UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of middle-class female emigration from Great Britain, 1830-1914 Hammerton, Anthony James 1968

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-UBC_1969_A1 H35.pdf [ 21.85MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0104016.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0104016-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0104016-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0104016-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0104016-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0104016-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0104016-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

A STUDY OF MIDDLE-CLASS FEMALE EMIGRATION FROM GREAT BRITAIN, 1830 - 191U by ANTHONY JAMES HAMMERTON B,A., Sir George Williams University, 19&k  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n the Department of History  ¥e accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA January, 1968  In p r e s e n t i n g an  this  thesis  advanced degree at  the  Library  I further for  shall  the  his  of  this  agree that  of  be  available  g r a n t e d by  gain  History.  January 17, 19&<$  for  for extensive  permission.  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  British  the  It i s understood  thes.is f o r f i n a n c i a l  Department of  Date  University  permission  representatives.  written  f u l f i l m e n t of  make i t f r e e l y  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may  by  in partial  Columbia  shall  requirements  Columbia,  Head o f my  be  I agree  r e f e r e n c e and copying of  that  not  the  that  Study.  this  thesis  Department  copying or  for  or  publication  allowed without  my  ii ABSTRACT The plight of the impecunious unmarried gentlewoman i s a familiar theme i n Victorian social history.  Historians have ransacked literary  sources to demonstrate the misery of the Victorian governess and the depth of a dilemma that was sufficiently serious to generate the feminist movement.  let there has been no systematic study of the changing fate  of the Victorian "distressed gentlewoman" i n the face of a l l the attempts by reformers and philanthropists to improve her position during the nineteenth century. The problem of writing a social history of the Victorian middleclass spinster has been aggravated by the paucity of appropriate sources. This study i s based on the records of contemporary female emigration societies and Colonial Office emigration projects, and on the personal correspondence of some emigrants.  I t investigates the position of distressed  gentlewomen from 1830 to 191U. and explains the results of one popular remedy for their dilemma: emigration.  Only i n the latter half of the  nineteenth century did voluntary organizations establish f a c i l i t i e s expressly for the emigration of middle-class women. Yet some early-Victor*ian gentlewomen were sufficiently hard pressed to use the f a c i l i t i e s of working-class organizations to escape from d i f f i c u l t circumstances i n Britain.  The emigration records permit a closer analysis of the social  backgrounds and careers of some Victorian gentlewomen than has hitherto been possible.  iii Throughout the nineteenth century i n Britain there was an increase ing surplus of women of marriageable age.  This intensified the problems  of middle-class women who were without any means of financial support. The Victorian social code stressed marriage as the most respectable career for women, and for those unable to achieve that status the employment f i e l d was confined, i n large measure, to the overcrowded and exploited occupation of the governess.  For women with only mediocre qualifications  for teaching who were accustomed to the relative leisure of the middleclass home the need to find employment could come as a rude shock, and usually involved a certain loss of caste.  The economic problems of dis-  tressed gentlewomen are familiar, but i t is not generally recognized that many of them suffered from what we today c a l l alienation. Emigration, more than any possible occupation i n Britain, was able to alleviate this sense of alienation by providing remunerative work i n combination with secure social relations, by the working gentlewoman i n Britain.  a combination rarely enjoyed  In the British colonies a gentle-  woman could safely become a domestic servant without losing social rank and the companionship of her employers.  Yet several factors prevented  large numbers of distressed gentlewomen from taking advantage of emigration. The early-Victorian prejudice against female emigration, the preference of the colonists for working-class women, the rigid principles of the feminists and the insistence of British emigration organizations on expensive preliminary domestic training raised formidable barriers against the emigration of most impecunious gentlewomen. When, i n the late-Victorian and  iv Edwardian periods, voluntary organizations used the rhetoric of the Victorian feminine c i v i l i z i n g mission to encourage large numbers of educated women to emigrate, i t was well-trained lower-middle-class women seeking professional work who benefited most, and not the less qualified distressed gentlewomen. The latter had not profited from the late-Victorian advances i n female education; rather, the resulting competition worsened their relative position in the search for employment. Neither emigration nor the achievements of the feminists could solve the problem of the distressed gentlewoman, a problem which remained acute while the Victorian social code survived. Only the decline of that social code and the mass-mobilization of the female labour force during the First World War eliminated the existence of distressed gentlewomen as an important social problem.  v  TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE Abstract  i i  L i s t of Tables  vi  Acknowledgement  vii 1  INTRODUCTION CHAPTER I. II. IH. IV.  THE PROBLEM OF THE VICTORIAN GENTLEWOMAN  12  THE STEREOTYPE OF FEMALE EMIGRATION  5l  THE PIONEERS: EARLY VICTORIAN EMIGRANTS  101  A CASE STUDY: MARY TAYLOR IN NEW ZEALAND  '130  V. THE EARLY 'FIFTIES: VOLUNTARY EFFORT AND THE NEW IMAGE OF EMIGRATION  l6U  VI. FEMINISM AND FEMALE EMIGRATION,  1861-1885 VII.  THE •HOME-HELP* s  220 SOCIAL CLASS AND INCENTIVES  TO FEMALE EMIGRATION, 1880-19114. VT.H. CONCLUSION  263 328  BIBLIOGRAPHY .  338  APPENDICES  358  vi LIST OF TABLES TABLE  PAGE  1.  Females per 1,000 males, England and Wales  20  2.  Excess of Males and Females, England and Wales, l86l . . . .  21  3.  Middle-Class Age at Marriage, 181*0-1870 . .  23  U. Selected Former Occupations of Lunatics Compared to Total of each Occupation i n Population, England and Wales,  1861 5.  Great Britain (excluding Ireland):  .. .  27  Putatively Middle-Class  Occupations for Women, l85l  3k  6. Female Emigrants Assisted to Canada by B.W.E.A., 1906-12; . ,  321*  7. Adult Female Emigrants from Great Britain, 1899-1911 . . . .  325  vii ACMOWLEDGEMENT I owe a debt of gratitude to a number of people for their valuable help during the preparation of this thesis.  Dr. James Winter, with his  patient and painstaking criticism, was a constant source of f r u i t f u l ideas and moral support. and advice.  Professor John Norris also offered useful criticism  Mrs. Winifred Gerin suggested some profitable avenues of  inquiry into the family background of Mary Taylor, and Dr. Joan Stevens of the Victoria University of Wellington helped to clarify some obscure details regarding Mary Taylor's New Zealand experience.  I derived con-  siderable help and insight from frequent discussions with Mrs. Barbara Frankle, who i s completing a kindred study of Victorian concepts of gent i l i t y at the University of Wisconsin.  To Seymour Mayne, Canadian poet  and student of Canadiana, I am indebted for his suggestions regarding Susanna Moodie and other pioneering female authors i n Canada. Miss Vera Douie and Miss M. Surry of the Fawcett Library, Westminster, were most co-operative i n helping me to trace some records of the late-Victorian emigration societies.  The Earl of Pembroke kindly allowed me access to  the Herbert papers on female emigration at Wilton House, Salisbury. I am obliged to Miss Sheila Foster for typing most of the f i n a l draft at considerable personal sacrifice.  My research was made possible by gen-  erous financial support from the Canada Council.  IHTRODUCTION A standard feature of the long Victorian era was the unmarried and invariably umarriageable "distressed gentlewoman.  w  cteristics are familiar:  Her chief chara-  brought up f o r a l i f e of cultured leisure, i n  some cases suffering from "too much l e i s u r e , " she was suddenly faced 1  with the need to earn an independent living with the use of her superf i c i a l "accomplishments," music, drawing, dancing and a smattering of French. Her only possible employment was that of the governess, an overcrowded profession i n which most members were i l l - q u a l i f i e d , exploited and downtrodden. 6. M. Young spoke both f o r contemporary f i c t i o n and recent historical treatment when he described the governess, "snubbed, bullied and usually quite incompetent, as a "standby of Victorian pathtt  2 os."  W. L. Burn recently described the dependent daughter as "one of  the fundamentals on which the Victorian home was based. "^ Equally, i t i s true that the impoverished single daughter was a nagging reminder of certain deficiencies i n the Victorian social system, a disturbing indication that the wealthy and all-powerful middle-class was yet unable to preserve the status of i t s overprotected women. Although she i s a familiar figure the distressed gentlewoman has  ^G. M. Trevelyan, English Social History, (London, 19l£), p. 1*88. ^G. J J Young, Victorian England, Portrait of an Age. (London, 1953, Second edition), p. 90, #  ^W. L. Bum, The Age of Equipoise. A study of the mid-Victorian Generation, ( f i r s t published London I96I4., New York, 196f?)» p. 2J>1. "  2. yet  to be made the subject of systematic historical or sociological  analysis.  Many writers have ransacked literary sources—most notably  mid-Victorian novels—to produce vivid descriptions of the daily l i f e of the  governess.^ Historical works on feminism have demonstrated that the  economic plight of the Victorian gentlewoman was a major factor i n the origins of the "women's movement.'* What we lack i s a composite view of the problems faced throughout the nineteenth century by the rank and f i l e of distressed gentlewomen and of the response of prominent groups i n society towards their problems. Most accounts based on literary sources tend to assume that the problem of the gentlewoman was an essentially mid-Victorian one, and that i t tended to fade away with the establishment of "fee "women's movement.^ I t takes l i t t l e study to show that, on the  contrary, the problems of the impoverished gentlewoman persisted up  to the F i r s t World War, and that one of the f i r s t questions posed by a systematic enquiry should be why nearly a l l her problems remained impervious to a l l the reforms of the nineteenth century.  How did various re-  formers react to and ameliorate this nagging social problem? It i s d i f f i c u l t to answer these questions i f one intends t o look beyond the customary well-researched literary sources.  These sources  made exhaustive use of the distressed gentlewoman and governess. Novels  hsee especially W. F. Neff, Victorian Working Women. (London. 1929), K. West, Chapter of Governesses, (London, 19h9), and B. Howe, Galaxy of Governesses, (London, J95UJ. ~" $Neff, op. c i t . . pp. 181-3.  from Jane Austen to the Brontes s t i l l remain valuable sources for insight into the dilemma of frustrated gentlewomen* But l i t t l e non-literary mate r i a l exists which could constitute a systematic body of sources to examine the problems of these women throughout the century. It i s at this point that the question of female emigration becomes relevant.  Middle-class women In need of employment turned hesitantly to-  wards emigration as a f i n a l resort during the nineteenth century. The emigration of respectable spinsters, however impoverished, was a controversial and hazardous venture which provoked strong disagreements among interested Victorians.  I t struck at the roots of a major Victorian pre-  occupation with the ideals, beliefs and expectations of genteel English womanhood. A study of the evolution of female emigration can therefore shed light on the reaction of various groups to the Victorian gentlewoman and her vexing problems.  How, for example, did the politicians,  the c i v i l servants, the philanthropists and the feminists react to the impecunious spinster who contemplated emigration?  How, also, did the  colonies respond to the sudden arrival of such apparently unprepared misfits? By the mid-nineteenth century the term 'middle-class,* although s t i l l a meaningful distinction, comprised a wide cross-section of subclasses with diverse social backgrounds and degrees of wealth.  The i n -  numberable popular and literary studies of Victorian gentlewomen have done l i t t l e to distinguish between the effect of various social changes  i n the nineteenth century on women from each of these sub-classes. Except for a few prominent individuals we know l i t t l e of the social backgrounds and subsequent careers of the f i r s t students to attend Queen's College and Bedford College at mid-century; nor, more important, do we know how these f i r s t steps i n female educational reform affected the mass of excluded women who could not take advantage of the new opportunities. How, for example, did the borderline lower-middle-class woman and the more gently-nurtured, but impoverished, spinster fare i n the face of late-Victorian higher teaching standards wrought by the improved teachertraining of a minority?^ This i s the kind of question for which l i t t l e direct evidence exists.  The emigration sources, however, can be used  indirectly to provide answers. I t would be useful, for example, to know which middle-class women were most driven to the outlet of emigration, and what conditions i n Britain motivated them. Did the late-Victorian reforms i n female education and the consequent rise i n teaching standards cause more poorly educated women to turn to emigration, and i f so what were their social origins?  Finally, how do the colonial careers of mid-  dle-class emigrants—their improvement or otherwise—illuminate the nature of their previous social position i n Britain?  Fortunately the re-  cords of some female emigration organizations contain enough data, i n the form of statistics and correspondence, to attempt some answers to these questions.  In no case i s there a massive and systematic body of  The otherwise useful study of female education by J . Kamm, Hope Deferred; Girls' Education i n English History. (London, 1965), evades this type of question; l i k e other modern studies i t operates primarily within an institutional framework.  quantifiable material, but there i s sufficient to make some reliable generalizations. The emigration sources also permit a fresh examination of Victorian feminism.  Emigration i s one of those social movements which imping-  ed on the feminist movement at many points. Nearly a l l the factors which prompted an interest i n female emigration also stimulated the wider movement f o r female emancipation at home. The chronic disproportion between the sexes which produced a visible reserve army of unmarried, unemployed and "redundant" women was a convincing argument f o r either a massive scheme of assisted emigration or a long-range plan to admit women to preserves of masculine employment. The a l l too obvious fact that most of the superfluous unemployed women i n Britain were middle-class meant that both feminists and female emigration promoters oriented their campaigns primarily to women of that class.  Furthermore, the feminists themselves  turned at one point to emigration as a means to alleviate the pressure i n Britain f o r female employment. Female emigration, however, raised a number of questions on marriage, education and employment which were c a l culated to conflict with the principles of the more ideological feminists.  Their practical resolution of these questions, makes clear the  feminist attitude towards emigration and does much to explain the nature of feminist attitudes per se.  A study of the emigration movement, there-  fore, can serve as a useful vehicle to illuminate the feminist movement at some of i t s most sensitive and hitherto unexplored points.  6. A straightforward study of feminism has yet to provide this illumination.  Despite the popularity of Victorian feminism i n recent h i s t o r i -  ography almost none of the output has contributed to the social and i n tellectual history of the feminist movement. Until very lately most studies were l i t t l e more than biographies of the leading figures or chronological accounts of the path to emancipation, with the suffrage movement  7 and i t s success the inevitable climax.  The most recent historical works  have followed this well-trodden path, and historians seem to have abandoned the entire f i e l d of the social history of the women's movement to sociologists.®  The latter have made useful studies of, f o r example, the  relationship between feminism and the rise of birth control and the function of the Victorian family i n relation to divorce legislation.? The institutional approach of the historians, on the other hand, has See, for example, R. Strachey, The Causet A Short History of the Women's Movement i n Great Britain, (London, 1928). A more recent example of the same basic approach i s J . Kamm, Rapiers and Battleaxesj The Women's Movement and i t s Aftermath, (London, 1966;. See also D. Mitchell, The Fighting Pankhurstsj A Study i n Tenacity, (London, 1967). 7  ^Recent studies of American feminism have made some useful contributions to intellectual and social history, notably A. S. Kraditor, The Ideas of the Women Suffrage Movement. 1890-1920, (New York, 1965), and A. P. Grimes, The Puritan Ethic and Woman Suffrage, (New York, 19o7). By contrast the most recent English works lack any new perspective; M. Ramelson, The Petticoat Rebellion, (London, 1967), i s a combination of primitive Marxism and biographical material, and C. Rover, Women's Suffrage and Party Politics i n Britain. 1866-I91iu (London, 1967), while relating feminism to the contemporary p o l i t i c a l framework, does not interpret i t within any wider context. A. and 0. Banks, Feminism and Family Planning i n Victorian England. (Liverpool, 19610? 0. R. McGregor, Divorce i n England. (London. 1957).  7. elucidated thoroughly the growth, leadership and organization of the women's movement, but said virtually nothing about the women the feminists intended t o help.  Also, with very few exceptions, historians have  treated the feminist movement i n a vacuum, f a i l i n g to relate i t to i t s social context and other social movements. This f a i l i n g i s due partly to the very nature of the feminist movement. Mary Wollstonecraft s feminism of the late eighteenth century 1  was simply one inseparable aspect of the contemporary Utopian radicalism, but the women's movement of a century later was an independent issue quite unrelated to other movements for social reform.  The Victorian and  Edwardian feminists were middle-class leaders interested solely i n the problems of middle-class women. Most of their campaigns for education, employment and the suffrage were of a moderate and piecemeal nature which involved no fundamental restructuring of society; indeed, most feminists shrank from any suggestion of a change i n the wider social structure. There was no larger social movement with which they could associate, and they would have held aloof i n their middle-class gradualism even had there been one.  Consequently there i s l i t t l e scope for historians of  feminism to examine the subject within a wider progressive or revolutionary movement.  10  •"'The fact that this general interpretation i s very gradually becoming the new conventional wisdom suggests that the state of feminist studies i s not as backward as i s here alleged. The new syntheses, however, l i k e that i n the general historical discussion of N. I. MacKenzie, Women i n Australia, (London, 1963), pp. 2-8, have preceded the more particuiarazeci social analyses required to support them.  8. The lack of appropriate sources i s a further obstacle to deeper social analysis of the feminist movement, just as i t i s to an examination of the more general problem of the Victorian gentlewoman. At the administrative level historians have exhausted the material relating to the poli c i e s , motivations and achievements of the various feminist organizations, but these sources can yield l i t t l e more insight unless they are supplemented by other material relating to the ranks of middle-class women who were the objects of feminist exertions.  The records of feminist organi-  zations are sadly deficient i n this kind of material and what l i t t l e exi s t s has not been exploited.  Most scholars, f o r example, rightly assume  that feminist workers were interested solely i n 'middle-class' women, but there has been no attempt to determine exactly which section of the middle-class benefitted most from their work. Since there i s no wider revolutionary or reform movement within which to examine feminism, future studies must examine i t not i n a vacuum, but i n relation to other contemporary developments. For example, the sociological study by J. A. and Olive Banks of the role of feminism i n the rise of birth control also yielded important knowledge about feminist attitudes towards married women.  11  Similarly, an enquiry into the femin-  ists ' role i n female emigration can show how they f e l t about marriage and domestic service.  The short-lived feminist f l i r t a t i o n with emigration  during the 'sixties and 'seventies should help to clarify some basic feminist attitudes. I t can also help to explain the impact of the  11  Banks, op. c i t .  9. various feminist reforms i n education and employment on different subclasses of women. The emigration sources, although by no means exhaustive, do permit a deeper study of these questions than other material. The pertinent sources for a study of female emigration extend beyond statistics, correspondence and material on the social backgrounds of emigrants to the propaganda employed by various emigration organizations.  By the early twentieth century the complex rhetoric used i n sup-  port of female emigration assumes almost as much prominence as the concrete accomplishments of the movement i t s e l f .  The rhetoric i s a key  tool, therefore, i n answering a central question posed by this study: whether i t s promoters conceived female emigration t o be a conservative or progressive solution to the problems facing B r i t i s h women, and whether i t was, i n practice, what they conceived i t to be.  I t should not be  surprising to find a considerable gulf between the rhetoric and the reality. Besides offering new material f o r the study of middle-class women and Victorian feminism, the phenomenon of female emigration also provides a novel perspective from which to view the massive emigration movement of the nineteenth century. The f i r s t formal attempts to organize female emigration schemes i n the eighteen-thirties were made long before the beginnings of the Victorian feminist campaign.  The i n i t i a l schemes were  working-class i n orientation, but they appealed to significant proportions of middle-class women. Furthermore, the chequered history of early and mid-Victorian female emigration i s i t s e l f a history, from an unusual  10. viewpoint, of the hesitant but wider development of middle-class emigration i n general. The dangerous and unsavoury reputation enjoyed by emigration i n Britain during the eighteen-twenties changed to a more favourable one over the subsequent thirty years; this change had important Implications for the future of 'genteel* female emigration, and, conversely, female emigration projects themselves contributed towards the moulding of a new image of emigration.  Hence the growth and acceptance  of middle-class female emigration from an early hostile stereotype can best be studied against the background of the changing emigration image between the 'thirties and ' f i f t i e s .  I t was the emergence i n the ' f i f t i e s  of female emigration as a respectable outlet for educated women which prepared the ground for the more extensive schemes of the feminists and their successors. The sources for this study are those of, or relating to, voluntary emigration organizations, and, i n the second and third chapters, the emigration records of the Colonial Office.  Wherever possible data  relative t o the lives of individual emigrants has been u t i l i z e d , particularly their correspondence; but where this i s impossible, statistics, administrative records and related published sources add dimension. Since emigrants  1  correspondence i s less common f o r the early-Victorian  period than later, a case study of one of the better known, although admittedly untypical, emigrants of this period, Mary Taylor, i s used to sharpen the general conclusions. The main virtue of Mary Taylor as an emigrant i s the relative abundance of useful documentary sources. Her  11,  close friendship from adolescence with Charlotte Bronte gave rise t o a voluminous correspondence, much of which was destroyed; but those letters that survived provide a clear insight into her background, motivation and emigration experience.  That experience has some important features  in common with other female emigrants, but i t i s more valuable as a guide to the social background of the most elusive type of female emigrant for the historian, the independent woman who emigrated alone and without the assistance of voluntary organizations.  Already assured of  a comfortable livelihood, these women instead sought independence and challenge, and since they spurned a l l forms of paternal protection they l e f t no trace of their experience i n the records of an emigration agency. Mary Taylor's history does much to compensate f o r this deficiency. This study extends from the origins of the f i r s t formal attempt to organize an assisted female emigration scheme i n the eighteen-thirties to the effective end of the old techniques of female emigration with the outbreak of war i n 1911+. The period under review, a long one compared to that covered by most monographs, covers three different generations of women, and illustrates the most important factors of social change which affected women i n each generation. Between 1830 and I91I4., however, there were some crucial factors i n the lives of middle-class women which remained f a i r l y constant;  The opening chapter i s therefore an  attempt to identify these common factors.  12. Chapter I The Problem of the Victorian Gentlewoman The picture of the revered, idle gentlewoman, cultivated i n manners and superficial accomplishments but shielded from the harsh r e a l i ties of p o l i t i c s , business and urban poverty, i s a familiar one to scholars of Victorian England. I t i s a notion which exerted powerful influence as a Victorian ideal and represented reality for countless middle-class women, whose place, married or single, unquestionably remained i n the home. With a regular army of servants and appliances at 1  her service, her concrete household functions were progressively reduced to insignificance i n the nineteenth century, and to replace them contemporary theorists of "Womans mission" devised abstract ideals of 1  noble refinement which at times reached positively majestic proportions. One of the peculiar offices of women i s to refine society. They are very much shielded by their sex from the stern duties of men, and from that intercourse with the basest part of mankind which i s opposed to the humanizing influence of mental cultivation. On them, the improvement of society i n these respects chiefly depends.2  ^The term "middle-class", as used here, generally refers to the newly- affluent suburban classes of the nineteenth century, and i s most often determined by the father's occupation, which could range from minor clerk to barrister or industrialist. This broad frame of reference i s r e a l i s t i c when discussing the Victorian woman, since the contemporary ethic of the 'young lady' applied to a wide range of women extending from the lower-middle to upper-middle-classes. Seme non-urban women l i k e the daughters of country clergymen f a l l within this definition, but i n general the women under discussion here are those most affected by the progress of industrialization and urbanization. J . G. Phi 11.1 more reviewing Woman's Rights and Duties "By a Woman,'' Blackwood's. Vol. .LTV, Sept. 1«U3, pp. 383-it. 2  13. Is this familiar picture an accurate one? Its unquestioned acceptance suggests that i t may well be overdrawn and some qualification i s undoubtedly necessary before accepting the conventional view. The long schedule of household duties prescribed by Mrs. Beeton i n her famous Book of Household Management suggests that the female members of a middleclass family had l i t t l e time to spare after their daily rounds of household supervision, c h i l d care and social obligations.^ Florence Nightingale, who belonged to an affluent upper-class family, found the assignment of supervising and taking inventory of the still-room, pantry and linen-room a taxing chore, much as she loathed i t s apparent f u t i l i t y . ^ For most women the daily routine may have brought a sense of purpose which could easily be lacking from a l i f e divorced from a l l the industri a l and commercial pursuits of society. On the other hand the most systematic enquiry to date suggests that after the middle of the century middle-class women came to enjoy an increasing amount of leisure which only a few put to constructive use.-* From the eighteen-fifties the  %he amount of domestic chores could vary substantially depending on whether or not the family employed a housekeeper, i n which case the housewife's role was reduced to one of supervising the housekeeper; s t i l l , for a l l Mrs. Beeton's diligence she was unable to find sufficient routine duties for more than a morning's work, and expected the afternoon to be devoted to social visiting; I. Beeton, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Managementj (London, 1906, orig. published 1861), pp. 10-20. ~~ **C. Woodharaj-^mith, Florence Nightingale. 1820-1910. (London, orig. published 1951), pp. 53-1*.  1961,  **J. A. and Olive Banks, Feminism and Family Planning i n Victorian England; the Banks further speculate that the drive and energy of the feminists was a result of their release from the "burden of domesticity," and of the t r i v i a l i t y and humiliation of leisured ladyhood, which both  lit.  rapid rise i n the middle-class "standard of comfort" denoted a steady i n crease i n the average establishment of domestic servants, which, together with the advent of labour-saving appliances, curtailed many of the household activities of most gentlewomen. J. A. and Olive Banks aptly described the effects of t h i s change on the mistress of the house as transi t i o n from "the perfect wife to the perfect lady," and while their description of the idle gentlewoman as a status symbol may be exaggerated, i t i s clear that female leisure did become more of a mark of status and respectability during the mid-Victorian period. The trend towards more leisure for the middle-class woman, a l though rapidly accelerated during the nineteenth century, was certainly not new.  For several centuries the wife's pre-industrial role of partner  i n her husband's business had been diminishing. By the seventeenth century, most writers agree, the middle-class woman's time was almost wholly taken up with homemaking, normally a demanding task even with a large company of servants.^ S t i l l , i n such matters of slow and fundamental  stemmed from the mid-Victorian rising standard of l i v i n g , pp. 10-13; for a more detailed analysis of the increasing "standard of comfort," see the earlier study by J . A. Banks, Prosperity and Parenthood, (London, 195k) chaps. 5-7, esp. pp. 101-2. 9  ^A. Clark, Working Life of Women i n the Seventeenth Century, (London, 1919), p. h i ; C. Hole, The English Housewife i n the Seventeenth Century, (London, 1953), pp» 2-5$ the best account of the pre-industrial family i s i n P. Arids, Centuries of Childhood, (transl. R. Baldick, London, 1962), 339-1+1 and passim; Ari6s' pre-industrial model of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries cannot be taken as an accurate description of the contemporary English family, which probably evolved to industr i a l patterns more quickly, but his picture of the closely knit family, including servants and employees, i n which the wife was commonly regarded  15. change i t pays to be circumspect.  The wife of Peter Laslett s seventeenth 1  century master-baker was both a partner and a subordinate, "a partner because she ran the family, took charge of the food and managed the womenservants, a subordinate because she was woman and wife, mother and i n place of mother to the rest. * 1  So long as apprentices, journeymen and  servants resided on the premises and were regarded as part of the family, some vestiges of the woman's pre-industrial role remained, and i t was not uncommon f o r a widow to carry on the business after her husband's death. The major change for women only came with the separation of the dwellingplace from the entrepeneur's working-place, a change which, Laslett argues, was not a recognized feature of the seventeenth century social system. The greatest acceleration i n the process by which home and workingplace became separated occurred during the nineteenth century.  The sub-  urban movement strengthened the tendency of women to be completely detached from the affairs of the family business.  H. J. Dyos shows i n his  study of Victorian Camberwell that the d r i f t to new suburbs became well established at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and attracted  as a necessary business partner, indicates the basic shift which industrialization wrought i n the woman's role. Laslett, The World We Have Lost. (London, 1965), pp. 1-lUj I. Pinchbeck, Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution. 1750-1850., (London, 1930), pp. 303-6, attributes the most crucial changes i n i n dustrialization for women to the latter half of the eighteenth century.  16. prosperous new residents who travelled daily to the commercial metropolis for their employment.^  As transportation f a c i l i t i e s improved the subur-  ban movement gathered pace, and brought with i t the social and economic isolation of women. The rapid changes seemed so fundamental to those who lived through them that i n 1869 a female reformer could argue that the old unity of family industry had only been destroyed i n the past forty years by the omnibus, steamboat and railway, creating "a state of things suggestive of monastic and conventual service without these enclosures."^ The virtues so enthusiastically assigned by the Victorians to t h e i r women were virtues of the suburban housewife with a family to breed, servants to supervise and a husband to c i v i l i z e . It has yet to be proved exactly how idle most middle-class women were i n the nineteenth century, but the Banks' studies confirm the impression.which so much of the literature of the time conveys, that their idleness increased during the century, and that i t became an important mark of respectability, or, as Banks described i t , part of the "paraphernalia of gentility."  Especially during the ' f i f t i e s and 'sixties as  prosperity increased, and with i t the retinue of domestic servants and household appliances, the woman's former role of domestic housekeeper diminished.  A constant round of social v i s i t s , fancy needlework, the  °H. J . Dyos, Victorian Suburb. (Leicester, l?6l), pp. 31-7; cf. J . H. Clapham, An Bctoncimic History of England, Vol. I, 1820-50, (Cambridge, 1930J, pp. i»l-2. % r s . J . Stewart, The Missing Law; or Woman's Birthright, (London,  I869), p. 13.  