MR. A. T. STEWART.
WITHIN the recollection of many living men it was one of the pastimes of the pulpit to denounce in pretty broad language novels and romances, and to warn the readers of those " pernicious books" not only of the waste 0f time but the dread consequences that would assuredly follow such depraved taste in literature. That course of occasional sermonising was not confined to any section of the Reformed Church, but might have been heard alike in the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, and Methodist places of worship. Those times have passed away, and, with a very few exceptions, ministers of all denominations have left off condemning romance reading, and very rarely do we hear high class works of imagination made the Subject of evangelical abuse. Thanks to the march of education in its wider principles, the clergy and laity have been taught lessons of practical Christianity and kindly toleration which leave far in the distance all the dogmatisms of Puritanic absurdity. Sixty years ago, Byron's famous aphorism, "Truth is strange, stranger than fiction," stirred up in the more th0ughtful sections of society a comparatively new mode of looking on the world as it existed around them, and, as they did so, they found in many phases of daily life the very spirit of romance. In the pages of Burke's " Vicissitudes of Families" we find tales of the wild and wonderful which exceed in their realities any fiction written by Anne Radcliffe or M. E. Braddon.
An old inhabitant of Belfast, who, in his eighteenth year, was present at the first muster of volunteers in 1778, and when the troop, only two months after its enrolment, marched through the streets in full uniform, recollected seeing Luke White selling his second-hand books off a stall set up at the corner of Bridge Street in that town. The most renowned of Irish booksellers resided chiefly in Dublin, but occasionally made a tour of the provinces. He ultimately became a dealer in stocks. and in the times of great excitement that followed the commencement of the revolutionary wars he was so wonderfully fortunate that many people thought he must have found the philosopher's stone. At his death, which took place in April, 1824, Luke White left behind, him, in landed estate and Government securities, property said to exceed in value two millions sterling. His eldest son, raised to the peerage some years ago as Lord Annaly, owns an estate of forty-one thousand acres in extent; and his two younger sons are also possessed of large property in land.
A few other evidences of the romance of real life might be given from Irish history ; but if still more astonishing marvels are sought for we must look across the Atlantic. Of these, the two most remarkable are William B. Astor and A. T. Stewart, both of whom died in the City of New York in the Spring of 1876.
The founder of the Astor family—son of a German butcher—landed in the city on the Hudson some years after the Stars and Stripes had asserted their independence. He was then nineteen years of age, possessed of about one hundred dollars, a stout heart, and energetic disposition. Having got into the employment of one of the principal furriers of New York, he soon proved himself worthy of promotion, and, at the death of his employer, entered into business for himself, the traffic in furs being then a comparatively new branch of commerce. John Jacob Astor travelled for years through those regions of States famed for the countless multitudes of wild animals that roamed through prairie and over mountain. He purchased skins in large quantities, and sold them at enormous profits. In the course of a few years his business had become extended, not only throughout the chief cities of America, but the principal ports of Europe ; and at the close of the past century the German merchant found himself worth one million dollars. Then it was that success gave increased impulse to his enterprize. He had got married, and lived happily in his domestic relations ; but to accumulate property seemed the sole object of his life, and although the great project for having to himself the entire fur trade of a vast region of Oregon, which he called Astoria, had not succeeded as he anticipated, he pushed on business with the usual energy, and at his death, in 1848, left property in landed and household estate valued at twenty millions of dollars.
