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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 41, no. 1040: February 18, 1888

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February 18, 1888 The Record and. Guide. 203 -^X '^ E5TABLiSHED-^M,W^CH21ii^l85e. De/oJeO TO RE^L ESTAJE . SuiLOIf/C ^cKlTECTJI^E .HoUSEHOLD DZOMlATlOtJ. BU5iiJ£5S AttolHEMESOf GErJER,ftL l;JT£l\ES-[ PRICE, PER YEiVHt, IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday, TELEPHONE,- - - - JOHN 370, Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. sli. FEBRUARY 18, 1888. No. 1,040 What a curious comtneutary ou our political methods is thia incredulity which has been shown at James G, Blaine's declination of the Kepublican nomination for tbe Presidency. Around any man who has run for the Presidency will rest a host of illusions. The indiscriminate praise on one side and the indiscriminate obloquy on the other distorts his personality so that his true char¬ acter cannot be judged by the average citizen. Is it not enough that Mr, Blaine gives his followers his personal permission to discuss the merits of any otber candidate, and have they not begun to do so. His Brooklyn friends have already expressed their preference for Chauncey M. Dapew, and from this time forth Mr. Blaine will disappear as tbe central candidate in the Repub¬ lican canvass. From present appearances there is little probability that he will be nominated, though be will undoubtedly be mentioned when the Convention meets. We doubt if Chauncey M, Depaw will ever be seriously considered as a candidate by the Republican National Convention. It is a pity that tbis ia so, for be is really a man of mark. He bas decided capacity for affairs, and ia as wise as he is witty and eloquent. He would make an excellent chief executive, but be has tbe misfortune to be a railroad president and an unexceptionally clever man, and these two facts will discredit bim with the American people. The average voter detests tbe business men of the country associated with railroads, and he wil I not cast bis ballot for an able, brilliant or eloquent statesman. Hence in the past tbere has been no show for the Clays, Websters or other first-class statesmen and lawyers. Our voters insist upon a rather dull, commonplace but safe, second or third rate lawyer as chief executive. On rare occa¬ sions military men of a solid, substantial kind, like Taylor and Grant, are chosen Presidents; but there is no chance for tbe Blaines, Depews, Thurmans or Bayards. A good deal is being said about Abraham Lincoln nowadays, but if tbe American people had suspected tbat he was as wise and able a man as he turned out to be he would never bave been chosen President. The division of opinion which was manifested in the Legislative Committee of the Real Estate Exchange, on the subject of personal taxes, was to have been expected, for tbe question is a puzzling one and not easily determined, It is unquestionably true that the bulk of those wbo pay real estate taxes regard it as monstrously unfair that all the local burdens should be put on their shoulders. It ia intolerable that tbe owner of a small house should be forced to pay his hundreds of dollars yearly in taxea, while the millionaire whose ample means are in securities should not be asked to contribute a cent for maintaining the police, the courts and the city improve¬ ments which protects bis person and property and adds ao much to the comfort of bis life. Some way should be devised by whicb all wbo are benefited by the acts of tbe community should con¬ tribute their quota to tbe taxes that are yearly levied. We hardly think that the twenty-one gentlemen who voted on this matter in the Real Estate Exchange had any right to commit that institution in so important a matter. Every one of tbe five hundred members of the Exchange should have had a chance to say yes or no in a matter so vitally affecting their interests, An outcry has been raised because the new proposed public buildinga will cost $;35,O00,O3O if they are sanctioned by Congress and approved by the President. But we have got the money in tbe Treasury and do not know what to do with it, and to what better use could tbe public funds be put than in supplying court¬ houses and post-offices for this rapidly growing country. The buildings are needed, and their construction would give employ¬ ment to builders and working men, wbo will not have too much to do this year, We have urged that a Building Bureau should sit in Washington which should determine the relative importance of the various appropriations for proposed public buildings. These $, re now a matter of log-rolling; that is, private bargains are made y members to support one another's schemes irrespective of the merits of the various propositions. However, we suppose there is little danger of these various appropriations becoming laws. President Cleveland will veto thom mercilessly, and be will get the applause of the unthinking for so doing. There is always a loud