17. light morning routine of household supervision, tended to replace manual housework i n the wealthy suburbs. The transition "from the perfect wife to the perfect lady" freed the middle-class woman from household drudgery, 10 but, i n return, frequently exacted a heavy psychological t o l l .  The re-  sulting pressure on so many Victorian women to l i v e up to the noble ideal of the mission c i v i l a t r i x contributed to their mental strain. The popular Victorian version of the feminine c i v i l i z i n g mission contributed to the trend towards a norm of ladylike inactivity.  The high  puritanical tone of middle-class society i n early industrial England suited the image of Coventry Patmore's Angel i n the House.  When John  Buskin spoke i n I66I4. of woman's "queenly power" and her duty to "assist i n the ordering, i n the comforting, and i n the beautiful adornment of the state," he was repeating sentiments long held as an article of faith i n polite society.  Hannah More provided a manifesto f o r the doctrine i n  1799 when, i n justifiably condemning the frivolous nature of female education, she insisted that women should make a Christian use of more serious studies through a gentle religious influence on men.  This i n -  fluence she called "moral power.". "Have men no need," she asked, "to have their rough angles f i l e d off, and their harshnesses and asperities  J . A. and 0. Banks, Feminism and Family Planning, pp. 11-12 j J. A. Banks, Prosperity and Parenthood, chapt. 5-7. X U  "*%or a discussion of Patmore's poem i n this context see W. E. Houghton, The Victorian Frame of Mind. (New Haven, 1957), pp. 31*1-5,392. 12j. Ruskin, 'Of Queen's Gardens,' i n Sesame and L i l i e s , Two lectures delivered i n Manchester, 1861*, (London, 186^), pp. 122-3, l60-l, 177-9.  18. smoothed and polished by assimilating with beings of more softness and 13 refinement?"  For more than sixty years a host of lesser writers ex-  pressed agreement, and the moralizing literature of feminine obligation, especially common i n the 'thirties and 'forties, continued to honour Hannah More's ideal woman. ^ The wives and daughters of prosperous Victorian families were confronted with an unprecedented amount of leisure time which only a minority were equipped to use constructively.  This, rather than the slow improve-  ments i n woman's position wrought by the feminist movement, was the most important change experienced by women during the nineteenth century. Not surprisingly, the Victorian cult of the family assured that this general tendency would be elevated to a positive qualification for gentilily.  More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education, 2 Vols., (London, 1799), Vol. I, pp. 67-9, 178-81, Vol. I I , pp. W+, 22-3, 31-3; Hannah More depicted her archetypal model woman as Lucilla i n her famous novel Coelebs i n Search of a Wife, which, f i r s t published i n London i n 1808, reached i t s sixteenth edition by 1826, and reappeared frequently i n further editions up to 1879. •^See, f o r example, Sarah Lewis, Woman's Mission, (London, 1839); Mrs. S. E l l i s , The Women of England, (London, 1839); and The Daughters of England, (London, 181+2); Anon., Woman's Rights and Buties "By a Woman", 2 Vols., (London, 181+0); A. B. Muzzey, The English Maiden; Her Moral and. Domestic Duties (published anonymously), (London, 181+1); R. Montgomery, Woman. The Angel of L i f e . (A Poem), (London, 1833); the popular reviews and early Victorian Ladies' magazines invariably expressed the same views; see Edinburgh Review, Vol. LXXHI, April 181+1, pp. 189-209; Monthly Review. Aug. 1839. Vol. XI, pp. 535-50; Blackwood's, Vol. LTV, Sept. 181+3, pp. 373-97; The Christian Lady's Friend and Family Repositary. 1832-3, Vol. I I , pp. i i i - i v .  19. I f women were to humanize their families they must remain within the protective confines of the home, removed from the hard realities of the outside world.l£  At times the high flown rhetoric might sound unrealistic,  but the meaning was clear enough: women required domestic leisure i n order to qualify for gentility. What society wants from women i s not labour, but refinement, elevation of mind, knowledge, making i t s power f e l t through moral i n fluence and sound opinions. I t wants c i v i l i z e r s of men and educators of the young. And society w i l l suffer i n proportion as women are either driven by necessity or tempted by seeming advantages to leave this their natural vocation, and to j o i n the noisy throng i n the busy markets of the world.^ It followed that marriage, the sole vehicle whereby women could f u l f i l their "natural vocation" was the primary respectable ambition for the middle-class young lady. Yet the hard fact was that thousands of unmarriageable middleclass women were doomed to lives which both they and society f e l t to be unfulfilled.  " 'Woman's Mission,' " Mrs. Jameson indignantly remarked,  "of which people talk so well, and write so prettily, i s incompatible with 'Woman's Position,' of which no one dares to think, much less to speak." ^ 1  The hard fact was that throughout the nineteenth century the  the general tendencies of the Victorian family cf. 0. R. McGregor, op. c i t . , Chap. 3j and H. L. Beales 'The Victorian Family' i n H. Grisewood, Ideas and Beliefs of the Victorians ( f i r s t published i n 19U9), (New York, Dutton, 1£66), pp. 31*3-50. B a i l y A. E. Shirreff, Intellectual Education and i t s Influence on the Character and Happiness of Women, (London, l#5tt), pp. mi-tt7~~ l 6  'A. Jameson, " 'Woman's Mission' and 'Woman's Position ' ", i n Memoirs and Essays, (London, 181*6 new edition, i860), pp. 218. A  20. numbers of women i n the United Kingdom exceeded, at an increasing rate, those of men.  In England and Wales the most spectacular increase occured  between 1851 and 1661, as indicated i n Table 1. Table 1. - Females per 1,000 Males, England and Wales** 1  Year  England and Wales Females per 1,000 Males  1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911  1,01*2 1,053 1,05U 1,055 1,063 1,068 1,068  Several factors accounted for the female surplus. The male birth rate exceeded that for females, but male infant mortality was also higher, so that by the age of 15 there were more females living.  The constant  absence abroad of men i n the armed forces and merchant navy, and the greater drain of emigration on the male population further increased the disparity. ? What worried the Victorians most about this phenomenon was the 1  demonstrable fact that the greatest disparity occured i n the marriageable ages between 20 and 30, and the less verifiable assumption that the female excess was concentrated mainly in the middle-classes.  ^B. R. Mitchell, Abstract of British Historical Statistics, (Gambridge 1962), p. 6, Table 2. The female excess in Scotland was consistently greater. •^General Report, Census, England and Wales, 1861, PP., 1863, Vol. LIII, Pt. 1 232217, PP* 6-7.  21. Since emigration and the armed forces drained off a higher proportion of youthful males than those at other ages the greater excess of younger women was to be expected.  S t i l l the figures seemed alarming i n  1861, and provided an apparent explanation f o r the plight of so many young but unmarriageable gentlewomen. Table 2. Excess of Males and Females, England and Wales. Male Excess  O-U 5-9  10-lU  15-19 20-21*. 25-29 30-3U 35-39 1*0-10* 1*5-4*9  Female Excess  9,032 1,851* li.,602  -  -  16,782 109,073 100,590 63,398 U3,982 32,011 2U,220  Army, Navy and Merchant Seamen Abroad  1,601*  27,121 55,292 35,328 19,110 11,571* 6,367 3,021  The figures were considerably distorted, for as successive census reports complained, many women had an i r r i t a t i n g inclination to mis-state their ages.  Girls under 20 frequently over-stated their age i n order to qual-  i f y more readily f o r domestic service, and many women over 30 understated their age f o r reasons of personal vanity or e l i g i b i l i t y i n the marriage market. After 181*1 each census revealed more women i n the 20-25 age group than had been entered i n the 10-15 age group ten years  20lbid., Appendix, p. 115, Table 70.  22. earlier.  Consequently, while an excess of women certainly existed, i t  was probably more evenly distributed throughout the ages from ten to forty than the census suggests. * 2  On the second assumption, that middle-class women formed a disproportionate number of the surplus females, there was, and remains, l i t t l e direct evidence, except f o r the fact that the majority of female emigrants were working-class. Middle-class districts included a large number of domestic servants, which complicated any head count of their female population. The associated popular belief, that middle-class men and women were delaying marriage u n t i l later ages, i s less d i f f i c u l t 22 to substantiate.  The available evidence suggests that a trend towards  earlier marriage among the general population occured from lB5l to about I88l. ^  l e t a private study of marriage and mortality among the upper  2  and middle classes alone showed an unmistakeable rise i n the age at marriage i n both sexes i n these classes.  In 1871 C. Ansell, J r . obtained  the following results from a survey of nearly 8,000 families: ** 2  2lResuits and Observations, Census, Great Britain, l£5l, PP.. 1852-3, Vol. D O m i l , ^ 6 9 1 - l 7 Pt. I, pp. xxiv-xxvj General Report, Census, England and Wales, 1881, PP., 1883, Vol. LUX, £579j7, PP. 15-19S see also T. A. Welton, On the Inaccuracies Which Probably Exist i n the Census Returns of Ages. (Liverpool, 1876), pp. 1-13. o n the discussion of 'The Proper Time to Marry,' see Banks, Prosperity and Parenthood, Chap. 3. 2 2  3D. V. Glass, 'Marriage Frequency and Economic Fluctations i n England and Wales, l£5l to 19314.', i n L. Hogben, (Ed.), P o l i t i c a l Arithmetic: A Symposium of Population Studies, (London, 1938), p. 252, Table I. 2  *C. Ansell, Jr., On the Rate of Mortality at Early Periods of  2i  23. Table 3. -  Middle-Class Age at Marriage. 181*0-1870.  Period of Marriage  Before 181*0 During and since 181*0 Both Periods  Mean Age at Marriage Bachelor Years Spinster Years  Mean Difference i n Ages of Husband and Wife Years  28.61*  2l*.75  3.89  29.95 29.32  25.53 25.16  1*.1*2 i*.l6  The most significant feature was that the gap between the male and female age at marriage i n the middle-class was widening.  Therefore, if, as seems  likely, a high proportion of the female excess occured i n the same class, i t would be severely aggravated by the growing tendency of men to postpone marriage u n t i l a more affluent period of their lives. Providing her family could continue to support her, the gentlewoman who could not find a husband, and who had consequently "failed i n business" as the Saturday Review put it,^-> had l i t t l e else to look f o r ward to. Not surprisingly, therefore, she often suffered from what sociologists and psychologists today c a l l "alienation."  The lone sub-  stitute for her earlier active and concrete role within the family was the business of affecting a respectable and prosperous marriage, and to this end the family, especially the mother, devoted their energies and  Life, the Number of Children to a Marriage, the Length of a Generation, and other Statistics of Families i n the Upper and Professional Classes, (London, 1871*), p. hSl Ansell conducted his survey for the National Life Assurance Society. His survey covered the clergy, legal and medical professions and a large number "of other gentlemen and Noblemen" i n England and Wales. The clergy experienced the highest age at marriage at 30.1*1*,p.l*8. 25iQueen  Bees or Working Bees?' Saturday Review, Nov. 12, 1859.  2k. thereby served a real social purpose. But the marriage market, as the feminists never t i r e d of stressing, was grossly overstocked with eligible women—redundant women as one writer called them  —and the result i n  many cases was to rob the family of i t s sole remaining social function relating to the daughter.  Sentimental ties remained, and probably were  intensified, but the frustrating existence of suburban middle-class women implied that f o r them the family had declined i n real value.  They  had l i t t l e useful role to play i n i t s business, and were faced instead with an aimless routine of t r i v i a l rituals. Charlotte Bronte captured the symptoms of this aimless, alienated condition i n her portrayal of Caroline Helstone i n her novel Shirley. "Existence never was originally meant to be that useless, blank, pale, slow-trailing thing i t often becomes to many, and i s becoming to me, among the rest," mused Caroline.  She went on to lament the declining  health and "wondrous narrowness" of minds and views which invariably resulted from feminine aimlessness, and, l i k e the feminists, appealed to fathers to provide their daughters with useful education and  occupation.  Contemporaries frequently described these results of uncultivated leisure as a condition of "ennui" which only useful activity could eliminate.  27  % . R. Greg, 'Why are Women Redundant?', National Review. April lfi62, p. W J I J republished separately as a pamphlet i n London, 1869, and i n two editions of W. R. Greg, Literary and Social Judgements, (London, 2  I869).  ~  C . Bronte, Shirley (First published 181*9), Chap. 22 j E. Shirreff, op. c i t . , p. 23. 27  25. The more perceptive analysts saw that this condition went beyond simple mental vacuity or loneliness.  J . D. Milne's socio-psychological  diagnosis has a positively modem ring. i s i t Is—prevented from mingling her regard i n much that i s of v i t a l importance to the well-being of mankind, and from undertaking many duties to which she feels naturally called—there i s entailed upon her a constant sense of alienation from society, and the s t i l l more oppressive sense of a purposeless existence.2° Admittedly the frustrations of the idle woman formed a major platform i n the feminists' campaign f o r wider employment opportunities, and hence were subject to some exaggeration.  But where the feminists speak  from personal experience, as the majority did, their arguments can be compelling.  Mary Taylor, who had herself once escaped from enforced  idleness to New Zealand, described what to her must have been a familiar sight. To receive few impressions, then—to lead the uneventful and almost solitary l i f e which i s often thought f i t for women—ds to approach the borders of insanity; of the state i n which the mind cannot distinguish the real from the ideal, and i s more under the dominion of the latter than the former. 29 The feminists rightly attributed this sense of alienation to the deprivation of a l l purposeful activity.  Commenting on the mental and physical  weakness of middle-class women to the Social Science Association, Emily  ^ J . D. Milne, Industrial and Social Position of Women i n the Middle and Lower Ranks. (London, 1857, published anonymously), pp. 19-20, (revised edition, 1870). Taylor, 'Feminine Idleness,' i n The F i r s t Duty of Women, (a series of articles reprinted from the Victoria Magazine, 1865 to l£70), p. 118.  26.  Davies observed: I t i s a rare thing to meet with a lady, of any age, who does not suffer from headaches, languor, hysteria, or some ailment showing a want of stamina. • • • Dulness (sic) i s not healthy, and the lives of ladies are, i t must be admitted, exceedingly dull.30 At i t s farthest extreme the gentlewoman's alienation became a more serious case of insanity, and i t i s significant that "Independent Gentlewomen," as shown i n Table U , had a higher proportion of recorded lunatics than any occupational group, male or female.  Public comment,  especially among the feminists, to the effect that the aimless existence of half-educated i d l e women led i n many cases to insanity, reflected this situation.  "Ask medical men the effects of idleness i n women," fulminated  Barbara Leigh-Smith.  "Look into lunatic asylums, then you w i l l be con-  vinced something must be done for women." Similarly, a writer i n the Englishwoman's Journal based the desperate need for higher female education and wider employment opportunities on the high incidence of female insanity?  1  The insanity statistics add weight to the feminists claim  that idleness among middle-class women was widespread and psychologically damaging.  3 0 E . Davies, 'On Secondary Instruction as Relating to Girls', N.A.P.S.S. Transactions, 1861+, p. 396$ (published as separate pamphlet, l86U)j see also Stewart, op. c i t . , pp. 10-11, and Emily Faithfull, 'Unfit Employments i n which women are engaged,' M.A.P.S.S. Transactions, I863, p. 767. ^B. L. Smith (afterwards Bodichon), Women and Work, (London, 1857), p. 13; 'Female Education i n the Middle Classes,' English Woman's Journal, Vol. I, June, 1858, pp. 219-20; see also E. Shirreff. op. c i t T , p. klO, who argued that women took part i n fashionable philanthropic work not out of pious altruism but for some escape, however unsuitable,  27. Table 1*  Selected former occupations of lunatics compared to total of each occupation i n population. England and Wales. I86l.^ Female  Occupation  Male  Total i n Lunatics $ age of Total i n Lunatics $ age of occupattotal occupattotal ion ion 1,618  Musician  5  0.31#  10,300  27  0.26$  31,811  80  0.25$  Schoolmistress, master, and other Teacher  58,35©  121  0.21$  Governess  22*,770  136  0.55*  962,786  2,695  0.28$  Charwoman  65,273  21*0  Gentlewoman, Gentleman, Independent  27,1*20  631  Domestic Servant  No Stated Occupation Total  2  —  -  109,990  0.11$  0.37$  -  119  2.30$  12,1*07  121  0.98$  -  ii.026 10,289,96$ 13,096  0.127$ 9,776,259 11,21*9  0.115?  Not a l l of the single gentlewoman's problems were psychological. With large families the norm i t was clearly impossible f o r a l l these women to remain i n a state of unproductive dependence on their families.  from "morbid feeling and mental suffering bordering more nearly on derangement than we like to allow." ^Extracted from Summary Tables, Census Report, England and Wales, 1861, PP. 1863, LIII, Pt. 1, (3221), pp. v i i i , x l i i - l x w , c i i i cixj the occupations of slightly less than a third of the female lunat i c s were not recorded, but the numbers are sufficient to provide a reliable sample.  28. Sooner or later, as the prospect of marriage receded, most of them had to seek employment, for which few of them were adequately prepared.  The mid-  Victorian period witnessed a dramatic rise i n the middle-class standard of l i v i n g , but an even steeper rise i n middle-class standards of domestic expenditure—on food, drink and household requirements, especially domestic servants,~-so that the average middle-class family had less money  33 to allocate to the daughter's support. ^ In some cases, notably under the stimulus of family economic misfortune or sudden death of the breadwinner, the need to work could arrive with dramatic suddenness. The phenomenon of sudden impoverishment, although not the usual pattern of middle-class l i f e i n the Victorian period, was frequently responsible for producing what contemporaries called the "distressed gentlewoman." We are rightly accustomed to think of the mid-Victorian period, a t least, as one of remarkable prosperity. Despite this the i n security of most gentlewomen stemmed from a congenital "uneasiness" of a large proportion of the middle-class, who had l i t t l e protection against most forms of family economic c r i s i s .  The income and social standing of  members of the middle-middle and even upper-middle-classes could easily be threatened by financial crises, death or other family misfortunes.^*  33Banks calculated that from l8£0~to 1870 the middle-class rate of domestic expenditure increased by f i f t y percent, although r e t a i l prices rose by only five percent. The growing importance of the son's education put further pressure on the family budget, Prosperity and Parenthood, pp. 101, 1+6-7, chap. 11. ^*F. Muegrove has suggested a useful working definition of middle-  29. This would especially apply to those whose income was continually at risk i n the form of investments, especially the more speculative type, and those on fixed incomes who attempted to keep pace with the rising standard of living and conspicuous consumption by "keeping up appearances.  The "ruin" of a prosperous family was s t i l l sufficiently com-  mon to remain a popular Victorian literary convention; Thackeray's Vanity Fair i s a classic example. More of a threat, however, was the vulnerability of most families to the death of a father who was inadequately insured. Reformers and feminists often blamed inadequate insurance for the plight of most "distressed gentlewomen." Bessie Farkes, an early  class divisions according to income and'occupations from mid-century as follows: LowerHaiddle-classy £60-£20O, routine clerks, elementary school-teachers, lower c i v i l service o f f i c i a l s . Mddle-middle-class: £200-€1000, professional men, well-to-do clergy, lesser gentry, superior tradesmen and industrial managers. Uppernniddle-class: £1000 and up, members of diplomatic servicej government office-holders, senior public servants, military commanders, heads of professions, successful merchants and manufacturers, higher clergy; 'Middle-class Education and Employment i n the Nineteenth Century,' Economic Hist. Rev., Vol. XII, No. 1, 1959, p. 99. 3^Most feminists directly attributed the existence of distressed gentlewomen to the imprudent extravagance of their parents i n "keeping up appearances" instead of buying insurance and preparing their daughters for employment; see, for example, B. R. Parkes, 'Educated Destitution,' i n Essays on Woman's Work. (London, 1865), pp. 81-3; Frances P. Cobbe 'Celibacy vs. Marriage* i n Essays on the Pursuits of Women. (London, 1863), pp. U7-8; J. Boyd-Kinnear, 'The Social Position of Women i n the Present Age,' i n Josephine E. Butler, Woman's Work and Woman's Culture. (London, IB69), pp. 335-6; Anon., 'The Queen's Institution f o r the Training and Employment of Educated Women* (Signed Ergane). Victoria Magazine. Vol. H I , Sept. 186U, pp. U57-8.  feminist, argued that middle-class fathers had a moral responsibility either to give their daughters the means to provide for themselves in the form of a sound education or to make financial provision for their daughters by insuring their own lives. But such forethought was rare. It is lamentable to think how small a proportion of our population insures, when i t is so cheap, easy, and safe for the young married men to do so, and creates help for the women of a family just when, by the death of the breadwinner, they would otherwise be left without resource. To insure, or to save up a portion for every female child, this i s a father's sacred duty. Style, position, the keeping of many servants, a l l should be stinted to effect this end. Unfortunately, as she went on to explain, the passion for material acquisitions and a large establishment of servants to maintain mother and daughters in fashionable idleness precluded any outlay on insurance premiums.3°^ £g i t e as 1893 George Gissing underlined the irony of this a  situation i n The Odd Women, a novel which revolved around the feminist issues of the day.  Dr. Madden, the father of six daughters, to whom the  thought "of his girls having to work for money was so utterly repulsive that he could never seriously dwell upon i t , " is accidentally killed in the f i r s t chapter, leaving his daughters unprovided for, immediately after announcing to the eldest that on the next day he would Insure his 37  l i f e for a thousand pounds.-" R. Parkes, 'Educated Destitution,' and 'Social Economy,' op. clt., pp. 77-82, 217-8. G. Gissing, The Odd Women. (First edition 1893, London, 1911), Chap. 1. Gissing was well qualified to discuss the social problems of women, having been married to a prostitute. He patterned some of his characters after leading feminists, and subsequently became a close friend of the progressive feminist Clara E. Collettj J. Korg, George 37  31. Judged by contemporary needs, i t i s apparent that most of the Victorian middle-classes were, as the feminists argued, chronically under-insured.  In 181+6 a committee of c i v i l servants asked William Fair,  for many years Superintendent of the Registrar General's Statistical Department, to investigate the existing c i v i l service superannuation scheme and to examine their proposal for an alternative widows' and orphans' pension scheme. Farr found the old scheme ineffectual i n the extreme. The yearly salaries of 16,353 c i v i l service officers averaged only £11+1, among which 8,701+ under £ 100 averaged only £86.  The premiums  of the superannuation scheme, established i n 1829, f e l l most heavily on those with the lowest incomes, requiring a 2j?% deduction from salaries under £100 and $% from salaries exceeding £100.  Furthermore, the 7,961+  employees who returned Farr s completed questionnaires drew an average 1  salary of only £106.  5,367 of this group were married, of whom l+,290 had  16,331 children, an average of 3.81 children for each productive family. Admittedly, Farr's sample was unrepresentative of the entire c i v i l service, but his point was well taken that the superannuation deductions l e f t the majority of those with the greatest need quite unable to insure their lives or provide f o r their widows and children. Farr noticed that this deficiency had already caused considerable distress among the famil i e s of deceased c i v i l servants, and recommended a combined superannuation-pension scheme along the lines of that of the East India Company  Gissing, A C r i t i c a l Bibliography. (Seattle, 1963), pp. 12, 22, 189-92.  32. •which, among other things, provided a £50 yearly pension to orphan daughters u n t i l marriage.  But more important, i n view of his intimate  acquaintance with British population problems, was Farr's conviction that the same conditions obtained among most of the middle-classes, not least those more prosperous than c i v i l servants. Life insurance i n these circumstances became a moral duty. Life insurance meets the risk of mortality; but i t unfortunately happens i n a l l professions—and i n the c i v i l service among others—that l i f e insurance, to an adequate extent, i s not effected by the great majority of husbands—and more particularly by those whose lives are most l i a b l e to be cut short, and whose large families are l i k e l y to prove the severest pressure of want—the heaviest burden on the community. Society has, therefore, a right, and whenever an opportunity offers, perhaps a duty to see, that such a deduction i s made from the adequate income i n active l i f e as w i l l lighten the sufferings of the fatherless children and widows of i t s members. I f the Government set the example i n the public service, i t may be copied by other classes; and would ultimately prove a great boon and economy to the nation. 38 Whatever the reasons for i t , the impoverishment of a middle-class family forced independence onto women who, by custom, had been educated — w i t h a smattering of fashlonabls "accomplishments"—for than courtship and marriage.  nothing more  Only the most exceptional and talented  women could hope to prosper from this kind of independence. For Harriet  3%. Farr, Remarks on a Proposed Scheme . . . for the Support of Widows and Orphans of C i v i l Servants of the Crown, (London, 18k9)> PP« 3-5, 7-13, 16, 29-31. On Farr himself see H. A. Humphreys, 'Biographi c a l Sketch' i n W, Farr, V i t a l Statistics . . . , (London, 1885). Towards the end of the century some feminists began to argue that the proceeds of insurance were inadequate anyway, and that there was no substitute for sound instruction of wives and daughters i n a good business, even i n that of the husband; see 'Women and Work, Victoria Magazine, 1  Oct. 1876, pp. 570-1.  33. Martineau the economic c r i s i s of 1825-6 which virtually ruined her family and forced her to work turned out to be a b l e s s i n g . ^ less talented the results were not nearly so positive.  For those who were The working  gentlewoman automatically suffered a certain loss of caste, and her scope for employment was extremely narrow. The vast majority turned to teaching, the only major occupation deemed remotely respectable u n t i l the last three decades of the century. The occupations i n Table 5, extracted from the l85l census figures, cover a l l those into which middle-class women could conceivably enter at mid-century without greater class decline than they had already suffered from merely being forced to work. This i s not to say that a U those l i s t e d i n these occupations were distressed gentlewomen, or even from the middle-class. Elementary schoolmistresses, for example, could include a large proportion of working-class women. Furthermore, few distressed gentlewomen would be properly qualified to be teachers of specialized subjects, or as librarians, musicians and local officers.  The feminists were therefore justified i n describing  the teaching profession as an "open gulph" (sic) into which the whole class of destitute ladies rushed.^  0  The competition and overcrowding  among unqualified gentlewomen was intensified by the increasing entry of young women "who are not gentlewomen by b i r t h with an entirely d i f 8  ferent motive, "for the sake of social advancement, just as men some-  3?The small amount salvaged by her father was lost i n a further failure of 181*0; H. Martineau, History of England During the Thirty Years' Peace, (London. 18U9-50). Vol. I . p. 365? H. Martineau. Autobiography, (London, 1877), pp. 128-9, 11*1-3. k°B. R, Parkes, 'Educated Destitution,' op. c i t . . p. 81  3U. times go into the church or the army i n order to become gentlemen by profession. ^ a  A phenomenon which was significantly frowned upon by  many feminists, i t made teaching a platform where two classes of women met, i n Bessie Parkes* words "the one struggling up, the other drifting down."**  2  The most habitual and notorious resort of the distressed gentle-  woman, however, was that of the governess. Table 5 . ^  Great Britain (excluding Ireland) Putatively middle*class occupations for women. 1851  Occupation Commercial Clerk Librarian Music Mistress Musician (News) Editor, Writer Parish, Union, District Officer Governess  Total Females  19 173 2,60U 532 18  75U 21,373  Occupation Schoolmistress Secretary, Literary and Private Law Stationer Teacher of BellesLettres ° of Gymnastics of Languages Teacher-General n  Total Females  1,1,888 k 9  1 179 571 5,259  The records of the Governesses Benevolent Institution, which was formed i n 181|.3 to cope with the urgent problems of unemployed, i l l - p a i d and i l l - q u a l i f i e d governesses, clearly demonstrate that the profession  l&J. Boucherett, Hints on Self-Help; A Book f o r Young Women, (London, 1863), p. 25. ^ B . E. Parkes, »The Profession of Teacher,' op. c i t . . p. 1. On feminist opposition to aspiring working-class governesses see Louisa 0. Hope 'Girls' Schools,' K.A.P.S.S. Transactions, i860, p. 399-itOO. M. A. Maurice, Mothers and Governesses, (London, 18U7), p. 22. &3census Report. 1851 'Results and Observations' pp. 1852-3, LXXXVIII Pt. 1 (I69I-I), PP. CXXI-CXXVTI, Table 53.  35. was overcrowded with distressed gentlewomen. The Institution's annual reports are f i l l e d with references to decayed gentlewomen unexpectedly forced into teaching by sudden family Impoverishment.  The l i s t s of can-  didates over 50 years old f o r an annual Institution annuity abound with such descriptions as the following:  "Became a governess at 17 i n con-  sequence of the embarrassment of her father's affairs."; "Being l e f t an orphan very early, she resided with an uncle, who failed, and she was compelled to become a governess."; "Her father formerly possessed a very large property, but having many children, and having suffered many losses, he was unable to make any provision f o r his family."; "Became a governess 30 years since i n consequence of her father being reduced from extreme affluence t o extreme distress.  Her whole family being involved i n com-  plete ruin . . . "; "Father, principal of the Interior Office, Bank of England; his income ceased with his l i f e , and she became a Governess. ^ n  The Institution i t s e l f saw this state of things as right and necessary. Discussing the recent formation, under i t s auspices, of Queen's College for girls i n London, the G.B.I. Report for 181+8 cautioned that The Committee disclaim any idea of training Governesses as a separate profession. They believe and hope, that the ranks of that profession w i l l be s t i l l supplied from those, whose minds and tempers have been disciplined i n the school of adversity, and who are thus best able to guide the minds and tempers of their pupils.^5  ^Governesses Benevolent Institution (hereafter designated GBI) Annual Reports. 181+U, pp. 17-21*, 181+7, pp. 22-33. ^ j b i d . , 181*8, p. 17; Elizabeth Eastlake i n 'Vanity Fair and Jane Eyre,' Quarterly Review, Vol. LXXXTV, Dec. 181+8, pp. 176-7, argued simi l a r l y , stressing that "we need the imprudencies, extravagancies, mistakes, or crimes of a certain number of fathers to sow the seed from  36. The G.B.I, annual reports effectively demonstrate that the overcrowded state of the governess* profession produced severe economic hardship for distressed gentlewomen.^ But not a l l of the governess* problems were economic ones.  The resident governess occupied a kind of  nether world i n the Victorian home between the family and servants, i n which she was accepted as a social equal by neither.  This "social iso-  lation, described by so many contemporaries, led inevitably to extreme n  mental depression and sometimes insanity.  Elizabeth Eastlake, a staunch  anti-feminist, acknowledged that the declassee governess, isolated i n a l l social relations from employers, guests, servants and children "must to a l l intents and purposes l i v e alone, or she transgresses that invisible but r i g i d line which alone establishes the distance between herself and her employers."'*  7  The genteel young woman was the most vulnerable i n -  dividual to this kind of separation.  Charlotte Bronte wrote to her sister  Emily of her f i r s t governess* position thus: I see now more clearly than I have ever done before that a private governess has no existence, i s not considered as a living and rational being except as connected with the wearisome duties she has to f u l f i l . While she i s teaching the children, working for them, amusing them, i t i s a l l right. If she steals a moment for herself she i s a nuisance.^°  which we reap the harvest of governesses," but adding that this inevitable situation could only be alleviated by obtaining higher pay for governesses. k&Fhe G.B.I, inaugurated a contributory scheme of "provident annuities f o r governesses because their meagre salaries, resulting from overcompetition, were insufficient to provide f o r the future: The Institution's "Home f o r disengaged governesses," was invariably f i l l e d to capacity; Annual Reports. lShh, pp. 15-16, 1852, p. 15. Eastlake, 'Vanity Fair and Jane Eyre,» Quarterly Review. Vol. LXXIV, D e c , 18U8, p. 177. k C. Bronte to E. Bronte, Stonegappe, June 8, 1839, C. K. Shorter, 8  37. Charlotte Bronte reflected this conviction i n the humiliation suffered by Jane Eyre from the tongue of Blanche Ingram, just as Anne Bronte's own experiences as a governess were reflected i n Agnes Grey's Isolation and loneliness.^9  Mary Maurice, the sister of the Christian Socialist, also  stressed the social isolation of the typical governess, constantly forced "to guard against the exactions of her employers—the impertinence, or coldness, of her charge, and the neglect and rudeness of the servants."^  0  This same theme of loneliness and social isolation dominated the minor propaganda novels written at mid-century to improve the treatment of governesses.