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Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 456 Volume 18, New Series, September 25, 1852   By:

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CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,' 'CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.

No. 456. NEW SERIES. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1852. PRICE 1 1/2 d.

MRS CHISHOLM.

This lady will be ranked with the memorable persons of the age; her enthusiastic and ceaseless endeavours to do good, the discretion and intelligence with which she pursues her aims, and her remarkable self sacrifices in the cause of humanity, placing her in the category of the Mrs Frys and other heroic Englishwomen. The history of Mrs Chisholm's labours up to the present time is worthy of being fully told.

Caroline Jones, as this lady was originally called, is the daughter of William Jones, a respectable yeoman of Northamptonshire; and when about twenty years of age, she was married to Captain A. Chisholm of the Madras army. Two years after this event, she removed with her husband to India, where she entered upon those movements of a public nature that have so eminently distinguished her. Shocked with the depravities to which the children of soldiers are exposed in the barrack rooms, she rested not till she had established a School of Industry for girls, which became eminently successful, and, under an extended form, has continued to be of great social importance to Madras. The pupils were taught to sew, cook, and otherwise manage household affairs; and we are told, that on finishing their education, they were eagerly sought for as servants, or wives, by non commissioned officers. In this career of usefulness, Mrs Chisholm employed herself until 1838, when, for the benefit of her husband's health, and that of her infant family, she left India for Australia, the climate of which seemed likely to prove beneficial. At the end of the year, she arrived in Sydney, where, besides attending to family matters, there was plenty of scope for philanthropic exertion. Drawing our information from a small work purporting to present a memoir of Mrs Chisholm,[1] it appears that 'the first objects that came under her notice, and were benefited by her benevolence, were a party of Highland emigrants, who had been sent to the shores of a country where the language spoken was to them strange and unknown, and without a friend to assist or guide them in that path of honourable labour which they desired. As a temporary means of relief, Mrs Chisholm lent them money to purchase tools and wheelbarrows, whereby they might cut and sell firewood to the inhabitants. The success of this experiment was gratifying both to the bestower and receiver; in the one it revived drooping hopes, the other it incited to larger enterprises of humanity.'

In 1840, Captain Chisholm returned to his duties in India, leaving his wife and family to remain some time longer in Sydney; and from this period may be dated her extraordinary efforts for meliorating the condition of poor female emigrants. What fell under her notice in connection with these luckless individuals was truly appalling. Huddled into a barrack on arrival; no trouble taken to put girls in the way of earning an honest livelihood; moral pollution all around; the government authorities and everybody else too busy to mind whether emigration was rightly or wrongly conducted there was evidently much to be done. In January 1841, Mrs Chisholm wrote to Lady Gipps, the wife of the governor, on the subject; tried to interest others; and although with some doubts as to the result, all expressed themselves interested. Much jealousy and prejudice, however, required to be overcome. Bigotry was even brought into play. There might be some deep sectarian scheme in the pretended efforts to serve these young and unprotected females. We need hardly speak in the language of detestation of this species of obstructiveness, which prevents hundreds of valuable schemes of social melioration from being entered into... Continue reading book >>


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