chorus from tho lools who always applaud executives in putting a stop to any expenditure, however necessary. It looks so virtuous to say " no " in sucb cases, Mr. Cleveland was warmly commended last year for vetoing the river and harbor bill, which appropriated only $11,000,000, barely enough to keep tbe more important public works in repair, yet he ought to have been universally censured. There is a great deal of complaint at tbe deceptive way in which Congress is induced to sanction the erection of needed public build¬ ings. It has been found tbat at first only a small appropriation is asked for, and then year after year comes in a deficiency bill. Our New York Post-offlce was to have cost only $3,000,000, but the various deficiency bills brought it up to over $6,000,000. In St, Louis the first appropriation was only $1,000,000, but tbe final cosfc was nearly $6,000,000, and so for otber building improvements in other places—they generally averago double the cost of the origi¬ nal estimates. But for this way of doing public work we are in¬ debted to fche demagogue in Congress and the newspaper critics outside. An honest appropriation at the first would be objected to by the Holmans and Randalls in Congress, and by all the leading papers of the country, quite irrespective of the merits of the case. Hence Congress and the country has to be tricked into supplying proper public buildings, eo as to circumvent the demagogery inside and outside the national Legislature. Tbe establishment of a Bureau of Public Buildinga, presided over by competent architects, would do something towards correcting this perverse way of doing,^ public business. —'■ •-------------------------------------------------- The Interstate Railroad Commission bas done some good, but ita usefulness is threatened by its inability to dispatch business. The accumulations of unsettled questions are ho large that there is no bope of tbe present commission being able to clear its dockets. When originally organized we criticised the composition of the board because it was composed almost exclusively ot lawyers. We predicted it would break down, although ackaowledging that the members of tbe commission were both able and honest, but legal training in this country incapacitates the avetage man for trans¬ acting buiiness promptly. All our courts get into arrears with their business. Any suit entered in the Supreme Court of tbe United States cannot get a bearing until three years and a half have passed. This matter has been called to the attention of Congress session after session, but the swarm of lawyers in our Legislature cannot be made to understand the necessity nf expedition in the busiuMS of tbe country. When Congress met last December every one outside of its walls understood that it was imperative it should act promptly on tbe question of the surplus in the Treasury. But three months have nearly passed and not a thing baa been done. It is safe to aaythat in nine-tenths of the courts of the United States the regular legal business is far in arrears. This is why our great Exchanges have cut clear of the courts in transacting their busi¬ ness. They are forced to depend on their arbitration committees to settle tbe disputes between tbeir members. Tbe grain, cotton or stock broker can now seeure a decision within a week for from five to twenty-five dollara, when if be applied to a courfc be would nofcget judgment for years, while the cosfc might amount to tens of thousands of dollars. There is, of course, not the slightest hope that Congress will pass any amendments to the law to make the Interstate Railroad Com¬ mission any more efficient than it is now. That cannot be expected from a body composed exclusively of lawyers. There ought to be some provision by which the minor and less important disputes could be referred to tbe various State Commissions for prompt settlement. Then general rules might be established and the inter¬ pretation of them given to some executive officer of the commis¬ sion. But the main thing to do, after all, would be for all the lawyers save oae to resign and new commissioners appointed who were trained in business and were thoroughly acquainted with the management ani needs of our railroad systems. And now ifc is proposed to issue paper fractional currency ; that is, to give us a supply of half-dollar, quarter-dollar and dime in paper certificates, baaed on the deposit of silver. Should this be done our small coins would vanish, and in a few years gold and silver would be practically unknown in retail trade. We bave never approved of the issue of silver certificates under ten dollars. Indeed, it would be better for the country eventually if we had got rid of all notes under twenty dollars. This would leave an opening, not only for silver, but for gold coin, of whicb there is an abundance in tbe country. Thanks to our silver coinage law we bave now nearly seven hundred million of gold against less than two hundred million ten years ago ; we have also nearly