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The Record and guide: v. 40, no. 1033: December 31, 1887

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r December 81, 1887 The Record and Guide. 3687 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, Published every Saturday. IQl Broadvfay, N". Onr Telephone Call Is - - - - ' JOHN 370. TERMS: OIVE YEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS. Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XL. DECEMBER 31, 1887. No. 1,033 On next Saturday toeek, January 14i/i, an unusually large edition of The Record and Guide will he published. It will find its way amongst business men of every description, including real estate brokers, agents and investors, builders, architects, decorators, laivy&rs, merchants, bankers, dealers in building materials and contractors of every description, as well as into many business houses directly or remotely interested in real estate and building. This extra edition will be of unusual advantage to advertisers, icho are requested to forward their favors early, as we will strike off the largest edition of The Record and Guide ever printed. The year is closing on a dull bufc rather strong stock market. Usually the last two weeks in December is signalized by high rates for money and low prices for securities; but this year there has been no pinch for funds, and the closing prices were about the best for the month. Money, of course, will be easy for several weeks to come, and the bulls may engineer a rise upon the expectation that Congress will act wisely in dealing with the surplus in the Treas¬ ury. We have nofc much faith, however, of any display of wisdom at Washington for several months fco come that will help the busi¬ ness of the country or the price of securities on the Stock Exchange. If a vote could be taken of the citizens of New York, a large majority would favor the abolition of New Year's day as a holiday. Ia the past it was the most significant of all our feast days. It was devoted to making friendly calls and partaking of a *'bit and a BUp," firsfc afc one and fchen afc another family of old acquaintances. Thia custom, which we derived from our Dutch ancestors, spread to other localities, and is quite enjoyable in cities that are not too large. But the average New Yorker of the male persuasion has too wide a circle of acquaintances to visit them all in one day, while the sending of cards instead got to be a very hollow cere¬ mony. So years ago our fashionable people set their faces against the custom, and now the lady members of many families seek refuge in other cities over New Year*s day, so that their servants can truly say they are nofc "afc home." During the pasfc week enormous numbers of people have left New York for neighbor¬ ing cities and rural resorts, and will nofc be ** afc homo" again until the middle of next week. New Year's day is a surplusage coming so soon after Christmas. This was not always so, for both our Puritan and Dufcch ancestors paid little regard to the great Christian holiday. Indeed the Paritana discountenance it and invented Thanksgiving to take its place. The rehabilitation of Christmas is largely due to the writings of Charles Dickens. Then it is a successor to the astronomical festivals of past ages, of which the Roman Saturnalia is best known hisfcorically, Chrisfc- mas, its successor, ia a holiday which has become sanctified to us by many kindly human memories and offices. Austin Corbin's recent manifesto against the Knights of Labor is an exceedingly well-written document, and will be heartily approved by othera besides employers, for on its face the demand that corporations shall conducfc their business in their own way seems to be a reasonable proposition. The suspicion prevails, how¬ ever, that the trouble in Reading may be a part of a stock-jobbmg scheme ; indeed, the Tribune hints as much and refers to the Stock Exchange history of Manhattan Beach and I. B. & W. It is very certain thafc Mr. Corbin was able to avoid all difficulty with the employes of the company until the reorganization was completed aud the Receiver discharged. It is worthy of notice that the labor troubles in the transportation lines is confined to corporations con- troUe I by Jay Gould, Austin Corbin, and some of the more irre¬ sponsible coal owners in the anthracite region. There has never been an outbreak of any account on the lines controlled by the Vanderbilts. In passing judgment on the disputes between the coal compa¬ nies and their workpeople it should be borne in mind that the price for mining a ton of coal costs only from 38 cents co 74 cents. Of courad tho miniug of the coal is morediffijalb iu aome regions than in others; but the disputes as to wages, which are so frequent in the mining regions, is generally over a mafcfcer of from 5 fco 10 cents per ton. When a consumer in New York pays $6 per ton for hia coal he should remember that an average of less than 60 cents represents the labor of the miner, who for this sum mines it and puts it on the car in the coal