Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 2-250 (Raw)

2-250 (Raw)

Item metadata
addressee author,female,Chisholm, Caroline,34
Word Count :
Plaint Text :
Public Written
Teale, 1982
Document metadata

2-250-raw.txt — 4 KB

File contents

The way in which single women are now sent out is highly objectionable: they are placed under the protection of married families; nothing is known of their character; the first thing to be done is to change the girl's name - what can we expect with a falsehood to commence with! [42] One girl who came into the barracks, gave the name of Ellen McGuiggan: on looking at the ship's list, I saw no such name. 'Oh, ma'am, I forget! I was changed to another family'. This girl's real name was McDermott: she was to have left Tipperary with a family by the name of McQuade; but, at the last moment, they refused to emigrate, and Ellen was transferred to McGuiggan's care; but ultimately she came under the protection of Mr and Mrs Matthews. Is this the way to improve the morals of the people? I have seen so much of this kind of protection, that I abhor and loathe the thought of it. Some families there are who have indeed acted a parent's part - in every ship there are some; but I have known some of these married men tear up their marriage certificates, leave their wives in Sydney, and extend their protection far into the interior. [...]
I may here remark, that very little dependence can be placed on written characters. The Countess of Cashel seems to take an interest in the poor, and her characters, when genuine, are to be depended upon: but many come here with forged characters, and I have remarked they generally run thus, if given by the countess, - 'The bearer is a diligent reader of the Bible, has attended a Sabbath school for years, and is strongly recommended to the pious care of any Protestant family she may meet with'. The Catholics generally have one from their bishop, the Right Reverend Dr Murray, of Dublin, who has known them for years; and the tenor of the certificate runs thus - 'For four years the bearer has been a weekly communicant, and would be a treasure to any family, and is most strongly recommended to the pious care of the clergy of New South Wales'. Now, the genuine certificates of the above lady and gentleman are worded in a very different style. The Countess [a name given to a well-known prostitute in Sydney], and E.B, per ship - - , had several of these pious testimonials: the latter, I recommended to Mrs - - ; the second night she slept out, and the fourth she returned intoxicated to the Home. Now as it appears to me impossible that girls, if they are sent good, can become so suddenly bad, I told the girl so; and asked, why she came to this colony? 'I started in a spree; William Walter persuaded me.' And now for William Walter: he was late in his application - if four more girls were found, he could go - a visit was forthwith made to, and four were found: 'Give them a little starch, and they will answer for Sydney'. [...]
I am fully aware of the difficulty of controling [sic] a number of persons, and getting them to go the way you wish; consequently, I can feel for those who, by a certain day, must fill a ship: some will, at the last moment, fly from their word; this causes a gap - how is it filled? [43] The papers are taken from one, handed to another, and the number is complete; the ship sails, and when she arrives in Sydney, what is the consequence? The board assemble to inspect the immigrants; now view the group: First stand the able ploughmen, and the stout Irishwomen - just the girls for a show. 'Capital set', says - - - . 'Healthy', says - - - ; 'oh, there is something truly cheering to the spirits in the sight of such a group!' But just pass the line: you can see on - - _'s face, in legible letters, the quarantine - however, a few orders for the general hospital, and stop the bounty until they get well. But the scrutiny is going on, - one after the other quickly passes; the importers are in spirits - . - The girls now pass, - ten girls from Limerick - able, stout, strong, and tall - without a doubt they pass them all. Those are twelve from Cork - just the girls gentlemen love to question. Another lot - these look genteel; they are dressed for the occasion: one has been a favourite; it has been rumoured that, at sea, she ate Leman's biscuit; the steward, to her, has been attentive - liberal with the captain's store. The board, indulgent, make some excuses - a pretty woman 'tis painful to condemn; she may be made the subject of future enquiry, but now she passes. Another group - a medley here - one is too old, another too young, another not under proper protection. But the first set made an impression on the minds of the board; they are all in good humour, and these are passed; but still there are two - 'Where did you come from?' 'Liverpool'. There she stands, fully prepared to answer any question; but to prevent waste of time, or to avoid enquiry, the importer withdraws his claim to the bounty, and all are satisfied.