^  1  Katherine West, who has attacked the concept of the down-  trodden governess, was nevertheless driven to admit that the governess' situation might be productive of psychological disturbance. The unmatched childless isolation of a woman constantly on the edge of a family c i r c l e , must surely have accounted for the unhappiness of more governesses than any other cause. I t i s strange, therefore, how few of our books so much as mention it.52 The governess* mental condition amounted to more than simple loneliness.  Before she resorted to teaching,the typical declassee governess  The Brontes and their Circle. (London, 18°6), pp. 80-82. h9o, Bronte, Jane Eyre, An Autobiography (First published 181,7), Chap. 17; A. Bronte\"Agne8 Grey. (First published 1850), Chaps. 10-11. 50M. A. Maurice, op. c i t . . p. 31. &See especially Mrs. S. G. Hall, 'The Governess' i n Stories of the Governess. "Printed f o r the benefit of the G.B.I.,** (London, 1852J, pp. 1*9-105. Mrs. Hall worked regularly for the G.B.I., her husband being on the Board of Management. G.B.I., Report. 1LB52. £ K. West, op. c i t . . p. 85. 2  38. had usually suffered an acute psychological shock i n being reduced from a condition of comfortable family security and complacent anticipation of marriage to one of economic insecurity where the old protection of class solidarity lost i t s meaning. As we have seen, the affluent dependent gentlewoman frequently suffered from a form of alienation, and i n some cases insanity. Similarly, loss of affluence also brought i t s psychological problems for the gentlewoman, and employment as a governess was l i k e l y to aggravate rather than alleviate these problems. Since she was alienated i n prosperity, i t i s not surprising that the distressed gentlewoman had d i f f i c u l t y i n adjusting to the kind of misfortune which deprived her at one blow of the twin security of financ i a l support and family and class solidarity.  The death of a breadwinner  which l e f t his family impoverished, i f i t did not lead to the break-up of the family, was at least l i k e l y to cause the semi-permanent absence of the daughter who was forced to go out as a resident governess. This deprived her of the most Important strand of emotional security she had retained i n genteel comfort, that of family affection. abrupt one.  The change was an  "That very society that nursed her i n and for her idleness  disowns her now, and becomes her worst enemy. She has no right to be poor, but being so, must help herself. ^3 n  i  a n  closely knit conjugal  kinship system any more distant relatives were, as J. D. Milne argued,  ->3stewart, op. c i t . , p. 12;.  39. worse than none.^  The newly impoverished young lady was therefore l e f t  alone to attempt earning a l i v i n g without suffering loss of caste, for as Jessie Boucherett observed "many prefer poverty to loss of social position."^  But u n t i l the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the only  occupation offering even a sham pretence of preserving caste was that of the governess.  Most frequently, therefore, she exchanged her own recent-  l y overprotective family for one where "a cold, distant, stately reserve i s too often shown by the mother, towards one whom she ought to regard as a fellow worker for her children's good."-^ The governess i n theory retained her middle-class gentility, but i n practice she was most likely to experience severe deprivation of the most valuable security she had known i n idleness, that of unquestioned solidarity with a distinct social class. The usual solution of teaching, therefore, was l i k e l y to intensify, rather than diminish, the distressed gentlewoman's sense of alienation. In fact the combination of this heightened estrangement and unaccustomed mental and physical exertion resulted i n mental i l l n e s s for large numbers of governesses and teachers.  Contemporaries were vague regarding the pre-  cise nature of the mental disturbance, but many agreed with Edward Gibbon Wakefield that governesses formed the largest single occupational class  % a i n e , op. c i t . . p. 127. ^Boucherett, op. c i t . . p. -*^Mauriee, op. c i t . , p. 3k»  2U.  i*o. i n insane asylums.''  7  The G.B.I, reports frequently commented that the  illnesses of governesses were usually nervous or mental, "the effects of early labour, anxiety and fatigue, acting on a delicate frame and weakened nerves, and often cited specific cases of women, young and old, who n  suffered from such ailments as "a nervous and brain fever" or periodic insanity with "lucid intervals."'*  8  Florence Nightingale encountered  similar experiences during her tenure at the Institution for Care of Sick Gentlewomen i n Distressed Circumstances i n 1853.  "I had more than one  lunatic," she wrote of her governess patients to Dr. Pincoffs, adding "I think the deep feeling I have of the miserable position of educated women i n England was gained while there. Much of this phenomenon can be explained by the growing numbers of professional and educated persons i n lunatic asylums from about midcentury, which came to William Fair's notice i n his census report for 1861.6° We have already seen, however, that governess lunatics did not, as was generally believed, form the largest occupational class i n asylums.  57g. G. Wakefield, England and America. 2 vols. (London, 1833), Vol. I, pp. 96-8. H. Martineau. Society i n M e r i c a . (London, 1837), Vol. I l l , p. li*9j H. Martineau, 'Female Industry,' Edinburgh Review. Vol. C3X, April, 1859, p. 307; Eastlake, op. c i t . p. 177. S G.B.I., Reports. 181*3, p. 11, 181*1*, p. 11, 181*8, pp. 2l*-35 Case No. 80, 1850, p. 12*; see also M. A. Maurice, op. c i t . . pp. 158-9. 8  5°Quoted i n B. Howe, op. c i t . , p. 116. ^Census Report, England and Wales, 1861, PP. 1863, LIII, Pt. I  ^32217, p. 69.  Ul. The proportion of "independent gentlewomen" was substantially larger, being 2.30% of their total number compared to 0.55$ for governesses. Nevertheless, the proportion to t o t a l governesses was much higher than that among the highest numerical group, domestic servants, and, with the exception of schoolmasters, higher than the proportion of corresponding male occupation groups i n asylums.  61  A governess position was there1  fore no solution to the gentlewoman's alienation, but was more l i k e l y to bring with i t further problems of a psychological nature. The problems of the distressed gentlewoman attracted the attention of reformers, and most of them, whether philanthropists or feminists, attacked the problem by catering to the needs of the governess. The Governesses Benevolent Institution began a major effort i n 181+3  by giving tem-  porary financial assistance to unemployed governesses, establishing a savings scheme for provident annuities and awarding a limited number of annuities to aged and infirm governesses.  Subsequently i t established a  "Home for disengaged governesses," an elaborate free employment register, an asylum for aged governesses and a savings bank. The G.B.I, was quick to recognize, however, that inadequate education was the most fundamental cause of the governess' plight, and i n 181+7  i t began to effect this nec-  essarily slow and long-term improvement by participating i n the formation of Queen's College, Harley Street, where i t encouraged potential and  See Table 1+.  1+2. actual governesses to obtain a thorough secondary education.  62  The spread  of sound education for a l l those who might become governesses was a painf u l l y slow process, however, and the G.B.I, understandably devoted i t s energies to assuaging the most urgent economic problems of the governess. Since the governess problems were not wholly economic, i t was unlikely 1  i n these circumstances that much would be done to alleviate her condition of a l i e n a t i o n .  63  The f i r s t major feminist campaign of the nineteenth century also focussed on the plight of the governess. In fact i t was the problem of the insecure middle-class woman, brought up only for genteel marriage, but with few prospects of either marriage or alternative support, which provided the dynamic at the heart of the feminist cause i n the latter half of the century. The struggle was one f o r wider employment opportuni t i e s f o r middle-class women, and for decades the most well rehearsed femi n i s t protest was against the complacent assumption that women were by nature ill-equipped for any role but that of wives and mothers, when plainl y there were thousands who could never marry and were forced into the overcrowded teaching profession as incompetent and exploited governesses. Mrs. Jameson's early diagnosis served her feminist successors well.  G.B.I., Annual Reports, 181+3, pp. 12-15, 181+6, pp. 11-13, 181+7, pp. U+-15, 181+9, pp. 16-18. 62  ^Anti-feminists like Elizabeth East lake argued that higher salaries, rather than a fundamental change i n relations between the employer and employee, were the only possible way to assuage the inevitable hardships of the governess; 'Vanity Fair and Jane Eyre,' op. c i t . , p. 178.  U3. The increasing number of unmarried men with the reading clubs, mechanics institutes—we w i l l say nothing of taverns, theatres, and other places of social resort—argues, of course, an increasing number of unmarried females, who not only have no opportunities of mutual improvement, and social recreation, but i f they be 'respectable' women, cannot even walk through the streets, without being subjected to the insults of men, also called and esteemed 'respectable; ' and who are destined never to be either wives or mothers, though they have heard from their infancy that such, by the appointment of God, i s their vocation i n this world and no other. Such may be their vocation, but such i s not their destiny: no, they must go forth to labour, to encounter on every side strange iron prejudices, adverse institutions formed and framed i n a social state quite d i f ferent from that which exists at present—a state i n which the position of women was altogether different from what i t i s now.°U Like the G.B.I., the feminists gave highest priority to long-term educational reform.  Their f i r s t object was equal employment opportunit-  ies for women, and much of their long campaign was directed against what they regarded as a root cause of female exclusion. Women were not being educated and trained for employment, but instead sought i t only when a l l other avenues of genteel support were closed and they f i n a l l y acknowledged the necessity to lose caste by entering the employment market. The demand for improved education for middle-class girls played a major part i n the feminist programme, and not unnaturally the feminists often blamed parents for neglecting the daughter, who even i n the 'sixties s t i l l received only a haphazard smattering of t r i v i a l accomplishments i n deference to the son.  Parents seemingly refused to learn, complained Jessie  Boucherett, "that a willing heart i s of small avail i n earning a l i v e lihood, i f united to unexercised brains and unskilful hands." Dorothea  Q*A. Jameson, op. c i t . . pp. 231-2. For similar arguments by the f i r s t generation of feminists see Parkes, 'Educated Destitution,* op. c i t . , pp. lk*o$i and Stewart, op. c i t . , pp. lU-6.  Beale, explaining the principles behind her famous college at Cheltenham, insisted that women of the higher classes must be taught the value of work, and complained that on enrolment at 15 years of age, most of her pupils, the daughters of professionals, bankers and merchants, were unable to answer the simplest questions i n arithmetic and French.^ With so much of their work devoted to long-term improvements or economic palliatives i t was unlikely that reformers would effect an early revolution i n the fortunes of distressed gentlewomen.  Despite  the dauntless efforts of the feminists the problem of women i n genteel poverty was common to the entire century.  By the turn of the century  the main accomplishment of the feminist movement had been to establish precedents of female employment and equality for the future.  The op-  portunities for f r u i t f u l higher education for women had improved vastly by 1900, but as Gissing's indignation i n The Odd Women makes so abundantly clear, untrained middle-class misfits s t i l l constituted a major problem i n the 'nineties. Although middle-class nurses, shopclerks, competent teachers and typists could safely obtain respectable work i n the late-Victorian and Edwardian periods, a more thorough integration of women into the economy waited upon the acceleration of social forces stimulated by the shortage of labour during the F i r s t World War. 66 The  65j. Boucherett, op. c i t . , p. vi;D. Beale, 'The Ladies College at Cheltenham,' N.A.P.S.S. Transactions, 1865, pp. 274-5. 6%cGregor, op. c i t . , p. 87j Gissing, op. c i t . Of the three surviving Madden daughters, Gissing depicts two as pathetically i n competent, invariably unemployed, governess-companions. The third,  1*5. G.B.I, had certainly alleviated conditions for a minority of governesses and educated some branches of public opinion by mid-century, but the governess-problem remained at the heart of the feminist movement for another f i f t y years.  The complaint of the feminists continued to be that  so l i t t l e had been done rather than the reverse.^7  i n fact the real  campaign for improvement of middle-class female employment did not begin u n t i l 1857 with the establishment of the National Association for Promotion of Social Science, for years a forum for progressive feminist views.  In that year John Duguid Milne, a Scottish advocate who frequent-  l y supported feminist causes at the Association, protested against the confinement of middle-class female employment to the occupations of authors, ladies' companions and governesses.  For two generations the  feminists repeated his protests, but u n t i l 1911* there was no all-embracing solution i n Britain which could resolve the problem of the distressed gentlewoman through remedying both her economic hardship and her sense of alienation. With such meagre prospects of improvement at home, i t was not surprising that some reformers should advocate, and some women should  being attractive but untrained, contracts a prosperous but disastrously unsuccessful marriage. 67tFemale Education i n the Middle Classes,' The Englishwoman's Journal, Vol. I, No. It, June 1, 1858, pp. 217-8j Jameson, op. cit.,"~"  pp. 23U-5.  ^Milne, op. c i t .  U6. accept, the alternative of emigration. In the early-Victorian period Edward Gibbon Wakefield, an emigration promoter and Colonial Reformer, insisted that the vulnerability of the middle-class, or "uneasy class," to economic misfortune was a persuasive argument for a system of patrician emigration.  He was the f i r s t systematically to describe the "un-  easy class" with such prime emphasis on i t s major victim, the portionless daughter.  He also offered a ready solution:  emigration.  Wakefield  was chiefly interested i n encouraging members of the middle-class to emigrate to Australia i n order to establish an extension of the British hierarchical social structure there; consequently he was prone to exaggerate the case for middle-class emigration, but bis location of the "uneasy," or "anxious, vexed or harassed class," was s t i l l important. Writing i n 1833, Wakefield stressed a l l the factors which might expose members of the middle-class to economic misfortune, the same factors which became such common currency among the feminists a generation later. The uneasy class i n the 'thirties, argued Wakefield, consisted of a l l classes above labourers who suffered from various forms of economic distress; to be more precise, as many as three-quarters—or even ninetenths "of a l l who are engaged i n trades and professions, as well as a l l who not being very rich, intend that their children should follow some industrious pursuit.",^  6  9Wakefield, op. c i t . , Vol. I, pp. 80-105, Vol. U , pp. 106-7  1*7. Wakefield's thesis was that there was an insufficient f i e l d for investment i n Britain, consequently the profits of a l l small investors, retailers, etc*, were perilously unremunerative, leaving them highly vulnerable to economic fluctuations.  Their plight was exacerbated by  the constant increase i n expenditure necessary to maintain social rank, particularly the imposing task of f i r s t educating, and later providing for, a large family of children.  Those on fixed incomes, particularly,  were f u l l y occupied i n preventing their daughters' descent to a lower social class by means of imprudent marriage, but i t was exceptional f o r women of small resources to marry men of the "spending class." The general rule with the daughters of men of small income, whether fixed or not, i s a choice between celibacy and marriage with one of the uneasy class. Now, a great proportion of young men i n the uneasy class dread marriage, unless there be fortune i n the case, as the surest means of increasing their embarrassment. This i s one of the most important features i n the social state of England. The result was "exuberant prostitution" and mass celibacy among middleclass women. Their only employment outlet lay i n education.  Governess-  es faced greater competition for work than even labourers and formed the most common occupants of lunatic asylums. Wakefield's solution, that both the capital and labour of the uneasy class should be employed abroad, was not taken seriously outside radical circles i n the 'thirties, but his introduction of the middle-class dilemma into emigration propaganda was l o g i c a l .  7 0  Significantly, the rarely-used appellation  I b i d . ; John Crawford i n 'New South Australian Colony,' Westminster Review, Vol. XXI, Oct. 1831*, p. 1*1*7 agreed with Wakefield on the suitability of the uneasy class f o r emigration. For a further discussion of Wakefield, see supra. Chap. 2. 7 0  1*8. "uneasy class" was again coined i n the 'sixties by Mary Taylor, a femin71 i s t who had once emigrated to New Zealand herself. The doctrine of feminine c i v i l i z i n g influence had obvious Implications for female emigration. The promoters of a l l the various emigration schemes regularly paid lip-service to the probable reform that the feminine touch would effect on a crude, male-dominated, pioneering colony. Many writers gave the c i v i l i z i n g mission concept a further peculiar twist which made i t readily appropriate for this kind of treatment.  This was  the chauvinistic conviction that i t was, above a l l , English women who possessed the necessary refinement to influence male society.  In his i n -  troduction to the 1851 Census William Farr noticed the large number of women—wives, mothers and daughters—without employment, and added, with significant I t a l i c s , "but i t requires no argument to prove that the wife, the mother, the mistress of an English F a m i l y — f i l l s offices and discharges duties of no ordinary importance."  F. D. Maurice's sister, Mary,  deplored the exposure to a lower moral tone faced by English governesses i n France. The damage was permanent but not complete.  "When she returns  home, her salary may be higher, but her tone i s lower, though she i s s t i l l  7%. Taylor 'Redundant Women,' op. c i t . , p. 31; on Mary Taylor, see supra. Chap. U. See, for example, Maria S. Rye, Emigration of Educated Women. (London, 1861), a paper originally read at N.A.P.S.S. Transactions i n 1861. Rye spoke of the necessity to uproot colonial "vice and immorali t y " by means of importations of high class women, "an elevation of morals being the inevitable result" of their mere presence, pp. 9, 12. 72  k9. a safer teacher than a French woman, who never had any right principle, to counterbalance her natural f r i v o l i t y . "  Most of the ladies' magazines  agreed, often attributing the superiority to the distinctive form of Christianity practised i n England.  73  i t was a minor step from here to  i n s i s t , as Wakefield did, that English-women should c i v i l i z e abroad as well as at home. As early as the eighteen-thirties some distressed gentlewomen began to follow Wakefield's advice and sought employment i n the colonies. Emigration had some obvious advantages for middle-class women. Those who dreaded the loss of caste and embarrassment which might accompany a wage-earning career at home could safely pursue the same career anonymously i n the colonies, where most women of a l l classes were more accustomed to a much wider range of menial chores.  The feminists themselves  began to promote emigration for gentlewomen i n the eighteen-sixties. ^ 7  Until that time, however, certain public attitudes and a lack of f a c i l i t i e s prevented many middle-class women from emigrating.  Most emigrat-  ion enthusiasts looked to Australia, where there was a severe shortage of women, as the best haven for British gentlewomen. But before mid-  Census Report -'Results and Observations,' 1851, PP. l8f>2-3, LDLVill, Pt. 1 /I69I-1/. p. l x x x v i i i . Farr traced the English-woman's special character down from the Roman materfamilias and the AngloSaxons, a variation on the Whig theory of history; M. A. Maurice, op. c i t . , p. hOs The Christian Lady's Friend and Family Repositary, Sept. 1831, Vol. I, No. 1, pp. 2-3. ?3  l*See infra Chap. 6.  7  50. century the public associated Australia, and to a lesser extent emigration generally, with convict transportation, pauperism, distress and prostitution, and these assumptions worked as a deterrent against any system of respectable female emigration during the early-Victorian period. Despite the inhibitions some middle-class women did emigrate, and the history of early-Victorian female emigration i s mainly an account of i t s gradual emergence from this hostile stereotype.  51 Chapter II  The Stereotype of Female Emigration: Assisted Emigration to Australia. 1832-1836  When Edward Gibbon Wakefield suggested that emigration was the solution for his "uneasy class" i n 1833, there was, as later events demonstrated, an indeterminate number of single women i n genteel poverty who stood to benefit by such a change. But where stark necessity proposed, social convention disposed. Apart from genuine obstacles to unchaperoned female emigration, such as the insecurity and primitive conditions on a long voyage and the uncertain prospects for cultivated women i n a pioneering colonial society, most writers and politicians displayed a firm social prejudice against emigration for any but the most destitute class of labourers.  This stemmed partly from the long debate on pauper emi-  gration after 1815 and partly from the long association of emigration with convict transportation. The latter became especially important because i t was the large excess of males in the Australian penal colonies which first prompted an interest i n organized large-scale female emigration. The f i r s t attempt in the 'thirties to supply Australia with nonconvict women from the large surplus of English spinsters was a workingclass project. But the link between Australia and female emigration persisted for fifty years.  Only as Australia's image and reputation im-  proved did implacable opposition i n Britain to middle-class female emigration soften. The fate of the first attempt to expatriate working-  52. class women to Australia consequently had profound implications for the subsequent attitudes to any proposals f o r female emigration, and particularly for those affecting middle-class women. In the f i r s t decades of the nineteenth century the concept of emigration received a distinctly hostile press i n middle-class circles. The vast emigration of the nineteenth century began after the Napoleonic Wars under the impetus of Malthusianism and economic distress.  The per-  iod when large scale emigration became accepted was the same period i n which a rising poor-rate added a note of urgency to the regular discussion of distress, pauperism, the poor laws and a "redundant population." This i s obvious whether one turns to Parliament, the press or periodical and pamphlet literature.  More obvious i s the fact that emigration and  pauperism were inextricably associated topics i n the public mind. The discussion of one inevitably involved the other, and most writers saw emigration as simply one means of coping with a troublesome surplus population, or at times even an outlet to prevent revolution. In these 1  circumstances, where emigration was automatically linked with pauperism, unemployment or at least individual failure, the concept of middle-class emigration was hardly l i k e l y to flourish.  ^ e , for example G.Poullette-Scrope, "The P o l i t i c a l Economists", Quarterly Review , Vol. XLTV, Jan., Ifl31, pp. 1-52; G. Poullett-Scrope, "Population and Emigration", Quarterly Review. Vol. XLV, April, 1831,  pp. 97-1LU5} The Times, March 16, 1826, p. 2.  This taint was not confined to the respectable middle-class. From the 'twenties onwards there were innumerable petitions and projects presented in Parliament in favour of pauper emigration.  2  Robert J.  Wilmot-Horton, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, played a prominent role i n a l l these matters and was responsible for two experiments in 1623 and 1825 to settle paupers i n Canada at state expense. He also published a series of letters i n 1830 to propagate his conviction that emigration was the best remedy for pauperism.  3  i l l his attempts to est-  ablish a government system of assisted pauper emigration came to nothing except for one permissive clause in the new Poor Law of 183U, but they did provoke considerable discussion i n Parliament, and reaction—often hostile—in the press. In 1830 Lord John Russell was convinced that Wilmot-Horton's system of emigration and an improved poor law system "should go hand in hand."** A later b i l l to finance emigration through the poor rates was brought i n by Lord Howick in 1831, and while most opponents were hostile to i t on grounds of expense, they readily admitted the need to cope with "the evils of a superabundant population"• Outside the b i l l was interpreted even by London labourers as one intended  The petitions were sometimes presented by distressed labourers, but more commonly by inhabitants of a parish hoping to reduce the poorrate by means of emigration. See, for example, Hansard, Parliamentary Debates. H.S. vol. XVI, Nov. 27, 1B26, C.1U2-3; Vol. XVI (Lords), Dec. 8, 1826, c.317-20 Vol. XXIII, March 23, 1830, c.782-lu 2  5  % . J. Wilmot-Horton, An Enquiry into the Causes and Remedies of Pauperism. (London, 1B30.) ^Hansard, N.S. Vol. XXV, June 15, 1930, c. 366-70; for an example of press opposition see The Times, Feb. 17, 1827, p. 3.  51i. to enforce compulsory transportation, and they petitioned Parliament against what they feared would be enforced exile.-* Their protest strongly suggests that the disrepute attaching to emigration extended well below the comfortable middle-class. The issue of convict transportation also strongly shaped attitudes to emigration, especially to Australia. From the very beginnings of the Australian penal settlement comment in Britain focussed on the moral degradation of "Botany Bay".^ A l l the major Australian issues in Britain before 1850 had to do with convict transportation, and the press and periodical literature made constant capital out of the sensational issue of "moral depravity" which resulted. Even the pro-Australian defenders of the transportation system were forced to admit the strength of the resulting image of Australia.  7  P.M. Cunningham, an apologist for con-  vict transportation who extolled the delights of New South Wales for potential middle-class settlers, complained that  ^Hansard, 3rd Ser., Vol H, Feb. 22, 1831, c.875-906; Vol. V, Aug. 8, 1831, c.927-9. ^See, for example, the Monthly Review, October 1792, pp.197-8; G. Barrington, Voyage to Botany Bay, London, 1B01, sequel pp.7-lU, 59, 70s T. Watling, Letters from an Exile at Botany Bay, (Penrith, 1792), pp.lB-9. The standard reference on Australia for twenty-five years was a systematic defense of the colony by a Judge Advocate of New South Wales, D. Collins, in An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, (London, 1798 and 1802). Despite his position, he was forced to admit the "odium" associated with the colony i n Britain and the widespread incidence of immorality; see 1798 Edition, p.502; lfl02 ed., Vol. H, pp.2, 198; his critics, like Bentham, were quick with the charge that he provided a l l the necessary material to refute his own thesis. For a later apologist see W.C. Wentwarth, A Statistical. Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales ... (London, 3JB19, 3 editions to 1B2U;. 7  5$. New South Wales has, i n fact, but one drawback of a decidedly unpleasant nature, and even that i s more ideal than substantial.—It must be admitted that i t i s the only country i n the world which you are ashamed to confess the having visited. I have made several slips of this kind before strangers, and I certainly never yet gained a friend by the disclosure; every one, through some excuse or another, endeavouring to elude the pleasure of my society. He went on to describe one encounter with a well travelled companion i n a stage coach, who, upon learning he had visited "Botany Bay" recoiled with a grunt, "What I Have you been there, s i r ? "  and withdrew, checking  8 his pockets, to the farthest corner of the coach. Jeremy Bentham set the tone of the campaign to abolish convict transportation by drawing heavily on the theme of Australian depravity.? His claim that transportation fostered the growth of a vicious and immoral society was increasingly u t i l i z e d by his successors i n their abol i t i o n propaganda.  10  This campaign came to a head i n the 'thirties when  the Colonial Reformers made i t one of the key issues i n their schemes for "systematic colonization" and semi-autonomous colonies of free set-  8p. M. Cunningham, Two Years i n New South Wales, (London, 1827), Vol. I, pp. 13-U. ?J. Bentham, Two 21, Printed for private Versus New South Wales, Law, i n J . Bowring, The I, pp.li95-7.  Letters to Lord Pelham, (First l e t t e r ) , pp. 19circulation i n 1802 but published i n Panopticon (London, 1812); J. Bentham, Principles of Penal Works of Jeremy Bentham, (Edinburgh, 1838), Vol.  °The earliest attack oh transportation was made by the Radical, H. G. Bennet. See his A Letter to Viscount Sidmouth on the Transportation Laws and the Colonies, (London, 1819, A Letter to Earl Bathurst, (London, lo20), and Hansard, Vol. XXX3X, Feb. 18, 1819, c.Uou-509. A  56.  tiers i n Australia, as proposed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield i n 1829. But despite their establishment of the new South Australian colony, the combined efforts of the Colonial Reformers i n the 'thirties appear to have done more to discredit the Australian colonies than the reverse, the exact opposite of their real intention.  This was wholly attributable  to the anti-transportation campaign, led by Sir William Molesworth with constant assistance from Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin.  Their  propaganda repeatedly stressed the crime and vice i n Australia produced by large shipments of convicts. Molesworth chaired the Select Committee on Transportation i n 1837 and 1838,  and i t s reports occasioned widespread  reviews and discussion; subsequently both Molesworth and Whately i n i t i a t ed lengthy debates i n the two Houses of Parliament.  At length the gov-  ernment discontinued transportation to New South Wales after 181*0, a l though not to Van Diemen's Land, and only after tales of Australian "depravity had been resurrected and given a greater hearing than ever be9  fore.  12  From the mid-twenties one of the main indictments against convict  ^•E. G. Wakefield, A Letter from Sydney, (London, 1829, published anonymously); Wakefield i s rightly regarded as the leader of the Coloni a l Reformers, essentially a pressure group who for fifteen years campaigned to inject Radical principles into colonial policy, especially i n Australia and New Zealand. A large part of their achievement consisted of the i n i t i a l founding and settlement of South Australia, New Zealand and later the Canterbury settlement at Christchurch. ^See, for example, Spectator, May 12, 1838, pp.l*39-Hl; The Foreign Quarterly Review, Vol. IX, May, 1S32, pp. 1*22-37: Hansard, 3rd Ser., Vol. L U I , May 5", li&O, c.1236-1307; Vol. LEV (Lords), May 19, 181*0, c.2l*6-31i*; A. G. L. Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, (London, 1966), pp.275, 367-8.  transportation was the charge that i t fostered an ever increasing surplus of men i n Australia, with a l l the attendant vices of a predominantly masculine community. Since transported males vastly outnumbered female convicts this sex disproportion, the inverse of that existing i n Britain, was certain to persist so long as transported convicts exceeded free emigrants into A u s t r a l i a .  13  In 181+0 Molesworth detailed the widespread  homosexuality which resulted, and argued that the women convicts were utterly beyond reform; the argument against female transportation, he insisted, constituted grave objections to the entire system of transportation, since there would be i l l effects with or without the female offenders, and emigration of respectable women would be inhibited. ** But 1  earlier writers were more sanguine. The two most popular, but widely criticized, defenders of Australia i n the twenties, Wentworth and Cunningham, both argued the need for more convict women, or even mass shipments of prostitutes, to balance the sexes. Cunningham pointed to the example of the "Twelve Apostles", twelve women sent to Hobart Town by the philanthropist, William Fry i n 1822.  These, he claimed, had a l l ar-  rived pregnant but nevertheless proved to be an eventual asset to the  Eobson, "The Origin of the Women Convicts sent to Austr a l i a , 1787-1852", Historical Studies. Australia and New Zealand. Vol. XI, Nov, 1963, p.U3 estimates the female transportees as being 2i+,960 out of a t o t a l of 161}.,780; the 18 36 New South Wales Census recorded 55,539 males and 21,557 females. The Van Diemen's Land figures i n 163U were 28,801 males and 11,1+82 females. Report of Select Committee on Transportation, (II) I838, PP 1837-8, XXII, (699), p.xxx. ^Hansard, 3rd Ser., Vol. LIII, May 5, 181+0, cc 121+5-6, 1256-7.  58.  colony. For Cunningham, any form of female emigration would be a boon to the colony. Women are in fact one of the best and most patriotic consignments that could be sent out to our rising country. Even furthering a few shiploads of volunteers from the streets of overgrown towns in Britain would benefit greatly our convict catnmunityj--benefit also the places from whence they might be despatched; and benefit the wretched creatures themselves, by enabling them to begin a new and useful life in another country. 15 Despite their usual antipathy for Australia most of the reviews welcomed Cunningham's proposals. A writer in the Quarterly Review thought mass shipments of prostitutes would effect an improvement in colonial morals, and in the Edinburgh Review another writer described potential emigrants from Newgate and the streets of London as "a most patriotic and valuable cargo".^  But these enthusiasts, and especially  Cunningham, overlooked the certain consequence that while these opinions prevailed the Australian colonies would hardly present an attractive prospect to potential middle-class emigrants.  It was the misfortune of  female emigrants to be closely associated, from the very beginning, with  M. Cunningham, op. cit., pp. 262-81; William Fry himself, who managed the Guardian Penitentiary Society, claimed that the much maligned "Twelve Apostles" had turned out well, and never admitted the charge that they a l l arrived pregnant; W. Fry to R. W. Hay, (Colonial Office Under-Secretary), March 3, 1833, C.O. 38U/33. See also W.G. Wentworth, op.cit., pp.U82-!i. ^"New South Wales", Quarterly Review, Vol. XXVII, Jan. 1828, pp. 22-3. "New South Wales", Edinburgh Review, Vol. XLVH, Jan. 1828, p.92. W, E. Houghton's Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, l82it1900, (Toronto, 1966), p.U69, gives Sidney Smith as the probably, but unverified author of the Edinburgh article, but the difference between this and his previous hostile articles suggests otherwise; the article did not appear i n his Works; see also the New Monthly Magazine, Vol. XX, Oct, 1827, pp.399-llOO.  59poverty, paupers and prostitutes.  