A short time after the old gentleman's demise, a memorial was erected to his memory in Trinity Church, Wall Street, by his two sons, and which is thus graphically described in B. Appleton & Co.'s very handsomely got-up publication entitled " New York Illustrated": —" This classic memorial consists of an altar and reredos, the latter occupying nearly the whole width of the chancel, and is carried up some twenty feet from the floor. The altar is eleven feet long, and is constructed of pure white marble, with shafts of the same material, coloured, supporting capitals carved in natural foliage dividing the front sides into panels. In the central panel, which is carved with passion flowers, there appears a Maltese Cross in Mosaic, and set with cameos ; a head of Christ, and symbols of the Evangelists. Two kneeling angels flank it. The super-altar is of red Lisbon marble, with the words 'Holy, Holy, Holy,' in Mosaics on its face, and the shelf is continued on each side the whole length of the reredos, for the reception of flowers at festivals. In the lower portion, and on each side the altar, are three panels filled with coloured Mosaics in geometrical patterns) and above the base of the super-altar there are seven panels of white marble, sculptured in alto-relievo, representing incidents in the life of Christ just preceding the Last Supper. The reredos is divided by buttresses into three bays, each having various religious representations, including statuettes of the twelve apostles.
" Both altar and reredos are exceedingly beautiful, and, while adding much t0 the interest of grand Old Trinity, form a special attraction t0 artistic visitors."
John Jacob's eldest son, W. B. Astor, who became sole heir of all the accumulated wealth, did not inherit in the slightest degree the commercial genius of his lather, the wonderful German. Had he been thrown on the world of New York with a few dollars as his sole capital. it is more than probable that he would never have arisen beyond the position of a hewer of wood or a drawer of water. But if he lacked the art of making money, in which his father was such an adept, he possessed the next valuable characteristic—the power of accumulation, and in this he had no superior. Never did an ambitious farmer cultivate with greater assiduity the lands of his predecessor than young Astor worked up to the uttermost point of value the long streets and extensive blocks of houses which came into his hands on the demise of the pushing fur-dealer. Commerce in any form the heir-at-law did not attempt, and as to the mysteries of Wall Street, he never once sought to pry into them. His father had founded the Astor Library at a cost of four hundred thousand dollars, and when it appeared that a further sum was required to complete the institution, the young gentleman added a further donation equal to one half the original gift. On many other occasions W. B. Astor was very liberal in his contributions for public purposes, whether of education or benevolence ; but his sole passion seemed to be that of adding house to house, and purchasing lots of building ground that lay in districts where population was extending its borders. These accumulations he looked upon as the heroes of old did on their conquests ; and so well did he succeed in what was his cherished passion that, some time before his death, the value of his house property was set down at fifty million dollars. So extensive, in fact, was his real estate, that in one year he paid four hundred thousand dollars of municipal taxes.
No two men could be more unlike each other in their peculiar features of character than Astor the younger and A. T. Stewart ; and when a fitting biographer be found, one capable of giving to the world a well-written life of the great merchant of Broadway, there will appear in its pages many " situations" dramatic and exciting as any that ever delighted a theatrical audience. Even around the earliest days of A. T. Stewart the very spirit of romance appeared to have thrown her broadest mantle,
In the last quarter of the past century, John Turney, a very intelligent farmer, resided on the Hertford estate, at a part of tissue near the Maze. It was usual at that time for men who had capital to spare to do a little in the manufacture of linen as well as to attend to the business of the field. As one of the descendants of the Huguenot exiles that settled in the town and about the neighbourhood of Lisburn one hundred years before, Mr. Turney inherited much of the spirit of industry and peaceful disposition of his forefathers, and, like them, had great taste for the beautiful, whether in nature or art; his garden was quite a model in floriculture, and, what was not usual in country houses, he had in his parlour two or three oil paintings of a style which was rare as the works were valuable.
One of his neighbours, Thomas Lamb, of Pear Tree Hill, greatly admired
the pictures, but laughed heartily at the estimate their owner placed on
them. Mr. Lamb a sturdy Quaker, and Elias Hughes, another member of the same
sect, who resided in that locality, were also engaged in the making of
coarse linens. Each of the three kept a number of people weaving during
those seasons when out-door work did not require additional hands, and this
labour at the loom consisted chiefly in the making of coarse linens known as
" Hugs." When a certain number of such webs had been accumulated the
manufacturers conveyed them to Lisburn, where they were disposed of at the
public sales held there on successive market days,
John Turney's family consisted of his wife and a daughter named Margaret, and very happy was his household ; but during the troublous times of Ninety-Eight the former, who was a delicate and rather nervous woman, had been much shocked by some local occurrence, and became very ill. A handsome widow, some relation of the sufferer, arrived at the farm-house during Mrs. Turney's illness and offered her services as attendant on the patient, but the latter would not permit any one to come into her bedroom save her daughter and the doctor. After lingering some weeks, she passed away into the Unseen Land.
