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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 63, no. 1612: February 4, 1899

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February 4, 1899. ^Record and Guide 189 ESTABIiSHEir^ iJyjipH eV^ 1868. Bi/sittess Alto Themes of GeiIer^L iKrespi, PRICE PER TEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS Published every Saturday, Tklephokb, COBTLANDT 1370. CommuDlcatlona Ehoul« addreisea to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. /, 7. LTRDSET, Business Manager.__________________________ "Entered at the Posl-Ogice at New York, N, Y., as second-class matter." Vol. LXIII. FEBRUARY 4, 1S99. No. 1,612 JUST at the moment Wall Street is endeavoring to, using its own vernacular, size up the immediate situation. The dail.v business that is being done is large compared with usual experi¬ ence and tbe market can be called dull now in comparison with the business of a few prior weeks only. With daily sales of from seven to eight hundred thousand shares and from $5,000,- 000 to $6,000,000 in bonds, there is not merely considerable busi¬ ness doing, hut a business that prior to a month ago was thought very good indeed. Moreover, there appears to be no pressure ot long stock on the market, so that the moderate declines seen tu the past week must be considered the result of speculative de¬ velopments pure and simple. It is highly probable that a reaction of flve or ten points would bring renewed buying, and certain that if a short interest of fair proportions could be induced to come In that a new upward movement would he undertaken. The circumstances of the times and the conditions of business do not sanction extensive bear operations or encourage the hope of big breaks. Cheap money and the prosperity of the community, as well as business activity, bulwark prices. Among the favorable features of the situation may be included the fact that Congress, for the first time in a long while, is now helping rather than hin¬ dering business. The House seems inclined to inaugurate that currency reform of which we will one day stand in need, even if we are independent of it for the time being, owing to our un¬ precedented commercial success abroad and renewed confidence at home. The Senate, we are informed on good authority, will ratify the Peace Treaty when the vote is taken in the coming week, and an extra session will not be necessary. There is a growing belief, too, that on the representations of the Inter-State Commerce Commission and of powerful business interests the position of the railroads will be favorably considered and legal sanction given in some form to pooling. If the railroads could be sustained in an endeavor to make and maintain fair and paying rates the continuation of the present favorable position of thair securities would be assured for a long time to come. Returning again to the stock market, it may be remarked that if the present state of aifairs there is only one of those lulls such as have char¬ acterized the market at intervals for nearly a year past, when the new movement is begun the features are most likely to be some of those issues that have as yet scarcely made any move¬ ment. loans with the Deutsche Bank rather than appeal directly to & doubtful public. Intending visitors to France will he pleased to learn that the railroad companies there are awaking to the need of reform in the arrangements for carrying baggage. As an ex¬ periment it is now intended to allow passengers who wish to break their journeys to send on their basgage, under certain con¬ ditions, to their final destination. Berlin has apparently passed safely through its monetary troubles; the condition of the Reichsbanii improves week by week and the new banking hill now in the Reichstag promises to provide permanent relief. It provides that the capital of the Reichsbank shall be increased $7,500,000, making it $37,500,000, the legal limit of the reserve fund, by gradation, from $7,500,000 to $15,000,000, and the ua- covered notes not subject to taxation by about $26,000,000 to $100,- 000,000; the government's share in the profits, now three-fourths after six per cent, has been paid to the stockholders, is to be the same proportion after the stock has received 5 per cent. The abatement of the stringency in the money market has been fol¬ lowed by a revival of speculation in industrial issues. Wes- tralian gold production in 189S amounted to 1,050,182 ozs., valued at about $20,000,000, as against 674,993 ozs. in 1S97, valued at $13,000,000. The continued decline in the gold premium a', Buenos Ayres is based upon the satisfactory results of the wheat harvest. Among the humors of finance may be included the proposition of France to borrow in Britain the means to build the navy which is to crush that of the lender and to blockade ita ports. The agreement for the federation of the Australian col¬ onies, announced yesterday, has to receive the approval of the parliaments of the several colonies and is therefore a long way from being an accomplished fact. 1 % NO surprise need be expressed