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The Record and guide: v. 38, no. 960: August 7, 1886

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August 7, 1888 The Record and Guide: 993 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Published every Saturday. 191 BroadTArav, KT. "X'- Onr Teleplione Call is ... . JOHN 370. TERMS: ONE YEAR, in adyance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addi'essed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XXXVIII. August 7, 1886. No. 960. A volume lohich shoidd be in the hands of every huilder, con¬ tractor, architect, and oioner and dealer in real estate, is now ready and can he procured at the offlce of The Recced and Guide. It is a new edition of the law relating to huildings in the City of Neio York, with added matter, marginal notes and colored engravings to illustrate the subject. It contains the law limiting the height of divelling-houses, also ihe existing Mechanics' Lien Law. Tliis work is edited by William J. Fryer, Jr., lohose original and well-thought-out comments give it a special value. The volume will also contain a complete directory of architects in New York, Brooklyn, Jersey City, Newark and Yonkers. The book is handsomely hound in cloth, and is sold at the low price of seventy-five cents, by mail eighty-five cents. Tlie week closes with a buoyant feeling in the stock market, which reflects very fairly the general temper of the business public. Elsewliere we have commented on the remarkable increase of busi¬ ness in real estate circles, which is the more legitimate as it is accompanied by a building movement unprecedented in the history of the city. The same fact is also true of other centres of popula¬ tion. There is to-day more houses in the process of erection in every State in the Union than in any previous month of August. If the amount of money spent in house construction throughout the Union could be accurately given it would surprise everyone. Unfortunately we only know what is taking place in the largest cities, for these only furnish the statistics. The activity in the smaller places, it is impossible to state in figures, although the building activity is known to be equally great. It follows that the consumption of brick, lumber, building stone and metals is unpre- cedentedly large. The outlook in all the great industries is well expressed in the following extract from the Shoe and Leather Reporter: "Traffic is animated, prices are strengthening some¬ what, payments are regular and prompt, most manufacturing industries are flourishing, and confidence seems to be largely restored. If prices are still low, producers, at least, have reached the point at which they will consent to no further reduction, and consumers appear to recognize the fact." The Congress which has just adjourned did very little creditable work, while it left undone many things it ought to have done. It is difficult to see what cry the Democrats will have in the coming fall election. Still the Republicans cannot afford to take them to task, for the last Congress they controlled madeaveiy poor record. It now looks as though the Prohibitionists and the labor people will have a good deal to say in the next Congressional canvass, though probably they will do more in the way of supply¬ ing issues than in getting candidates of their own elected. The greatest disappointment is in the failure of any measure to provide fortifications to defend our seaport cities. It would take eight or ten years and a large expenditure to make us safe in this respect, and the failure of a Democratic House to heed the timely warnings of Mr. Tilden on this subject is as unaccountable as it is reprehensible. .-------•-------, The future historian of American politics will be puzzled to account for the prominence of Samuel J. Tilden towards the close of his life. He made his money as a railroad lawyer, and. played a very subordinate roje in the local politics of his State until he was sixty years of age. It was the earnestness he displayed in attacking the Tweed and Canal rings, at a time when official corruption was rife, that made him Governor of the State and finally the candidate of the Democratic party for the Presidency. While the Democratic party has millions of adherents who believe in political purity, as well as illustrate personal integrity in their own persons, yet some¬ how it has not been the f ortune^pf that brganization to develop leaders who were prpnounced reformers. It was this fact, rather than his abilities or party services, which made Mr. Tilden the standard bearer of his party in 1876. Had he taken his seat in the White House we believe he would have disappointed his party and the country, for he had no experience as an executive officer except when Governor of New York at an advanced age. He was a skillful technical lawyer, a wise'counsellor to embarrassed corpora¬ tions, and his speeches and writings showed breadth of view and the possession of many statesmanlike qualities. But his chief mental infirmity was an inability to make up his mind and to act promptly. It was said