The fair widow had a daughter married, though she herself was still in the prime of life. In a short time after Mrs. Turney's death she again visited at the farm-house, and during her stay became remarkably attentive to the chief of the establishment. Miss Margaret did not feel at ease under the circumstances, and looked on the widow's conduct as being greatly wanting in womanly delicacy, her idea on the subject being that an uninvited visitor to the house of a widower was rather a questionable guest, but the lady felt as anxious fo1 a home as she did fo1 a husband, and during the remainder of that year made occasional journeys to the farm-house, seemingly quite unconcerned what construction Miss Turney might put on her movements. In the meantime, the old man could not avoid feeling pleased with the court paid him by the buxom widow, and before the end of ten months after the death of his first wife he found himself led into a second marriage.
The deceased mistress of his household was a woman of great natural abilities, very fond of reading, and well able to take full advantage of every available means for improving her mind. She had anxiously watched over the education of her daughter, and at the time of her death Margaret was said to be one of the most intelligent young women of her class in that part of the country.
A marked change followed the advent of the second Mrs. Turney as lady of the farm-house. The new wife was then in her fortieth summer, and still retained much of early beauty, but fretfulness and a sort of chronic discontent marked her everyday life, and sadly did her fits of bad temper try the placid disposition of John Turney. It seemed her delight at other times to make the once happy home as uncomfortable as possible to her step-daughter, and, in a sort of jeering pleasantry-the most galling of all satire—she frequently taunted her with the suggestion that "it was quite time she had a house of her own."
Margaret Turney was then eighteen years of age, and an exceedingly graceful and very handsome brunette. As the heiress of a man said to be worth one thousand pounds—quite a large sum in those times—she had many suitors, one of whom, a brother linen draper, had become a great favourite with her father. But, with the usual waywardness of the sex, the Belle of Lissue did not look with any favour on the choice the old gentleman wished her to make.
There lived at that time near the Red Hill, and not far from Mr. Turney's place, Thomas Stewart and his wife Martha, a very industrious and very quiet people. Their family consisted of five sons and three daughters, viz.: John, Alexander, William, Thomas, and James ; Mary, Jane, and Anne. The head of the house had been brought up on a farm situate near the Rock Chapel, but several years before he had taken some land at Red Hill in Lissue, The eldest son had enlisted in the army, and the second one, a steady-going and very energetic young man, had commenced life as an agriculturist, on a twenty-acre farm which Mr. Wm. Smith, Lord Hertford's agent, had let him have on very reasonable terms, and the buildings, which were much dilapidated, were put into some repair. The Stewarts were rather more intelligent than the majority of their neighbours. John rose to the rank of sergeant-major when only twenty-four years of age, and Alexander had made such progress in improving his farm that he was much looked up to as an agriculturist by men three times his age.
