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The Record and guide: v. 40, no. 1017: September 10, 1887

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Sf-»;etnber 10, 1887 Septemb,.-^^, „ -I'he Record and G^ide. 1149 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Ptd)lished every Saturday. 191 Broad"way, IST. '^_ Onr Teleplkone Call la JOHN 370. TERMS: OIVE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addressed to €• W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XL. SEPTEMBER 10. 1887. No. 1,017 Trade reports continue favorable—there are no labor strikes in prospect, and the general business outlook leaves little to be desired. Iron and steel are not as high in price as formerly, which is not a good sign, but railroad returns keep up remarkably well. The West-bound traffic is very heavy^, due largely to the westward tide of foreign and domestic emigration. The stock market has been depressed during the past week, but if the telegraph deal should be announced it is expected that prices would start up—for a time anyway. The real estate season has not yet opened, and there is really nothing to be said that would throw any light upon the situ¬ ation ; still, the feeling among dealers ia hopeful. It is suspected that Mayor Hewitt's action in calling the Manhat¬ tan Company to account was prompted by Cyrus W. Field, who would like to use the city authorities to revenge himself on his quondam partner Jay Gould. We do not think the Mayor would lend himself to satisfy the private vengeance of anyone, even a member of his own family. But the question he raises is an important one and ought to be settled on its merits. However blameworthy the conduct of the manipulators of Manhattan have been in the past, the company itself has been an undoubted benefit to New York city. It has made all parts of the island accessible at the cheapest possible rates. What would New York have been without the elevated roads ? It voluntarily reduced the fares to a minimum, and the increase of our real estate valuations due to this company runs up into the hundreds of millions. These con¬ siderations t='i juld induce the community to deal justly, if not generously, by the Manhattan corporation. An arbitration commission should be appointed to settle the que8ti:>n as to the future relations of that company to the city. It clearly has no right to seize on public property for corporate pur¬ poses. If the stations are used to sell newspapers and other small wares, then the city ought to have some advantage. The Manhat¬ tan Company should be encouragpd also to acquire its own property for the sale of tickets and the accommodation of passengers so as to leave the streets unobstructed. Then the matter of damages to pri¬ vate property ought to be settled permanently. If Manhattan would agree to charge five cent fares at all hours and have a suffi¬ cient number of cars to seat people, the city could well afford to protect it against suits for damages on the property along the route. Should the municipality pursue a hostile policy, it is within the legal power of the company to double its fares, except during com¬ mission hours, and more than ^triple them on the west side. The bad character of Jay Gould has nothing to do with this, as it is sim¬ ply a business matter between the company and the city. Then the Mayor is clearly wrong in threatening to use the whole power of the city to prevent the laying of a third rail. If the Manhattan Company adds one-third to its capacity, that is to the manifest advantage of the community. Let us all try and be sensible in con¬ sidering this matter. ---------«--------- Mr. Edward Atchinson. the pronounced '* gold bug," and Mr. Dana Horton, a bimetallist of a somewhat questionable kind, are now in Europe as the semi-official representatives of thi? country to try and suggest some international programme on the money question. Mr. Atchinson is for gold first, last, and always, and he therefore misrepresents more than four-fifths of the people of this country. Mr. Horton is a believer in silver, but he wants us to stop the silver coinage and create a business panic, so as to bring Europe to terms. It is deplorable that a few Eastern bankers should control our government in this matter of our metallic cur¬ rency, in defiance of the overwhelming sentiment of our people in demanding the use of silver as well as gold in measuring values. We complain of the stringency in the money market to-day. Where would we have been if the $300,000,000 of silver was missing from our currency ? We, in that case, would be in the very depths of financial despair. ----------«---------- The tendency of all trade is towards diminishing profits. Thia is true of all the great industries of the worlds Take our railway charges—il will be found that they are heaviest in new districtsi and ave at a minimum in the older and more settled sections of the country. Both charges and profits show a steadily lowering ratio, even where there is