Child came to Lower Canada from Massachussetts in 1812 and made his fortune as a smuggler during the War of 1812. He later became a merchant and druggist and then entered politics, serving as MLA for Stanstead County in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The letters provide the first detailed history of Eastern Township politics during the 1840s. They are also an excellent source of information for the social historian, reflecting the concerns of a nineteenth-century Canadian family who were not part of the small British-born elite. Issues discussed in the letters include religion and moral reform, daughter Elizabeth's search for a husband, local life in Stanstead village, and vignettes of social life among MLAs in Kingston. The letters support recent findings that gender identities were not as strictly defined during this era as earlier historians have suggested. Breaking the public/private divide, The Child Letters shows how family and politics are linked and reveals the family support which underpinned the rise to political prominence of men such as Child.