at the drop in the Bank of England's rate from 3^ to 3 per cent. The conditions of the market have called for it for some weeks and it was only d.3- layed until the position of the United States toward Europe be¬ came clearer. Evidently the directors of the bank have become satisfied that the demand from this side for gold is not likely to be great for some time, and sustain the conclusion reached m these columns last week to the same effect. Should the situation change in the near future we may be prepared to see the bank promptly return to high rates, because, not only may the ordi¬ nary demands for money he expected to increase in a month or so hut pressure is being put upon, not only the Bank of Eng¬ land but also upon the other British banks to considerably in¬ crease their customary reserves of gold. Another cause for satis¬ faction is the report that the reform of the Russian currency has been successfully completed and a large amount of gold and Bilver put into circulation ana a corresponding amount of paper withdrawn. Fears of the flow of gold from the country have heen dispelled and the currency put upon a sound basis. Labo, statistics for the month of December confirm the reports of in¬ dustrial activity which have been received from Bntam recently The Indo-Cbina railroad lean lately issued at Paris was a great success -ome $10,000,100 asked fcf having been subscribed thirty- six times over, which is regarded as a popular- manifestation I in favor of a vigorous colonial policy. This is in contrast to tho placing of the German Imperial and the Prussian 3 per cent. IT was not without significance that the Commission on Build¬ ing Code was only fairly organized on the day fixed in tha resolution of the Municipal Assembly, under which its members were nominated, for the filing of their completed report. Of course, more time had to be applied for and it is satisfactory to note that the request was promptly granted. The Commission has now flve months in which to prepare the code, certainly aot too long a time if the work is to be properly done. After that, presumably, the Municipal Assembly may discuss the provisions of the code before formally establishing it, so that it Is impossible to say when it will take effect, though the delay ensuing on the flling of the Commission's report ought uot to be great. The Commission will flnd the matter of framing the code beset with many difficulties, the most serious of which is its probable rela¬ tion to building laws now on the statute books. Already there is a divergence of opinion upon this question, one side holding that the code when established will control in all matters relat¬ ing to construction in this city, and the other that it will prevail only in so far as it does not conflict with the building provisions contained in the charter itself. The latter appears to us to be the correct view. In passing the charter the Legislature gave the Municipal Assembly power to establish a building code, but it also at the same time enacted an amended tenement-house law. which is a part of the charter itself. As there is no precise au¬ thority to that effect, it must be taken for granted that the Leg¬ islature did not intend that the Municipal Assembly should sit in judgment on and modify its acts,. This conclusion is supported by the language of the charter itself. Its tramers evidently dis¬ tinguished between the building laws and the tenement-house law. because the former are not set out in the document itself, but by a general clause are continued in force and effect until the building code shall have been established and then quite as gen¬ erally repealed. A tenement-house law, however, is set out at length in the charter, in the chapter relating to Health Depart¬ ment and as it differs from the tenement-house law in force prior to the adoption of the charter it can only be assumed that it was the irtention of the Commission that framed it and the Legislature that passed it, that this should stand Irrespective of the views of the Municipal Assembly that might thereafter oe embodied in the building code. It would have undoubtedly teen better if the whole field of construction had passed to the Commission, but if, as we think, it has not done so, it will be well for the Commission to make sure of the scope of operations per¬ mitted them before framing the code, otherwise their labors may eventually prove to be vain and much trouble and annoyance-en¬ sue to the building interests of the city. The decision of Justice Scott which we gave last week, shows how easy it !s for both lawyers knd laymen tn be deceived in the Intents of a law.. It was so clearly the understanding of the promoters of the Act r.f 1S97 limiting the height cf dwelling houses that it should super¬ cede previous laws on the same subject that the view taken by the Department ot Buildings, and since sustained by the Supreme Court that it did not repeal the Act of 1855, came upon them as a surprise It will be easy for the Comraispion on Building Cole to pave the way to other like surprises if they take any position 'rt