From 1778 to 1782, Joseph Baldesqui was his partner. They traded mostly with the ports in France, and Le Cap and Port-au-Prince, in Saint-Domingue where his brother Jean lived and washis commission merchant and trader. Stephen, after many attempts, persuaded his brother to come to Philadelphia in 1787 as his partner while he went to sea again. During 1787 and 1788, Stephen captained the Les Deux Amis (Freres) and sailed from Philadelphia to Charleston, then to Toulon and Marseille, France. While staying in Charleston from December to February, he joined the Union Blue Lodge, No. 8 Masonic Order on January 28, 1788.10THE MERCHANTGirard built his first ship in 1789. Historians disagree on its name. Some claim it was the Water Witch. Harry E. Wilde claims there is no record of a ship called Water Witch. McMaster, who spent several years reviewing the Girard papers, claims that the Water Witch wasthe first ship and since the British captured it in its first year of operation, no records exist in the 5
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Girard papers. Henry Arey, in his book Girard College and Its Founder, written in 1856, claims that the first ship was named Two Brothers. Harry Schad, Girard College Class of 1920, reporting in the December 1963 Steel & Garnetstates, "In his lifetime he (Girard) owned a total of twenty-four ships, but never more than six at once. Regularly he supplemented his fleet by chartering the vessels of others." In a survey from one reel of approximately 300 invoices covering 1783 to 1800, Girard shipped 175 items, from 25 locations, on 93 different vessels.11These were some ships he built or owned between 1791 and 1810: China Packet, North America,Superb, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Good Friends. After his death, an inventory of hisestate revealed that he still owned four ships; namely, Helvetius, North America, Rousseau, and another whose name was not mentioned. Owning and leasing so many ships permitted Girard to expand his business to trade throughout the world. Marvin W. McFarland, who studied the Girard ledgers, states that by 1781 Girard's fortune was between fifty and sixty thousand dollars. Although the annual volume of his business rose to about $1.5 million in 1794, he was wealthy but not yet a millionaire. He estimated that in 1795 he was worth about $250,000, a very considerable fortune for the times. Girard shipped and imported grain, wine, liquors, oils, tobacco, cloth, cheese, nails, sugar, coffee, cocoa, meats, and other necessary staples, using many agents in different ports to obtain the best local prices. He paid these agents well to protect his interests, but his papers include many letters scolding the agents for not getting what he considered reasonable prices. Girard's profits from shipping soared between 1790 and 1815, but international conflicts frequently interfered with his ventures. The French and the English were intermittently at war with each other and Girard's ships and cargoes were often confiscated. In 1797, the United States nearly went to war with France, because it harassed American ships trading with England.
Test, Second Bank of the United States, Stephen Girard, Marie Antoinette Girard
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