that when Governor he was always behind hand when he was called upon to make appointments or transac official business. _------«--------. This timid, procrastinating habit of mind saved the country from a great peril in the dispute which followed the Presidential elec¬ tion of 1876. Had Mr. Tilden been a soldier like General Dix, a stormy aggressive politician like Stephen A. Douglass, or even an enterprising, ambitious merchant like our present Mayor of New York, civil war would have broken out as the natural result of our extremely defective machinery for electing Presidents. It would have been absurd for the Democratic party to have contested that election in the field with such a leader as Mr. Tilden. Our lawyer legislators were to blame for the legal chaos which brought us so near a civil war in 1876. Their delay in not reforming that system up to the present time is little less than criminal; but we have to thank the lawyers for the device of the Electoral Commission and for the professional idiosyncrasies of Mr. Tilden which saved us from the horrors and misery of civil strife for four years. Tbe country is greatly indebted to the very defects of Mr. Tilden's character for the years of peace and national recuperation which wrought such blessings for the country between 1876 and 1880. President Cleveland deserves credit for signing the River and Harbor bill. It calls for an expenditure of but little more than $14,000,000. The appropriation really ought to have been for about $60,000,000, To deepen the channel in the lower bay of New York to the uniform depth of thirty feet will cost from five to six million dollars. We then coulu hope in three years time to have this extremely necessary work completed; but the appropriation is only $750,000, and it will doubtless take eight to ten years before the large steamers can enter and leave our harbor fully loaded. A Washington dispatch in the Smi says of this River and Harbor bill: General Newton, whose knowledge of the condition of the present works and the necessities for the future was based on reports made to him by the Engineer Corps of the army, assured the President that of the items in the bill, all except eighteen, comprising less than one per cent, of the amount appropriated, were meritorious beyond question, and, while he in no manner condemned those, he was unable to give a positive opinion because of lack of complete information concerning them. The President made as thorough an examination of these items as possible, and although with such reports as were at hand he had been unable to thoroughly satisfy himself as to their character, he found that all appeared to be for the continuation of work already begun and now in course of construction. Yet the Sun has got so ia the habit of lying about River and Harbor bills that it calls it one of the worst and most shameles.s jobs ever passed by Congress. The most reprehensible appropria' tion indorsed by Congress was the $76,000,000 for pensions. This really is an outrage on the people. Ten million per annum would be an exorbitant sum to pay a quarter of a century after any war to disabled soldiers. In view of the applause—as we thought Undeserved in many cases—which was bestowed on Mr. Grover Cleveland for his vetoes when Governor of this State, we surmised that he would pursue thesame course pn the questionable bills passed by Congressy and so it has proved. President Cleveland has vetbed more enactments twice over than did all his predecessors, from Washington down* The majority of our Presidents contented themselves with declining to give their assent to a few measures of prime national import-^ ance or touching which there was some constitutional objection ; but President Cleveland has made a special point of keeping track of private pension legislation, and has devoted valuable time to inquiring into the exact physical condition of the diseased and crippled old soldiers who were to be benefited. Undoubtedly the general pension bills passed by Congress were reprehensible, in that they distributed vast sums among pension agents and lobby¬ ists which should have been devoted to internal improvements or the proper defense of the country. It is exasperating to see how meekly the majority in the House have followed Randall and Holman in cutting down appropriations for carrying on the government, paying our foreign consuls or improving pur navy, while at the same time throwing away hundreds of millions upon pension agents and ex-soldiers abundantly able to take care of themselves. But these innumerable vetoes by the President of wretched little pension bills to relieve individual sufferers by. the war is preposterous from beginning to end, as the total sum involved would not be over $100,000, and,. the time of our Chief Executive could be much better employed in looking after the larger affairs of the nation. The suspicion grows that Mr. Cleve¬ land is only a dull, narrow, small, plodding lawyer, and that the only State paper which bears his name that was his own was his first message as Governor, one of the most puerile documents ever