.... .. l.I .. 1.55 .. 1.03 .. 1.79 .. 2.25 .. 2.19 .. 2.90 .. 2.56 1879., ISSO. 1881 1882., 1883. 1884. 1885. 2.58 253 2.62 2.25 2.29 2.25 2.40 These figures are not as bad as they at first appear. Money has become cheaper as years have rolled by, and hence a dollar in 1830 would probably purchase as much as ^3.50 to-day ; but, for all that, our taxes are too high. Were oiu" city government what it should be, one percent, on the assessed valuation would be ample to meet all proper charges as well as provide for liberal improvements. The new director of the mint in his forthcoming annual report furnishes facts respecting the precious metals which are of vital interest in view of the pending discussion upon the coinage of the silver dollar. On July 1st last, he states that there were $830,000,- 000 gold and silver coin in the country, of which |542,000,000 were gold and $378,000,000 silver. In addition to this coin there was in the mint and assay offices $71,501,052 bullion, three-fifths of which was gold. During the past year we exported $19,000,000 worth of silver. In view of these facts how strange it is that bank offices and writers on financial topics insist that there is imminent danger that we shall get upon a silver basis. Ever since the coinage of the silver dollar in 1878 we have been importing gold and have trebled the stock on hand, while we have been exporting a large proportion of our silver production. Dr. Kimball, the director, emphasizes the fact that the gold production of the world is steadily declining. On the Pacific Coast it has fallen off $8,000,000 since 1881. France has $14 in silver for every inhabitant; we have only $4 in silver per capita. But gold is not thereby expelled from France, for that country has more of the yellow metal than Eng¬ land and Germany combined. Negotiations are on foot to merge the Produce Exchange with the Consolidated Stock and Petroleum Exchange. It would be a good thing to do, as the grain and provision dealers have too large a building for the business they transact, while the mining and petroleum brokers are in need of better accommodations. If joined together the new organization will comprise over 4,000 members, of which over a thousand would be either solid and responsible opera¬ tors or else active and energetic traders. The new combination would soon become a formidable rival to the Sto^k Exchange, and would in time doubtless transact a business qttite as large. The Produce Exchange has now a monopoly of the grain and provision business, while the Consolidated Stock Exchange is the sole agency for dealing in petroleum and mining shares in unlisted securities and in fractional shares of railroad stock. There are, of course, too mauy brokers, and should the corsolidation be etfected measui*es should be taken to buy off or cut off members who now do no busi¬ ness. Perhaps further on it might be wise to amalgamate with the members of the Metal Exchange. The time is probably not distant when New York will do a large business in the buying and selling of options on iron, copper, lead, tin and the other metals. The new depot which the New York Central managers are about to build on Fourth avenue and One Hundred and Thirty-eighth street will not only be a great present convenience to the people who live above Eighty-sixth street, but it may lead to very impor¬ tant consequences. In time this may become the great depot for the Central road, and the Forty-second Street Depot decline into a mere distributing point for lower New York. As the railroad busi¬ ness of the country increases the pressure will become too great for the accommodations now at Forty-second street. The ground is too valuable in the neighborhood to admit of its use for engine houses and the storage of cars, and hence the chances are that the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Street Depot will steadily enlarge with the growth of New York City's business. Then, as a corre-