no competition. In last week's Record and Guide it was pointed out that the middle-men were disappearing. Producers and consumers were brought into more direct relation ; but it was at the expense of those who bought of the one and sold to the other. Hence the replacing of the small manufacturer and merchant by the large dealer, who could afford to work cheaply because of the magnitude of his transactions. This meant the partial disappearance of the great middle class and the absorption of their fortunes by the few very rich. The vast increase of the busiuess of the country has kept out of sight auother very pregnant fact—brokerage commissions are melting away. The discussion induced by a proposed change in the rules of the Stock Exchange has brought to the front the significant fact that brokers are not at all as well paid as formerly. The committee of the Stock Exchange, to report a remedy for the dullness of its business lately, makes it clear that the reason why speculators do not trade in securities on the Exchange as they formerly did is because that institution charges one-eighth of 1 per cent, on every hundred shares of stock ic buys or sells, while 6 per cent, is exacted as the interest charge for all stocks that are carried, no matter how low the rate in the open naarket. But the Consolidated Exchange doea business for one-sixteenth of 1 per cent, commis¬ sion, while its Clearing House system practically does away with interest charges. The petroleum brokers formerly got 2}^ cents a barrel commission; they now charge only one-eighth of a cent a barrel, and some are glad to do business at one-sixteenth. The storage charges have also been reduced from 40 to 25 cents per thousand barrels per day. The wheat brokers formerly got one- half per cent, a bushel commission; they only receive one-eighth and even one-sixteenth now. The lard brokers are willing to do business for $3.50 for every 250 tierces dealt in ; the old commission was $20. Freight brokers charge $6 instead of $30 for supplying ocean steamers with boat loads of grain. Cotton contracts have been reduced from 6J^ cents to IV4 cents per bale. And so through all the exchanges of the city and country brokers are willing to do a great deal more work for a good deal less money. The moral of this is that brokers of all kiuda will not be as prosperous as they were. The great increase in business has made up in a measure for the lower commissions, but the result of it all is that buyers and sellers are saving money at the expense of the brokers. David A. Wells is writing articles on *'Economic Disturbances since 1873," in which he shows th?re has been a veritable revolu¬ tion in human commerce within the last fifteen years. The open¬ ing of the Suez Caual, which brought India within thirty days of London, has been a great factor in changing the course of com¬ merce. Although English ships have profited by this new route, the distributing points for the goods of the East is no longer England, but the Mediterranean ports. Labor-saving machinery has improved so wonderfully that production has marvellously increased. Every article that enters into the commerce of the world has been very much cheapened of late years. Instead of being benefited, however, trade has been depressed and labor more poorly rewarded because of the glut of goods and the correspond¬ ing low prices. ---------•---------- Mr. Wells, however, pays no attention to the currency question. He is an avowed gold monometallist, and he will not admit that the cutting off of silver in measuring values has anything to do with the abnormally low prices now prevailing. Yet it is obvious that with the metallic currency basis reduced one-half, and less gold being mined year by year, that prices must fade away as the one metal which measures them appreciates in intrinsic value. Up to September 1st we have built this year 6,462 miles of new rail tracks. This beats the record of any country. In 1883 we constructed 11,568 miles of new track, and it is very clear that, aa the heaviest construction is in the fall, we will have more than 12,000 miles of new road this year. If capitalized at $-20,000 a mile, this will use up $360,000,000 of capital. There are breakers ahead. True, there is one wholesome feature—the new roads are not con¬ structed by independent companies but are extensions of the larger systems, especially those of the strong Western corporations. The movement of population from the Eastern to the Western settle¬ ments was never so large as now. This has stimulated railroad building, and has led to the extraordinary land boom west of the Missouri and on the Pacific coast. Land has advanced in other Western centres, because the flood of new comers were willing to pay anything for house rent; hence the building activity which has given so much business to the railroads. But these unusual out¬ lays in railroad and house construction will certainly end in a money stringency which will have direful results for the time