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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 45, no. 1160: June 7, 1890

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June 7. 1890 Record and Guide. 837 ^ ^^ ESTfcBUSHED^WJy;H?l'-i^ia5B. De/oTED to f^L ESTVE , BuiLDlf/c Aj^CidTECTJI^E MoUSEHOLD DEGOfy^TloH. BusiiJess Alto Themes of GeNeraI I/Jtehesj PRICE, PER VEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday. TELEPHONE, JOHN 370. Comimmications should be addressed to C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway, J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XLV. JUNE 7, 1890 No. 1,160 The stock market for the week cannot be called a satisfactory one for either the bull or the bear, although the tendency has been towards ulightly higher pricea, particularly with the Vanderbilt stocks. AU of these show great strength, due to the general im¬ pression that larger dividends are likely to be declared at the meet¬ ing of directors which takes place very soon. While the reports of tbe condition and prosperity of Lake Shore will be moat gratifying, it is extremely doubtful if any increaaed dividend will be dticlared, for tbe policy of keeping a large surplus for emergencies of every kind is likely to be continued. The Granger shares close the week at about the same prices at which they opened, and any con¬ cession from present figures will find steady buyers. We are one week nearer the solution of the silver question, and it looks as though the hill introduced by Senator Plumb, which ia strongly supported by President St. John, of the Mercantile National Bank, containa the provisions which Eastern people would like to see com¬ promised upon by the House. Thia bill provides for the purchase every month of four and one-half million ounces of fine silver, payment for same to be made in silver certificates of such denom¬ inations as are now provided for the silver certificate of the United States. Tiiese notes are to be lawful money—a legal tender in pay¬ ment of all debts, unless otherwise specified, in any contract, and shall be receivable for customs and other public dues. "While the Secretary is directed to purchase this fifty-four millions of ounces of silver per year, he is only directed ts coin not less thau two million silver dollars per month, and more if lie shall deem more requisite to meet demands for the redemption of notes issued for bullion. It is estimated by the supporters of this bill that the purchase of fifty-four miUion ounces per year will absorb the product of our own silver mines, provided the world at large can spare us the whole of our own production. There can be but little doubt but that our production of silver dur¬ ing the coming year, stimulated as it will be by the passage of a silver bill such aa is now contemplated, will run up to very large proportions. The price of silver is even now sucli that old mines long neglected are being reopened and worked profitably. The Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company, in a recent report account¬ ing for increased earnings, gave decided prominence to this feature as one of the principal reasons for the larger tonnage of the road. Too much dependence, however, must not be placed on the passage of a silver bill. We have recently had experience in this State of the way in which two Houses of a legislative body may disagree on a matter of prime public necessity, even when both branches are con¬ trolled by the same party. It is quite possible that sucha disagree¬ ment may take place over the silver matter. What, we may ask, is going to be the result of the work of the present Eapid transit Commission? Very certainly a place on it is not a bed of roses. The commission, we may be sure, is sparing neither tirae nor labor. It is sitting assiduously, and trying with determination to find a route up and down a city which has been designed to keep people from moving in those directions. The Elm street improvement would have been a great assistance to them, but that needed change has been postponed by our Tammany rulers, so they hardly know where to turn. It is said that they have discarded the idea of any more elevated roads. But it is useless to discuss the details of any plan except after the most careful collection aud con¬ sideration of all the available sources of information. The commis¬ sioners frequently complain of the difficulty of. their task. And in truth -they are trying to build a pyramid with a weak-kneed derrick. Politics created it not because it could accomplish any¬ thing, but because it would tend to prevent the Republicans from accomplishing anything; aud eo it sits and sits in wordy impo¬ tence. The commission, iudeed, can help matters in oue way—a way, indeed, which seems never to suggest itself to them. They can co-operate with the Manhattan Company to help that corpora¬ tion to extend its lines and increase its facilities. We are aware that, if such a course were adopted, our newspapers, which, in this matter, as in that oi the cable road, seemed possessed of a mighty desire to injure the interests of the public they pretend to repre¬ sent, would raise a. howl of disapprobation, but a wise man at present can do as well with their opposition as with