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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 61, no. 1563: February 26, 1898

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February 26, 1898. ivecora ana vjuiut 305 mwE. :H 2^^1868. Dd6teD P RFA.L EISTAJE. BuILDiKg ft;^m:CTUI^E .HoUSEJiOID DEOOlJTlOlt Bi/siT^ESSAibThemes OF GetJeraI Wt^est. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. TEtEPHONB, Published every Saturday COKTLANDT 1370. Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. J. 'I. LIKBSEY, Business Manager: "Entered at the Post-Offlce at Neui York, JV. i'.. «s second-class mailer." Vol. LXI. FEBRUARY 26, 1S9S. No. 1,563 NEITHER at home nor abroad do the financial markets war¬ rant the scare that has heen witnessed here this week, founded apparently on the belief in some minds that war is tbe inevitable outcome of the investigation now being made Into the loss of the battleship Maine. The bonds, of our government have not been affected by this outcry, nor have Spanish bonds in the European markets, and both would undoubtedly have suf¬ fered severely if it was at all probable that war would break out between this country and Spain. London, whose political infor¬ mation and instincts are generally to be trusted, has been a buyer, though not to so large an extent as is currently reported. The buying came from London undoubtedly, but Londoners were not always the buyers. The fact that London has been ap¬ parently a buyer on the top of all our advances of late is a sus¬ picious one, suggesting too much manipulation from this side by those who want to keep up an appearance of activity on the bul! side while realizing. Nevertheless, speculative interests abroad have interested themselves in our securities to some ex¬ tent on this break. The New York selling itself has been largely from margin accounts aud it would only be characteristic of the speculative brokerage business' if the selling was encouraged by brokers anxious to make tlie accounts in their oflices more active. Yesterday's market showed that the scare has been checked, and that the market is preparing to take on the phase it usiiaHy assumes after excitement. This phase is a sharp reac¬ tion followed by dullness and drooping quotations. It taltss some time to revive a speculative movement and meantime it does not pay to attempt to keep up prices. OtIR Inference that Britain had got all she asked for from China is being supported by the facts as they transpire from time to time. Looking back at the controversy, as well as at the West African Anglo-French dispute, one thing that comes out with striking prominence is what may be called the new dodge in diplomacy of arousing one's public. The success of this depends upon how far all the different governments are united in their dread of war and in this there really seems to be a European concert, which not even a party in opposition would question. The French foreign office has worked this dodge pretty effectively to obtain concessions from Britain, and now Britain works it in Its turn. We can imagine a Foreign Minister of either power saying in effect to the representative of the other. "You see how I'm fixed, there's Parliament or the; Chamber of Deputies, a writhing struggling mass on the floor of the house or chamlier, and outside a howling mob who cannot put Its dirty finger on the map at where the place we are con¬ tending about Is indicated, and what am I to do. I cannot re¬ cede, and unless you do we must fight. Do me a favor now and I'll do you one next time." Then the concessions come. The successful minister brags of the victory he has achieved, and everything goes smoothly until a new hitch ai-ises and the one who "arouses his public" first has the best chance of winning. In fact there really does not seem now to be anything any one power can claim, and maintain if obtained, that is worth fight¬ ing about. The trade of China is in British hands and for com¬ mercial and financial reasons must stay there for a long time to come. The malarial swamps of West Africa even have been parcelled ont and all that France or Britain could obtain from one another would be very small advantages, not worth the bones of a cooley, to say nothing of those of a Grenadier, who costs considerable before equipped for the field. Consequently, while there is a good deal of talk of war; war becomes more im¬ probable than ever, and enterprise more encouraged. From Cairo to the Cape has had a fine sound as the route of a railway, but it is now beaten in alliterative magniloquence by "from Havre to Halifax," hy way of Behring Strait, which has been suggested as a result of the Alaska-Klondyke movement. By the way the Deutsche-Asiatische Banlc, which is to take part of the Chinese loan is a sort of committee of leading banks and bankers in Germany. The Vienna Creditors' Society, in its re¬ port for 1897, reports depression in every liue of business, except building. The cutting off of Hungary from the Empire by a customs' tariff which is threatened, would, if carried out, in¬ crease the depression in the industrial states. The question of Indian currency and exchange is being urged on the govern¬ ment. Meantime the bazaars are handling silver ingots of various denominations to relieve the stringency brought about by the closing of the mints five years ago, and the consequent restriction of the issue of the rupee, and the rates for money are rising daily to panic figures. THE DEADLOCK ON IMPROVEMENTS AND THE RELIEF. THE check that our municipal improvements have received is a matter that is not receiving the attention It deserves from the public of this city. There is, in our opinion, too ready an acquiescence In the policy of the administration to defer all improvements, except those already hegun, until a margin of credit has been created, hy increased tax valuations presumably, in order not to overstep the constitutional limit of debt. The debt being what it is and the legal restrictions upon It being what they are, it is only fair to state at the outset, the adminis- ration had no other course to pursue than to be guided by these two facts in the amount of obligation they assume on behalf of the city. What is singular is that the position we are in has not before this raised the question whether the provisions created by law for the carrying out of public improvernents are all that can be obtained? Municipal history has proved conclusively that there ought to he a safe legal limit set to the debt-raising power of a muni¬ cipality, and there is no reason to quarrel with the limit set by the Constitution of this State. This Is a wholesome condition which, considering how it has been governed, has most probably saved this city from bankruptcy. Admitting then that there ought to be a limit to the city's debt, and that ten per cent, of the assessed valuation is a proper limit, ought not the work the city has to carry ont financially and physically be In some way made proportionate to the means at its disposal; or, if those means are inadequate to supply its need for development, ought it not be enabled to seek other assistance whereby it can obtain tlie Improvements called for by its growth, if it can do so with¬ out taking upon itself the financial burdens belonging to them? Must the city itself finance and build all the docks, bridges and viaducts; lay out all the new thoroughfares and provide all the supplies of water? And more important still, if the city, by reason of the legal bar to its Incurrence of debt beyond a cer¬ tain point, is unable to obtain such of these things as are ab¬ solutely necessary to fullness of growth, must It simply go with¬ out them and lose the benefits that their possession would bring? There can be enumerated a long list of improvements, each of which is crying to be made. We need municipal buildings to house our homeless departments, au extension of the Riverside Drive to arouse from death an important section of territory,- more bridges, increased water supply, modern in the place of antiquated docks, a main highway to open up another Import- section in the annexed district, improved sewers, new ant schools, and above all, transit facilities that are in the proper sense of the term rapid. Not only can none of these be obtained now because the city has already availed itself of Its powers for issuing bonds, hut they are placed in a future so remote as to be invisible for practical purposes if they are only possible under an expansion of credit through increased tax valuation and the operation of the sinking fund. We may take it for granted, too, that not only will the wants already named become more and more pressing and greater in individual bulk as time goes on, but they will be supplemented by others equally as pressing. What our means will be to supply these demands with the lapse of a few years it would he unwise to attempt to estimate, but there is no reason to suppose that they will be adequate. If, to make an improbably high estimate, the assessed valuations are raised $100,000,000 a year for the next ten years and the debt limit thereby increased $10,000,000 a year, and to the latter the annual benefits from the sinking fund are added, they would be insufiicieut for what there is to do. This being the condition of affairs, is there anything that can he done to remedy it? The only answer to this is, let the city call in the aid of private capital to execute some of the work required. This suggestion will doubtless raise a host of objec¬ tions, there are some that occur at once, but it is a proposition that deserves debate. If found impracticable it can be dismissed and something else substituted for it; but let us debate until we get out of the stagnation or dead-lock into which we have