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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 46, no. 1178: October 11, 1890

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October 11, 1890 Record and Guide. 469 DttbiED TO m- Estate . BuiLoiffc AnprfrrEcraiv jJcwsEilou) teoa^TwC BilsiriESS A»(p Themes of Gijisnt!^ IKtcj^est PRICE, PER TEAR IN ADTANCE, SIX DOLLARS, Published every Saturday, Telephone, - . • Cortlandt 1870. Communicotioiis should be addresBed to C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Bruiness Manager, Vol. XLVI. OCTOBER 11. 1890. No. 1,178 IT is becoming more apparent every day that tbe prices of stocks in Wall street are gradually adjusting themselves to the rates for money. Three or four years ago the New York banks held a large margin over the surplus reserve, and money loaned at 2 and 214 P®!' cent. Prices of stocks naturally conformed themselves to those rates. A good security that paid 4 per cent steadily sold at par; 5 per cent securities were worth more than par. Everyone supposed that this reduction of the rate of interest would be perma¬ nent, but this was not so. A revival in business followed; money has been activ ely engaged ever since and has loaned at higher rates. Neither is there any immediate prospect that it will not continue to bring 5 or 6 per cent for some time to come. This being the case, stocks obviously would become less valuable until they increased their dividend rate. For the most part they were unable to do this, and as capital could obtain better returns by being invested in other directions it left the stock market and has as yet refused to go back. As soou as the railroads can adjust their rate difficulties so that they can carry freight at a profit, and as soon, consequently, as they can increase their dividends so that money invee^ted in such securities will pay as good a rate of interest as it will when invested in other ways, we may expect to see a con¬ tinuous rise in prices. Meanwhile, there does not seem to be much danger in dealing on the bull side of the presen t market. Circum stances conspired against values during the past week. The reports of a panic in American securities on the London market which were displayed in a sensational way on newspaper bulletin hoards and not removed after the reports were shown to be exaggerated, scared a good many people, but though the decline extended over many stocks it was not retained. After a drop such as has been steadily progressing for the past few weeks, there must come a reaction. It may amount to much and it may not continue for a long time, but it means at least temporary recovery of one-half or one-third of the decline. And apart from this readjustment of the price of stocks to the rates of money there does not seem to be any important clouds in the financial akj. There is every prospect that we shall get excel¬ lent prices for our surplus cereals; and if the present comoinations and alliances mean anything, they mean better rates for railroads, and consequently better dividends. The wise speculator in times like these is he who has the courage to buy in the teeth of a falling market. THE different countries of Europe are still trying io adjust them¬ selves to the modification of industrial conditions produced by the McKinley bill and the recent silver legislation. Various trades in Austria will be greatly injured by its passage. The mother-of-pearl industries, particularly, are in danger of being totally destroyed, and the workers are in such stress of mind about it that they have been asking the Board of Trade minister to plead for them so that the provisions of the new act mi^ht, at least, be applied with mildness. A large number of the skilled laborers employed in this branch of business have resolved, it is said,.to emi¬ grate to the United States. France, also, continues to be very much agitated over the tariff legislation; but it is difficult to see what that country will gain by retaliation. Three-fourths of oiu: $64,000,000 imports to France consist. of cotton, wheat and petroleum, which France eitber does not produce herself or produces in insufficient quantities. These commodities with the exception of cotton might be procured, at some increase of cost, from Russia, but as that country is not of the least import¬ ance to France as a customer, taking only about $3,500,000 worth a year, she would not be much of a compensation for the loss of the American markets. A duty on cotton would, of course, simply pimish France herself. As we anticipated last week, Auirtria- Hui^;ary is considering a return to a specie basis by redeeming some 200,000,000 paper florins, leaving 112,000,000 in circu¬ lation, which will represent gold instead of silver coin. The sale ot some 50,000,000 florins of silver coin is also being discussed—a move wbich may well set our silver speculators to thinking. Rumors are current also in Grermany that Russia seriously thinks of a speedy adoption of the gold standard. The effects of our Silver bill are also beginning to be seen in England. The rise in the gold price of silver is being succeeded by a gradual rise in the gold price of general