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Elizabeth [Murray] Smith to James Murray, 26 February 1770, J. M. Robbins Papers. Courtesy, Massachusetts Historical Society. Page 3

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Elizabeth [Murray] Smith to James Murray, 26 February 1770, J. M. Robbins Papers. Page 3.

As a very wealthy, childless widow, Elizabeth [Murray] Smith was well positioned to assist her brother John, a struggling doctor with ten children, financially. How to provide for his numerous family occupied her attention. She decided it would be best to send the oldest two, Mary, known as Polly, and John, known as Jack, to America, where 16-year-old Polly would learn to keep shop and 14-year-old Jack would learn how to be a merchant. In this letter, Elizabeth explained her decision-making process to her brother James, who was living in her house in Milton, just outside of Boston. She included the advice of Edward Bridgen and James Waller, London merchants who had been friends and business associates since the 1750s.


seealsoFor more of the merchants’ advice, see also James Waller to Elizabeth [Murray] Smith, February 1770, and Edward Bridgen and James Waller to Elizabeth [Murray] Smith, 15 March 1770. For more on Elizabeth Murray’s views of female education, see Elizabeth [Murray] Smith to Mrs. Deblois, 13 April 1770