In the list of Margaret Turney's admirers young Stewart had a high place, but the old gentleman could not think of his daughter giving her hand to a small farmer who had only commenced to make his way in the world. Many were the sage remonstrances which the worthy farmer—who had himself been taken into partnership by the handsome widow—laid before his daughter. He pointed out the superior prospects which she had before her in marrying a middle-aged linen draper, whose suit he urged with all his power of language, but it was of no avail. More than twelve months had gone bye since the second marriage of her father had made the previous happy home a scene of unpleasant and divided feeling. The stepmother's temper did not improve, and as her father was often from home attending the linen markets, or looking after the purchase of yarn for his weavers, her life became very unhappy. At length she left her father's house and got privately married to Mr. Stewart, immediately after which the young husband took her home to his farm cottage at Red Hill, a picturesque part of the Hertford estate, situate about two miles from Lisburn and nine from Belfast. The old linen draper waxed very wrath at that event, and vowed he would disinherit his truant daughter, but before many weeks passed he was himself again, and called over to see the young wife and his son-in-law. He saw that the house required many comforts, and purchased such additional furniture as was necessary ; besides which, he handed his daughter a sum of money for her own private use. The young couple lived very happily together. Stewart was a good-natured, industrious fellow, and worked hard at his farm. Among the saddest years of Ireland's eventful history was that of 180, the time of dearth, disease, and privation ; the previous harvest was a failure, and every article of food had gone up to famine price.
Extra exertion was necessary to keep farmers afloat, and in his anxiety to get finished some outdoor work the farmer over-heated himself, and eventually fell into consumption, which carried him off in some few months. Not many weeks had elapsed after the death of Alexander Stewart when the young wife, still in her teens, was confined of a son ; and in that cottage which still stands on the farm of Mr. James N. Richardson, of Lissue, the future merchant prince of Broadway first saw the light, and in clue time received the baptismal name of Alexander Turney, in honour of his father and grandfather.
The death of the son-in-law was a sad overturn of all Mr. Turney's projects, and for a time his daughter seemed inconsolable, but the attention required by the fatherless child helped to soften her sorrow, and as s0on as she was able to leave the cottage the old gentleman had her and the infant son removed to his own place A purchaser soon turned up for the little farm, the stock and furniture were disposed of to good advantage, and the proceeds set apart for the young widow and her son.
John Turney, naturally one of the kindest of men, did all that a fond father could think of to make the young widow comfortable; but as we have already stated, he had frequent business abroad, and as the stepmother's discontent and bad temper had increased with her years, the residence that might have been a happy one for all its people was the very opposite. Seeing how matters stood, Mr. Turney fitted up a neat cottage that adjoined the farm-house, and had it well furnished for his daughter and her son, and took care that they did not want for anything necessary for their comfort.
Some time afterwards, David Bell, a farmer, began to pay court to the widow, and in April, 1803, got married to her. The father of the bride for a second time, was still more annoyed at that affair than he had been on the previous occasion. Bell Sold his farm and stock and prepared to embark for America. He himself, as well as his wife, was anxious to take the child, then eighteen months old, along with them, but Mr. Turney would not permit that arrangement, and took it home.
Young Stewart got through the early days of childhood more pleasantly
than could have been anticipated. Strange to say, the naturally bitter
disposition of his Step-grandmother had softened down towards the child, and
she was really kind to him. Having received a good education himself, Mr.
Turney determined that his grandson should enjoy the full advantages of
modern acquirements, and at the proper time become a minister of the Church
of England. There was then in the Causeway End a teacher of children famed
for instructing them in the rudiments of spelling, reading, and writing ;
and all that course was to be taught juveniles without the use of the rod.
That model schoolmaster's name was William Christie, and if he lived in
these days, when, in Some schools, flogging is still a sort of pastime with
the principals, he would deserve canonization. Many of the people of
Causeway End—John Hodgen, George Briggs, John Anderson, and
others—recollected the thoughtful looking lad passing along the road that
led from his grandfather's house to the village seminary, conning over his
Man-Son's Spelling-Book as he went on his way. And in after years, when A.
T. Stewart was rising to eminence as a New York merchant, those inhabitants
0f that neighbourhood recounted with pride their reminiscences of the great
man's early days. In due time, the lad was sent to the Lisburn English and
Mercantile Academy, then conducted by Mr. Benjamin Neely, one of the ablest
of teachers, as well as one of the most efficient flagellators that ever
flourished a ratan. Many of that gentleman's pupils rose
in after days to places of high distinction in the world. Thomas Spence, the
famous writing-master, was one of his early scholars , James W. Hogg,
afterwards known as Chairman of the East India Board, and member for Honiton,
a great favourite of Sir Robert Peel, who conferred on him the honour of a
baronetcy ; Brigadier-General Nicholson, one of the leading heroes of the
Punjaub ; Serjeant Armstrong, celebrated as a chief of the Irish Bar; and
several other men of mark, were also taught at the Lisburn Academy.
