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2-251 (Original)

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addressee author,female,Chisholm, Caroline,34
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Teale, 1982
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One of the most serious evils I know is the practice of young women being allowed to make engagements on board ship. Some families, of high respectability, do engage servants in this way; but I also know that some people, of the very worst character, go there and engage servants - servants, no; they are not required as servants - they are not wanted to work. Many have I known, who have been taken to houses of the worst character the first day of their arrival. Shall this evil continue? God forbid! But I will give you a few facts.
E. A. - - , an orphan, fifteen years of age, per ship - - - , was sent to me by a person who saw her danger, and advised me of it. According to the rate of wages given at the time, she was worth three shillings per week: she was engaged at six shillings. I asked what work she had to do? 'None.' 'What, do you not sweep the rooms?' 'No.' 'Wash the tea-things?' 'No; all I have to do is to carry notes, and buy fruit and cakes.' 'What houses do you take the notes to?' 'No houses; I walk between - - - street and - - - street, and my mistress tells me to keep near - - - office, about two o'clock, and give to gentlemen, answering a particular description, the notes.' I need not say more, than that the child said, when I asked if she had received any presents? - 'Yes; all the girls get presents; and a gentleman is to give me two pounds.' A government Registry-office would, in a great measure, prevent this evil - . - I may also state another fact, and one well known to some of the members of the Immigration Board, that a gentleman is known to visit nearly every ship, and there engage a single woman. He came to my office, but his character was known to me; I would not give him one. He left my office for the ship - - - , then in harbour, and engaged one.
[Such characters] can go on board ship with impunity: how can the captain or surgeon be expected to know them? they judge from appearances. A silk dress - a little talk about attending church on a Sunday, and the poor girl gets high wages - leads an idle life - visits the theatre - dresses well - leads some of her shipmates into the same hands. And then comes the cry against the Bounty system - the importer and the agents. 'See what a set the - - - brought us: I counted ten from that ship at the theatre last night.' I have no hesitation in saying, that girls of bad character are shipped to these colonies, and must be known, at the time, to be such. In many cases they are without certificates; and I have known instances, in which the importers have not put in their claim for the bounty. One girl, long known at Liverpool as 'the Countess', arrived per ship - - - , and now figures in Sydney; the last time I saw her was on a Sunday, near St James's Church; she had evidently started in the morning, with an intention of making herself look interesting, at either St James's or at St Mary's, for her book was in her hand; but she had taken a glass by the way, and was so far aware of her state, that she requested a man to help her to a seat in the Domain. [53] I saw her fall twice, and since then I have not seen 'the Countess'. People express their astonishment that English girls are not sent out. We will suppose that some families at Liverpool are meditating this step, and in their anxiety to obtain all information, they learn that the Countess is missing. The Countess left on - - , in the year - - - , for Australia. They condemn all for one; they shrink with horror from sending their daughter where the Countess is received; they know her character; they are strangers to those on board; all, therefore, suffered for one; they are condemned as a bad set.