region. The additional bill for labor in handling coal at Elizabethport or in New York will nofc bring up the total coat for labor to over a dollar a ton. The other $5 represents the cost of transportation, the charge for royalties, and the profits to the wholesale and retail dealer. Mosfc of fche coal companies own their own mines and sell the coal direct to the retailer; hence the royalties and the wholesale profits are theirs, as well as the charge for transportation. At least $4 of the $6 charged the retailer is paid into the treasury of the transportation companies which own mines and sell the coal afc tide water to the retailer. It is safe to say that nineteen-twentieths of the strikes iu the coal regions are deliberately planned or provoked by the companies in order to produce an artificial aoatoity of coal or to get rid of accumulations which would otherwise necessitate lower charges. The quarrel over a few cents in the mining of a ton of coal is a mere pretense. Mayor Abram S. Hewitt is certainly no demagogue. His speech denouncing the Knights of Labor haa no uncertain ring. He evidently cares more for his views in what he thinks should be the right relations between capital and labor than he does for votes for office. There is alao a good deal in what the Mayor says touching the embarrassment that would come upon the business of the country if outside people who had no interest in the great cor¬ porations should get control of them even in a limited way. Presi¬ dent Corbin has made, the same point quite as forcibly. Still, cynical people may say that the Reading corporation could not have been more inefficiently or corruptly managed by Knights of Labor or any trade organization thau it has been by the represen¬ tatives of its shareholders. The folly and criminality of its pasfc management has been simply phenomenal. Mr. Corbin himself ia reported to have said that he saved over a million dollars in one year m the supply department, the inference being that the prop¬ erty was plundered out of thafc amounfc. Still, two wronga does not mrke a right, and employers, whether individuals or corpo¬ rations, will insist upon managing their properties in their own way even if that way, should not always be the best. ---------•---------- The failure of the Vanderbilts to increase their dividends for this year will be criticised severely and justly as showing a conserva¬ tism that amounts to timidity. Lake Sliore, for instance, has earned 8.13 per cent, for the year, yet continues paying only 4 per cent. Thia ia not fair to stockholders. They should get what the company earned ; less, of course, a margin for unlooked-for expenses. This is the English system. In the Old World they are never troubled with government surpluses, and they do not care for their corporations to be overburdened with assets. Surpluses in corporation funda is apt to lead to wastefulness. The experience we have had with Ives and Robert Garrett is a warning against keeping unemployed funds on hand. People will argue thafc the hesitancy to declare better dividends by the Vanderbilts is due to fear of trouble and losses during the coming year. But the trunk lines were never in better shape. Under the Interstate Commerce law they have maintained rates, and the B. &, O. is no longer kick¬ ing in the traces. All the trunk lines are now spending a large parfc of their surplus in betterments. The work in fche Pennsyl¬ vania Central is of the most permanent kind; the road will in time be a mosfc enduring one. On second fchoughfc shareholders will think well cf all the roads which run between the Mississippi aud the sea-board. The trouble, if any, will be with the newly- built Western lines. The Commissioners of Labor statistics as to strikes is quite inter¬ esting. The newspapers generally represent theae labor rebellions as failures ; but, it seema, of the 34,500 which have occurred during the past six years. 46 per cent, were successful, 14 per cent, were partially successful, while 40 per cent, were failures. The loss to employers i-i estimated at something over $34,000,000 and the work¬ people about !|60,000,000. No estimate is given of the increased compensation received by the laborers as the result of the strikes, as fche account ia only kept of the actual expenditure when the strike was under way. Then, in many cases wliere a strike haa first failed, employers redress real grie'vancea rather than run the risk of subsequent strikes. Arbitration doea not seem to liave been much resorted to, for while the employei are generally willing to refer disputes to arbiters the employers almost invariably decline, for the reason probably that they would be held to their agreaments, which ia not the case with groups of ordinary workmen. It will be recalled that Jay Gould, Austin Corbin and their agents have invariably declined to arbitrate. ---------«--------- Dr. McGlynn publicly announces that it is as good aa settled the Labor party will contest the next election, with Henry George as candidate for the Presidency, and Judge Maguire, of California,