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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 61, no. 1576: May 28, 1898

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May 28, 1898. Record and Guide 949 Uil. [to6Td)pRpj.E:sTATl.BijiLDiKo Aj5pifiTE{mrnE>{oDaEiioU)DEanjTicit BasI^JEss /JiD Themes of CEfteR^L Itfio^ii^ PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday ■ - Telephone, .... Oortlanbt 1370- Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-lG Vesey Street. J. 1. LfN'DSET, Business Manager. "En'ered at the Post Office at Ncie York, A". Y.. assecond-eta: S matter." Vol. LXI. MAY 28, 1898. 1,576 SOME stress has been laid by Wall Street this week on the changed tone of the European press toward this country. The Parisian merchant and shopkeeper and the managers of the 1900 Exposition have doubtless influenced the Paris papers to mitigate their hostility; but the altered sentiments of the Ger¬ man and Russian press, made with such characteristic sudden¬ ness, are attributed to orders from headquarters for the purpose of 'discouraging any hopes of friendly intervention that Spaiii may entertain, and that might stand in the way of an early peace, if one is possible. Unless the Spanish people are very peculiarly constituted it is reasonable to presume that the with¬ drawal of sympathy, hitherto somewhat osten'atiouily presented, and, the transfer of part at least to their opponents, must dis- cotvMge them aud make them more amenable to reason. Any¬ way, Wall Street argues in this way; and, as will be seen in the following paragraph, European financial circles have somewhat similar views and the markets for American and Spanish se¬ curities have strengthened as a consequence. It is not to be for¬ gotten that financial circles were mistaken prior to the war, when they refused to believe it would be possible almost to tho last minute, but their political instincts are generally right, and it is unlikely that they wili be wrong twice running. It must be also borne in mind that these circles take long views and would operate on the basis of peace, although it were a good way ahead, if tbey could only be sure that events and influences were mov¬ ing that way. AU the advance seen this week, however, is not due to expectations cr hcpes of early peace. Such influence as these expectations or hopes possess is supported by the favorable reports received from various trade centres, particularly from that of the iron trade, which seems to be getting into a very good way indeed. To go into details would be repeating what we said last week of the agencies at work to produce higher prices. To them should have been added cheap and plentiful money. Evidently there was some miscalculation somewhere as to what bearing the war would have on the money market, other¬ wise funds would not have been called to this centre and rates put up in the way that they were. The demand has been dis¬ appointing, and as a consequence rates are as easy as ever. THE drop in the Bank of England's rate of discount made this week from 4% to 3^/^% has a larger importance than merely to indicate ease in the market. It tends to conflrm the report that Britain and Prance have arrived at a settlement of their difBculty on the Niger. With that matter stiii threa,tening the directors would hardly have reduced the rate even though the position of the bank has become strong again now that the American demand for gold has ceased. While there existed the slightest fear of the negotiations failing it would have been nec¬ essary for the bank to have kept a full control of the money market. As it stands the rate is by no means a low one. It wiil be remembered that just before hostilities broke out between the United States and Spain a jump from 3% to 4% was made and now, as has been seen, the reduction is only one-half of tbe last advance, so that while money is easier than it has been for some weeks, it is still dearer than it was at the opening of tho year, and there are anticipations, not only in London, but in Europe, generally, of a growing demand for funds, with, of coiirse, rates higher, near the end of next month. With the Anglo-French difficulty settled, the most moving cause of specu¬ lation is, of course, the war between the United States and Spain, and seeing how events point to its ending so very disastrously for the latter some surprise must be expressed at the strength of Spanish bonds. There is a very large speculation in the 4's, and they, though of course affected by the preponderance of buying or selling for the time being, are the barometer toward which w^ will have to look for probabilities of the restoration of peace. Eo far as the country is concerned. Spain is carrying on a war of sentiment alone, and it is doubtful if that can for very long stantl the test of the suffering that it has entailed on the people. Tho government has a practical reason for accepting war, and the same reason holds