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The Record and guide: v. 39, no. 992: March 19, 1887

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March 19, 1887 The Record and Guide. 357 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Published every Saturday. 191 BroadTT^ay, IN", "y. Our Telephone CaU is JOKN 370. TERMS: ONE YEiR, in adyance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XXXIX. MARCH 19. 1887. No. 993 Our advertising columns, our gossip and building notes, tell the story of the activity in real estate circles. The brokers are all busy, while the auctioneers as a general thing have more sales than they can attend to. The promise for the rest of the spring season could not be better. The business of the country promises well enough, but is dull just for the moment, a condition of things due to several causes. The demand for iron bas slackened off, as the railroad companies are in some doubt as to what will be the effect of the operations of the Interstate Commerce law. The stock market has been unusu¬ ally torpid pending the Baltimore & Ohio deal, the secret of which has been very well kept. If the Huntington interest should secure control it will be a damper on the "street," for the connecting Southern systems would be diverted to building up Newport News, rather than Baltimore or New York. Then the great California railroad men never allow anybody to make money except them¬ selves ; as witness the history of Central Pacific, Chesapeake & Ohio, Houston & Texas, and all the properties in which they have secured control. If they purchase it the great Baltimore & Ohio system will simply be gutted to add to the colossal fortunes of the California railroad magnates. Still, the prevalent report may be and probably are unfounded. Should a New York syndicate secure the B. «fe O., a boom in the stock market would naturally follow. Even if the High License bill should pass the Legislature, we doubt if Governor Hill will approve of it. The liquor interest is very strong and very active politically, yet undoubtedly the vast mass of our voters are in favor of a stringent high license law. There are too many liquor shops and the unregulated traffic is an unmixed evil. The city treasury ought to benefit to the extent of $3,000,000 annually for giving the privilege to sell liquor. This would pay for the Park improvements which are so much needed, and supply money besides to the Board of Education and our Health Department. Governor Hill would be very much pleased if the Republicans failed to come to time in ihe final vote on the High License bill. ---------a--------- It is not generally understood, but retail liquor dealing is not a lucrative business, and this because of the large profits on the retail sale of strong drinks. The kind of whiskey usually dispensed over the bars does not cost more than two or three cents a glass, for which ten and fifteen cents is received. It is this large margin which tempts people to open new liquor establishments; hence the ruinous competition. Half of the beer shops are really owned by the brewers, while there is a constant change of ownership going on among the retail stores. This stimulates the demand for cheaper and meaner liquor and hence the murderous stuff sold in so many low groggeries. High license would put an end to this ruinous competition, and would also improve the character of the liquor sold over the bars. The appointment of the editor of the Iron Age as head of the Health Department is a good oue. Mr. Bayles is an expert in sanitary matters, besides being a good executive officer, and will try to build up a good reputation by doing good work for the city. The Health Department needs reorganizing, root and branch, and it is to be hoped its new executive will apply the pruning-knife unsparingly. The disease and death rate in New York is altogether too high, and can be cut down materially if there is proper man¬ agement in the Health Department. Mayor Hewitt has done a bold act in making this appointment, for he has disregarded all political or personal considerations. He did not know until after the appointment that Mr. Bayles is a Knight of Labor and has been one for several years; but, notwithstanding that awkward fact, the new Health Board executive will do his whole duty by all classes of citizens. facts and figures prove that, under the present system, all our elective officers, even the judges, are put up at auction and are knocked down to the highest bidder, usually without reference to character or capacity. The reform he proposes is the adoption of the English system in which the government prints all the tickets and supplies them to voters, while the candidates are punished by fine and imprisonment if they pay more than a moderate sum for necessary election expenses. This system has worked admirably in England and Australia, in which last country, by the way, it originated. Its adoption by us would break up the party machines, and the " boys" and wire pullers would be forced into some other busi^ ness. This is the true way to supplement Civil Service Reform. It would abolish the "bosses" as generally understood, but in their places would give us leaders, which are essential in all organiza^ tions, whether military, industrial or political. The law preventing the erection of sheds on docks should not be repealed. Out of 130 piers on our river fronts only thirteen are now available for general traffic; the rest are monopolized by the great corporations and for important private interests. Building materials, coal and general merchandise must all be discharged upon the piers above One Hundred and Tenth street and on the East River front, owing to the monopoly of the docks by steamship and other companies. Vessels are often detained a week before they can discharge their cargoes. If the law is repealed forbidding the shedding of more of the piers, there is danger that our entire river fronts will pass into the possession of great corporate monop- olies. The Legislative Committee of the Real Estate Exchange have protested against the repeal of the law, and so has the Maritime Exchange. The Chamber of Commerce will doubtless take the same position. ----------«---------- The case of Officer Crowlefy ought to warn the public against being led away by a newspaper clamor. Maggie Morris, upon whose charge of assault he was sent to States Prison for seventeen years, turns out to be a thief and a liar if the statements made about her by the Herald are true. There was evidence against her character at the time of trial which the accused officer's lawyers did not dare introduce, as it would have further inflamed the increasing public excitement at the time. It should be remembered that with an ordinary jury of men no man accused by a woman has much of a chance for justice. The sympathies of the average juryman is always with the woman, even if her case is a bad one. Some monstrous verdicts have been rendered against men where there was a woman in the case. Judges and lawyers know of this bias, and such cases should not be brought before juries, but determined by judges. A jury divided between the two sexes would be much more likely to render an impartial verdict; but then, in cases such as Crowley's, it would be a punishment to any reputable woman to hear the evidence or to confer with associate jurymen as to the verdict. The auctioneers at the Real Estate Exchange complain that acoustically the hall is still defective; but they admit that there would be no difficulty in hearing if only one or two sales took place at one time. Why not then commence the sales at 10.30 a. m. ? and let them continue one after another, instead of al! commencing at noon, as now, which is simply the most inconvenient hour in the whole twenty-four. Dealers cannot be in two places at once, and they are often interested in properties sold by two or three different auctioneers at the same time. The custom of selling exactly at noon was well enough when New York was a town and sales -were few in importance and far between. But the eontinuance cf this system now is absurd. There is a great deal of law business about noon which interferes with the sales, and then people ought to be taking their lunch instead of signing papers binding their bargains made on the sales. Indeed, th*^re ought to be a recess between 13 and 1 o'clock. Of course it is difficult for the auctioneers to get out of any existing routine. But, while reluctant to change, they all admit that if it could be effected it would be an advantage to them as well as their customers. Let the Exchange itself take this matter in hand. Chamberlain Ivins deserves the thanks of all good citizens for his efforts to reform our methods of conducting elections. His The New York newspapers unite in denouncing the Hennepin Canal project as a " job," and somehow our New York public has the impression derived from the reiterated statements of the press that this particular measure was " conceived in sin and bom in iniquity." But, after all, what is the scheme ? It is simply to join the waters of the Mississippi River with the lakes by deepening the channel of the Illinois River, and extending it by means of a canal, so that Lake Michigan and the Mississippi will be united by water communication. The enormous importance of this project can be seen at a glance, for it would give all the products of the Mississippi cheap water communication with the lakes. It would add immensely, in time, to lake commerce, and no point in the United States would profit so largely as the city of New York. The railroad companies having business west of Chicago are