The subsequent history of middle-class  female emigration i s therefore a record of i t s constant attempt to gain respectability and escape from the trammels of a r i g i d association with the most depressed section of the working class. I t was i n this setting, then, that the Government initiated the f i r s t scheme of large-scale assisted female emigration i n 1832.  Pressure  had been mounting f o r some kind of reform since Wakefield's famous Letter from Sydney emerged from Newgate i n 1829 while he was serving a three year sentence for abduction.  In b r i e f , Wakefield argued that c o l -  onial land sales at a high price should replace the old free land-grant system; immigrant labourers would thereby be forced to remain i n the labour market u n t i l they could afford to purchase and cultivate their own land, and thus be prevented from rapidly becoming improvident landowners. Furthermore, a system of land sales would guarantee a constant supply of labour to the colony by providing a permanent fund t o finance respectable emigration.  The creation of this "emigration fund" was at the core of  the Australian problem, for only thus could the intolerable disparity i n fares between North America and Australia be reduced.  17  Wakefield's  principles were taken up by the members of his pressure group, the Coloni a l Reformers, and, partly impelled by their incessant pressure, Sari Grey's Whig Government incorporated the basic Wakefieldian system into o f f i c i a l policy with the Ripon Regulations i n 1831.  17  The Colonial  Wakefield, Letter From Sydney, Appendix, pp.126-31.  60, Secretary, Lord Goderich, then established a uniform system of land-sales i n New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, and shortly afterwards adopted the principle of assisted emigration out of the colonial land fund.  18  Quite apart from colonial considerations the events of the early 'thirties were highly conducive t o the encouragement of emigration i n Britain.  The burden of a growing poor-rate prompted the severe new Poor  Law of 1B3U which allowed parishes t o mortgage their poor-rates i n order to finance pauper emigration. Moreover, the threat of Luddism and agricultural unrest combined with the news of the French revolution of 1830 to bring a note of urgency, almost hysteria, to the "redundant population" problem. I t was tempting to conclude that the country must be swept clean of rick-burners, machine breakers and pauper parasites. But i t i s clear that, at least i n i t i a l l y , these motives played l i t t l e part i n the Government's action.  This f i r s t project i n state-assisted emi-  gration consisted primarily of financial aid to single female emigrants, those most needed i n Australia f o r moral reasons, and certainly not the most troublesome class i n Britain.  Justifying the new scheme to the  Treasury, Lord fiowick, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary, stressed that female emigrants would help "the moral improvement of the colony". The members of the Colonial Office, i n fact, seem to have attached more importance to the shortage of women than did the colonists themselves. When those i n Van Diemen's Land betrayed suspicions that they would simply  •^Viscount Goderich to Governor Bourke (New South Wales), Sep. 28  1B31, PP. 1831, XIX (328), pp. 126-31.  61. provide a damping ground for the sweepings of B r i t i s h workhouses, Goderich reassured them that the lower cost of North American emigration would always attract individuals or Parishes who wished to finance pauper emigration.  Although the scheme to assist working-class single  women was to be accompanied by a loan scheme for married mechanics and their families the terms for the single women were more favourable, and the bulk of the annual £10,000 appropriated from the land fund of the colonies was to be applied to the latter scheme. For the men at the Colonial Office this was a price worth paying for nothing less than a campaign for moral reform i n Australia, i n which Englishwomen were to be the agents of c i v i l i z a t i o n and morality. ? 1  The major problems endangering the successful outcome of the scheme were administrative ones, especially those of emigrant selection, and since the ultimate judgement of the scheme was based on i t s administration i t i s worth  «»aniiv<Tig  i n some detail.  Goderich was blithely  confident from the beginning that the selection of suitable workingclass women f o r domestic and farm servants would present no problem. There were many unemployed young women, he told Bourke, qualified as  ?Howick to J . Stewart (Treasury), July 16, 1831, Enclosure i n ibid; Goderich to Lt. Governor Arthur (Van Diemen's Land), Jan. 27, 1832, CO. U08/7; married mechanics received a loan of £20, to be repaid i n the colony, while the single women received a free grant of £8, i n creased to £12 i n 1833 and again to f16 (the f u l l fare) i n 1835; £6,i|00 out of the fund was applied to the female emigration scheme, and the balance, only £3,600, to married mechanics. Bourke to Goderich, April 11, 1832, PP. 1833, XXVI (lUl), p. 36. x  62.  farmers servants i n the agricultural counties who would gladly emigrate 1  i f financial assistance was forthcoming. The necessary arrangements could be safely confided to the recently appointed Emigration CcsnraisB20  ion.  Goderich admittedly had no precedents to follow, but he had no  concept of how the best qualified country servants would be selected; nor did he seem aware of the difficulty of selecting virtuous uncorrupted young women from the ranks of the unemployed, many of whom would have been dependent on parish or charitable aid for long periods, with a l l its attendant risks for their "reputations". Furthermore, i f large numbers of women were to be sent out collectively the Emigration Commission would be totally unequipped to handle the project, and the bulk of administrative detail would devolve onto their secretary, Thomas F. Elliot.  2 1  Since Elliot's own capacities were limited, the offers of  shipowners, brokers and charitable institutions to assist were certain to be welcomed with enthusiasm. In October, 1831, the Emigration Commissioners issued the first regulations governing the selection of female emigrants.  They made i t  clear that preference for the £8 grant would be given to single women  20Goderich to Bourke, Sep. 28, 1831, PP. 1831, XTX (328), pp. 126-31. The Emigration Commission was essentially an investigating and advisory body, and consisted of only five members, Lord Richmond, Lord Howick, H. W. Hay, F. Baring and H. Ellis. It was dissolved by Goderich in August, 1832 so there could have been no intention of letting i t serve as a permanent administrative body; Report of Commissioners to Goderich, March 1 5 , 1832, and Goderich to Commissioners, August U , 1832, PP. 1831-2, XXXH (72k), pp. 6 - 7 , 29-30. 21  63, between 15 and 30 who were emigrating as members of a family.  This im-  mediately settled weighty problems of administration for the Commissioners.  I t meant that prospective emigrants need simply engage their own  passage with shipowners, and then apply for the bounty through their parents.  A l l the problems of moral supervision on the voyage and recep-  tion and employment i n the colony would be solved by parental supervision.  Whether the women thus given priority of selection would be l i k e l y  to be suited to colonial needs as the country servants Goderich had promised, the Commissioners did not consider.  But they recognized that i f  the scheme was to reform colonial morals successfully this method could not provide the necessarily large numbers of women. They therefore proposed to recruit a large number of independent applicants and subsequentl y engage a vessel f o r single women exclusively.  The regulations cover-  ing these women were to be more stringent than those for members of families.  The minimum age was increased from 15 to 16, and their applica-  tion was to include the recommendation of a minister and two householders from the woman's local parish.  Priority of selection would be given  to those qualified as farmers' servants, but the Commissioners did not suggest that any care would be taken to ensure that only such women 22 would receive the grant. The f i r s t method, under the supervision of families, successfully  Report of Commissioners to Goderich, Oct. 11. 1831, enclosed i n Goderich to Bourke, Oct. 11, 1831, PP. 1831, XIX (328), pp. 19-20.  6iu facilitated the emigration of at least 1*30 young women to Australia without provoking colonial complaints of their suitability.  But by 1635 i t  became apparent that the free offer of the bounty encouraged a number of unscrupulous private brokers and shipowners to pose as emigration agents with grossly exaggerated i d y l l i c descriptions of Australia.  In some  cases deliberate fraud was practised on prospective emigrants, and by 1835, when the method of mass shipments was well established, the Government decided to discontinue the family method i n favour of the mass shipment scheme under more reliable supervision. 3 2  The mass-shipment scheme was a more enduring i f more controvers i a l , project.  I t received a bad press both i n Britain and Australia  and was ultimately abandoned after 1836 as a failure because of the widespread belief that i t had not reduced but increased the amount of immora l i t y i n the colonies.  The criticisms stemmed from a number of very  real abuses, but they tended to obscure the positive benefits which the scheme conferred on the colonies and the women themselves by enabling more than 3,000 females to remove to a more promising environment. Yet  ^ L t . R. Low (Liverpool Emigration Agent) to R. W. Hay (Permanent Under-Secretary). June 29, 1833 and Aug. 5, 1833, G.O. 38i*/32: Low to Hay, June 21, 183U, G.O. 381*/35; W. B e l l (Liverpool Shipbroker) to 2  Hay, Feb. 2, 1635; C.O. 381*/39} Hay to B e l l , Feb. 5, 1635, CO. 385/I65  R. B. Madgwick, Immigration into Eastern Australia, 1768-1951. (London, 1937), pp* 97-8; the number of emigrants i n families i s compiled from the various l i s t s returned from the colonies to the Colonial Office,  in C.O. 201/233, 201/21*5, 201/21*6, 201/255, 280/55.  65. the real success of the scheme was less important than the firm impression that i t had failed, and the conclusion at the Colonial Office that such failure was inherent i n any system of mass female emigration. the more favourable side of the scheme has yet to be described.  Still  Histor-  ians have accepted without qualification the unfavourable verdict of contemporaries, and B. B. Madgwick, the only writer to treat the subject i n extensive detail, has concluded that the abuses i n selection which prompted colonial complaints were j u s t i f i e d i n branding the entire scheme as undesirable. ^ 2  The case against the scheme turns on the poor quality of i t s administration, and at f i r s t glance i s a strong one.  The Emigration Com-  mission, despite i t s temporary and advisory capacity, was i n i t i a l l y l e f t i n charge of a l l the details of taking up and f i t t i n g out two emigrant ships exclusively for women, and of selecting suitable emigrants. The latter task would assume vast proportions i f individual applicants were to be examined and selected separately, since each ship was to carry about 200 emigrants.  However, the immediate offers from several chari-  table institutions, i n both London and Ireland, to provide large numbers of their female inmates as emigrants effectively solved this problem. ^ 2  For the institutions this provided an opportunity to dispose of large  %adgwick, op.cit., pp. 110-11; see also R. C. M i l l s , The Colonisation of Australia, 1829-U2, (London, 1915), pp.l8U-91. 2  % . Bessard to E l l i o t , Cork, Feb. 15, 1832; Secretary of "Incorporated society . . to E l l i o t , Dublin, March 5, 1832, C.O. 381j/30. 2  66. numbers of burdensome women with few employment prospects for a small outlay*  For the Commission i t provided a welcome opportunity to reduce  the costs of selection by confiding the entire responsibility to charitable institutions, which presumably had a f a i r l y intimate knowledge of the qualifications and character of each prospective emigrant.  Neither  the Commission nor the Colonial Office was equipped to conduct interviews and investigate the backgrounds of hundreds of women. Without this gratuitous aid the scheme would have been Impracticable under existing circumstances, but at the same time i t meant that the "moral quality" and qualifications of the emigrants would be no better than those of the best to be found i n institutions for the homeless and destitute. Taken together, the experience of the f i r s t two shiploads of emigrants thus selected i n 1832 indicated that dependence on charitable i n stitutions for selection could, but need not necessarily, lead to great abuses t o the detriment of both the colonies and the women. This same observation applies to the subsequent fourteen ships sent out between 1833 and I836.  The Red Rover, which sailed from Ireland to Sydney with  202 women selected by the Cork "House of Industry" and the Dublin "Incorporated Society f o r Promoting English Protestant Schools i n Ireland" was an unqualified success i n providing New South Wales with suitable emigrants*  26  But the Princess Royal, which sailed from London to Hob art  Town, van Diem en's Land, with 193 women partly selected from the  26  Bourke to Goderich, Sept. 2u, 1832, CO. 201/227.  67. "Guardian Penitentiary Society" and several London workhouses, was at best a qualified f a i l u r e .  27  Naturally the unfortunate experience of the  latter ship attracted most attention and tended to obscure the value of the former. Both during and after the operation of the scheme i t s c r i t ics pointed to the Princess Royal as a typical example of the evils of collective female emigration. ® 2  Although various charitable institutions responded to the Commission's advertisement with offers of help, ? responsibility for the en2  t i r e selection of the Princess Royal emigrants ultimately devolved onto William Fry.  Fry was associated with several London charities and had  handled the emigration of the notorious "Twelve Apostles" i n 1822.  He  collected women for the Princess Royal from several London institutions. His own Guardian Penitentiary Society provided 2U emigrants, the Nationa l Guardian Institution f o r Respectable Servants provided lh and the Refuge for the Destitute and various "houseless societies of the same description" each provided a few.  However, the Magdalen Female Penitenti-  ary, which had originally proposed t o assist hh of i t s own inmates, subsequently withdrew from the project.  2  7w.  Fry to R. W. Hay, March  At the same time the Princess  3, 1833,  CO.  38U/33.  28 See, for example, the evidence of Mr. John Russell of Van Diemen's Land before the Transportation Committee, Q.570. Report of Select Committee on Transportation, U , 1838. op.cit., p.59. ?A. Pellatt, Hon. Secretary of "Pentonville Female Penitentiary", to E l l i o t , Feb. 7 , 1832$ E. Forster, Treasurer of "Refuge for the Destitute", to E l l i o t , Feb. 13, 1832, CO. 381./30. 2  68. Royal, with a capacity of 200 passengers instead of 120, as originally expected, was engaged for the voyage. Consequently Fry was forced to look for additional women. He obtained a further 2k from London workhouses and selected the rest from casual individual applicants.  Fry did  not specify how carefully the latter were investigated, but his boast that the majority were "very respectable", including one daughter of a Baptist Minister from Stratford, was borne out by later reports from the colony after the i n i t i a l complaints had subsided.3° But the result of Fry's selection was that the Princess Royal contained a wide range of women with diverse class backgrounds, from the most destitute of the working-class to the most respectable of the lower-aiiddle-class, "suitable", i n the words of Lt. Governor Arthur, "to become the wives of decent tradesmen".^ It was exactly this "admixture" of classes which provoked the most serious complaints from Hobart Town. Arthur supported the principle of collective female emigration, but from the beginning he had urged the need for great caution to prevent "demoralization" of women on the voyage, and now protested strongly against the mismanagement of the Princess Royal emigrants.  Although Fry had arranged the berths so as to keep the  3°Forster to E l l i o t , ibid.; Fry to Hobart Town Ladies Reception Committee, April 15, 1832, C.O. 38U/30; Fry to Hay, March 3, 1633, C.O. 38U/33; Goderich to Arthur, March 29, 1833, C.O. 1*08/9. 31  Arthur to Goderich, Sep. 8, 1632, C.O. 280/35.  69. different classes of women segregated Arthur maintained that the "injudicious association * of the worst with best had caused embarrassment to 1  some women and corruption to others.  The most respectable women had ex-  pected to find only companions of their own class, but instead had found the humiliation of mixture with women from reformatories and workhouses. The respectable women blamed Fry for "deception" and feared that "their own characters have suffered from the lamentable association, which c i r cumstances over which they had no control have forced upon them". But worse, Arthur complained that another class of women, those generally useful as domestic servants and with good reputations, had been corrupted by the "licentious proceedings" during the voyage.  At least half of  the emigrants were "far more depraved than the generality of convict women" and many suffered from venereal disease on embarkation.  They had  a l l exercised "a most baneful influence on others less depraved than themselves". Arthur did not question Fry's motives, but maintained that he had f a i l e d to realise how l i t t l e reformation had actually taken place among most of the women from charitable institutions and workhouses.  32  Arthur's criticisms were Justified and to the point. Certainly the same abuses were not duplicated on the Red Rover to Sydney, whose Irish emigrants, while also from charitable institutions, were a l l of a single class. This i s largely a comment on the relative influences of the different environments of Ireland and the metropolis on helpless women, but i t seems true that Fry had been excessively optimistic i n his  32ibjd; Arthur to Hay, Sep. 10, 1832 (Private letter accompanying i b i d . ) . C.O. 280/35.  70. hopes that many ex-prostitutes were permanently reformed.  In his origin-  a l report to the Hobart Town Ladies Reception Committee he confided that although the women from the institutions had been carefully selected "their late unhappy and f a l l e n situation should be as much concealed as possible and they treated with the greatest delicacy".  33  The Ladies Com-  mittee protested with reason that such concealment from potential employers would have been "unpardonable as i t would have been impracticable". ^ 3  Nevertheless, c r i t i c s i n the colonies who contended that  only a brief examination should reveal whether or not a woman had a background of prostitution ignored the virtually traumatic effect of a four month voyage i n steerage conditions with 200 women and a few men, and the excitement of arriving i n a new country.  The experience was not  calculated to bring out the best i n anyone, even with the most rigid supervision, and the task of separating the whore from the pure always appeared easier after the voyage than before. Arthur's f i n a l comment on the "Royals", as some of the women became known i n Van Diem en's Land, suggests that hasty complaints tended to distort the real picture. I am nappy to say that the mischief has been by no means so great as might have been anticipated, and that, upon the whole, the i n troduction into the colony of even these women has been very beneficial. 35  3 3  F r y to Ladies Committee, A p r i l 15, 1832, CO. 38U/30.  3%eport of Ladies Committee, i n Arthur to Goderich, Oct. 12,  1832, C O . 280/36.  ^Arthur to Hay, Oct. 5, 1833, CO. 280A3.  71. With such qualifications then, need the criticisms of the scheme, by even Arthur himself, be tempered. The imminent dissolution of the Emigration Commission i n 1832 prompted the Colonial Office to appoint one of the many volunteer organizations as a permanent body to supervise preparation and emigrant selection.  Edward Forster, Chairman of the Refuge for the Destitute, a London  charitable association receiving government financial aid, offered the gratuitous services of the Refuge for a l l duties connected with female emigration. The Committee of the Refuge had responded immediately to the original Government notice of the project i n 1831 by issuing a notice explaining the virtues of female emigration and calling for the formation of a committee of benevolent gentlemen to promote the Government's scheme.3^ It was this committee, composed largely of members of the Committee of the Refuge, and apparently formed before any communication with the Colonial Office, to which the Government completely confided a l l the business connected with female emigration.  By June, 1832, the London Emi-  gration Committee, as i t became known, had printed a detailed advertisement inviting applications from women throughout the country.  Elliot  assisted i n such matters as advertising but otherwise the Committee assumed entire responsibility.37  36Refuge advertisement dated Nov. 29, 1831, C.O. 38J./27. 37p ter to E l l i o t , Feb. 13, 1832, C.O. 38i*/30s E l l i o t to Forster, May 28, 1832, C.O. 385/11*5 Refuge advertisement dated June 9, 1832, CO. 38V32s Cf. Madgwick, op.cit.. pp. 100-1. ors  72The Committee was completely voluntary and lacked any paid staff. Even i t s expenses had to be financed by a surcharge of £ 1 on the fare required from each emigrant. Without further help then, i t s activities would have been severely limited, for the task of recruitment and selection soon necessitated onerous duties of travel and correspondence with individual applicants and institutions.  The only solution was to entrust  the job of recruitment to shipowners whenever time and distance made i t Impossible for the Committee. In practice, this meant that the Committee interviewed applicants l i v i n g i n or near London at their office i n Hackney Road twice a week, while those farther afield were recruited by the Committee's contractor and agent, John Marshall.  Marshall submitted the  applications to the Committee for acceptance or rejection with his own comments, and although the Committee did apparently reject same applicants despite Marshall's recommendation, i t seems that they were i n general bound to depend on his judgement. As a shipowner and contractor Marshall also received £16 for every female emigrant he sent out, so that, while he had a personal interest i n each ship being f u l l y loaded, he also had the influence and opportunity to ensure that any deficiency i n numbers might be made up by recruiting undesirable women at the last minute. The colonists and the Colonial Reformers a l l based their condemnation of the scheme on this charge.^  38cf. Madgwick, op.cit., pp.l01-3$ Forster to Hay, March 30, 1633, C.O. 38u/32; Marshall to Forster, May 10, 1633, C.O. 381*/32; Marshall to Forster, Feb. 21, 1831*, C.O. 361*735$ see also the evidence of Marshall, Forster and H. W. Parker before the Transportation Committee, QQ. 102*3, 1166-70, 1230-61*, Report of Select Committee on Transportation, I I , 1836, op.cit.. pp.89, 100-1, 105-8.  73. I t i s as unnecessary as i t i s impossible to erect a conclusive defense of Marshall against these charges.  Quite possibly he was guilty of  fraud and misuse of colonial funds, and was consequently responsible for a l l the colonial complaints of unsuitable emigrants. But one should stress what Madgwick himself was forced to admit, that a l l the evidence on either side i s circumstantial.  The colonists were quick to notice  that Marshall's dual role as shipowner-contractor and selection agent to the Committee was incongruous, but they could never support their accusations with positive proof. The only "real evidence" as Madgwick describes i t , comes from the information given to the Select Committee on Transportation which took up the matter i n 1638, and i f , as Madgwick rightly suggests, Marshall would never admit having misused colonial funds, i t i s equally certain that the Transportation Committee, led by Molesworth, began with a bias against the entire scheme.  Molesworth's  Committee simply obtained the answer they desired by asking loaded questions, and elicited the preconceived conclusion that the scheme went wrong because of inadequate control over an incompetent committee and unscrupulous contractor and agent. Furthermore, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to reconcile the charges against Marshall with the fact that early i n the scheme he received a guarantee of payment for the number of emigrants necessary t o f i l l each ship to capacity.  This made i t quite unnecessary f o r him to  smuggle i n unqualified women. ? 3  His own defense before the Transportation  3?The extra payment was authorized at Forster's request after Marshall had taken a loss on three ships equipped for 200 emigrants each which a l l took less than their capacity; (the Sarah, Canton and Charles Kerr). Forster to Hay, July 16, 1835; Forster to James Stephen, Oct. 2, 1835, and Stephen's note, CO. 38o/38.  71*. Committee, though suspect, was never questioned, especially the impressive volumes of letters he produced to demonstrate his extreme care i n selection.  The moral and occupational standards governing emigrant s e l -  ection, he reminded those applying on behalf of seduced g i r l s , were i d entical with those governing a private family when hiring domestic servants.^  0  Nevertheless, lacking adequate proof, the defense of the emi-  gration scheme must rest on other grounds than these; as i n the case of the Princess Royal the most convincing argument i s one which demonstrates that the emigrants were not as undesirable as contemporaries believed, and as recent c r i t i c s have since maintained.^  1  A comprehensive picture  of the relative success or failure of each shipload, considering favourable as well as adverse reports, i s l i k e l y to lead to a more balanced conclusion. A careful analysis of a l l the available data extracted from the  ^ % a r s h a l l produced s i x volumes of correspondence carried on between himself and prospective emigrants, which unfortunately have not survived. Some extracts, however, were printed with the Transportation Committee Report; see esp. Marshall to G. Williams, Town Clerk, Tewkesbury, March 21*, 1835 i n reply to assistance for a seduced g i r l ; Report of Select Committee on Transportation, I I , 1838, op.cit., p.306. and Marshall's evidence QQ. 1050-53, pp.90-1. ^ C r i t i c s like Madgwick and Mills simply selected colonial reports of the most undesirable women and depicted them as representative of the entire number. Madgwick, having examined four of the worst shiploads, concluded that "There i s no point i n making further references to particular ships. Every one of fourteen dispatched by the Emigration Committee was criticized to a greater or less degree on similar grounds ; op.cit., p.105. rt  7*. despatches of colonial governors and reception committee reports on each ship strongly suggests that although there were many justified complaints about unsuitable women, the overall character of the female emigration scheme was not harmful.** Out of fourteen ships despatched by the Commit2  tee,** seven gave grounds f o r serious complaint i n Australia, either be3  cause they contained numbers of prostitutes, girls under-age and i n e l i g ible f o r the bounty, and women not qualified for domestic service, or because of disorder, indiscipline and promiscuity during the voyage. But of these seven, the complaints of only one, the Layton i n 1833, applied to a majority of the female passengers.  Out of the other six, i n spite  of serious criticism of a minority of the women, the governors also praised the general character and behaviour of the majority on four vessels, the Bussorah Merchant, Strathfieldsay, David Scott and Canton. Only on three occasions, i n the cases of the Layton, Charles Kerr and Boadicea, did the governors make their specific complaints a basis for wider criticism of the entire system.  Furthermore, i n two cases the  women complained of were not selected by the Committee but had been f u l l y financed by other institutions and were merely u t i l i z i n g the Committee's ships and f a c i l i t i e s .  These included some of the women who were most  seriously c r i t i c i z e d f o r bad character, i l l health and age on the Strathfieldsay and Boadicea. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to establish any exact numbers  ** For details of the outcome of each emigrant ship, on which the following i s based, see Appendix A. 2  The Committee was not responsible for emigrant selection f o r the four ships despatched from Ireland, but this distinction was not apparentl y understood i n the colony and i n publicity at home.  76. of supposed unsuitable women as names and numbers were frequently not specified, but even assuming that estimates like "a few" or " i n some cases" referred to as many as t h i r t y women, those giving cause for complaint, including the emigrants not actually selected by the Committee, would amount to 360 out of a total of 2,703, or slightly less than fourteen per cent of the t o t a l .  While this number was sufficient to justify  constant complaints from the colonies and controversy at home, i t certainly does not warrant the unqualified condemnation i t provoked. The other seven ships occasioned no colonial complaints whatsoever, and much commendation, with respect to the moral and economic quality and behaviour of the women. A l l four ships i n 1836, the f i n a l year of the project, were included among these, but i t i s significant to note that the last three, the William Metcalfe. Duchess of Northumberland and Lady McNaughten did provoke indignant protests from Australia.  These protests,  however, had nothing whatever to do with single female emigrants, but referred exclusively to the new Government project of family emigration which was started i n 1836 to replace mass female emigration. Both Franklin, the new Governor of Van Diemen's Land, and Bourke complained of the destitute and unqualified paupers sent out at colonial expense. The ships were overcrowded, and excessive numbers of children on board sparked off contagious disease and high mortality. But the Ladies' Committee i n Hobart Town expressed their gratification to find such great improvement i n the qualifications and character of the women on the William  77. Metcalfe—along the lines of their earlier suggestions.**** Madgwick missed this essential distinction between complaints of single women and those of complete families.  In fact the favourable reception of a l l the women  i n 1836 inescapably suggests that the Committee was just becoming proficient at i t s job when the whole scheme was abandoned. The outcome of each voyage suggests that wise and rigourous supervision on board gave a greater assurance of success than the method of emigrant selection, although the latter was undoubtedly important. The most disastrous ship handled by the Committee was the Layton i n 1833, which provoked angry protests from the Colonial administrators and the ladies' reception committee after a riotous voyage of unrestrained promiscuity.  But as Bourke made clear, the basic cause was the Committee's  faulty selection of two incompetent men to serve as the ship's Surgeon and Superintendent. They quarrelled throughout the voyage, accusing each other of inattention and improper conduct, and failed utterly to control the women and segregate them from the erew.**£ on the other hand, the Sarah, one of the most orderly and appreciated ships, owed i t s success  **%eport of Ladies' Committee, March 25, 1837, i n Franklin to Glenelg, April 12, 1837, C.O. 280/78. **^Bourke to Stanley, Jan. 21, 1834, Historical Records of Australia, Series I, Vol. XVII, pp. 31+3-6; The surgeon of the Layton gave a graphic description of the various disorders; the crew and male passengers took mistresses from among the women, and Rule reported that after one night of unrestrained revelry he found several intoxicated women lying naked under the hatchway; the crew frequently swam naked i n the women's presence; Journal of Surgeon J . Rule of the Layton, C. 0. 381+/36.  78. far more to "judicious supervision" i n Arthur's words, than to any superior selection.^  6  Forster agreed, and afterwards took steps to ensure  that the supervision on each ship would be as exemplary as that of Superintendent Charles D. Logan on the Sarah. He combined the duties of the Surgeon and Superintendent into a single post, as on convict ships, and issued r i g i d instructions to each Surgeon-Superintendent along the lines of Logan's own report.**  7  The key to Logan's success had been the exten-  sive use of married men, themselves emigrants, both as deputies to ensure discipline and as a "salutary influence" on the morals of the unmarried.  Logan's report of the voyage of the Sarah i s especially important  i n view of future developments i n assisted emigration, which i n 1837 was converted to family emigration exclusively.**® By degrees the Government extended his concept of protection by families u n t i l no woman received assistance unless she went under the immediate protection of a married ho couple, preferably her parents or other close relatives.  But Forster's  meticulous instructions to each Surgeon-Superintendent, patterned after Logan's report, on the necessary precautions to guard the women's morals and behaviour demonstrate the Committee's pre-eminent concern to forestall ** Arthur to Spring-Rice, Feb. 26, 1835, C.O. 280/55. 6  ** Forster to Hay, March 10, 1835, C.O. 384/38. 7  **®Logan's supervision was a mixture of piety, diversionary i n struction and duties and strict inspection. He kept a twenty-four hour male guard and made frequent unannounced inspections and ran nightly checks of the women's quarters; Report of Superintendent C. Logan of the Sarah, i n Arthur to Spring Rice, Feb. 26, 1835, C.O. 280/55. **?Glenelg to Bourke, Sept. 18, 1836, and enclosures, PP. 1837, X L i n (358), pp.58-60.  79. any further complaints about the women i n Australia.  The results of  the Sarah and the s i x other ships with a clean record showed that their aim was not unrealistic. In terms of numbers the female emigration project was, therefore, undoubtedly highly successful.  I t provided the Australian colonies with  badly needed female domestic servants and potential wives without the stigma of a convict background, and opened a new f i e l d of gainful employment to women without prospects i n Britain.  But contemporaries, and esp-  ecially the Australian colonists, did not think i n terms of numbers. For them i t was the isolated complaint which attracted attention and remained representative of every woman on every ship.  Horrors such as those des-  cribed on the Layton caused shocked reactions from men who had confidentl y expected that shiploads of women would c i v i l i z e Australia. Ultimatel y colonial dissatisfaction and adverse publicity combined with the worsening Image of Australia during the height of the Transportation controversy i n IB36 to terminate the whole project.  The fate of the scheme  was decided by the distortions of adverse publicity rather than by a genuine assessment of i t s t o t a l contribution.  ^°See Forster*s instructions to John Sullivan, Surgeon-Superintendent of the Canton. April 18, 1835, C.O. 361iA5. The Committee had earlier expressed i t s conviction that respectable families "exercise an Important check on the entire society on board ship, and essentially promote regularity, propriety and harmony. While parents watch over the minds and conduct of their families, the moral influence extends far beyond the Immediate objects of their solicitude and care**; Forster to Hay, Dec. 30, l83it, C.O. 38U/35; see also the Committee's instructions to the Captain, Surgeon and Superintendent of the Strathfleldsay. May 1, 183U,  C.O. 38V35.  