Young Stewart had been three years under the tuition of Mr. Neely, and by that time was considered an excellent English scholar, an expert writer, and well grounded in the principles of Gough's Arithmetic. In the meantime, the lad had been keeping up a correspondence with his mother, who, with her husband, were residing in the City of New York. Mrs. Bell had then two other children, and through the influence of her son, a complete reconciliation had been effected with her father.
The most popular classical seminary in the rural districts of that part of Antrim County was then presided over by the Rev. Skeffington Thompson, LL.D., of Magheragal, and on the first day of February, I815, Alexander T. Stewart was entered there as a student. Early in the following month John Turney took ill, and it was evident his day of life was coming to a close. Thomas Lamb, his valued neighbour, visited him very frequently, and, with the never-failing attention to worldly affairs that forms the leading characteristic of Quakerism, advised his friend to settle his affairs, and in doing so not to forget his daughter, Margaret Bell, and her children. The advice of Mr. Lamb was attended to by the old farmer, and well it turned out that it had been, as, for some days before his death, John Turney remained quite unconscious of what was going on around him.
He died on the 15th of April, 1815, and immediately after the funeral, the executors requested all concerned in the affairs of the estate to meet together at the farm-house, when the will, of which the following is a copy, was read :-
"In the Name of God, Amen.
" I, John Tumey, of Lissue, in the parish of Lisburn and County of Antrim, being of sound mind and memory, do make my last Will and Testament.
I allow, and it is my will, that the two fields next Shields' farm, together with the meadow purchased from Brackinriggs, and the house and garden my daughter Margaret Bell formerly occupied, be sold by my executors, the money arising therefrom to be put to interest, which interest is to be paid my beloved wife, Ann Turney, during her natural life. ITEM - I leave to my grandchildren, James Bell and Mary Bell, the money arising from the sale of the above lands to be paid by my trustees, when they arrive at the respective ages of 21 years, and to be divided share and share alike ; but in case of the death of my wife, the interest to go to my said daughter for the purpose of educating my said grandchildren. I allow my dear grandson Alexander to have all the rest of my property—houses and lands, with all appurtenances belonging thereto, stock, crop, and chattels of every kind, all of which my executors may sell by auction or otherwise, as they think fit, the money arising from such sale to be put to interest, first paying my funeral expenses and a suit of mourning for my beloved wife. I allow the bed that stands in the closet, with hangings and clothes thereunto belonging, to my beloved wife, and any part of furniture my beloved grandson Alexander T. Stewart wishes to be kept for him. The money arising from the property willed to him is to be subject to the following conditions :—He is to pay his grandmother, Martha Stewart, the sum of three half guineas a-year for her life. All my just debts I allow to be paid as soon as possible ; and I wish my said grandson, Alexander T. Stewart, to be kept to his learning, and be kept in decent apparel so far as the interest of the property I willed him will admit, but no farther, and his money my trustees will continue at interest until he be 21 years of age. If the aforesaid Alex. T. Stewart shall at any time disturb, or cause to be disturbed, by law or otherwise, Nathaniel Dickey in the full enjoyment of the land I sold him, then, in that case, I allow the expense or cost that the said Nathaniel Dickey may be put to shall be reimbursed to hint out of the share I have willed my said grandson. And if he should die before arriving at the age of 21 years, the money I have left him is to be divided between my other grandchildren; and if said James and Mary Bell, or either of them, should die minors, then their shares are to be enjoyed by my daughter Margaret Bell. Lastly, I nominate Thomas Lamb and Nathaniel Dickey to carry this, my last will, into effect.
