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The Record and guide: v. 39, no. 981: January 1, 1887

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January 1, 1887 The Record and Guide. THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Published every Saturdaj/- 1©1 Broadvv^ay, 2^T. "Y. Our Teleplioue Call is JOHN 370. TERMS: ONE YEiR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J, T, LINDSEY, Business Manager, Vol. XXXIX. JANUARY 1, 1887. No. 981 Next iveeJc ive will publish a forecast of the business for the year 1887, written by Samuel Benner expressly for The Record and Guide. This will greatly interest all ivho deal in real estate, stocks, grain and provisions, as Mr. Benner's previous predictions tvere remarkably accurate. ---------•--------- The year closed vpith business having a very prosperous look. There does not seem to be a cloud in our sky. Ravf gotten, grain and provisions are selling at very low figures, which would be dis¬ couraging to our farming class were it not that the extension of railroad building and the settlement of the country is rapidly enhancing the value of all land. An agriculturist can afford to sell his wheat for seventy cents a bushel or his cotton for nine cents a pound, if within the year the value of his plantation or farm has increased from five to twenty dollars an acre, and this is what has occurred during recent years. But all the conditions exist for good times, at least up to the close of the present crop year. We are shipping more than we import; gold is coming to our shores J manufacturers find ready markets for their goods; the railroads are carrying more freight at better prices than at any period for the last four years. The New Year will open under pleasant auspices._____________ The Inter-State Commerce bill, instead of being a bugaboo to the stock market, will, after its passage, bean argument for an advance in the price of securities. The railroad magnates do not like the proposed law as a matter of course. The monopoly they now possess of information about the systems they manage they would have to share with the public, for a national railroad commission'would require sworn exhibits of the condtion of each corporation—quarterly if not monthly. This would interfere with the stock-deals of the directors, who now have so great an advan¬ tage over ordinary stockholders. Then in every way the companies would be forced to deal;fairly with the public. There will bene rebates, no free passes, and no favors shown to special interests. The private arrangements between the managers of roads and subordinate corporations, such as sleeping-car companies, stock¬ yards, fast freight lines and expresses, would be in danger of coming to light; hence the violent opposition of those who now control the various railway systems of the country. class ? The convention is much more likely to be successful if the number of lawyers in it are kept down to a reasonable limit. The convention of 1867 came to naught because of the superabundance of talking lawyers which it contained. One recommendation this Mayor's committee ought to make: All the leading amendments proposed should be referred back separately to the voters. In Switzerland, it will be remembered, there is what is called a referendum; no important law can become valid in that country until it is passed upon by the voters. The discussions consequent upon the people being asked to indorse provisions of the funda¬ mental law of the State will prove educating. A discussion of principles instead of the merits of the candidates for office is very desirable in a Republic like ours. ------------a------------ Switzerland is indeed a model Republic. It is now testing the value of a graduated income tax, to see if it is possible to keep down very large fortunes and add to the resources of the poorer classes of the community. The same nation is making an experi¬ ment in temperance legislation which will be watched with keen interest all over the world. The government proposes to monopolize the liquor traffic. The diJ tillers must sell all their products to the State, which sees to it thdffc the materials and methods of distilla¬ tion are of a wholesome character. A high price will be charged for liquor, and the government expects to secure a profit of $3,000,000 a year; $150,000 of this sum is to be spent by the cantons to mitigate the evils caused by alcoholic drinks. It will be remembered that Bismarck recently tried to induce the Reichstag to permit a government monopoly ot strong drink, but the liquor interest was too strong for even the man of " blood and iron.'' Tobacco, however, is a government monopoly in France, Gefmany and other continental nations ; but Switzerland is the first country to undertake the retailing of alcoholic stimulants. We adhere to the 'position we have heretofore taken that the passage of the CuUum compromise will give value to every rai - way security in the country. An interest representing 8,000,- 000,000 of dollars, and which is controlled by the most enterprising, shrewdest and wealthiest men in the community, is certain to be benefited by government intervention. This matter has been tested by State railway commissions. These have worked well in Massachusetts, in New York, Ohio, Illinois, California, and other States. The only commonwealth which has made any serious objections to a railroad commission was Georgia, and there the law was amended to allow an appeal from any decision of the commis¬ sioners. But it is a curious fact that since this right has been granted the railroads no appeal has ever been made. A national cpm- mission is inevitable, and the Pennsylvania Central Company shpws its wisdom in declining to fight the CuUum compromise, .for the reason that if that enactment is not accepted a much more objectionable one to the railroad corporations is certain to ^ss later on. ------------a------------ Mayor Grace has called into existence a committee for the pur¬ pose of arranging the topics to be discussed by the State Constitu¬ tional Convention, which it is supposed will sit some time next summer. This is a good thing to do; but why confine this advisory- commission almost entirely to lawyers. There are some good names among the gentlemen asked to serve by the Mayor,'-bufc surely other classes should be represented as well as the legal profession. We notice the name of a banker in the list, but there ought to be a manufacturer, and, then, is it quite wise to ignore the labor element, or on© or ffipre Representatives, of the eiBpIdying In the recent strike of the Brooklyn car-drivers and conductorl it will be noticed that one of the demands was for more respectfus treatment on the part of the officers of the companies. The men objected to being spoken to as if they were horses or cattle. This certainly shows an increase of self-respect on the part of rough and unskilled laborers which is probably a result of our common school education. Another noticeable feature of that strike was the victory of the men in obtaining recognition for their leaders. Mr. Lewis, the president of the company, made the point often set forth in these columns, that an organized corporation could be forced to keep its agreement while he could get no guarantee that the employes would abide by their side of the bargain. But he was finally convinced that by dealing with an organized associa¬ tion instead of individuals the agreement entered into would be kept on both sides. The Record and Guide is still of opinion that the only solution for labor troubles in the railway system of the country is the putting of the employes under government care and oversight. If every brakeman and conductor in the Union was a government officer there would be an end to all danger Of strikes in the future and an assurance against the possibility of a civil war. Then, if the conductors and car-drivers were made a branch of the police force of the large cities, "tie-ups" would never again be heard of, and a great riot, if one broke out, would be promptly repressed. But until these radical naeasures are taken we shall be constantly exposed to interruptions in the rail¬ way systems of the country, due sometimes to the greed of the companies and at others to extravagant demands by the men. ---------«------:--- Chicago is determined to try the experiment of reforming its municipal government. The problem in all large cities is how to secure honest and efficient management under the limitations imposed by universal suffrage. A Citizens' Committee in Chicago called on the leading clubs and exchanges to send delegates to a central body to devise a plan. It was agreed to ask the Legislature to call into existence a body of sixteen commissioners who should have charge of the financial administration of the city. The citizens hope to get rid of " boodle " officials by some «uch means. The town of Pullman, a few miles from Chicago, is prospering under a very despotic form of government. There are no city officials at all and no local elections. The officers of the Pullman Car Company attend to everything. B/ all means le|; every sort of local government be tested. Americans are a practical people, and eventually they will hit upon some plan of local government which will be honest, efficient and practicable. The matter of the opening of Elm street to relieve the pressure on Broadway is postponed until Mr. Abraham Hewitt cdn take it up as Mayor. Something should certainly be done. Our great thoroughfare is gorged with travel of ^1 kinds, and the city needs another main artery for vehicles and foot passengers on the east side of the city. This new avenue should have no surface horse- cars, as the tracks interfere with the carriages, wagons and drays wbich will use such an artery of local traffic in very great num¬ bers. But permission might' be given to build another elevated •fV. •^' *^ir-^-Mrf;