80.  From the outset the Colonial Office had been doubtful about the wisdom of moving large numbers of young women collectively.  T. F. E l l i o t  preferred them to emigrate i n small groups protected by immediate families, but he was forced to qualify his preference by the need f o r speed i n increasing the female population of Australia. Mass shipments were i n his view a compromise with quality i n order to obtain the more urgent quantity.&  Others shared his view that some abuses were inherent i n such a  large undertaking, but worth tolerating for the greater gain of reducing the disproportion between the sexes.  Goderich told Arthur that the risk  of disorder on the Princess Royal had been anticipated, "but that chance was deemed a less e v i l than the certain mischief of leaving the disproportion between the sexes i n those colonies without an attempt at i t s correction. "^  2  Similarly, Governor Bourke, more often a sympathetic  mouthpiece f o r colonial complaints, acknowledged that i t would be " a l together unreasonable" to expect a universally favourable report of the women's morals.**  3  Even Forster admitted that some cases of "deception"  and the influence of a long voyage must inevitably produce some exceptional cases of undeserving women. ^*  Colonial immigration o f f i c i a l s  ^ E l l i o t to Richard Dalton, Poor Law Officer, Bury St. Edmonds, Dec. 15, 1831, C.O. 385/12; E l l i o t to Catherine McDonough, Jan. 4, 1832,  C.O. 385/13.  ^Goderich to Arthur, March 29, 1833, C.O. 1*08/9. b o u r k e to Stanley, Dec. 6, 1833, PP. 1834, XLTV (616), pp. 33-5. ^ F o r s t e r to Hay, Dec. 30, 1834, CO. 384/35.  81.  55  frequently qualified their own complaints with similar observations. This view could easily change into downright criticism of Australian society.  In 183U an emigrant's handbook on New South Wales  by the Rev. H. Carmichael defended the scheme on the grounds of i t s priceless value i n reducing the disproportion between the sexes, and hence Improving colonial morality.  The author went on,  In individual cases the change of circumstances, and the state of the colony must, no doubt, have gone far to probe acutely the feelings of these females: and i n other cases some may have become victims of the vice of the country. Yet on the whole, after the temporary feelings arising from separation from home, and from being thus thrown into this society have been overcome, their general condition i s sure of being bettered; whilst their influence i n restraining men from immorality and vice, w i l l be more and more f e l t according as they become distributed as heads of families over the territory. Nothing has so powerful an influence over the conduct of men, as the society of virtuous and intelligent females.?" Carmichael's argument that the state of colonial society was to blame for Ill-behaved women gradually became the main line of defense against the scheme's c r i t i c s .  Paradoxically, however, the constant reiteration  of the influence of Australian "depravity on innocent and helpless 0  young women prompted fears that mass female emigration was suitable only for the most degraded women of England. Although the Committee might regard some abuses as inevitable,  £^See, for example, the report of the Colonial Surgeon and Port Officer at Hobart Town on the Boadicea, Feb. 8, 1836, i n Arthur to GLenelg, Feb. 19, I836, C.O. 280/65. . .  5%ev. H. Carmichael, Hints Relating to Emigrants and Emigration (London, 183U), p»38.  82. the correspondence between them and the Colonial Office displays a most scrupulous regard to select well-qualified virtuous women.  Furthermore,  they invariably betrayed a hypersensitivity to criticism from a l l quarters, even seeming to expect i t .  One committee member, C. H. Bracebridge,  questioning the minimum age limit of eighteen for female emigrants, remarked to the Permanent Undersecretary at the Colonial Office: I believe parish officers w i l l show that the age of seduction i n England and consequently of expense to their fund i s earlier, not to say anything of the hope of reform being greater i n characters who have not been years immersed i n vice . . . I w i l l not deny (though i t lessen the numbers of applicants) i t /i.e. the 18 year l i m i t / may save us from seme abuse from mawkish humanitists who exclaim against separating a poor child from her natural protectors. Such persons know not how many of the ties of nature are i r r e t r i e vably broken among the vicious of the lower classes who l i v e without God i n the world, and consequently sink .far below the level of human nature i n a highly c i v i l i z e d country.? 7  The Colonial Office shared this defensive attitude.  Each year i n the  Parliamentary Papers they published recent correspondence with the Coloni a l Governors relating to emigration, and during the operation of the scheme this should have involved publishing the c r i t i c a l comments from Australia on same female emigrants.  But i n fact i t i s possible to read  through the papers covering the f i r s t two years of the project without seeing any suggestion that a single complaint had emanated from either colony. The Governors  1  despatches were carefully censored so that every  reference to prostitutes and misbehaviour of the women was absent from the papers presented to Parliament. The f u l l purport of the correspondence, therefore, only becomes apparent when one consults i t i n the original,  57c. H. Bracebridge to Hay, June 12, 1832, C.O. 384/30.  conveniently Impossible f o r contemporaries.  5  For those interested i n  the success of the scheme, censorship of this kind forestalled, at least for a time, sensational criticism at home which might discourage the more respectable women from emigrating. Government censorship, however, could not keep female emigrants out of the news indefinitely.  Despite the time lag caused by a voyage  of about four months, news from Australia eventually f i l t e r e d back by means of correspondence, returning passengers or crew members.  Still,  i t i s surprising, i n view of the o f f i c i a l complaints of some of the earliest ships, that no serious criticism of the scheme was made i n England before the Summer of 18 3U.  And when that criticism came from  The Times i t must have taken the Committee by complete surprise, since they had previously received that very paper's praise.  On May 2,  183U  a Times article described i n glowing terms the emigrants on the Strathfleldsay and a l l the elaborate precautions on board prior to departure.^  But three months later The Times thundered and from that  time the Emigration Committee was forced into a defensive position from which i t never recovered. Opposition to any organized emigration project was not inconsis-  ^Compare, f o r example, Arthur to Goderich on the Princess Royal. Sept. 8, 1832, i n PP. 1833, XXVI (11*1), PP.54-5 with original i n C.O. 280/35; also compare Arthur to Stanley on the Strathfleldsay. Sept. 2k, 1831*, i n PP. 1835, XXXIX (87) pp. 31-2 with original i n C.O. 280^9.  forhe Times. May 2, lB3k, p.5.  84. tent with the long-established editorial policy of The Times.  Since I8l5  i t had constantly opposed a l l o f f i c i a l attempts to encourage emigration, ostensibly on the grounds that other means of employing a redundant population could be found at home. Furthermore, i n the Summer of 1834 The Times and i t s owner, John Walter, were at the height of their fulminations against the new Poor Law, then i n the f i n a l stages of legislation, so that any further opportunity to c r i t i c i z e the centralizing and interfering Whig Government would have been welcome.  60  In view of Walter's  later attacks on the scheme i n Parliament i n 1836 i t i s probable that the outbursts of August, 1834 were written at the behest of the proprietor. In August, 1834, The Times printed three leaders c r i t i c a l of the female emigration project.  Two were based on information from an " i n -  telligent captain of a merchant vessel just arrived from Sydney" and one on a l e t t e r received from a returned female emigrant. The tenor of each was much the same. They tended to stress the more sensational abuses of the scheme, particularly those respecting prostitutes, but The Times,although extremely hostile, made no criticism which Colonial Governors and o f f i c i a l s had not already made against a minority of the women; the difference lay i n the clear impression that these abuses were  ^OOn the Poor Law see J . Walter, A Letter to the Electors of Berkshire on the Hew System for the Management of the Poor feoposed by the Government. (London. 1834). and The Times, April 3 0 , 1834, p . 5 .  85.  the role rather than the exception.  This might be explained by the fact  that i n August, 183U sufficient time had elapsed to permit news to reach London of only four emigrant ships, two of these, the Red Rover and the Princess Royal, not being handled by the Committee, and one, the Layton, provoking more serious complaints than any other ship. The Times' c r i t icism, therefore, was made before the Committee had really had an opportunity to show that i t had profited from i t s early mistakes. The growls of the Thunderer did not go unanswered. Five days after the appearance of the f i r s t c r i t i c a l leader a defensive letter by John Marshall, the Committee's agent and contractor, appeared i n the Globe, Courier and True Sun, papers which had a l l reprinted the leader of August 6 from The Times.^ In rebuttal Marshall pointed out that the 2  Committee had not been responsible f o r the Red Rover and Princess Royal, and that i t had been formed for the express purpose of eliminating the original abuses. He then cited reports of the emigrants on the Bnssorah Merchant and Layton diametrically opposite to those used by The Times. Characteristically, The Times dismissed a l l Marshall's evidence because i t came from men who, like Marshall, had a "common interest" i n encouraging emigration, but i t i s notable that i t did not repeat the accusation, already made i n Sydney, that Marshall had deliberately f i l l e d up the  6l  The Times, Aug. 6, 183U, p.5*j Aug. lU, 183U, p.2j Aug. 28, 183U,  p.2. The Globe, Aug. 11, l83Uj The Courier, Aug 11, 183U; The True Sun, Aug 11, 183k. 62  86.  ships with disreputable women immediately before departure. Further c r i t icism i n The Times on August U and August 28 prompted a more elaborate reply from Marshall i n pamphlet form on August 29, which was really an extension of his f i r s t l e t t e r of August 7 . ^ Unlike the Committee and the Colonial Office he avoided the t a c t i c a l error of suggesting that some abuses were inherent i n a system of mass female emigration, but he did suggest that some experience was necessary before the system could attain perfection. * 6  4.  I t i s hardly l i k e l y that Marshall's reply convin-  ced The Times but, for whatever reason, i t did not deign to answer him, and did not return to the subject u n t i l 1 8 3 6 . ^ 6  In his pamphlet Marshall printed a letter to The Times from J . Henty, an ex-Van Biemen's Land resident, which the newspaper had refused to print.  Henty had stressed the desperate need for women i n Van Diemen's  Land, and had suggested that the abuses described i n Sydney did not apply to the smaller colony.  He feared that The Times' adverse publicity  would discourage potential emigrants, and especially the more respect66  able women, from taking advantage of the Government bounty.  His fear  was well j u s t i f i e d , for the next three ships to leave London, the Sarah Marshall, A Reply to the Misrepresentations . . . Respecting Female Emigration t o Australia, (London, 1 8 3 4 ) . Marshall reprinted his letter of August 7 i n this pamphlet, pp. 3 - 6 ; see also Marshall to Hay Aug. 2 1 , 1835, C.O. 384/381, where Marshall stated that the Committee had induced him to write the pamphlet. % b i d . « p.20. ^ S i m i l a r criticism of the scheme appeared i n "Van Diemen's Land'', Westminster Review. Vol. XXI, July, 1834, pp.50-2. . ^J.  Marshall, op. c i t . ,  pp.6-7.  87. In October, 1834. the Canton i n May, 183$, 183$,  and the Charles Kerr i n July,  a l l departed without their f u l l quota of women. In his report f o r 18 34  Forster wrote that the Committee had f u l l y anticipated f i l l i n g the Sarah with much needed country servants, but after the press controversy many women of that class had withdrawn their application. ^  Six months  later he complained that respectable qualified women were s t i l l deterred by press criticism, and extended responsibility to the Australian press. The unfounded attacks on the labours of the Committee by a portion of the newspaper press i n this country, and the unwarranted imputations cast on them by the Colonial press (which are copied and circulated i n this hemisphere) render i t impossible for the Committee to select a number of young women of unexceptionable character from any class, and u n t i l the colonists themselves shall assist i n aiding, instead of repressing, the exertions of the Committee, no well grounded expectation can exist of the Committee having i t i n their power to select a large body of females from those employed i n any given line of l i f e , more especially of persons from r u r a l districts, where local attachments are the strongest." 8  I f Forster was correct regarding the withdrawal of potential emigrants — a n d there i s no reason to doubt i t — t h e n i t seems certain that press influence was central to the success or failure of the system.  The  Committee's hypersensitivity to criticism thus becomes more understandable. After the 1834 controversy the Committee had a reprieve from further serious criticism for nearly two years.  The Times only broke  i t s long silence i n April, 1836 with a highly commendatory news report  6  7Forster to Hay, Dec. 30, 1B34, C.O. 384/3$.  f o r s t e r to Hay, July 1, 183$, Hay, July 16, 183$, C.O. 384/38.  C.O. 384/38j see also Forster to  88. of the Committee's arrangements for the Amelia Thompson. ? But i n July 6  the coup de grace was delivered i n Parliament by the owner of The Times himself, John Walter I I . Walter brought the subject before the House of Commons on three different occasions within a month. He objected to a placard circulated by the Committee, with Government sanction, to a l l post offices, clergymen and parish officers "urging young women, with what he should c a l l indecent and improper incitements, to quit their homes." He denied the Committee's statement that their previous emigrants had been respectably employed or married. He could ensure the House, from inquiry of several intelligent gentlemen, who had returned to this country from Hew South Wales, the region t o which these poor women were invited, that two-thirds of the emigrants were irrevocably and f i n a l l y , consigned to prostitution (Mr. C. Lushingtonj "No 1" "Order" from the Chair.) To Walter the entire system was nothing less than a "white slave trade" far worse than the negro slave trade. The Committee, he argued, had persisted, against the warnings of the Hobart Town Ladies' Committee, i n sending out young g i r l s under seventeen to expect immediate marriage with respectable men.  Characteristically, Walter concluded with a dia-  tribe against a l l emigration schemes which, he argued, severed man from a l l his most natural and affectionate t i e s .  And i f material improvement  was pleaded as a motive the greater was the shame of that Government whose subjects could be induced to forsake their country i n violation of  6>Ehe Times, April 29, 1836, p.6. In the same issue a related leading article deplored the need for any emigration, but made no adverse comments on the Committee, p.5.  89. a l l natural a f f e c t i o n s .  70  In fact this was a concise precis  of the tra-  ditional attitude of fhe Times to a l l organized emigration. Walter»s motion to have the Committee's placards removed was  de-  feated, and he was ably answered, f i r s t by S i r George Grey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Colonial Office, and then by Charles Lushington, a member of the Emigration Committee.  "Considering the  great number of females which went out" argued Grey " i t was not to be wondered at i f some turned out badly."  71  This was the traditional de-  fense of the Committee's operations, but this time, i t seemed, i t was not sufficient, for on July 21 the Emigration Committee passed a resolution against sending any further women to Hew South Wales. The Committee resolved that, adverting to the information imparted to the Committee, both collectively and individually, of the excessive immorality stated to prevail i n certain districts of New South Wales, the Committee have formed the opinion that they cannot conscientiously recommend to the Government to encourage the further emigration of single females (however well selected), unprotected by parents or near relatives, to Sydney. Forster advised Grey that the resolution did not apply to Van Diemen's Land, where "a very different state of society prevails, and the entire state of that community i s much more moral and r e l i g i o u s . "  72  Nevertheless,  Hansard, 3rd Ser., Vol. XXXV, July 11, 1836, cc.96-105; see also July 8, 1836, cc.12-3; Aug. 5, 1836, cc.9U3-6j Vol. XXXIV, July 5, 1836, cc.1268-9. 70  7 1  I b i d . Vol. XXXV, July 11, 1836, c. 102.  72committee Resolution, July 21, 1836, and Forster to Grey, July 22, 1B36, PP. 1836, XL (76), p. 1; this resolution was printed i n The Times, Aug. 6, 1836, p.3.  90. Walter raised the subject i n the Commons again on August 5 and boasted that the Committee's resolution stemmed from his own recent motion. But he denied that Van Diem en's Land society was any more moral than that i n Sydney and urged the Government t o put a stop to the entire system. ^ 7  Walter's attack on the Committee was not without i t s effect, but i t i s unlikely that i t alone caused the Committee's sudden decision. The Colonial Reformers, l e d by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, were agitating f o r a more "systematic'' approach to emigration and colonization.  On  June 27 Wakefield had appeared before the Select Committee on Disposal of Colonial Waste Lands where he attacked the Emigration Committee and ridiculed the Government f o r allowing "so Important a work as the conduct of emigration by the State, to be superintended by a party of people whom nobody knows anything at a l l about. " ^ 7  as f a r back as October 14, 183$,  But more Important,  Governor Bourke of Hew South Wales had  submitted a proposal to Glenelg to transform the entire basis of assisted emigration into a family emigration scheme i n which single females would qualify only under a family's protection.  Under the new scheme  the colony would send i t s own selection agents to England to select,  7  %ansard, 3rd Ser., Vol. XXXV, Aug. 5, I836, cc. 943-6.  ^Evidence of E. G. Wakefield i n Report from the Select Committee on Disposal of Lands i n the British Colonies, PP. 1836, XI (512), pp. 99-100, Q.926; see also p. 95, Q. 898; and p. 97, Q. 910 where Wakefield advocated the assisted emigration of young childless married couples.  91. supervise, and accompany assisted emigrants to Sydney. ^ Glenelg did 7  not forward his approval of this plan u n t i l September 18, so i t must have been under consideration for about s i x months. There i s no evidence of any o f f i c i a l communication of the matter to the Committee, but i t i s inconceivable that they would s t i l l be ignorant of i t s contents by August. Their resolution of July 21, pleading the depravity of New South Wales as a pretext f o r their decision was, therefore, probably l i t t l e more than a face-saving operation. Despite i t s announcement the Committee managed the three remaining emigrant ships already contracted for the current year, two from Cork to Sydney and one from London to Hobart Town. But i n his year-end report Forster proposed that the Committee's services might be altogether dispensed with.  In July the Committee had f e l t that single women might  s t i l l be sent to Van Diemen's Land without their natural protectors, but now "they confess that so many conflicting opinions have reached them that i t would not be right to disregard the doubts which have been expressed on that subject." In any case, as Forster acknowledged, the appointment of colonial selection agents and restriction of financial assistance to women emigrating i n families rendered the Committee  ^Bourke's proposal was based on the suggestions of the Committee of the Legislative Council on Emigration; Bourke to Glenelg, Oct. 1U, 1835, and Report of Committee, Sept. 18, 1835; PP. 1837, XLITI (358), pp. 3-12j Bourke took steps t o implement these proposals before receiving Glenelg's approval; see Alexander McLeay (Sydney Colonial Secretary) instructions to selection agent Dr. David Boyter, Feb. 10, 1836, C.O. 7  38UA5.  92. superfluous.7^ unfortunately f o r the Committee i t s termination did not mark the end of public criticism of the system i t had managed. As the events became more distant the sweeping generalisations against the system became more strident; and i f the Committee's reputation tarnished with age, so did the concept of any organized system of female emigration. One of the most influential writers to c r i t i c i z e the Committee was the resident Presbyterian clergyman i n Sydney, John Dunmore Lang, who had himself shown considerable interest i n emigration schemes,77 and i n 1 8 3 7 launched a scathing attack.  78  Like other c r i t i c s Lang emphasized  Marshall's incongruous position as both agent and contractor, and thought that the exposure of unprotected women to the strong temptations of Australian society militated against a successful outcome. But above a l l there was "the improbability of inducing any considerable number of really virtuous females to a distant country, without natural protectors." Lang's i t a l i c s stressed what every self-respecting middle-class parent fervently believed, that respectable young women should never travel — l e t alone emigrate—en seal.  76  The d i r e consequence of this delusion,  P o r s t e r to Grey, Dec. 6, 1836, C.O. 38iiAl.  S e e Lang'8 suggestions to Hay, Jan. 15, 183k, C.O. 38I1/36; Lang had already written one popular anti-transportation book on Australia, A Historical and Statistical Account of Mew South Wales, (London, 1834), already i n i t s third edition i n 1837, so that his second book was widel y reviewed i n England. 77  7 8  J . D« Lang, Transportation and Colonization; The Causes of the  93. argued Lang, had been the further corruption of Australia rather than, as intended, i t s refinement and civilization.  For the past three years  the streets of Sydney had been infested with prostitutes from the Committee s ships, whereas he had seen nothing of the kind previously. ? 1  7  "The thoroughly demoralizing influence of such exhibitions may be easily conceived,* he concluded, "for one bad woman let loose upon society does 1  i n f i n i t e l y more harm than a dozen bad men.** The Implication was obvious: female emigrants had signally failed to play their anticipated c i v i l i z ing role; instead of bringing humanity they had brought corruption.®  0  The lesson was not lost on those responsible for the future conduct of emigration. Lang'8 strictures on female emigration met with widespread approbation i n the British press.  The Times, devoting space i n two issues t o  his book, described the scheme as "a wicked knavish trick."  William  Molesworth i n the Westminster Review derided the scheme as a misguided attempt to convert the vagabonds of London into the matrons of Australia, which instead had polluted Sydney* s streets with the refuse of Westminster; the pathetic result was that "the free emigrants now outstrip i n vice and obscenity" the convict population.  But few made the analysis of a  Comparative Failure of the Transportation System i n the Australian Colonies. (London. 1637). 79significantly, Lang had no experience of, and did not discuss Van Diemen's Land, but his remarks were taken to apply to the entire scheme. pp.  48-9.  9k. writer i n the British and Foreign Review, who insisted that so long as convict transportation continued to Australia, either mass female emigration or female convict transportation must be carried out to prevent the greater e v i l of a disproportion between the sexes from growing. The familiar evils of prostitution, i t seemed, were minor compared to a society where "the monstrous conception of a Marquis de Sade seem to have received the sanction and notoriety of general custom." This popular criticism was damaging enough, but S i r William Molesworth's Select Committee on Transportation subjected the scheme to further public scrutiny i n 1837 and 1838.  As a leading Radical and Col-  onial Reformer, Molesworth was committed to the t o t a l abolition of convict transportation, and i t at f i r s t appears inconsistent that the emigration scheme should have been given so much attention by the Committee. But the criticism of female emigration served a useful purpose i n Molesworth's anti-transportation argument, as shown by his own speech i n the Commons i n 181*0 introducing a motion to abolish convict transportation.  The failure of female emigration conveniently demonstrated  the f u t i l i t y of trying to correct the disproportion between the sexes i n Australia by any other means than the t o t a l abolition of transportation.  T h e Times, Oct. 1 6 , 1837, p. $} see also issue of Sept. 2 6 , 1837, p. 1. W. Molesworth "Life i n the Penal Colonies," Westminster Review, Vol. XXVH, July, 1837, p. 8$; "Australia." The British and Foreign Review, Vol. V, July, 1837, pp. 127-9$ see also the Monthly Review, May. 1837. pp. U-5 which reprinted Lang's criticism verbatim; and the Gentleman's Magazine, New Ser., Vol. X, Oct. 1838, p. 356. 8l  95. "It i s vain,  11  argued Molesworth,  to think of altering the proportion of the sexes i n the penal colonies by means of good female emigration, as long as transportation continues, because respectable women w i l l not consent to go alone The Transportation Committee's attack on female emigration  was  therefore a convenient means to emphasize further their foregone conclusion that a l l attempts at moral reform i n Australia were f u t i l e so long as convict transportation persisted. In line with the Wakefieldian doctrine that emigration should be systematically administered by f u l l y responsible paid o f f i c i a l s Molesworth also c r i t i c i z e d the role of John Marshall as contractor and selection agent.®  3  But i n fairness one  should add that Molesworth failed to prove his case from the evidence collected by the Committee.  He ignored the defensive testimony of  Marshall himself and two members of the London Emigration Committee, Edward Forster and H. ¥. Parker, as well as the favourable comments on the results of the scheme i n Van Diemen's Land by two residents, and the Rev. ¥. Ullathorne's qualification of his own criticism of the  New  South Wales emigrants.®** Furthermore the Committee's line of questioning, while not always successful, was too obviously slanted to confirm  c i t . , evidence of Marshall, pp. 88-100, QQ. 1037-1160} Forster, pp. 100-1, QQ. 1164-79; Parker, pp. 155-63, QQ. 1228-1331; Russell, QQ. 567-72; Murdock, pp. 119-120, QQ. 1471-80; Ullathorne, pp. 22-3, Q. 220.  °6. i t s own preconceived conclusions.^ Admittedly the most c r i t i c a l evidence suggests that complaints of some of the Sydney emigrants were largely j u s t i f i e d , ^  they are hardly warrant for Archbishop Whately a 1  statement i n the House of Lords that "19/20ths of these unfortunate creatures were swept down the strong current of licentiousness which prevails i n those regions, and which no ordinary strength can be expected to resist. 7 n8  But i t was Whately's view which prevailed, and with  damaging consequences f o r the future of female emigration. The view that any really respectable young woman would never consider emigrating alone, especially to Australia, without her "natural protectors" was the most persistent argument against female emigration. The very fact of her willingness to leave the theoretical protection of her family for an unknown lend was sufficient to brand any woman as a moral risk and l i a b i l i t y as an immigrant i n the new country. However much this ignored the desperate economic plight of thousands of young women of a l l classes i n Britain, those closest to the routine conduct of assisted emigration were convinced from actual observation that their experience formed the basis f o r a hard and fast law of feminine behaviour.  ?  See for example Hawes' questioning of Marshall, Ibid., p. 92,  QQ. 1076-7.  I b i d . , (I), PP. 1837, ($18), Evidence of S i r Francis Forbes, pp. 28-9, QQ. 476-86; L t . Col. Henry Breton, pp. 153-4, QQ. 21*00-2, 24-4-10$ J . D. Lang, pp. 254-5, QQ. 3939-43; Ullathorne, pp. 22-3, QQ. 219-21; these comments did not go unnoticed i n the press, see Horace Twiss, "New South Wales," Quarterly Review. Vol. LXXI, Oct. 1838, p. 482. 8 6  8  7Hansard, 3rd Ser., Vol. LTV, May 19, 1840 (Lords), c. 275.  97. Indeed, while this general conclusion was unwarranted, i t would be d i f f i cult to exaggerate the bias against unaccompanied travel as a deterrent to female emigration, and even to female mobility within England.®® The resulting taint associated with female emigration persisted well into the century and for decades inhibited the development of any really s i g n i f i cant middle-class project. Before the termination of the scheme i n 1836 the conviction that only unsuitable women would emigrate alone was expressed only by the c o l onists.  In 1835 the Hew South Wales Committee on Emigration acknowledged  "the d i f f i c u l t y of inducing young women of virtuous principles and prudent habits t o quit the protection of their homes, and migrate on a voyage of adventure to a distant land."®9  But from the moment that family  emigration replaced female emigration the opinion was expressed with i n creasing frequency at the Colonial Office, and, as already noticed, gained a wide public hearing.  James Stephen, advising the Treasury of the  new emigration policy, admitted that the recent plan had f a i l e d to live up to expectations.  Despite the praiseworthy exertions of the Committee,  he added, "no care and vigilance can guard against the recurrence of  ®®See especially Liverpool emigration agent Lt. R. Low to Hay, June 21, 1834, advising that he had selected many respectable women for emigration i f a ship could be sent from Liverpool, but that "there seems an unwillingness on the parents' parts, of the lower better order of society, t o trust their children so f a r from their sight previous to embarkation;" C.O. 384/35. ®?Report of the Committee of the Legislative Council on Emigration, Sept. 18, 1835, op. c i t . , p. I l l ; see also J . D, Lang to the Secretary of State, Jan. 15, 1834, CO. 384/36.  98. evils, which appear naturally to flow from the separation of females at any early age from their natural guardians and protectors, and their exposure, notwithstanding the asylum provided for them by the Government on their arrival, to more than ordinary temptations. «90  The most per-  sistent c r i t i c at the Colonial Office was T. F. E l l i o t , who became AgentGeneral for emigration at the end of 1836.  Commenting on a request from  Lt.-Governor Franklin to renew female emigration to Van Diemen's Land, he advised Stephen, The fact perhaps i s , that the very circumstance of a young woman's being prepared to quit the country alone, and separated from a l l her friends, i s i n i t s e l f , though I should be very sorry to say a conclusive objection, yet an occasion of additional d i f f i c u l t y i n obtaining a perfect assurance of the respectability and correct views of the party.91 E l l i o t would not budge from his position that the experiment of female emigration had been t r i e d and found wanting, and he remained determined throughout his career that the attempt should not be repeated. The most significant feature of a l l this i s that the belief i n the inherent evils of female emigration came to be held more tenaciousl y i n Britain than abroad. The new policy of family emigration i n 1837 was based entirely on the needs of New South Wales and ignored the d i f ferent circumstances i n Van Diemen's Land. In the latter colony, as Franklin told Glenelg, the population was concentrated along the coast, and, unlike New South Wales which already possessed numerous interior  9°Stephen to A. I. Spearman, Aug. 19, I836, PP. 1837, XLIII (358), p. 60. 9 1  E H i o t to Stephen, Jan. 3, 1S39, PP. 1839, XXXIX (536-1), pp.  75-6.  99.  townships, there were few employment opportunities for married mechanics* Furthermore, i n Van Diemen's Land there was a surfeit of assigned convict servants, who resided i n their master's homes, and although many settlers might prefer free labour, they were not equipped to take i n whole families.?  2  The first shipload of families sent out with the  last single women in the William Metcalfe convinced the Legislative Council that family emigration was positively injurious to the colony; but female emigration was now popular, and the Council suggested that about 300 women annually be sent to Van Diemen's Land in groups of twenty to forty each.?  3  The strength of colonial feeling on this subject was  suggested i n a letter from Mr. Henty of Launceston, read before the Transportation Committee in I838 by H. W. Parker, a member of the Emigration Committee. Henty deplored the cessation of female emigration, arguing that the women had wrought a great "moral improvement" in Launceston society; he feared that without i t Launceston would "revert back to the old and barbarous state of the colony as i t existed i n 1832." Large towns like Sydney, and even Hobart Town, he argued, were cut off from the country settlers, and the women had no chance to obtain safe and suitable employment, but in Launceston the country settlers flocked into town when the women arrived, and immediately took them away "from a l l temptation and vice."?**  92Franklin to Glenelg, April 12, 1837, CO. 280/?8. ? Minutes of Van Diemen's Xand Legislative Council Meeting, April U , 1837, enclosed i n ibid; see also Franklin's formal request to Glenelg, 3  PP. 1839, XXXTX (536-llTpp. Ik - £.  9l»Henty's letter i n evidence of H. W. Parker, Report of Select  100. But title Colonial Office remained steadfast against these arguments. The embarrassment and criticism wrought by one experiment i n female emigration was sufficient to deter any attempt to repeat the exercise.  Franklin's requests f o r female emigrants to Van Diemen's Land  were therefore denied,^ and E l l i o t ' s view that any such system carried with i t the seeds of i t s own failure persisted.  As late as 1650 the  Emigration Commissioners warned the proponents of a new female emigration society against a l l the inherent evils i n the scheme, and related a long history of the experience of the London Emigration Committee. Furthermore, i n the public mind female emigration continued to be associated with prostitutes and workhouses, or at best unemployed domestics. Indeed, there i s evidence to show that regular prostitutes themselves generally dreamed of Australia as an escape from their plight.97 The experience of the f i r s t female emigration scheme bolstered the stereotyped attitude i n Britain which viewed female emigration as a hazardous last resort f o r the destitute and ruined, and as an almost unthinkable alternative for the middle-class young lady without fortune or employment.  Committee on Transportation (II) 1638, op. c i t . . p. 112, Q. 1326$ the tenor of this letter was similar to Henty's earlier letter to The Times printed by John Marshall j supra p. 86. ^Gienelg to Franklin, Jan. 11, 1839, PP. 1839, XXXIX, (536-1), P. 75. . ""Memo, of Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners to Sidney Herbert's Fund f o r Promoting Female Emigration, PP. 1850, XL /ll63j, pp. 166-9. ?7see the London prostitute's opinion of her certain reform i f she could only emigrate to Australia i n H. Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor. (London, 1861), Vol. H I , pp. 1*03-4. "~~  101. Chapter III The Pioneers:  Early-Victorian Emigrants  One of the factors which persistently inhibited the development of emigration as a viable alternative for the distressed gentlewoman was the obvious lack of demand i n the colonies for refined educated women. As the colonists never t i r e d of pointing out, a crude pioneering agricultural and pastoral society was suitable for none but the most hard-working servant women of humble origins—and preferably country servants at that; consequently they looked askance at the arrival of genteel governesses reluctant to do the most menial kinds of domestic and farrawork.  1  This inherent incompatibility between the occupational  needs of middle-class women on the one hand and new societies on the other continually obstructed the growth of middle-class female emigration on a large scale.  Only i n the eighties when the emigration socie-  t i e s — a n d the emigrants themselves—finally faced up to this problem did the actual numbers of middle-class female emigrants increase significantly. Despite a l l the obstacles there was unrelenting pressure i n Britain for some form of middle-class emigration of both sexes.  Partly  this was a response to the economic need of Wakefield's "uneasy classj"  iSee. for example, the evidence of Alexander McLeay, New South Wales Colonial Secretary, to the Committee of the N.S.W. Legislative Council on Immigration, Minutes of Evidence, Sept. 18, 1835, PP. 1837,  XLni (358), p. 16.  102. the accompanying propaganda was certainly Wakefieldian.  Wakefield* s  model colonies i n South Australia and New Zealand were intended as exact replicas of the social structure of Britain, a precise transplantation of every class from the humblest to the highest. But the greatest persuasion was directed to that class most traditionally reluctant to leave. R. S. Rintoul's Spectator, the mouthpiece of the Wakefieldians, argued that the new South Australian colony i n 1834 offered most advantage to men of small or moderate fortunes, having large families to provide f o r — a career f o r a l l tne sons, be they ever so many, husbands for a l l the daughters, however large the brood; and for the contented father, a f i e l d of profitable exertion and honourable ambition. 2  Wakefield did indeed root out many middle-class emigrants of both sexes at a time when the vast majority of emigrants were working-class. But as Brinley Thomas recently suggested this very success probably diverted the more class-conscious working-class emigrants to the United States, and was a contributory factor i n causing that country to gain i n population at the expense of the Empire.^ A l l the arguments inducing middle-class families to emigrate applied with equal force to single women of the same class.  The combined  influence of the Government emigration scheme and Wakefieldian promotion campaigns i n the 'thirties prompted small numbers of middle-class women to risk the dangers of a long unpleasant voyage and unknown colony i n  ^Spectator, Jan. k, 1834, pp. 7-8. % . Thomas, Migration and Economic Growth, (London, 1958),  pp. 203^4; 207-8.  103. preference to genteel poverty at home. This, undoubtedly, was only the t i p of the iceberg of thousands of "redundant women," most of whom remained i n Britain to swell the ranks of unqualified governesses and schoolmistresses.  But for this reason i t i s Important to get some idea  of exactly who emigrated and for what reasons. Did these pioneer middleclass emigrants before 1850 really f i t the well known description of the "distressed gentlewoman?" The evidence i s meagre and scattered but, taking a l l the associated clues into account, some tentative answers should emerge. The Government emigration scheme begun i n 1832 was clearly i n tended as a working-class project to encourage domestic and country servants to emigrate. But i n a very short time various pressures emerged for some assistance to middle-class women. An extraordinary proposal by R. F. Breed, a Liverpool shipowner, suggests that commercial interests soon detected the potential lucrative profits which might derive from such a scheme. Breed solicited the Government's support for a project i n i t i a l l y to send out t o Hob art Town fourteen to sixteen "respectable young females" under twenty-three. He would not charge for the passage but expected, rather naively, to be paid 150 guineas when each woman married. At that time also, he hoped that the Government would allow each of the emigrants a small grant of land as a "marriage portion." Not surprisingly the Colonial Office declined, but Breed was persistent.  In a subsequent letter he simply requested that the Government  guarantee protection of the women i n the colony u n t i l their marriage* He claimed to have already contacted three families "overburthened with Females of excellent standing and character.  B  One of the fathers was an  a r t i l l e r y Captain with twelve children, " a l l well educated but i n s t r a i t ened circumstances. These families expressed delight at the idea of being able t o embrace an opening to better the fortunes of some of their Daughters with comfort and protection.  9  But comfort and protection was  the key term, and assuming that his own scheme was to lapse, Breed suggested whether some revisal of the Circulars may not hereafter be made so as to hold out inducement to the Emigration of Females of a higher order than seems to be contemplated. The scale of passage money i n those circulars would admit of beggarly accommodation f i t only for paupers, or the lowest order of society, and i n vessels that must I take i t be crowded with passengers i n which a respectable Female would not embark under any consideration. Goderich dismissed this as "absurd, and i n his scribbled note displayed 0  a marked ignorance of the situation of middle-class women. He says the aid should be such as to tempt respectable (meaning wealthy) females to emigrate. I t does not appear to have occurred to Mr. Breed that wealthy females would be able to pay for themselves. The sooner the letter i s put out of sight the better. It does not appear to have occured to Goderich that, as the a r t i l l e r y captain's daughters knew only too well, middle-class respect a b i l i t y was no guarantee of middle-class wealth, and similar women i n "straitened circumstances" sought f o r the same solution from their genteel poverty.^  R. F. Breed to Colonial Secretary, Dec. 15, 1832, C.O. 382t/30. Hay to Breed, Dec. 22, 1832, C.O. 202/29j Breed to "Commissioners f o r Emigration," Jan. 5, 1833, and Goderich's note dated Jan. 7, 1833, 4  C.O. 38it/33.  105. At a time when a "respectable" cabin passage to Australia cost from £ 4 0 to £80* (roughly the average annual salary of a well qualified governess) i t i s not surprising that some middle-class women attempted to take advantage of Government assistance, which by 1835 consisted of a wholly free passage.  For many this presented a rare opportunity to  extricate themselves from an otherwise hopeless situation.  At the same  time i t seems that the majority had to be convinced that a l l other a l ternatives were f i r s t exhausted. Mary Scheidweiler, f o r example, only petitioned the Crown from Buttevant, Ireland, after passing through a l l the familiar experiences of the distressed gentlewoman. The educated daughter of an officer who had retired i n Ireland, she had maintained rank so long as he drew half-pay, but on his death was l e f t at the age of 20 to support a younger sister and brother.  Excess competition had  prevented her from obtaining "a situation i n the capacity of Governess or i n some other respectable l i n e . "  She had recently equipped her sister  to emigrate to New South Wales, but was herself unable to make a l i v i n g " i n consequence of which disappointments she would be inclined to avail herself of the opportunity afforded by lour Majesty's benevolence to young unmarried females of emigrating to the colony of New South Wales." With a fourteen-year-old brother also i n need of assistance, i t i s unl i k e l y that Scheidweiler was successful, but her case i s typical of  -'See E l l i o t ' s replies to enquiries, e.g. E l l i o t to T. Borrows, Oct. 13, 1831, C.O. 385/12 and E l l i o t to J . B. Monck, April 5, 1832, C.O. 385/14.  106. those who turned to emigration only as an absolute last resort. ^ The Colonial Offiee was usually quick to discourage such casual middle-class applicants. The passage money, they insisted, was provided out of colonial funds to supply badly needed domestic servants from the working-classj consequently educated women were not eligible for any form of grant. E l l i o t advised a Miss Fltzpatrick that the Government's arrangements "have reference principally to females of the working-classes, and that they are scarcely calculated to furnish the inducement which you observe would be requisite to lead Ladies i n your circumstances t o the Colonies.  tt7  At times the Colonial Office showed more diligence i n  this respect than the colonists themselves.  In 1833 i t emerged that  two assisted emigrants were daughters of Mr. Yeoland, the Van Diemen's Land Auditor-General. "It i s quite clear", wrote Hay, "that they are not the class of females whom the Government intended to assist i n emigrating to the colony," and he requested that Arthur demand immediate 8 repayment from Yeoland. In most cases, at least, the Colonial Office  ^Petition of M. Scheidweiler, Buttevant, Cork, Ireland, July 2ii, 1835; forwarded from Home Office to Hay, July 29, 1835, C.O. 3&k/39» Miss Scheidweiler was the daughter of a Hanover immigrant who had served as Quartermaster i n the F i r s t Regiment of Lifeguards for 26 years: her petition included a testimonial from the Vicar of Buttevant, James Law, who concluded that "she would be a very valuable acquisition to the c o l ony of New South Wales." There i s no surviving record of a Colonial Off i c e reply. The usual response t o eligible enquiries was t o send application forms to be completed and returned to the Emigration Committee. 7  ' E l l i o t to Miss Fltzpatrick, In care of Rev. John Robinson, Mexford, Jan. 20, 1832, C.O. 385/13. 8  Hay to Arthur, April 20, 1833, C.O. U08/9.  107. was intransigent on the point that assistance must be confined to those  9  qualified f o r the roughest domestic service.  Despite these o f f i c i a l discouragements, however, i t i s a l l too clear that considerable numbers of middle-class women did i n fact receive the Government grant, and others were enabled to emigrate under the scheme's protection at a lower cost than would otherwise have been possible.  The frequent colonial protests at receiving governesses, nursery  governesses and ladies' maids suggest that one of the major Australian resentments against the scheme was that so many women had social backgrounds which did not suit them f o r hard colonial work.  10  On the other  hand one complaint from Van Diemen' s Land might imply that i t was not so much soundly educated middle-class women they resented as those with humble backgrounds and middle-class aspirations.  The Ladies Reception  Committee noted that that class which usually style themselves "nursery governesses" are l i t t l e required . . . A few good governesses, who are thoroughly competent to undertake the education of children i n respectable families would find s i t u a t i o n s . 11  ?See, for example, E l l i o t to Miss Chambers, Kenrdngton Cross, June  23, 1832, C.O. 385/14.  See Arthur to Hay, Oct. 9, 1832, C.O. 280/36 Evidence of Alexander McLeay to the Committee of the N.S.W. Legislative Council on Immigration, op. c i t . , p. 16. The same opinion reached England. In an otherwise favourable description of the Amelia Thompson, a reporter i n The Times suggested that the demand f o r governesses i n Van Diemen's Land must be less than the supply on this one ship. April 29, 1836, p. 5* 10  5  -^Ladies Committee Report on Boadicea, April U , 1836, i n Arthur to Glenelg, April 29, 1836, C.O. 2807&5.  108. The problem, of coarse, was that the best qualified governesses In most cases had neither need nor desire to emigrate.  But whatever their quali-  fications the surviving passenger l i s t s indicate that Marshall and the Committee were less reluctant to admit middle-class women than were the Colonial Office.  Consequently the alleged working-class scheme included  a l i b e r a l sprinkling of middle-class women. Once the scheme was well established even the Colonial Office attitude on middle-class emigrants apparently softened. Hay sent Bourke a l i s t of women on the Layton who "are of superior habits and education, whom misfortunes i n l i f e have compelled t o seek a maintenance i n another Hemisphere," and requested special treatment f o r them i n the colony to ensure that they found suitable employment.  12  I t i s not clear exactly  what caused this new approach but i n some cases i t was undoubtedly due to the intervention of persons with some influence.  Sophia Eyre, a gov-  erness recommended by the Earl and Countess of Denbigh and Viscountess Fielding, received exceptional attention from the Colonial Office, who requested Bourke s personal assistance for her i n the colony. f  13  On  another occasion Arthur took special pains to place two sisters as schoolteacher and governess after a special request from Stanley.-^*  Elliot's  deferential tone i n his communications with a Miss Igglesden contrasts  12Hay t o Bourke, Aug. 10, 1833, HRA, I . Vol. XVII, p. l£6. ^ J . Lefevre to Bourke, July k, l83i|., C.O. 202/32j S. A. Eyre to Hay, July 9, 183U, C.O. 38l»/36. ^Arthur to Stanley, Feb. 1, 183$, CO. 280/5$.  109.  sharply with his abrupt rejection of Miss Fitzpatrick s request. He had 1  been approached by friends sufficiently influential to prompt him t o go to considerable lengths to obtain an assisted passage on a private ship. She had, he told a shipowner, "been in very respectable circumstances, but the limited extent of her means would preclude her from engaging any accommodation but the cheapest. * nl  With the right friends, i t seemed,  the Government was quite prepared to help women to escape from their poverty. By I83U the pressure of middle-class applicants was so great that Marshall and the Committee made special arrangements to segregate their shipboard accommodation from the steerage emigrants.  For an extra charge  of £5 women of great respectability" could be accommodated in the poop tt  deck cabin. The Charles Kerr carried as many as fourteen of these "poop governesses," as they came to be known. Marshall described these arrangements in his pamphlet in 1834, stressing that apart from accommodation a l l other conditions, including provisions, were identical to those for women in the steerage compartment, "and they are allowed the conveniences alluded to more to preserve their own peculiar associations than for any other purpose."  16  This constituted a significant departure from  Goderich*s professed policy to provide the Australian colonies with a  l^Elliot to Miss Igglesden, June 4, June 5, June 21, June 28, July 23, l832j Elliot to John Masson, June 20, June 23, July 23, 1832, C.O. 385/14. J . Marshall, op. cit., p. 13 5 Passenger List, Charles Kerr, Launceston, Nov. 18, 1835, C.O. 280/60. l 6  110. "hardy peasantry" by means of "tne scheme,  17  and had the scheme i t s e l f not  proved abortive, would probably have provided a growing outlet for middleclass women. In spite of this tolerance there seems t o have been a general understanding between Marshall and the Committee that emigration was only suitable f o r the genuinely "distressed gentlewoman." Marshall was quick to point out to potential emigrants that the least well-educated fared l i t t l e better i n Australia than i n England, rarely earning more than £20 i n the most junior teaching positions.  When Mrs. Caulfield enquired on  behalf of a young woman who "can readily obtain employment here at a high salary," Marshall immediately questioned the prudence i n leaving such contentment and prosperity for such a "distant contingency."  Although she  would probably do well i n Australia, where solid a b i l i t y and accomplishment were needed, she was unable to reach i t without passing through considerable annoyance, t r i a l s , and even, to a certain extent, privations, and I am no advocate for young women of refined mind and acquirements encountering a l l this when they are happy i n this country.3-8 Marshall's attitude conformed to his experience, which had shown that only the most desperate middle-class women resorted t o emigration; his advice tended to reinforce the tendency of economic and social forces to drive those educated women to emigrate who were least equipped by family  17  Goderich to Arthur, Jan. 27, 1832, C. 0. 1*08/7.  Marshall to the Hon. Mrs. Caulfield (Hackley, Armagh, Ireland), Feb. 13, and Feb. 19, 1835, i n Appendix No. 55, Report of Select Committee on Transportation (II) 1838, op. c i t . , p. 30U. xu  111. background to adjust to such a fundamental change. Nevertheless, the very fact that such well-provided women showed an interest i n emigrating suggests that the "distressed gentlewoman" was not the only type among her class t o choose this alternative.  I t suggests  that a second type, best described as the "independent adventurer," sought emigration not as a l a s t desperate economic necessity but as a wider f i e l d for ambitious and venturesome s p i r i t s . vation was similar.  In a sense the social moti-  The r i g i d prescriptions on female behaviour i n  Britain f a i l e d to provide an outlet for women not satisfied with the traditional goals of marriage or private teaching.  The independent ad-  venturer, like the distressed gentlewoman, was expelled from Britain because there were insufficient respectable occupational opportunities for middle-class women. But i t would be misleading t o confuse the two. The former, although dissatisfied, rarely shared the sense of allienation suffered by the latter, and did not constitute a social problem.  There  i s evidence that a steady t r i c k l e of independent adventurers emigrated, especially to Australasia, throughout the nineteenth century, but their outlook differed fundamentally from that of distressed gentlewomen. It i s clear, however, that the middle-class women assisted by the London Emigration Committee consisted almost wholly of distressed gentlewomen. As Marshall's letter t o Mrs. Caulfield demonstrates, the administrators of the scheme understood the problem well of the distressed gentlewoman. Furthermore, as far as one can establish, those who did  112. emigrate probably constituted the most severely depressed of t h e i r class. But i n most cases this can only be inferred from the various occupations l i s t e d i n different sets of passenger l i s t s . Some passenger l i s t s have survived from eleven out of the Committee's fourteen ships. For five ships there are two l i s t s , one compiled by the Committee before departure showing the previous occupations of each emigrant, and one compiled i n the colony showing the type of work obtained, the employer and the salary received. Two other colonial l i s t s also indicate previous as well as colonial occupations so that a basis for comparison exists i n seven out of the fourteen ships. To be useful here, however, i t i s necessary to make the rather bold assumption that a l l those l i s t e d with middle-class occupations necessarily had middleclass family backgrounds. certainly not the case.  In a few instances, at least, this was almost  On the Australian side, f o r example, i t i s evi-  dent that middle-class gentility was not a universal prerequisite f or governesses; some cases occurred, on the Strathfieldsay, f o r example, of previous servants or milliners being hired as governesses on arrival* Conversely, the instances i n which ex-governesses took positions as house-maids, nursery maids and dressmakers almost immediately after arr i v a l could imply deception before departure, as well as the more meaningful possibilities that the Australian supply of governesses exceeded demand and that domestic servitude i n Australia carried with i t less of a social stigma.  But the evidence already cited confirms that several  middle-class women experienced as governesses d i d receive assistance,  113. and there are other casual references i n correspondence to qualified, 19 and therefore probably middle-class, governesses.  Absolute certainty  i s impossible but i t i s reasonable to assume that most of the women l i s t ed as governesses and teachers before departure actually had middle-class backgrounds. Appendix 8 shows the Australian occupations taken up by emigrants with middle-class origins.  To the 110 l i s t e d with middle-class occupat-  ions i n Britain should be added 5 from the Amelia Thompson, for which no British l i s t exists, who obtained teaching positions in Australia.  Thus  there were 11]? middle-class women out of 2160 female emigrants on the 11 ships with passenger l i s t s , or 5.32$ of the t o t a l .  This does not include  22 women listed as nursery-governesses, an occupation sufficiently f l e x i ble to attract qualified working-class women unless employers insisted on teaching duties. Furthermore, there i s l i t t l e reason to suppose that this percentage would be reduced i f figures were available f o r the remaining ships. Even the f i r s t ship sent out by William Fry i n 1632, the Princess Royal, included eleven women (out of a t o t a l of 193) whom Fry described as "Teachers and Upper Servants" selected from casual applicants.  20  The obstacles to genteel female emigration, as discussed i n  chapter two, were s t i l l strong enough to prevent a larger number of  9van Diemen's Land Colonial Secretary's Memo., Dec. 1, 1835, i n Arthur to Glenelg, Dec. 26, 1835, C.O. 280/60; Bourke to Stanley, Dec. 26, 1833, PP. 1834, XLIV (616), pp. 32-5. x  F r y to Van Diemen's Land Ladies Committee, April 15, 1832, C.O. 384/30. 2 0  Hi*.  middle-class women from using the scheme, but at a time when workingclass emigrant ships were generally regarded with horror, i t i s s i g n i f i cant that any "young ladies" at a l l were sufficiently hard pressed to resort to this outlet. At the same time Appendix 8 clearly indicates that some middle-  21 class women entered distinctly non-middle-class occupations i n Australia. This was essentially a question of supply and demand. As Alexander McLeay, the New South Wales Colonial Secretary, emphasized, the Australians needed domestic and country servants, not "governesses, nursery governesses and ladies' maids."  22  But the rapidity with which these women accept-  ed domestic service or needlework—usually within two weeks of arrival and before many genuine servants had been hired—suggests that the social opprobrium of ungenteel menial work i n Australia was not nearly so great as i n Britain.  The fear of class decline might be considerably allayed  after a congenial meeting with a potential employer of high social-standing and respectability.  Most of these women, indeed, obtained positions  2lThe figures i n Appendix B are based on the following passenger l i s t s i n the Colonial Office records: Sarah: C.O. 381*/35 and 280/553 Strathfieldsay: C.O. 381*/35 and 28oA9;"^anton: C.O. 38U/38 and 201/252; Charles Kerr: C.O. 38ii/38 and 280/60; James Pattison: C.O. 38U/39 and 2 6 1 / 2 5 5 ; Boadicea: C.O. 280/65; William Metcalfe: C.O. 28o/?8; Duchess of Northumberland (I): CO. 201/21*5; Layton: C^O. 38U/32; David Scott: C.O. 38U/35; Amelia Thompson: 280/67. The following l i s t s from Australia were copied i n the Parliamentary Papers: Sarah: PP. 1836, XL (76), pp. 39-1*0; Strathfieldsay: PP. 1835, X X m , " W J , PP. 33-7 5 Duchess of Northumberland (I): PP. l!56, XL (76), pp. 30-3. £vidence to the Committee of the N.S.W. Legislative Council on Immigration, op. c i t . , p. l o . 22  115. with families of high social position and gained recognition of their gentility i n above average salaries.  Mary Anderson, an ex-teacher aged  29 from the William Metcalfe, became a general servant i n Major Newman's family at Hob art Town with a salary of sixteen pounds, "to be raised,*' while most domestic servants from the same ship obtained only eight to twelve pounds.  23  Elizabeth Chippett, a Somerset teacher off the Sarah,  became a nursery-maid at sixteen pounds for a Mrs. Hewett at Hobart Town.' Ann Bowe, an Irish governess of 25 years of age off the Canton, took work as a lady's maid at fourteen pounds i n the home of Mr. Plunkett, the Solicitor-General at Sydney. * Although, i n common with many governesses 2  who took up their usual employment i n Australia, the salaries of these women were low, i t i s safe to assume that they accepted work they would never consider i n Britain simply because i t was judged to be less demeaning i n the new country and because they no longer had to reckon with the embarrassing disapproval of their peers i n B r i t a i n . ^ 2  Their main ob-  session was not money but a sense of solidarity with an e l i t e social class, and i n Australia this was not inconsistent with most forms of domestic work.  ^Passenger L i s t , William Metcalfe, C. 0. 280/78. ^Passengers Lists, Sarah. C.O. 384/35, and C.O. 280/55. 2  *Passengers Lists, Canton. C.O. 38U/38, and C.O. 201/252.  Most governesses and teachers obtained salaries from about £15 to £30, not high by English or Australian standards; a few only obtained as much as £60. Marshall made this quite clear to applicants; he told Mrs. Caulfield that **I believe the scale of remuneration i s not generally 26  116. These findings are corroborated by the testimony of a later emigrant i n the 'forties.  Susannah House, a lady's maid i n England who be-  came a nursemaid at a salary of twenty-five pounds i n Van Diemen's Land i n 181+1, told a Committee on Immigration that there were many women i n England who would emigrate i f they could get employment. She thought that women would do much better than men i n Van Diemen's Land, but added "we are obliged to lend a helping hand to so many things here that we do not do i n England," and later elaborated her complaint,  "I have no servants 27  here to wait upon me; I had always two or three servants under  me."'  But she gave no hint that she found this extra work and less exalted position i n any way humiliating.  In Britain any middle-class woman forced to  share i n as much common domestic drudgery as her colonial counterpart would instantly consider herself declassee, whereas i n Australia a common class origin with her equally industrious employers was usually sufficient to preserve her dignity.  The roots of her alienation lay less i n  her h o s t i l i t y towards work than i n the social implications involved i n that work, but this did not become clear u n t i l she removed to a more p r i mitive and egalitarian, albeit s t i l l socially stratified, society. This point i s of special importance i n view of developments towards the end of the century when the prospect of domestic work became the best means high; some of the least educated have not obtained more than £20 a year, as assistants i n schools etc.," Feb. 13, 1835, Marshall to the Hon. Mrs. Caulfield, op. c i t . . p. 3 0 4 . Evidence before the Committee of the Legislative Council on Immigration, Sept. 30, 1841, PP. 1842, XXXI (301), p.365, QQ. 177-90. 27  117. of ensuring a steady flow of middle-class women—at least several hundreds annually—to the colonies. Emigration then, could function as a valuable release from the complex influences of social isolation and alienation, but as Appendix B indicates, the emotional effects of emigration prevented some women from exploiting i t s advantages.  I t may be significant that out of 3,098 emi-  grants sent out i n the sixteen ships from 1832 to 1836 the only four reported cases of insanity should occur i n two women described as governesses and two as nursery governesses.  One of the governesses, Frances  Haydon on the Strathfieldsay. was sponsored by the "Corporation of Sons of the Clergy." The destitute daughter of a deceased clergyman, she only consented t o emigrate to Van Diemen's Land "after many t r i a l s and disappointments" i n England.  As the Registrar of the Corporation, Oliver  Hargreave, put i t : She has considerable repugnance t o the transplantation to so distant a possession of the British Crown, but I hope she may find reason to repent her resolution, as situations here are not to be obtained a l ways by persons of the best character. But soon after departure the surgeon and superintendent noticed that "she was labouring under an aberration of mind, which continued more or less the whole voyage," and when admitted to hospital at Hobart Town showed such "considerable imbecility of mind" that Lt. Governor Arthur determined to send her back t o England.  Hargreave denied the colonial  suspicion that Haydon had been persuaded t o emigrate against her w i l l asserting that her case  118. was one of pure compassion, calculated, as far as we could see, to extricate her from inevitable misery and destitution i n this country, and enable her to earn an honest livelihood and independence i n a new colony.28 If the pressures of emigration drove these women insane, i t suggests that, i n many cases, the women most l i k e l y to be driven to consider emigration were those least capable, from family upbringing, of turning i t s advantages to their profit.  The small numbers involved i n this particu-  l a r sample do not allow for any s t a t i s t i c a l certainty, but common-sense suggests that emigration would be more of a traumatic wrench for impoverished middle-class women than for women of the working-class, who seem to have adjusted to the experience more rapidly.  The "distressed gentle-  woman," at her most distressed, was unlikely to benefit from a genuinely promising last resort. After 1836 i t became Increasingly d i f f i c u l t for middle-class women to emigrate with the kind of financial assistance they obtained between 1832 and 1836. Under the new emigration procedures from 1837 the colonists exercised the greater amount of control, and were entitled to refuse to grant the Government bounty for any emigrants they considered ineligible.  A few governesses and lady's maids continued to appear i n  28arthur to Spring-Rice, Feb. 1*, 1835, with Hargreave's recommendation, April 28, 1831*, Ladies' Committee Report, Oct. 22, I83I*, Colonial Surgeon's Report, Sept. 26, 1831*, Ship's Surgeon's Report, Sept. 21*, 1831*, and Superintendent's Report, C.O. 280/55; Hay to Hargreave, July 7, 1835, C.O. 385/16; Hargreave to Hay, July 13, 1835, C.O. 381*/39; Glenelg to Arthur, Dec. 15, 1935, C.O. 1*08/12.  119. the returns of assisted immigrants from Australia, ? but on the whole 2  the colonists attempted s t r i c t l y to exclude middle-class women from the Government scheme. In 181*2 the New South Wales authorities refused the bounty on Mary O'Connor, whose dress and appearance "showed her to be very much above the class of persons eligible for a free passage under the regulations now i n f o r c e . " from government assistance,  31  30  Even nursery governesses were excluded  and Earl Grey, who as Colonial Secretary,  vigorously prosecuted the assisted emigration of working-class womenpredominant l y Irish orphans—from 181*8 to 1851, remained steadfastly opposed t o middle-class emigration.32 There i s evidence that, despite the colonial attempts to exclude  29see the Report of J . D. Pinnock, the New South Wales Agent f o r Immigration, for 1838, Feb. 28, 1839; under the "bounty system," by which shipowners selected the emigrants and received payment, upon approval, i n the colony, there were 9 governesses and 2 lady's maids out of 162 single women i n I8385 i n ships chartered by the Government i n Britain there were 6 governesses and 3 lady's maids out of 1,096 women, both married and single, PP. 181*0, XXXIII (113), p. 25; see also the report of F. Merewether, the N.S.W. Immigration Agent, for 181*1, May l i * , 181*2, PP. 181*3, XXXIV (109), p. 1*8., and the Return of unmarried adult immigrants to N.S.W. for 181*8, PP. 1850, XL / l l ^ , p. 68. For a f u l l discussion of the various systems of assisted emigration to Australia see R. B. Madgwick, op. c i t . , pp. 131-95. 3°Merewether and Brown to N.S.W. Colonial Secretary, Feb. 8, 181*2, i n Governor G. Gipps to Stanley, Feb. 21*, 181*2, PP. 181*3, XXXIV, (323), pp. 100-2. Return of trades of Bounty emigrants, July 1, 181*1 to June 30, 181*2, Aug. 22, 181*2, PP. 181*3, XXXIV, (109), p. 70. 31  Grey to Fitzroy, June 16,181*9, PP. 181*9, XXXVIII (593), pp. II6-123. For details of the assisted female-emigration prior to 1851, which was largely composed of paupers, see R. B. Madgwick, op. c i t . , 32  pp. 189-216.  120. middle-Glass women from subsidized emigration, some impoverished gentlewomen continued to obtain the assisted passage, and their f i n a l resort to the degradation of an emigrant ship i s a measure of their desperate plight.  In some cases their genteel origins could easily provoke the  enmity of working-class emigrants on the same ship.  In 181+2 Roger Therry,  a judge of the New South Wales Supreme Court, prosecuted the Captain and Surgeon of the Carthaginian for encouraging the persecution of Mary Ann Bolton during the voyage.  Whenever "any disturbance arose, or impro-  priety was committed by some of the v i l e women who f i l l e d the vessel, they attributed the blame to her," and she was frequently brought on deck i n her nightclothes to be doused with buckets of cold water. She died from consumption soon after the t r i a l i n Sydney, but not before she had become a personal friend of Judge Therry, who soon detected her social background: I learned l i t t l e of her history beyond the fact that she had been a governess. She was certainly a highly educated person, and her language and sentiments were those of a lady who had seen happier days. 33 The loss of the helpful f a c i l i t y of the 'thirties i n no way caused the pressures for the emigration of superfluous women to ease.  In 181+9  some o f f i c i a l s of the Governesses Benevolent Institution approached the 1  Emigration Commissioners with a plan t o organize an emigration scheme for  33R. Therry, Reminiscences of Thirty Years Residence i n New South Wales and Victoria. (Second edition, London, 1863), pp. 221-2. This episode i s also described i n M. Kiddle, Caroline Chisholm, (Melbourne, 185>0), p. 52, but under the name of Margaret Ann Bolton.  121. governesses, and i n the same year Hyde Clarke l a i d plans f o r the "National Benevolent Emigration Fund for Widows and Orphan Daughters of Gentlemen, Clergymen, Professional Men, Officers, Bankers and Merchants."^ Both these schemes proved abortive for the simple reason that the Australian colonies could offer no prospect of an effective demand for educated women. The colonial reactions to i n i t i a l inquiries were generally negative and at best lukewarm. Although these projects came to nothing, Clarke's intentions did show a thorough understanding that the problem of the distressed gentlewoman was primarily one of status, and that only emigration permitted the declassee young lady to take any form of work without loss of caste: A clergyman, or professional man leaves a widow, and two or three daughters, with no other endowment than their talents or education, and absolutely destitute of the means of changing their place of residence. A young lady engaged i n tuition finds herself after sickness deprived of employment, and forced to struggle against the competition of an overstocked profession. A family brought up i n competency, by some sudden stroke of misfortune are deprived of their property, obliged to seek a subsistences their delicacy would rather find i t among strangers than among neighbours. Widespread destitution of this kind i n Britain, argued Clarke, was matched by the pressing wants "of a higher class of feminine society i n the colonies" and their need for a higher moral tone i n society.  But this  combined r e l i e f and c i v i l i z i n g mission was obstructed so long as the women were "debarred by want of means, and want of friends, protectors  ^Emigration Commissioners to H. Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary). July 14, 1849, and H. Clarke to B. Hawes, June 23, 1849, PP. 1850, XL ^1637, pp. 98-101. The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission was  122. and advisers, to aid them i n undertaking voyages t o distant and strange lands.  Clarke's society intended to provide this aid to well-recommend-  11  ed women by means of loans i n Britain and the superintendence and protection of ecclesiastical authorities i n the colonies, and he asked the Colonial Office to request f u l l co-operation from each colony. ^ 3  The Emigration Commissioners thought the project worthy of encouragement "under proper restrictions," but f e l t that the greatest d i f f i c u l t y , as with the G.B.I.'s scheme, was "the mode of affording adequate security and protection to the younger females who maybe sent out." They were, at least, sanguine enough to anticipate a sufficient demand for governesses i n Australia to j u s t i f y the project.& reaction was f a r less optimistic.  But the Australian  From South Australia the Lieutenant  Governor wrote that there were already "more respectable and educated females seeking employment i n that capacity than there are families requiring their services," and few settlers were yet i n a position to hire governesses or any kind of upper servants. ? 3  In Van Diemen's Land S i r  formed i n 181*2 as a sub-branch of the Colonial Office to administer aff a i r s relating to Colonial lands and emigration; T. F. E l l i o t was the f i r s t Chief Commissioner j see F. H. Hitchins, The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission, (Philadelphia, 1931). ^H. Clarke to B. Hawes, with Prospectus, June 23, 181*9, and H. Clarke to Grey, Aug. 10, 181*9. i b i d . , pp. 98-102. 3  36Emigration Commissioners to Merivale, July lU, 181*9, op. c i t . ,  pp. 100-1.  37Lt. Gov. S i r H. E. F. Young to Grey, Adelaide, Jan. 26, 1850, PP. 1851, XL, (347-n), p. 15s E l l i o t to Clarke, May 27, 1850, C.O. 3o5/2U. r  123. ¥. Denison received only three interested replies to his advertisements on the Society's behalf, and while admitting that some well-paid openings existed for educated women, he insisted that no more than two or three should be sent at once, and that the Society should have f a c i l i t i e s available for their support i n case they could not obtain immediate employment.  Francis Merewether, the New South Wales Immigration Agent,  3 8  recognized the great moral and educational need f o r such women, and thought that before long the more prosperous settlers might recognize the potential benefit to their families, but for the present " i t would be positive cruelty to any person of that description i n England, to encourage her to come here, unless she has friends on whom she can depend for a home." The only certain prospects of employment were i n regular domestic service, the same work performed by shiploads of assisted workingclass immigrants. ? 3  Hyde Clarke may possibly have had this contingency  i n mind when he assured Grey that "candidates w i l l be made f u l l y aware the career open to them i s one of industry; and i t i s to be expected the ordinary household education, i n town or country, w i l l f i t them to become useful members of society i n the colonies."**  0  But the prospect of menial  3°Lt. Gov. Sir W. Denison to Grey, July 18, 1850, and enclosures; not a l l the colonists agreed with Denison; Walter A. Bethune, who applied for one of the society's governesses, claimed that many families would willingly hire such women at double the salaries paid i n Scotland, i . e .  30 to 1+0. 3  PP. 1851, XL (31+7-H), pp. 11+0-2.  ?Fitzroy to Grey, April 23,  23, 1850,  1850,  PP. 1851, XL, (347), pp. 1+2-3.  with Merewether's report, April  **°Clarke t o Grey, Aug. 10, 181+9, op. c i t . , pp. 101-2.  12lw domestic service was obviously insufficient to entice distressed gentlewomen away i n sufficient numbers, for no more was heard of Clarke's Society after this discouraging reaction. This lack of colonial demand inhibited the development of any large-scale middle-class female emigration u n t i l much later i n the century.  The absence of a large urban middle-class which demanded private  tutoring for i t s offspring afforded l i t t l e opportunity for educated women to pursue genteel occupations abroad, Wakefieldian publicity notwithstanding.  But there can be no doubt that the colonies steadily ab-  sorbed Britain's "redundant'' women up to the limits of their modest capacity.  The very rejection of Hyde Clarke's project by the Australians  was based on the fact that they already had more middle-class emigrants than they could employ.  Pitzroy's own experience i n Sydney confirms  this interpretation. The numerous applications that have been made to my daughter since her arrival i n this colony, by ladies who l e f t England under the impression that they would obtain immediate employment as governesses, and their statements of the l i t t l e encouragement that they have met with, convince me that ^perewether's report^ i s well founded. He added that "the lady i n whose favour your Lordship did me the honour to write to me" had received no better offer than a governess' situation in a large family at only twenty pounds, and had f i n a l l y decided to return home.^  1  klpitzroy to Grey, April 23, 1850,  op. c i t . , pp.  U2-3.  125. Such certainty i s less possible with respect to other B r i t i s h colonies and the United States. The evidence i s almost wholly negative, but there are  few grounds to suppose that educated women emigrated to  North America i n greater numbers than they did to Australasia i n the f i r s t half of the century.  The early-Victorian propaganda for multi-  class emigration—largely Wakefieldian inspired—applied exclusively to Australasia, and especially to South Australia and New Zealand.  Henry  Samuel Chapman, an enthusiastic reviewer of Wakefield's England and America, discerned a revolution i n attitudes t o middle-class emigration as early as 181*1. "Colonization, he maintained, 11  has taken the place of mere emigration; the removal of society, that of mere masses; and men of refinement and education may now emigrate, without any material disturbance of t h e i r previous habits . . . As to the change i t s e l f , i t i s impossible to go into intelligent society without meeting some evidence of i t . People to whom the idea of severing themselves from their native country was insuperably repugnant, now speak familiarly of emigration as a possible contingency, either not to be dreaded, or to be desired. Among the educated portion of the middle-class, where families are numerous, i t i s now not unusual to find some one or more of the sons seeking fortune i n our distant possessions. Young women, too, of refined education, no longer object to emigrate i f circumstances favour that step.^2 But his comments applied exclusively to the new Wakefieldian colonies i n South Australia and New Zealand, and had l i t t l e relevance f o r North America. The American immigration records provide no opportunity to detect the numbers and types of middle-class immigrants to the United  k^H. S. Chapman, "Emigration: Comparitive Prospects of Our New Colonies," Westminster Review. Vol. XXXV, Jan., 181*1, p. 132.  126. States i n the nineteenth century.  As Brinley Thomas pointed out, prior  to 1903 the term "imsdgrant" applied only to steerage or third class passengers, so that aliens travelling f i r s t or second class—which would include most middle-class immigrants—-were not counted.^3 The best record of United States immigration, o f f i c i a l or unofficial, for the f i r s t half of the century leaves the great majority of female occupations "not stated," and those that are listed are almost entirely working-class.^ Common-sense suggests that i n such a vast migration of population as that from Britain to America many individuals of a l l classes and conditions must have participated.  But the distressed gentlewomen among them  must remain largely an unknown quantity. Besides, single women generally required assurances of assistance and protection before they would emigrate, and a l l the British agencies along these lines were oriented towards the colonies rather than the United States. At the turn of the nineteenth century, when British emigration to the United States was transformed from a predominantly working-class movement to a substantialit "5 l y e l i t e middle-class movement,^ the propaganda of the various feminist societies promoting female emigration within the Empire was at i t s height. There i s , then, a strong likelihood that the emigration of educated spinsters was for the most part confined to the British Colonies. This being U3B. Thomas, op. c i t . , pp. 1*2-1*. J. Bromwell (of the Department of State). History of Immigration to the United States, 1819-1855, (New York, 1856). U*B. Thomas, op. c i t . , p.l53.  127. the case the surviving records of that movement assume a more representative and reliable nature as a model. For the colonies other than Australia the useful documentary sources i n the early Victorian period are extremely sparse.  One of the  rare surviving records of cabin passengers does seem to suggest that a small but steady stream of "independent adventurers" continued to flow out of Britain.  This i s a register of cabin passengers, plus the totals  of steerage emigrants, on most of the ships sent to New Zealand by the New Zealand Company between 183° and 1850, the formative period of New Zealand settlement. The figures themselves are too small t o warrant detailed analysis, but they do reveal a middle-class disposition to emigrate quite apart from assisted emigration schemes. Although no occupations are shown for female cabin passengers i t i s a safe assumption that women who paid the price of a cabin passage to avoid steerage conditions were genuinely middle-class.  Most of the male occupations, when l i s t e d ,  are either middle and upper-middle-class, such as gentleman, minister, banker, clerk, surgeon and farmerj or lower-middle-class, such as printer, hardwareman, bookseller, chemist and druggist. Most of the single women were i n their early twenties and i n some cases the circumstances of their travelling suggest a considerable degree of independence. Some of these women might have been travelling to join families who preceded them, but whatever their circumstances i t i s unlikely that many of them would f i t the description of distressed gentlewomen. On the basis of this admittedly inadequate sample one might tentatively  suggest that there was a  128. considerable movement of "independent adventurers" from Britain besides the steady t r i c k l e of "distressed gentlewomen."^ By 1850 some observers were beginning to notice the phenomenon of the genteel female emigrant.  A writer i n the Colonial Magazine and East  India Review described the hard-working successful lives of English gentlewomen i n colonial kitchens, dairies and farms.  "Such i s the l i f e , "  he wrote, led by hundreds of young ladies who once figured as belles i n crowded ball-rooms, and are now the happy, industrious and prosperous wives of Colonists, and mothers of healthy children, but who, had they remained i n England, would too probably have become, like thousands and thousands, jaded, l i s t l e s s , unhappy women, unable to marry, and i n many instances useless members of society. Me say such a state of things was not intended, i t i s contrary to a l l the beneficent ordinances of Heaven, and i t i s only through the ignorance, the f o l l y , the weak fears, the want of energy of society that i t exists.47 The pre-eminent obstacle, then, to middle-class female emigration i n the early-Victorian period was the incompatibility of colonial labour needs and the s k i l l s and gentility of educated women. But despite this inhibition a steady trickle of educated women did emigrate, their numbers exceeding 5$ of a l l women during the assisted emigration project; their  of 61*8 single women, i n 78 of the Company's ships, 561 were steerage passengers, and 67, or 11.5$, were middle-class. More than twothirds of these, however, were simply emigrating i n company with their parents. This leaves only 21, or 3.2l*$ of the total, who emigrated i n dependently, unaccompanied by any "natural protectors" i n the contemporary sense. In fact, when the high cost of cabin passage and the primitive state of New Zealand society i s taken into consideration, the figure of 3»2h% does not seem insignificant; New Zealand Company; Register of Cabin Passengers by the Company's Ships, C.O. 208/269. 47vol. 2X1, April 1851, p. 3b4  129. persistent arrival i n Australia intensified colonial opposition to the point where they refused to grant Government assistance to middle-class women. The most characteristic prototype of this emigration was the distressed gentlewoman who had previously exhausted a l l other alternatives, and chose to emigrate only as a desperate last resort.  The occas-  ional result was that those most likely to be driven to emigration were the same women whose social backgrounds least f i t t e d them for success as emigrants, as demonstrated by the incidence of insanity.  But those  able to benefit from emigration frequently showed a willingness to perform menial work they would never take i n England for fear of loss of caste.  Their primary need, which was at the root of their alienation i n  Britain, was for a sense of class solidarity, which remained uncertain while they stayed i n England.  Finally, two types of educated female emi-  grants are discernible from the available evidence: the "distressed gentlewoman" and the "independent adventurer." While both emigrated with varying degrees of hope there was a considerable element of despair present i n the "distressed gentlewoman" which was totally lacking i n the "independent adventurer."  In this sense the less fortunate women may be  said to have been "pushed" by adverse conditions at home while the " i n dependent adventurers" were "pulled" by the lure of greater freedom abroad.  130, Chapter IV A Case Study; Mary Taylor i n New Zealand Although i t i s clear that significant numbers of early Victorian distressed gentlewomen emigrated, there i s no evidence to suggest that they were imbued with feminist sentiments.  The fact that most of them  emigrated as an utter last resort suggests that they had no concept of controlling their own destinies by means of resolute principled action, but rather were goaded on by the force of events.  On the other hand the  exceptional minority of ' strong-minded feminists clearly had very l i t t l e 1  outlet f o r their ambitions and righteous indignation before the 1850s, and even then their opportunities remained s t r i c t l y limited.  1  The late  Victorian feminists had sufficient encouragement to fight their battles for equality i n Britain, and successfully overcame, for example, the masculine defences of the medical profession.  But i n the earlier per-  iod the uncommon spinster of sound education, talents and principles had  establishment of the f i r s t important educational institutions for women at mid-century, notably Queen's College, Harley Street (181*8), Bedford College, London (181*9), the North London Collegiate School (1850) and The Ladies College, Cheltenham (1853), provided a few opportunities for serious female educationists; J. Kamm, Rapiers and Battleaxes, (London, 1966), pp. 1*6-51; ¥. J. Reader, Professional Men, (London, 1966), p. 171. 'Women did not overcome a l l o f f i c i a l opposition to female medical practice u n t i l the 1880s, but i t i s noteworthy that the pioneer woman doctor i n Britain, Elizabeth Blackwell, had f i r s t emigrated, qualified and practised i n the United States. Kamm, Rapiers . . . , pp. 65-68; Reader, op. c i t . , pp. 173-80.  131. few other outlets than anonymous authorship.  3  Such a woman, i f she lack-  ed the talent or financial resources to become a writer, and i f she did not marry, might languish i n Britain for want of activity, or, more l i k e l y , seek the adventure of foreign travel or permanent emigration. When progressive-minded women did emigrate they were l i k e l y to place a high premium on their newly found independence. Their decision to emigrate was a symbolic act of freedom—or even rebellion—from the inhibiting social conventions of the Old World.  For this reason they  would be unlikely to s o l i c i t assistance from government or charitable emigration agencies but would be inclined to rely solely on their own i n i t i a tive and the advice of friends or relatives who may have previously emigrated.  By the eighteen-forties a 'respectable  1  single cabin passage,  to New Zealand for example, could be procured without the aid of charitable organizations for £30 to £50, well within the means of middle-class women who had not suffered a serious reversal of fortune.**  Most of these  independent emigrants l e f t l i t t l e trace of their history, but i t i s possible to make some tentative generalizations on the basis of a f a i r l y welldocumented case study of Mary Taylor, a New Zealand emigrant i n the  -'To avoid popular prejudice female novelists invariably masqueraded under male pseudonyms, the Bronte sisters, for example, published their works as Currer, E l l i s and Acton Bell. **The New Zealand Company, which organized the f i r s t large-scale colonisation of New Zealand, initiated the reduction i n cabin fares from seventy to eighty guineas down to thirty guineas i n 181*2 by eliminating champagne, wine and other luxuries from the daily first-class menu. Their  132. eighteen-forties• The main virtue of Mary Taylor as an emigrant i s the relative abundance of useful documentary sources pertaining to her emigration.  Her  close friendship from adolescence with Charlotte Bronte gave rise to a voluminous correspondence, much of which was destroyed, but of which the surviving letters provide a clear insight into her background, motivation and emigration experience.  Charlotte Bronte's accurate characterization  of her friend as Rose Yorke i n Shirley allows for a much closer examination of family background and personality than is normally possible.^ The most obvious conclusion to emerge from this material i s that Mary Taylor was not representative of any group of contemporary female emigrants.  In terms of personality she would have been an exceptional  woman i n any social class and any historical period.  In actual wealth  example was quickly followed by other shipping companies; New Zealand Journal (London), Oct. 1, 1842, p. 229; Oct. 1$, 1842, p. 241; Feb. 18, 181+3, p. 37. -*Most of the surviving Bronte correspondence, including that relating to Mary Taylor, has been published. The best collections are T. J . Wise and J. A. Symington, The Brontes; Their Lives, Friendships and Correspondence, (Oxford, 1932), 4 Vols.; C. K. Shorter, Charlotte Bronte and her Circle, (London, 1896). C. K. Shorter, The Bronte's? Life and Letters, (London, 1908), 2 Vols., Mary Taylor destroyed most of Charlotte Bronte's own letters to herself i n New Zealand, but many of the Taylor letters from New Zealand were preserved; Mary Taylor to Ellen Nussey, Wellington, Jan. 8, 1857, Shorter, Brontes, H , 399-401. ^Mary herself testified to the general accuracy of the Taylor family portrayal i n Shirley, and one of her brothers approved of the descriptions prior to publication; Mary Taylor to Charlotte Bronte, Wellington, Aug. 13, 1850, Shorter, Brontes, I I , 152-3, E. M. Chadwick In the Footsteps of the Brontes, (London, 1914), P. 31; W. M. Heald to Ellen Nussey, Jan. 8, 18$0, Shorter, Brontes, I I , pp. 104-5.  133. she remained well above the familiar class of distressed gentlewomen. Despite these differences her experiences do illustrate the forces which brought her class of women to contemplate emigration.  In her social and  p o l i t i c a l attitudes, however, she was undeniably exceptional, and her radical feminism provides a unique opportunity to examine the relationship between female emigration and feminism i n the early-Victorian period. The Taylor family of Gomersal in the West Riding of Yorkshire, i n wealth far removed from the "uneasy class," was, according to Charlotte Bronte's description i n Shirley, "the f i r s t and oldest i n the d i s t r i c t . "  7  The 'Red House, (the 'Briarmains' of Shirley), an imposing two-storey 1  building of red brick, which stood out sharply against the usual grey Yorkshire stone, had formed the Taylor residence since 1660 when William Taylor b u i l t i t after prospering i n the woollen cloth trade.  His descen-  dants rose to greater prominence as cloth manufacturers during the eighteenth century.  Mary's grandfather, John Taylor, b u i l t a large textile  m i l l nearby at Hunsworth i n 1785,  and his specialisation in army cloth  manufacture brought further prosperity during the Revolutionary wars. The Taylors also, played the classic role of the commercial middle-enen of the industrial Revolution by taking i n the productions of most small manufacturers i n the Spen Valley. John Taylor was sufficiently wealthy i n 1803 to easily survive the destruction of his m i l l by f i r e .  He prompt-  l y b u i l t a new one i n 1801* and bequeathed a going concern to his eldest  C. Bronte, Shirley, (First published 181*9), Chap. 1*.  134. o  son, Joshua, Mary's father and the 'Hiram Yorke of Shirley." 1  Joshua Taylor enthusiastically expanded his inheritance. To supplement his province of cloth manufacturer and merchant he became a banker after building the 'Gomersal Bank' behind the 'Red House,' and issued his own notes under 'Joshua Taylor and Sons.  1  Taylor suffered a  major setback during the financial crisis of 1825-6, the same depression which reduced Harriet Martineau's family, when his bank failed in the general crash. This was not the total ruin of Taylor for he continued, as before, with the manufacture and trade in woollen cloth. He conducted his business, until his death in 1841, with the sole aim of repaying his creditors, and an interval of nearly thirty years elapsed before his eldest son, Joshua, finally cleared the debt of several thousand pounds thus 9 incurred. For the Taylor household, which included Mrs. Taylor, four sons and two daughters, this long term debt involved constant parsimony and a grave reduction in their standard of living. Ellen Nussey, the third member of the group of friends with Mary Taylor and Charlotte Bronte at Roe Head school in 1831, noticed that Mary and her sister Martha  8  H. A. Cadman, Gomersal Past and Present, (Leeds, 1930), pp. 55-7.  ?Ibid., p. 59. Ellen Nussey's impressions of Mary Taylor, Wise and Symington, Brontes, II, 231*2.  135. were not dressed as well as other pupils, for economy at that time was the rule of their household. The girls had to stitch a l l over their new gloves before wearing them, by order of their mother, t o make them wear longer. Their dark blue cloth coats were worn when too short, and black beaver bonnets quite plainly trimmed, with the ease and contentment of a fashionable costume.10 Although their social decline was not on the scale of family disasters which produced so many Victorian distressed gentlewomen—the Taylors, after a l l , retained their property and were able to send their children to s c h o o l — i t was to make Mary, the eldest daughter, well aware of the value of money, and to reinforce her desire for economic independence. An i n f i n i t e l y greater influence on Mary's future was the long Taylor history of religious dissent and radicalism.  The secluded posit-  ion of Gomersal made i t a safe haven for persecuted nonconformists, and i t afforded a major birthplace for Yorkshire Moravianism and Wesleyanism i n the eighteenth century.  John Wesley, i n fact, was a close acquain-  tance of John Taylor, and lodged at the 'Red House' when he preached at Gomersal i n 1776 and 1789.  11  Despite this connection John Taylor held  himself aloof from the Wesleyan sect and preached i n the family's own chapel, known as 'Taylor's Chapel,' near the 'Red House.'  His indepen-  dent following had more i n common with the Quaker-like, quietist Moravians, who were most firmly established i n the contiguous area between Leeds 12 and Halifax. In Charlotte Bronte's time, however, the character of lONussey impressions, ibid. •Madman, op. c i t . , pp. 58, 6 l , 185.  ^The Moravian leader, Count Zinzendorf, preached his f i r s t English  136.  the services had apparently changed, f o r the scene she described at the •Briar Chapel' i n Shirley approximated more closely to the emotional spontaneity of Primitive Methodism. Mary's father, who Charlotte Bronte described as "not irreligious but a member of no sect," apparently lost interest i n the chapel, for sometime shortly before or immediately after his death i n 1841 i t was converted into cottages, and his widow subsequently held religious services i n the Taylor kitchen, conducted by men from Bradford.  13  Mary Taylor inherited her father's penchant f o r a personal r e l i g ion and contempt for a l l forms of ecclesiastical organization. ^1  also inherited those common bedfellows of religious dissent:  She  political  and social radicalism, and, i n her case, a forthright and militant feminism.  Joshua Taylor combined a l l the qualities of the laconic, straight-  forward and iconoclastic Yorkshireman with those of the cultivated and well-travelled English gentleman.  He would vary his speech from a broad  sermon i n Gomersal, ibid., p. l 8 l j 'The Red House, Gomersal,' Cleckheaton Guardian, June 15, 1894, p. 6j On the Moravians and Methodists i n Yorkshire see E. Langton, History of the Moravian Church, (London, 1956), pp. 98-129. Bronte, Shirley, Chaps. 4, 9j Cadman, op. c i t . , p. 6 l ; see also J. A. E. Stuart, The Bronte Country, Its Topographies, Antiquities and History, (London, 1888), pp. 144-5. Chadwick, op. c i t . , pp. 30-1. 13  ^See her comment to Elizabeth Gaskell, (n.d., c. 1856) who was preparing a biography of Charlotte Bronte, Shorter, Brontes, I, p. 118. She shocked her devout sister-in-law i n New Zealand by t e l l i n g her that she (Mary) only went to chapel "for amusement;" M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, July 24, 1848, ibid., I, pp. 431-5.  137. Yorkshire dialect to the purest educated English as the mood or company dictated. * 1  The result of this combination was a truculent but i n t e l l i -  gent radicalism which Mary inherited whole. Commenting on the description of her family in Shirley, she approved of Charlotte's characterization of a l l but one member, complaining: But my father i s not like. He hates well enough and perhaps loves too, but he i s not honest enough. I t was from my father I learnt not to marry for money nor to tolerate anyone who did, and he never would advise anyone to do so, or f a i l to speak with contempt of those who d i d . 1 6  When a schoolgirl, Charlotte Bronte, the clergyman's daughter and loyal Tory, frequently clashed with Mary and Martha Taylor on subjects of religion and p o l i t i c s .  Her v i s i t s to the 'Red House' invariably re-  sulted i n indignant lectures on the virtues of republicanism and the evils of the monarchy and the established church.  The timid conservat-  ive was, Mary told Elizabeth Gaskell, always a minority of one i n our house of violent Dissent and Radicalism. She used to hear over again, delivered with authority, a l l the lectures I had been used to give her at school on despotic aristocracy, mercenary priesthood etc. For Mary this popular radicalism did not mellow but intensified with age.  *Taylor spoke French and Italian, and took pride i n his collection of Continental paintingsj even allowing for Mary's qualification, the best description of him i s i n Shirley, chaps. 3, k, 9. See also E. C. Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Bronte ( f i r s t published 1857), (London, Dent, 1958), x  pp. 100-1.  M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, Aug. 13, 1850, Brontes. I I , 152-3. 15  Quoted, Gaskell, op. c i t . , pp. 100-1,  Shorter,  138. She wrote from New Zealand to berate Elizabeth Gaskell for presenting too mild a picture of the Yorkshire gentry i n her biography of Charlotte Bronte: You give much too favourable an account of the black-coated and Tory savages that kept the people down, and provoked excesses i n those days. Old Roberson said he 'would wade to the knees i n blood rather than the then state of things should be altered, * — a state including Corn law, Test law, and a host of other oppressions. ° x  The most important result of Mary's radical background was her ardent desire for independence and a firm determination not to be bound by conventional restrictions on female conduct.  To her closest friends,  Charlotte Bronte and Ellen Nussey, she frequently adopted the role of mentor, encouraging them to join her i n her most recent adventure of i n dependence. Neither, however, shared her contempt for social convention. Charlotte ignored Mary's suggestion that she teach i n a German boy's school, and Ellen, always conscious of her family "duties," failed to respond to Mary's c a l l to join her i n rewarding work and freedom i n New Zealand. ? 1  Mary's rebelliousness contrasted with Charlotte's patient  M. Taylor to E. Gaskell, Wellington, July 30, 1857, Brontes, I, pp. 16-7. l0  Shorter,  ^ C . Bronte to E. Nussey, Brussels, Oct. 13, 181+3, M. Spark, The Bronte' Letters, (London, 195U), pp. 1 0 8 - 9 . M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, Feb. 9 , 1 8 1 + 9 and Aug. 15, 1850, Shorter, Brontes, I I , 25-7, 155-7. On other occasions she urged Charlotte to look upon her writing as a means to financial success and "influence and powerj" M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, April 5, 1850, Wise and Symington, op. c i t . , m , pp. 91+-7. Charlotte admitted that Mary's persuasion influenced her decision to go to Brussels i n 181+2$ C. Bronte to E. Nussey, Rawdon, Nov. 2, 181+1, Shorter, Brontgs, I, pp. 222-3; see also M. Taylor to E. Gaskell, Wellington, n.d. (c. 1856), Shorter, Bronte's, I, pp. 2 1 + 7 - 8 .  139  submission during their early schooldays; both top pupils who had learnt a l l that their instructors could teach them, they were each given Blair's Belles Lettres to memorize; only Mary stubbornly refused to degrade herself with such seemingly useless activity, and preferred to accept punishment.  In later years this difference expressed i t s e l f i n two contrast-  20  ing attitudes on the feminist issue.  Mary took Charlotte to task f o r her  mild position on the need f o r female employment: I have seen some extracts from Shirley i n which you talk of women working. And t h i s f i r s t duty, this great necessity, you seem to think that some women may indulge i n , i f they give up marriage, and don't make themselves too disagreeable to the other sex. You are a coward and a traitor. A woman who works i s by that alone better than one who does not; and a woman who does not happen to be rich and who s t i l l earns no money and does not wish to do so, i s guilty of a great fault, almost a crime—a dereliction of duty which leads rapidly and almost certainly to a l l manner of degradation. I t i s very wrong of you to plead for toleration for workers on the ground of their being i n peculiar circumstances, and few i n number, or singular i n disposition. Work or degradation i s the l o t of a l l except the very small number born to wealth.21 Charlotte Bronte was no anti-feminist, but her moderate stand for women's work, at one with the sentiments of mid-Victorian feminists, illuminated the more advanced and aggressive opinion of Mary Taylor.  2°Nussey impressions, Wise and Symington, op. c i t . , I I , 231-2. _ M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, April 29, 1850, Shorter, Brontes, I I , pp. 131-4. For the relevant passages i n Shirley, see chap. 22; for similar comments on Jane Eyre see M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, July 2ii, 181*8, i b i d . , I, pp. 1*31-5. Also contrast Mary's sarcastic advice to Ellen Nussey with that of Charlotte on the offer of a lady's companion post; M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, July 21, 1853, C. Bronte to E. Nussey, Haworth, Oct. 31, 1852, i b i d . , I I , pp. 369-71, 285. 21  mo. Not u n t i l her father s death i n l 8 U l did Mary begin to practice 1  her philosophy.  With Joshua Taylor gone there was l i t t l e to hold the  family together, since none of the children could long tolerate their 22 cantankerous mother.  Immediately after Taylor's death Charlotte  Bronte accurately predicted the break-up and dispersal of the family. She was convinced that they were a l l "restless, active s p i r i t s , and w i l l not be restrained." But Mary especially, she maintained, "has more energy and power i n her nature than any ten men you can pick out i n the united parishes of B i r s t a l l and Haworth. It i s vain to limit a character like hers within ordinary boundaries—she w i l l overstep them."  23  Within  three months of her father's death Mary had decided that the boundaries of England i t s e l f were too limiting and she resolved to emigrate to New Zealand.  Charlotte Bronte most succinctly summarized her reasons. Mary  had made up her mind, Charlotte told her sister Emily, that "she cannot and w i l l not be a governess, a teacher, a milliner, a bonnet "maker nor housemaid. She sees no means of obtaining employment she would like i n England j so she i s leaving i t . " * * 2  22The best account of Mrs. Taylor i s given i n Shirley as Mrs. lorke, chaps. 9, 23. Her hostile reaction to the characterization suggests that i t was not far wrong; M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, March 11, l8£l, Shorter, Brontes, I I , pp. 198-200. Bronte to E. Nussey, Jan. 3, 18U1, Shorter, Brontes, I, pp. 198-9. With hindsight, Charlotte gave a similar prediction of Mary's ultimate irrevocable rebellion i n Shirley, chap. 9. **C. Bronte to E. J. Bronte, April 2, l8Ul, ibid., I. p. 208; see also W. Gerin, Charlotte Bronte, The Evolution of Genius, (Oxford, 2  1967), p. 174.  mi. Unfortunately l i t t l e further direct evidence exists about the exact nature of Mary's decision. Charlotte Bronte in Shirley describes her decision more as the outcome of impatient wanderlust, although Rose Torke's proviso that "I shall have an object in view" precludes any notion of aimless drifting. ^ 2  Her resolve, a startling one in her time and  social milieu, as shown by Charlotte's astonishment, was clearly the outcome of her intense desire for independence which she saw as unattainable in England. But the drastic nature of her action was softened by the fact that her younger brother, Waring Taylor, also decided to emigrate. This would give her one of those "natural protectors," so essential in the minds of the organizers of female emigration.  In fact Waring emi-  grated in 181*1 while Mary did not follow until 181*5, but the presence of a brother in Wellington to meet her upon arrival considerably eased the usual complications of emigration for single women, and added the necessary aura of respectability to her adventure. The absence of this convenience would hardly have deterred Mary Taylor from emigrating, but i t eliminated many obstacles and significantly reduced the rebellious nature of her act. 6 2  °Chap. 23. The only reference to the original decision of Mary and Waring is in Charlotte's letter to Emily of April 2, 181*1, loc. c i t . ^^Wise and Symington, op. cit., IT, pp. 231*-!? and Shorter, Bronte's, I, 1*31, maintain, in error, that Mary and Waring emigrated together i n 181*5 j I am indebted to Dr. Joan Stevens, Dept. of English, Victoria University of Wellington, who is engaged in local research in New Zealand, for drawing this fact to my attention.  142.  