"Dated this Tenth Day of March, 1815.
" Witnesses present :
" Henry Branagh.
" I, John Turney, of Lissue, publish the codicil to my last will. I leave my stepson-in-law, Andrew Campbell, ten pounds sterling out of the promissory note I have from him, in case he, the said Andrew Campbell, builds a room at the end of his own house and puts a fireplace in it, which room is to be for the use of my dear wife during her life. The rest of the promissory note is to be put to interest for my stepson-in-law's child, which is named after me, John Turney Campbell ; and if he should die before my dear wife, then I allow it to go to her. I wish Thomas Lamb to be my chief executor, and Nathaniel Dickey to assist in the same."
Dated under my hand and seal, this Eighteenth Day of March, 1815."
" JOHN TURNEY. "
" Francis Andrews.
After the old man's death Mr. Lamb brought Alex. T. Stewart to reside in his house, where he became thoroughly at home, the two sons, John and Joshua, looking on the orphan boy as, if possible, something more than a brother. An old friend and former schoolfellow of mine, the late Benjamin Workman, M.D., of Toronto, Canada, was a fellow-student of young Stewart during the latter's attendance at the academy of Mr. Skeffington Thompson. Shortly after the death of the New York millionaire the doctor published some recollections of his early friend, in a Toronto paper. From that notice I take the following ;-
" During young Stewart's pre-matriculate course of classics our intimacy was begun, which ripened into very warm feeling, and continued unbroken for three years ; and until my friend left for America we sat side by side at our studies as class mates, and read Justin Cæsar's Commentaries, four books of the Æneid, and three books of Ovid's Metamorphoses. He had also made some progress in the Greek grammar and Testament, when we were separated by his determination to make his home with his mother in New York. For years after he went to America I often regretted that he had not continued his course of classics, as I felt convinced he would have arisen to a high point of collegiate fame ; but as time rolled onwards I became convinced that such regrets were bootless. A far greater destiny awaited him than could have been attained through University honours—he became a prince among merchants and a king among capitalists."
This was in February, 1818. He had quite given up any idea of going on
for the clerical profession, and, in order to fit him for business, Mr. Lamb
advised that, instead of emigrating to New York, as he purposed to do, he
should go to Belfast and learn something of shopkeeping. The good old Quaker
arranged with a grocer in that town that the well-educated lad should become
his apprentice, and in course of a few weeks he commenced his duties there.
But neither the place nor the business suited the taste of A. T. Stewart.
During the short time he was at the grocery business he spent the time from
each Saturday evening till Monday at the house of Mr. Matthew Morrow, whose
daughters conducted a ladies' school in Chichester Street, and where he met
with the utmost kindness. But before the end of April he told the grocer
that he did not like the business; and, having begged his guardian's
permission to carry out the project of going to America, Mr. Lamb did not
stand in the way, and thus all was amicably arranged.
His guardian handed him fifty pounds out of the fortune then awaiting his coming of age. With that capital, in May, 1818, he left Belfast, in a ship bound for New York, and six weeks afterwards he found himself in the City on the Hudson.
After considerable difficulty he found his mother's residence. His half-brother, James Bell, had, some weeks before, run off from home and gone to sea, and the family then consisted of his half-sister Mary, his mother, and stepfather. Determined not to remain a burden on the family, he sought employment as an assistant-teacher, and was engaged at four hundred dollars a-year—a sum barely equal to pay his board and maintain him in respectable clothing. Having found himself fully equal to the duties of the school, several additions were made to his salary during the next two years, and in 1820 he found himself master of an annual income of six hundred dollars.
A course of communication was maintained between him and his guardian all that time, and in December, 1822, he received a long letter from the honest Quaker, stating that the property left him having been realized, the proceeds were lodged in a Belfast bank. Mr. Lamb also advised his ward that the money arising from the sale of the meadow and two fields, together with small cottage and garden (£140) was lent at 5 per cent. interest to a linen draper, and the seven pounds arising from that investment were paid quarterly to Mrs. Turney, his step-grandmother.
