Her husband had been a shoemaker in pretty extensive
business, and at his death she was at a loss how to dispose of his stock
to advantage. Mr. Dale advised her to work up the raw materials into shoes
suitable for the West India market, and then to consign the whole to a
respectable house for sale there. Mary objected that this was too great a
venture for her to engage in; but Mr. Dale kindly told her:
"If you are pleased with my proposal, I am willing to
run halves with you in the adventure."
Mary at once jumped at the offer, and accordingly the
whole of Mr. Brown’s finished stock was shipped to the West Indies, upon
joint account, with instructions that the produce of the sales should be
remitted in cotton.
When the cotton arrived, Mr. Dale proposed to put it
into the hands of a cotton broker for sale; but Mary did not approve of
this plan, saying that she would sell it herself, and thereby save the
Mrs. Brown was very successful in selling the cotton at
a good price, and was so pleased with her success, that immediately
thereafter she commenced the business of a cotton broker.
But, like many others in similar circumstances, "who
make haste to be rich," she was carried away with a zeal for speculation,
and in 1794 her name appears in the Edinburgh Gazette as a bankrupt.