commodities. Out of thirty-six of the most important staples of trade, three-fourths have risen in value since silver ceased to fall. Cotton, for instance, has risen 9.18 per cent, twist 1.48 percent, weft .71 per cent and shirtings .91 per cent. THE investigations of the Fassett Committee this week, while they have not proved sensational, have been none the less interesting. The three Commissioners examined have been nothing if not frank, and while doubtless they could have " revealed " more than they did, if so it pleased them, they none the less deserve credit for having so unblushingly acknowledged their utter lack of fitness for the positions they occupy. When, by the simple practice of asking obvious questions from the heads of a department it can be ascertained that this department is run exclusively for the benefit of Tammany Hall and its allies, that the inspections are worthless, that the giving of bonds is a mere form, that half the expenses of the department are utterly useless, that the excise laws are a mass of contradiction of which no one can make head or tail, and that, furthermore, these Commissioners have done nothing whatever to reform these abuses, no one can feel very much douH as to one, at least, of the causes of our misgov¬ ernment. Of course this was all known before, in a sense—that is, we knew that notoriously bad places retained their licenses and that the protests of restpectable people frequently had not the slightest effect. Now we have additional information as to the way the law is evaded. With incompetent and unscrupulous inspectors, with lax Commissioners who, though appreciating, make no attempt to remove the abuses, there is every opportunity for mismanage¬ ment and none for reform. We shall doubtless hear from this investigation later. Senator Fassett, among other objects, really intends, by his investigations, to provide the data for sweeping, if not radical, changes in the details of our administration; and there can be no doubt that the excise department will come in for its fair share of the reform. A good deal more, however, will depend on the next mayoralty election than on Mr. Fassett's laws. WHETHER we like the fact or not it is not to be questioned, that the trend of reform these days is very strongly towards socialism. It is not that people are becoming professed socialists, but in facing the problems of the day they find what seems to them to be the readiest and most satisfactory solution in State action. Especially in European countries, one of tne most difficult questions which has troubled philanthropists is how to provide for the respectable poor, who, through sickness, accidents, old age, or unmerited misfortune of auy kind, are without the means of support. It is in this field, during the last half century, that private charity has been most active; but, despite the immense amoimt of good that has been done, the num¬ ber of noble institutions established and endowed, the amount of suffering that exists in all large cities—the result of what may be broadly termed the vicissitudes of life—is appalling and heart¬ rending. Individual effort has done little more than mitigate it in a casual way, alleviate slightly a few of its most apparent manifes¬ tations. Those who have studied the matter deepest are unanimous in declaring that from a widely-organized effort only can any result, permanent and adequate, be obtained. In its superficial aspects this matter may be regarded as a sort of " bread and butter problem," a mere feeding of the hungry. But this is only a super¬ ficial view, for, as Amiel says : " The animal in us must be satis¬ fied first, and we must first banish from among us all suffering which is superfluous and bas its origin in social arrangements before we can return to spiritual goods." The most noteworthy attempt that has been made to deal with certain phases of the diffi¬ culty is the scheme of national insurance which has been put into working order in Germany ; and news now arrives that an attempt is to be made in England to pass legislation to establish national insurance and pensions for workingmen in that country. It is pro¬ posed that every workman, between the ages of twenty and sixty, sball contribute weekly twelve cents to a general fund, collected by employers and transferred by them to an official treasurer. Tbe government is also to contribute cent for cent what the men do, and this fund is to be devoted to relieving families of deceased workmen, workmen permanently incapacitated, and workmen who have attained the age of sixty-five years. In all of these cases the assistance given is to amount to $2.50 a week. The politicians are now discussing the measure, or perhaps it is more correct to say that aftor the manner of their kind they are dallying with it, trim¬ ming their sails a little this way and that. Mr. Gladstone says that he has always been in favor of national insurance for workingmen. Lord Randolph Churchill also gives a quahfied support to the scheme, and Radicals and Socialists look kindly on the measure. A bill is to be introduced into Parliament, and the matter will then become a legislative question, over which, of course,