Early in the following year A. T. Stewart left New York for Liverpool, and when he reached that port in May, lost no time in taking his passage in the next steamer for Belfast, where he arrived in due course, and from thence made his way to Lisburn. The first person he called on was Fanny Fox, a Quaker lady, then engaged in the haberdashery and millinery business. Miss Fox pressed him to remain all night, and next morning, on speaking to that lady respecting his business in Ireland, he requested her to introduce him to a lawyer, which she did by taking him to the office of Mr. Dillon. Having had some legal advice from that solicitor, the young man set off on foot—a distance of about four miles—for Pear Tree Hill, the residence of Mr. Thomas Lamb, his grandfather's executor, where he was received with the utmost attention, and in the course of the day all the accounts of Mr. Turney's estate, from April, 1815, were laid before him, with the several amounts received and the sums paid, and the vouchers in each case. Various estimates have been made respecting the sum paid over to A. T. Stewart ; nothing definite, however, is known on the subject, but it must have amounted to several hundred, or perhaps one thousand, pounds. At all events, through the agency of Mr. Dillon, the affairs were amicably arranged, and the legatee expressed his gratitude for the many obligations he owed to his guardian, and not less for the attention which Mrs. Lamb and her family had paid to him during his schoolboy days, than for the scrupulous correctness with which the property left to him had been treasured up until he came of age. That legacy and the many cheerful associations connected with it was never forgotten by A. T. Stewart.
He delighted to dwell on the subject of that gift of his grandfather, not so much because of its actual amount, but rather in consequence of the circumstances under which it had been bequeathed to him. " The money," he once said to a friend, "must have been honestly earned when its investment proved so very prosperous."
It has been stated that Mr. Stewart had received from his guardian the full amount of money arising from the proceeds of property left him by his grandfather; but on getting the cash into his hands he found some difficulty in arriving at any definite conclusion as to how it should be invested. The bustle and prosperity he had seen in the everyday commerce of New York had stirred in his mind a desire for business ; he, therefore, consulted a Belfast friend on the subject, and in doing so frankly acknowledged his ignorance of mercantile affairs. That friend told him that with his educational attainments and aptitude for learning he would soon master the details of trade. " It was most erroneous," he added, " to suppose that because a young man was a classical scholar he would not succeed when engaged at the matter-of-fact details of life as they existed behind the counter."
Acting on that shrewd counsel, the student made his first purchase from a manufacturer in Rosemary Street in that town, comprising a large lot of fancy goods, high-class muslins, insertions, tambours, and some flouncings. These articles were all of a quality which the embryo merchant was assured had rarely before been seen in any American city. He had also bought from the eminent firm of James N. Richardson & Co., of Lisburn, a parcel of the finest linens and some specialities in French cambric. Having thus invested the greater part of his capital in first-class goods, he once again sailed for New York, and arrived safe in July, 1823. There was then to be let the store afterwards known as " 283, Broadway," situate between Murray and Warren Streets. The locality was central, and although the store was a mere wooden structure, twenty feet square, and the rent 375 dollars a-year, he entered as tenant, made some improvements, and in that tiny spot, with his Belfast and Lisburn purchases, and a job lot of laces, silk gloves, and general hosiery, the man who in after years became the financial counsellor of Presidents and the wonder 0f Wall Street, commenced his marvellous career.
On the 2nd of September, 1823, the following announcement appeared in the Daily Advertiser of that city :—
" NEW YORK DRY GOODS STORE.
A. T. STEWART informs his Friends and the Public that he has taken the Store, No. 283, Broadway, wherein he offers for Sale, Wholesale and Retail, a large assortment of Fresh and Seasonable Goods, consisting of
Irish Linens, Lawns, and French Cambrics.
"All these Goods were bought for Cash, and will be Sold on Reasonable Terms."