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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I wonder if they even liked tea???

Three of America's first millionaires earned their fortunes from the China tea trade in the early nineteenth century because they bought tea directly from China and bypassed the powerful East India Company.

John Jacob Astor began his tea trading in 1800. He required a minimum profit on each venture of 50% and often made 100%. Stephen Girard of Philadelphia was known as the "gentle tea merchant". His loans to the young (and still weak) American government enabled the nation to re-arm for the War of 1812. Thomas Perkins was from one of Boston's oldest sailing families. The Chinese trust in him as a gentleman of his word enabled him to conduct enormous transactions halfway around the world without a single written contract.

And not that this has anything to do with tea, but here's a quote by one of my favorite American authors, Dorothy Parker:

I don't know much about being a millionaire
but I bet I'd be a darling at it.


Melissa said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your job. Silver're so talented this is a great opportunity to explore a possible new business venture. Good luck!

Steph said...

Yes, a very curious question about whether they even liked tea! I find it ironic that while early Americans were passionate about boycotting tea, they were also passionate about making money from it! ;-)

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