good for continuing it, namely, its own pres¬ ervation and the prevention of civil war and consequent an¬ archy; but it may be taken for granted, that seeing more clearly the certain consequences of its continuation and not being blindod by prejudice, the government itself will gladly end the war as soon as it can do so without danger of an uprising capable of end¬ ing the existing regime. There are, therefore, two motives ia Spain sustaining this war: The first, popular sentiment for tbe moment the stronger but endangered by physical suffering; and the second, dynastic and ministerial necessity, which will gladly give way at a sign that the first is exhausted. The speculation in Spanish 4's is based on these considerations, and the present strength of the honds is due to belief that the wiser and more prudent reasons are soon to prevail. The only rational ex¬ planation that can be imagined for the indifferent way the Spanish government is conducting its side of the war. is that it only does what is necessary to avoid popular fury, and will end the miserable business as soon as it dares. Disorganized com¬ merce and trade working on the middle class, and want and suffering on the lower, if this hypothesis is correct, ought so:ja to give it its excuse. PROPOSED BUrLDING COOE. ^* HREE weeks ago this coming Tuesday a resolution was !n- ■^ troduced into the Municipal Assembly providing for the appointment and employment of a commission to prepare a code of ordinances, to be known as the "building code." Thi3 resolution, which was published in full in our columns, pro¬ vides for the appointment of "one counsellor learned in the law," one architect, one mason, one carpenter, one iron worker, one plumber and one civil engineer—seven persons in all—to pre¬ pare the new code. At a hearing given by the Committee of the Municipal Assembly, to whom the resolution was referred, the Joint Committee on New Building Code, consisting of delegates from nearly all the building societies, appeared and asked for amendments in the wording of the resolution; first, by eliminat¬ ing the names of trades and professions from which selections must be made and thus leaving the President of the Council, who is to appoint the commission, at liberty to name any seven per¬ sons whom he deems most competent to perfoi'ra the work; ami secondly to add to the commission the three Commissioners cf Buildings, as ex-officio members, thereby proposing to increase the total number to ten for the commission. The arguments used for these changes are that the Com¬ missioners of Buildings, having the responsibility of adminis¬ tering the law, and representing diverse territories within thsir respective boroughs, and being practical builders themselves, ought to be made parties to whatever changes are contemplated in the present building laws. As to there being a lawyer on tho commission, it is argued that the inlent of the Charter provision which says that for the purpose of preparing such code there shall be appointed and employed "a commission of experts,'* was to confine the membership of the commission, if not solely to men engaged in constructing buildings, at least to men who are familiar with construction as weil as experienced in draft¬ ing building laws. A lawyer, however learned in jurisprnden^^e, would hardly meet the test of expertness In formulating a techni¬ cal building ordinance. Further, it is argued that the Corpori- tion Counsel, through his assistants especially detailed to the several branches of the buiiding department, could best furni.-.!i all the legal information required by the commission, particu¬ larly as not only a revised "building law" is to be drafted, but the Charter itself needs to be amended by taking out from the same the "tenement house law," and quite a long list of general state laws relating to the construction of buildings, and which more or less conflict with Greater New York laws, should be repealed by an Act of the Legislature. When the commission makes its report to the Municipal Council, probably the first aet of the Council would be to refer the report to the Corporation Counsel for an opinion as to its legality and desirability, and therefore it would be a saving of time and insure better results every way to put the legal responsibility in the first Instance on the chief legal adviser for the city. The argument against naming a representative of the plumb¬ ing trade on the commission is that plumbing and drainage are not matters contained in the building law, but of rules and regu¬ lations which the Board of Buildings are empowered to adopt and to change from time to time, the said rules and reguiationa and any change thereof having to be published in the "City Record" eight successive Mondays before the same becomes op¬ erative, so that a plumber has no greater interest in a gocd building law than has any other citizen. It will be noted that the resolution as introduced In the MunJfl-