In the last number of the Scientific American, we congratulated our readers upon fthe selection, by President Grant, of Alexander T. Stewart, of this city, to take charge of the Treasury Department. The appointment was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, but the discovery of a law made in 1789, which prevents an importer from holding the office of Secretary of the Treasury, operated to compel Mr. Stewart either to retire from business or to resign. Previous to sending in his resignation, Mr. Stewart signed an agreement to make over the entire profits of his business to trustees, to be applied by them to charitable uses; but this did not meet tha legal objection. It is estimated that had this noble proposition been carried into effect, upward of six millions of dollars could have been distributed to charitable purposes within the next four years. The appointment of Mr. Stewart inspired general confidence in business circles; gold went down and Government securities went up; but the law was in the way, and it was deemed unwise to repeal or modify it to meet an -individual case. Mr. Stewart is about to carry into effect, in this city, his long contemplated project of erecting a home for the working women of this city, and hundreds of men are now employed in digging for the foundations on Fourth avenue, between Thirty-second and Thirty-third streets, and opposite the Harlem tunnel. The plot of ground contains twenty-two city lots, and cost $220,000, upon which Mr. Stewart proposes to erect an iron fire-proof building 198 X 205 feet, at a cost of $2,000,000. This is to be the working women's hotel, where sewing girls, female clerks, hard-working women of every trade, are to be provided with board and room for the smallest possible sum, and the house is to be managed in the best manner. The ground floor is to be let out for stores, the proceeds to be applied to the building of other similar institutions. The edifice will not be completed in less than two years. It is understood that Mr. Stewart also proposes to put up, in time, a working men's hotel on the same plan.
This article was originally published with the title "Alexander T. Stewart—A Noble Charity"