their assistance. Richard Cobden said that all a reform needed was a good cause and the opposition of the Times to insure its success, and the remark is not as paradoxical as it seems. At any rate, in this case the commission'could afford to disregard the press for the sake of the public. The commission has powers to construct the makeshift we propose, wliereas any comprehensive plan it endeavored to devise, either from the limitation of its powers or the insufflc¬ iency ofthe time for consideration, would certainly be inadequate. Leave bridges of atone for them who have the tools; let us be satisfied for tbe present with an improvement which will take the edge off the difficulty. ---------•--------- No newspaper in New York seems to have any other policy on the transit question than to be pulled hither and thither by whatever propositions are put forward by prominent men, whether wise or otherwise, and to take somewhat the position that any practical measm'e is a good measure, the aim being to do something, no matter what, so long as it has the sanction of a few ■' prominent citizens." An intelligeut and creditable position for any newspaper to take might be thia : That the whole woit of fixing the number of rail¬ ways required, their extent, method of construction, and system of operation, should be referred to a board of railway experts ; that any attempt to settle these matters officially by bankers, merchants, or other persons who are not masters of railway science, should be opposed ; but that when the technical plan has been made by experts, financiers and lawyers, should then determine how the needed capital is to be raised, and draw up bills of the legislation found necessary. Some years ago the whole technical problem of making a plan for the terminal facilities of the Brooklyn Bridge was referred, on motion of Mr. Hewitt, then Mayor, to a board of engineering experts. The i^eport of the engineers was rejected by the trustees. But it has since come pretty generally to be believed that the plan proposed by the engineers was a better plan, and better elaborated, than any of the many plaus proposed before or since that time by persons who are not engineers, and that the rejection of the plan refiects upon the trustees rather than upon the board of engineers. At all events, the method of having a plan made by engineers is so far admitted to be correct that it is even now intended to have another engineering board treat the subject. Now, as problems in transportation go, the bridge problem is a small matter in comparison with the general transportation problem of the whole city. If the bridge problem should be treated by experts, how much the more is it fitting that experts sbould treat the general transit question? Thua, instead of seekingfor legislation to authorize the building of roads whose plan is not yet made, or whose plan, is cramped to fit the requirements of some existing law, rather have experts treat thfe w^hole subject, without restriction, and then when the plan is made try for the needed legislation. A transit plan made by such a board of engineers as made the bridge terminal plan would be vastly better than anything in the way of any plan with which the public is now familiar. Why won't the newspapers or any of them hammer away at this point by giving reasons why the subject should be referred to engineers, and show¬ ing how this method of treating the subject can be brought about? The bill for the abolition of capital punishment was defeated during the last session of the Legislature ; but the ventilation the subject received, and the large amount of intelligent and humane public sentiment there is behind the movement for the change is doubtless significant of a still further attempt in the same direction next year. Of interest perhaps, in this connection, is a measure recently passed by the French Senate. This bill, introduced by M. Berenger, draws a hard distinction between old offenders and criminals who are condemned for the first offense. In a speech in support of the bill M. Berenger, one of the highest of the French authorities on the subject, attributed the large increase of crime in France during the past fifty years to the insufficient punishment meted out to old offenders. Too much severity in the case of a first offense had the effect of brutalizing the culprit instead of reforming him; while unusual severity could justly be used with a man whose record was siraply one succession of crimes, even though the particular offense under which he was being tried might not in itself justify such extraordinary punishment. He accord¬ ingly recommended, among other things, that wherever it was possible the sentence of impriaonment in the first instance should not be carried out unless the delinquent was again caught tripping, and that if at the end of five years the prisoner had a clean bill of healtb to show tho punishment should be cancelled. The distinc¬ tion upou which M. Berenger laid so much emphasis is observed in this country to a great extent: the margin between the smallest and greatest punishment for a given offense is wide, and the old offender is doubtless much more liable to be treated severely by both judge and jury than the young innocent whose criminal