The particular choice of Wellington, New Zealand is not much easier to explain. Charlotte's original discussion suggests that Mary and her brother had considered alternative settlements,  "Their destination  unless they change," she told Emily "is Port Nicholson /i.e. Wellington/ in the northern island of New Zealand ill . . . I cannot sufficiently comprehend what her views and those of her brother's may be on the subject, or what i s the extent of their information regarding Port Nicholson, to say whether this is a rational enterprise or absolute madness. ^ n  No  doubt their decision to go to New Zealand at this particular time reflected the considerable publicity which accompanied the organization of the New Zealand Association (later the New Zealand Company) and the initial settlement at Wellington from 1839.  Not a l l the publicity was good.  The Evangelical-missionaries, who opposed New Zealand colonisation, found a powerful ally in The Times, whose editors were consistently hostile to emigration schemes, but acrimonious differences like those between the Wakefieldian Spectator and The Times usually enhanced the popularity of schemes to promote emigration. Since the publication of Wakefield's England and America in 1833 the Colonial Reformers had laid constant stress on the need for middle-class emigration, and this was a persistent theme in the New Zealand publicity.  Furthermore, a l l the excitement  and controversy of a new colony—the first ship for Wellington, the Tory, had only sailed in May, 1839, without Government approval and before British annexation of New Zealand—would be especially attractive to the  C. Bronte to E. Bronte, April 2, 18U1, Shorter, Bronte's, I, 208.  143. 28 adventurous Taylors. Although Mary waited four years before following her brother to Wellington, she did not i n the interim languish i n England.  She did, ap-  parently, consider the possibility of f i l l i n g a governess' position i n Ireland, but, as Charlotte Bronte put i t , she was "so circumstanced that she cannot accept it** since her brothers had "a feeling of pride that revolts at the thought of their sister 'going out'**. She added, "I hardl y knew that i t was such a degradation t i l l l a t e l y . ? n2  It was exactly  this kind of restriction which made l i f e i n England so unbearable for Mary Taylor, and i n escaping from i t she managed to combine her desire for foreign travel with some useful preparation f o r an independent future.  She made several trips to Brussels, sometimes i n company with her  sister Martha, her brothers John and Joseph, and on one occasion with Charlotte Bronte.  Again, these v i s i t s were facilitated by the presence  in Brussels of her cousins from Birmingham, the Dixons, who currently  "'On the founding of Wellington and accompanying publicity see P. Bloomfield, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, (London, 196l), pp. 144-71, 20437j see also The Times, April 25, 1840. p. 4; May 4, 1840, p. 4. Monthly Review, Nov. 1839, p. 365; Dec. 1839, 521-36; Dec. 1841, pp. 543-557 which consistently pressed for the annexation and colonisation of New Zealand, and preferred i t to other settlement colonies; The Dublin University Magazine, Sept. 1839, Vol. XIV, pp. 298-311, Tpart of a series of articles on Australasia which particularly favoured New Zealand colonisation); H. S. Chapman, 'Emigration: Comparitive Prospects of our New Colonies,' Westminster Review, Vol. XXXV, Jan. 1841, 131-87; Chapman, himw self an ardent Wakefieldian, emigrated i n 1844 to Wellington to become the f i r s t judge; A. Drummond (Ed.), Married and Gone to New Zealand, (London, i960), pp. 66-7. On Wakefield's England and America see s.upra chap. 1. 29c.  Bronte to E. Nussey, June 10, 1841, Shorter, Brontes, I, p. 212.  11*1*. lived there; as a result of this connection both Mary and Martha i n 181*2 attended a boarding school i n the Brussels suburb of Koekelberg, where Mary conveniently improved her French, German and music, qualifications which later proved useful during her early years i n New Zealand. Her s i s t e r s sudden death from cholera i n October disrupted these arrange1  ments, and i n her ardent desire to quit Brussels she turned, not back to England, but farther afield to Germany. Now, f o r the f i r s t time, she went alone, and after a period of further instruction i n German she began to teach at a school i n Iserlohn.  This was conventional enough, but  what startled her contemporaries was that she took a position i n a boys school.  30  Characteristically Charlotte Bronte took alarm at her friend's "resolute and intrepid proceedings."  She recognized, as she told Ellen  Nussey, that such a step proved "an energetic and active mind" as well as courage, independence and talent, but she condemned i t on grounds of imprudence.  Perhaps, she added, genius like Mary's might surmount every  obstacle without the aid of prudence, but opinion and custom run strongly against what she does, that I see there i s danger of her having much uneasiness to suffer. I f her pupils had been girls i t would a l l be well; the fact of their being boys, or rather young men, i s the stumbling block.31  30Gerin, op. c i t . , pp. 171;, 181, 211-3;. C. Bronte to E. Nussey, Aug. 7, 181*1 j joint letters from Mary and Martha Taylor and C. Bronte to E. Nussey, Koekelberg, March, April 1* and 5, 181*2; M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Brussels, Oct. 30, 181*2, Shorter, Brontes, I, pp. 218-9, 23U-6, 21*3-1*. Bronte to E. Nussey, Brussels, April 1, 181*3, and November, 181*3, Shorter, Brontes, I, pp. 263-5, 273-1*.  145. But Mary Taylor was willing to risk any amount of social disapproval to meet her need for constructive activity. Immediately after Martha's death she told Ellen Nussey that she was torn between a desire to return to Yorkshire and another to go to Germany. She finally chose Germany, ••activity being in my opinion the most desirable state of existence both for my spirits, health, and advantage." A few months later she wrote from Germany to confirm that she actually was "cheerful and active."3  2  For her these two states were synonymous, and i f she could have found them together in England she would never have emigrated to New Zealand, By April, 181+4 Mary was back in England, and in a few months revived her plan to emigrate. The reaction of Charlotte, to whom i t was "something as i f a great planet f e l l out of the sky," suggests that she had permitted the idea to lapse since Waring's departure. Indeed, although Charlotte frankly admitted that Mary would be "in her element" in New Zealand with "a toilsome task to perform, an important improvement to effect, a weak vessel to strengthen," her general reaction was understandably one of regret.33 For this reason her comments to Ellen Nussey do not always accurately reflect Mary's true situation in New Zealand.  She  was quick, for example, to interpret Mary's momentary expressions of  M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Brussels, Oct. 30, 1842, Germany, Feb. 16 and 18, ibid., I, pp. 243-4, 261-2. J  33c. Bronte to E. Nussey, April 7, 1844, Wise and Symington, op. cit., II, p. 5; C. Bronte to E. Nussey, Sept. 1844, Shorter, Bronte's, I, P . 284. " :  146. depression as sure signs that she was "more homesick than she w i l l conBut i n fact, Mary, who f i n a l l y sailed i n March, 1845, adjusted  fess."  to the primitive environment of the infant Wellington colony with unusual rapidity.  Her own letters, frequently f i l l e d with details of her business  dealings and plans, are ample demonstration of this fact. ** 3  Mary spent her f i r s t four years i n New Zealand at a variety of occupations without becoming f u l l y committed to any single one.  Unquest-  ionably her situation was eased by the presence of her brother, with whom she lived at f i r s t .  She was not wealthy, nor was she one of the leisured  ladies of the administrative class of New Zealand l i k e Charlotte Godley of Canterbury or Mrs. H. S. Chapman of Wellington, but unlike many 'distressed gentlewomen,' who necessarily took any available employment, she could afford to experiment. * 3  Consequently she was not confined to the  traditional outlet of teaching.  She did, however, teach, during the  f i r s t four years, and even here she managed to astonish Wellington society by teaching a widower's daughter at his own home without any intention of marrying him. female activities.  She also combined this with other less orthodox  Most important of these was her dealing i n cattle,  which she purchased with money borrowed at five per cent interest from  **C. Bronte to E. Nussey, June 5, 1847, Shorter, i b i d . , I. p. 352 j On Mary's departure see Wise and Symington, op. c i t . , I I , pp. 234-5, but note also footnote 26 supra, 3  ^0n Charlotte Godley see J . R. Godley (Ed.), Letters from Early New Zealand by Charlotte Godley (Christchurch, l°5l)j On Mrs. Chapman see Drummond, op. c i t . , pp. 66-7. 3  t  11*7. her brothers, John and Joseph i n England.  By July, 181*8, she had spent  f100 i n this way and anticipated a total expenditure of £ 5 0 0 , with an eventual profit as high as f i f t y per cent.  She also bought land and  b u i l t a house, which she rented at twelve shillings a week. In addition she began to write, something she had never been inspired to do i n England.  Her New Zealand letters contain innumerable references to her  "novel," which i n the event was not published until 1890.  She wrote one  article for Chambers's magazine on a New Zealand earthquake, and talked of writing more.^ These diverse occupations made f o r "an active, happy and joyous l i f e " from which Mary was moved to express pity for Charlotte Bronte's "comparatively d u l l , uneventful, and unoccupied existence."37  Yet she  had a more grandiose ambition: to establish an independent business or school of her own.  And i t i s probably indicative of her ambition that  36c. Bronte to Miss Margaret Wooler, Aug. 28, 181*8, Wise and Symington, op. c i t . , II, pp. 21*8-9; M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, July 21*, 181*8, Shorter, Bronte's. I, pp. 1*31-5j Shorter printed an incomplete version of this letter, incorrectly dated July 21*, 181*9, i n his earlier publication Charlotte Bronte and her Circle, pp. 21*5-7. Mary's optimistic estimates of her profits were not f u l f i l l e d ; two years later she wrote to say that she would only just escape loss on her cattle, but she escaped hardship when her brothers converted their loan into a g i f t , Wise and Symington, op. c i t . , III, pp. 9l*-7. For the reference to the Chambers's article see M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, April 10, 181*9, Shorter,.Brontes, I I , pp. 1*1-2; Chambers's did not print her article and "three or four articles" sent to Tait's Edinburgh Magazine were not acknowledged, Shorter, Brontes, I, pp. 1*31-5. 37c. Bronte to M. Wooler, Aug. 28, 181*8, Wise and Symington, I I , pp. 21*8-9.  148. she did not feel disposed to put i t into practice u n t i l she could do so in partnership with her younger cousin, Ellen Taylor, who joined her i n 18,49.  In fact her letters give no indication that she had any specific  occupation i n mind either before or for at least three years after she emigrated.  Her only certainty had been that she would find i t easier to  earn her living independently and without degradation i n the colonies than i n England.  Now, with the prospect of a partner, she began to form  more concrete plans, and after Ellen's arrival the pair decided to establish a woman's clothing and drapery shop. By 1849 Mary had become intimately acquainted with many potential customers and business associates among the tiny but growing Wellington population—in 1845 when Mary arrived the population totalled only 2,667, of whom 1,145 were children under 14—and with the local retailing experience of her brother and no prospect of serious competition she could be assured of reasonable  38 success. The surviving evidence on Mary's cousin, Ellen Taylor is meagre. The existing references do suggest that her short l i f e approximated much more closely to the familiar distressed gentlewoman pattern than did that  M. Taylor to C. Bronte", Wellington, April 10, 1849, Shorter, Bronte's, I I , pp. 4l"*2, contains the f i r s t reference to a scheme to establ«* ish a school or shop with Ellen Taylor. Mary discussed the prospects of the shop i n her letter to C. Bronte of April 5, 1850, Wise and Symington, op. c i t . , ITI, p. 94-7j see also Ellen Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, n.d. (approx. mid-1850), ibid., III, pp. 133-5; the Wellington census dated August 31, 1845 was published i n the New Zealand Journal, May 9, 1846; the total f o r Wellington and surrounding districts was 4897. 38  149.  of Mary Taylor.  Ten years younger than Mary,39 i t i s probable that she  lost her parents at an early age, since a l l the efforts to assist her education and employment appear to have been made by her cousins. In 1843 Abraham Dixon, who frequently accommodated Mary i n Brussels, wrote that a recent business setback had forced him to abandon the idea of helping to finance Ellen at Madame Heger's school (the same institution attended by Charlotte Bronte, both as a pupil and English teacher, i n 1842 and 1843).  Even as late as June, 1848 Mary's brother, Joseph, and Ellen's  brother, Henry, made further enquiries about the same school on Ellen's account, although i t i s unclear whether they wished her to go as a pupil or teacher.' ' 4  0  The latter fact suggests that Ellen's future had become  something of a problem, for only seven months later she emigrated to New Zealand with her brother.  Their decision, however rational, was not  planned far i n advance like Mary's, and was probably due to the absence of reasonable alternatives in England.4l  Ellen's action did not have  39M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Aug. 13, 1850, Shorter, Brontes. H , pp. 152-3. The only precise reference to Mary Taylor's age i s i n her obituary, from which i t can be reckoned that she was born on February 26, I8l8. She would therefore have been 28 when she emigrated i n 1845» i n 1849 when Ellen arrived their ages would have been 32 and 22j Bradford Daily Telegraph. Mar. 2, 1893, p. 2. ^Abraham Dixon to his daughter Mary Dixon, Brussels, July 24, 1843, Dixon Letters. Leeds City Museumj C. Bronte to E. Nussey, June 26, 1848, Shorter, Brontes. I. pp. 426-7. ^•C. Bronte to E. Nussey, Feb. 16, 1849, ibid., I I , p. 28, mentions the imminent departure of Ellen arid Henry Taylor from London. Ellen's disappointed resignation to her fate i s suggested i n Mary's subsequent remark that "She thought she was coming woefully down i n the world when she came out, and finds herself better received than ever she was i n her  i5o. the strong overtones of feminist ideology so characteristic of Mary's. She did, as Mary put i t , emigrate "with just the same wish to earn her own living as I have, and just the same objection to sedentary employment," but, unlike Mary, she would not have emigrated without a large network of relatives to accompany, welcome and assist her.  Her disregard for  convention largely resulted from the influence of Mary's company and a more egalitarian colonial environment.  She observed to Charlotte Bronte  that most Wellingtonians laughed at her shopkeeping, and added "Before I l e f t home I used to be afraid of being laughed at, but now i t has very l i t t l e effect on me."  Her experience i n New Zealand was a short one-  she died i n December 1851 after only two and a half years—but i t was long enough to illustrate the liberating effects of a colonial environment on women who had been slaves to r i g i d conventions i n England.**  2  By a l l accounts the Taylors' shop prospered from the beginning. As with Mary's cattle, dealing this was largely due to the substantial help provided by her brothers i n England.  They lent her £100, gave her  a further £300, and assisted Ellen on a slightly smaller scale so that they began "with as large a capital as probably any i n Wellington." Their shop occupied an advantageous site, and being among the f i r s t i n town was free from the threat of competition.  They also benefitted from the sales  l i f e before;" M. Taylor.to C. Bronte, Wellington, April 5, 1850, Wise and Symington, op. c i t . . I I I . pp. 9U-7. k^Ibid.. Ellen Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, n.d. (approx. mid1850) i b i d . , I H , pp. 133-5; on Ellen's death see i b i d . . I I , p. 23U.  151. experience of Waring Taylor, who taught them book-keeping and assisted in wholesale purchasing. There i s no record of their actual profits, but in 1850 they anticipated returns as high as £400 a year. By 1854, over two years after Ellen's death, Mary had prospered sufficiently well to add a twenty foot extension to her shop.  By 1857 she found wholesale  purchasing "not near such an anxious piece of business now that I understand my trade and have, moreover, a good 'credit" , and could afford to 1  hire an assistant, who eventually purchased the business when Mary returned to England.  Such a career, i t must be emphasized, was radically  different from that of most middle-class female emigrants; i n the f i r s t place few women who could command so much capital without working would ever bother to emigrate. But the Taylors' experience does suggest how much greater scope f o r female ambitions could exist i n the colonies than i n Britain.  They appear to have encountered virtually no social prejud-  ice, and their relative boldness apparently caused more amusement than disapproval i n Wellington.^  3  This i s an important point, for although Mary Taylor was by no means a typical female emigrant, her attitude towards work i n New Zealand was characteristic of that adopted by many others when exposed to a  43M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, April 5, 1850, Ibid.. I l l , pp. 94-7; E. Taylor to C. Bronte, n.d., i b i d , III, pp. 133-5; M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, Aug. 15, 1850; Feb. 24, 1854, Shorter, Brontes. II, pp. 155-7., 347-9. In her letter to Charlotte Bronte Ellen Taylor said that their shop-keeping project "astonishes everybody here" and that many thought i t only a temporary whim, but also noticed that when Mary went to buy merchandise "the people are always c i v i l to her."  152. colonial environment.  For her i t was simply a matter of behaving as she  had always wished to do; for the majority—including Ellen T a y l o r — i t was a matter of adjusting to a social environment i n which i t was no longer considered a degradation to perform many kinds of ungenteel work and to tolerate primitive living conditions.  The gulf between the two states of  mind i n England and abroad was expressed i n Charlotte Bronte's astonishment to hear that "Mary Taylor s i t s on a wooden stool without a back, i n a log house, without a carpet, and neither i s degraded nor thinks herself degraded by such poor accommodation."^ Mary Taylor was f u l l y aware that she was neither a typical middleclass woman nor a "typical emigrant; even the New Zealanders raised their eyebrows at her eccentricities.  "To be sure," she said, "I pass here for  a monkey who has seen the world, and people receive me well on that account." But she was no less certain that emigration would provide the same escape for others from frustration, worry and genteel poverty. She tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Ellen Nussey, a thoroughly conventional and submissive woman, to join her i n New Zealand. A woman could only earn her living i n England by teaching, sewing or washing, she argued. The last i s the best. The best paid, the least unhealthy, and the most free. But i t i s not paid well enough to l i v e by. Moreover i t i s impossible for anyone not bom to this position to take i t up afterwards. I don't know why but i t i s . This state of things she described as a "nightmare" from which one could only escape by making a "desperate plunge, and you w i l l come up i n  hkc. Bronte to E. Nussey, Sept.  28,  l 8 i | 6 ,  Shorter, Brontes. I,  pp.338-9.  153. another world." The new world w i l l be no Paradise, but s t i l l much better than the nightmare. Am I not right i n a l l this? and don't you know i t very wellJ Or am I shooting i n the dark? I must say I judge rather by my own history than from any actual knowledge of yours. S t i l l you yourself must judge, for no one else can. What i n the world keeps you? • . • You could get your living here at any of the trades I have mentioned, which you would only die of i n England. As to 'society' position i n the world, you must have found out by this time i t i s a l l my eye seeking society, without the means to enjoy i t . Why not come here then and be happy?^ 3  Mary and Ellen's letters are f i l l e d with enthusiastic descriptions of their endless jobs, from the building of their shop to the division of domestic chores which i n England had been performed by servants. The result, f a r from being degradation, was genuine satisfaction and freedom from the familiar frustrations of the respectable English social routine, as illustrated by Mary's revealing statement:  "We have been moving,  cleaning, shop-keeping, u n t i l I was tired every n i g h t — a wonder f o r me. It does me good, and I had much rather be tired than ennuyee."^ The Taylors' attitude to work was an essential part of their integration into a more homogeneous society.  Class distinctions certainly  existed—the great majority of early New Zealanders of a l l classes were,  pp. 25-7.  Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, Feb. 9, 181*9, ibid., I I .  M. Taylor to C. BrontS, Wellington, April 29, 1850, Ibid.. I I , pp. 131-U. In her letter to C. Bronte Ellen Taylor described their routine thus: "We take i t i n turns to serve i n the shop, and keep the accounts, and do the housework—I mean Mary takes the shop f o r the week and I the kitchen, and then we change"; Wise and Symington, op. ext.. I l l , pp. 133-5; cf. M. Taylor to C. Bronte", Wellington, April 5, 1850, i b i d. . I l l , pp. 94-7; M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, March 11, 1851, Shorter, Brontes. I l l , pp. 198-200. it6  154. after a l l , only recently transplanted from Britain—but i n such small, closely knit communities as existed i n New Zealand the predominant soci a l forces fostered the development of egalitarianism.  Most important  of these was the frequent necessity for men to marry "beneath their station" because of the lack of single women, and this induced a large degree of social mixing.^  7  In these conditions, while the Taylors were  clearly distinguished from the administrative class, the Wellington aristocracy, Mary could rejoice i n the fact that their company was better than i t would have been i n the same circumstances i n England.  Her own  analysis was shrewd: "Classes are forced to mix more here, or there would be no society at a l l .  This circumstance i s much t o our advantage,  for there are not many educated people of our standing." For Ellen Taylor, a decade younger and apparently more attractive than Mary, i t was "quite new to be of such importance by the mere fact of her femininity." Her popularity also involved Mary i n a succession of dances and other social events at the new Mechanic's Institute.  The class of people i n -  volved i n their own circle were, as she described them, not i n education inferior though they are i n money. They are decent well-to-do people. One grocer, one draper, two parsons, two clerks, two lawyers, and three or four nondescripts. A l l these but one have families to 'take tea with' and there are a l o t more single men to f l i r t with. . Such an unlikely mixture of occupations would have been rare i n Britain,  ' I n I8I4.7 there were 528 bachelors and 248 spinsters i n Wellington, J. Miller, Early Victorian New Zealand, (London, 1958), pp. 162-3. Miller tends to underrate the pressures for egalitarianism and overrate the imported class distinctions and social rituals. 4  and the implications for middle-class women could be profound.  The maj-  ority, like Ellen Taylor, regarded the very need for emigration as a confession of social decline, but instead of "coming woefully down i n the world" their education alone earned them new status, causing Ellen, for example, to find herself "better received than ever she was i n her l i f e before."48  The social value to the colonies of single women, and  more especially of educated women, was too great f or them to lose caste by the mere performance of menial work. A more tolerant attitude to the performance of menial work extended i n large measure to a l l classes i n a l l the settlement colonies during most of the nineteenth century.  The shortage of women, common to a l l  the colonies, implied not only a dearth of prospective wives, but a chronic scarcity of domestic servants for the highest classes. Consequently even women of the administrative class i n New Zealand were i n variably exposed at an early stage to unfamiliar domestic chores. Catherine Chapman, wife of the Wellington judge, was initiated into such tasks during the voyage when her only maid was disabled by seasickness.^? Those fortunate enough to f i n d well-trained and efficient servants i n variably lost them on short notice to new husbands. Until replacements  M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, April 5, 1850, Wise and Symington, op c i t . . I l l , pp. 94-7; M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, March 11, 1851, Shorter, Brontes, H , pp. 198-200. Mary found that young middle-class women of New Zealand were no different from those i n England, except that "they have certainly more energy," Loc. c i t . ii8  k?Drummond, op. c i t . , pp. 66-7.  156. could be found there was no alternative but to s o i l one's fingers.  After  one such interlude Lady Barker, on a sheep run i n Canterbury with her husband i n the 1860s, wrote " i n the meantime we had to do everything for ourselves, and on the whole we found this picnic l i f e great fun."->° Comments such as these abound i n the memoirs of well-to-do middle-class women. Sarah Greenwood, whose husband later became headmaster at Nelson College, wrote that she had become expert i n household work and cooking, and, far from feeling degradation, "I never was happier or better i n my life."  Shortly afterwards she cheerfully remarked "I am now  complete  maid-of-all-work, and very very f u l l y my time i s occupied; a l l I regret is the want of more time for the education of my children."  This was a  common experience of colonial women, whether they settled i n the towns or country.^  Lady Barker's observation was apt.  The mothers are thoroughly domestic and devoted to their home duties, far more so than the generality of the same class at home. An English lady, with even an extremely moderate income, would look upon her colonial sister as very hard-worked indeed. 5* In such circumstances the middle-class spinster had no cause to fear loss  ^°Lady M. A. Barker, Station Life i n New Zealand, (Originally published 1870), (Christchurch, N.Z., 1950), p. 67, see also pp. 35, U0-3, 67-9, 10U-7, and Barker, Station Amusements i n New Zealand, (Originally published 1873), (Christchurch, N.Z., 1953), pp. 15U-6U, 169-73. -^Letters of Sarah Greenwood, Nelson, August, I81i3; Motueka, March 31, 1814;, i n Drummond, op. c i t . , pp. 73-7. Jessie Campbell, the wife of a settler at Wanganui, had similar experiences, and implied that the greater activity of colonial women made childbirth a much easier ordeal than i n England, ibid., p. 63. "Barker, Station Life . . . , p. 57.  157. of caste by stooping to work which had been considered ungenteel i n England. Mary Taylor, who could proudly exclaim "How  we work J and l i f t ,  and carry, and knock boxes open as i f we were carpenters by trade; and s i t down in the midst of the mess when we are quite tired," was perfectl y at home i n this environment.*  3  In 1859,  at the age of 1*1, Mary Taylor returned to England after  almost fifteen years i n New Zealand.  Her letters give the impression  that she had never intended to stay permanently, although her friends in England remained uncertain.  In 1844 Charlotte Bronte predicted that  Mary would not stay away for long unless she married, yet was unconvinced enough i n 1849 when she wrote Shirley to conclude her description with 54  the question "Will she ever come back?" "^ Mary's literary ambitions and -  her unusual tenacity for the intellectual l i f e she had known i n England prevented her from ever entirely integrating into Wellington society. In a sense she lived a double l i f e , and could never have been at home in either country. I can hardly explain to you the queer feeling of living, as I do, in two places at once. One world containing books, England, and a l l the people with whom I can exchange an idea; the other a l l that I actually see and hear and speak to. The separation i s as complete as between the things i n a picture and the things i n a room. The puzzle i s that both move and act, and /l_7must say my say as one of each. The result i s that one world at least must think me crazy.  ^ 3 M . Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, March 11, 1851, Brontes. I I , pp. 198-200. p. 284;  *^C. Bronte to E. Nussey, Sept. 16, 1844, Shirley. Chap. 9.  Shorter,  Shorter, Brontes. I,  158.  .  Her yearning f o r intellectual companionship, which she rarely found i n Wellington, was partly satisfied when Ellen j oined her, hut even then the two of them talked of returning to England when they had earned enough money. They planned at one time to send wholesale goods to New  55 Zealand after gaining four or five years' experience in shop-keeping.^ The fact i s that apart from an unfettered opportunity to combine meaningful activity with earning her own living, the advantage of New  Zealand  to Mary Taylor was that i t offered the only method i n which she might provide for an independent and prosperous future i n England. Exactly how prosperous she became cannot be determined.  But after selling her  shop to her assistant, Miss Smith, she was wealthy enough to return to England, b u i l d a secluded house of her own—High Royd at Gomersal—and l i v e a l i f e of cultured leisure devoted to writing and travel. ^ % a r y frequently expressed contempt for the intellectual capacities of New Zealanders; after discussing Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre, she said of them "They are not literary enough to give an opinion;" M. Taylor to C, Bronte, Wellington, July 21+, 181+8, Shorter, Brontes, I, pp. 1+31-5: M. Taylor to E. Nussey, Wellington, Aug. 15, 1 8 5 0 . ibid., II, pp. 155-7. -^Qn Mary's f i n a l arrangements i n New Zealand see her letters to E. Nussey, Jan. 2 8 , 1858 and June k, 1 8 5 8 , E. Nussey, The Story of the Brontes, with MSS notes, (Bradford, 1885-9, British Museum, suppressed before publication). Shorter, Bronte's, II, pp. 1+03-1+; cf. Shorter, Charlotte Bronte .,. . , p. 2 5 9 ; C. M. Edgerley, in an unannotated a r t i cle, 'Mary Taylor—The Friend of Charlotte Bronte,' Transactions, The Bronte Society, Pt. . 1 1 7 , Vol. X , No. 5 , 19UU, p. 2 2 0 , maintains that Mary traded i n timber i n New Zealand and made a "small fortune," but there is no evidence of this i n the English sources,,nor, accordinglto Dr. Joan Stevens, Victoria University of Wellington, i n New Zealand. Mary's shop, known as Te Aro House, was eventually purchased by a James Smith,,who expanded his business substantially. James Smith's i s now the largest department store i n Wellington; L. E. Ward, Early - Wellington, (London,  159 Mary Taylor stands out from other contemporary female emigrants i n several ways, not least i n her access to substantial funds from her relatives.  But her greatest difference was her radical feminism, her  ideological commitment to the principle of female independence. characteristic her emigration experience had l i t t l e effect,  On this  f o r she  f e l t as strongly after her return as she did before. She found that most middle-class women were hopelessly under-educated and "generally  57 too ignorant to talk to" i n New Zealand just as they were i n England. But as already suggested she was also distinguished from her feminist contemporaries by a more comprehensive radicalism with i t s roots i n the nonconformist tradition.  From 1865 to 1870 she published a series of  articles i n the Victoria Magazine, a feminist journal, with the avowed object, "to inculcate the duty of earning money" for women. These a r t i cles, collected and republished as The First Duty of Women i n 1870, say, i n effect, that women must learn to be selfish.  Unlike the moderate  feminists of her generation she contemptuously dismissed the notion of woman's c i v i l i z i n g mission as a sham t o deprive women of their rights. It i s an offer that those who make i t would not take were the case their own, and the frequent repetition of i t when women are i n question, suggests the suspicion, that those who urge i t are not thinking of the woman's interests but of their own; and more than that, that they do not believe the two to be identical.58  1928), pp. 218, 302-3; The Evening Post. Wellington, Aug. 14, 1967, James Smith's advertisement, pp. 21-4. 5 M. Taylor to C. Bronte, Wellington, July 24, 1848, Shorter, Brontes, pp. 431-5. ?  * M. Taylor, T h e F i r s t Duty of Women. (London, 1870), pp. i i i - i v , 8  13-4, 158-84.  160. At times the gulf between herself and the moderate feminists was wide. She was not content, as were most of them, to fight simply for the right of middle-class spinsters to work. Married women, even mothers, she argued, had a duty to earn money and contribute to the well-being of their families, especially when their time was l e f t idle by an army of to  servants.  Her novel, f i n a l l y published i n 1890, is packed with such  sentiments, but i t also indicates that her radicalism was not simply confined to feminist issues; i t was the radicalism of Hiram Yorke i n Shirley, and unmistakeably sympathized with virtuous working-class Dissenters against a callous ruling-class.  Arrogant insinuations of mob  violence during an economic depression prompt such statements from Yorkshire workers as "If we had not more respect for law than them that says we've none, we could raise f i r e through one end 0 ' t ' country to 60  t' other."  Had Mary Taylor lived during the Edwardian years of m i l i -  tant feminism she probably would have shared the socialistic outlook of Sylvia Pankhurst rather than the conservative feminism of Sylvia's mother and sister.  Her only inconsistency was to share the weakness of  other feminists i n defining their needs solely as those of one sex, and hence locating the enemy in the other.  Like a l l her principles she ex-  pressed this one with extreme vehemence. Her concept ofthe feminist struggle i s summarized i n an imaginary dialogue between a man and a 5°jbid.. pp. 86-110. M. Taylor. Miss Miles, or a Tale of Yorkshire Life Sixty Years Ago. (London, I89O), pp. 168-9. 60  l6l  #  woman which concludes as follows! Gentleman; I mean that our guidance i s due to our inferiors. Lady; Then don't give i t to women. Gentleman; Just to them we should give i t . Lady; Then i f by guidance you mean the right of the strongest, you deserve to be cheated and made use of. Gentleman: We are s t i l l the strongest. Lady:  And we are strong enough to hate you for your tyranny.  Gentleman: The f o l l y was i n telling her so.  1  It was sentiments of this kind which led to the Edwardian anti-tfiale crusade and irrevocably set feminism apart from other progressive social movements. This was a contradiction i n Mary Taylor's thought, which i n other respects was exceptionally progressive for her time. An important example of her general attitude, where her views coincided with those of the feminists, was on the subject of emigration. Despite her successful experience as an emigrant, she implacably opposed female emigration if  intended as a means simply to find husbands.  In  his article of 1862, 'Why are Women Redundant?', William R. Greg had proposed a massive scheme of middle-class female emigration i n order that redundant women i n England would be able to marry i n the colonies.  62  Mary replied indignantly. The men who emigrate without wives, do so because i n their opinion, they cannot afford to marry. The curious idea that the women, whom they would not ask i n England should run after them to persuade them would be laughable i f i t were not mischievous. Those who adopt i t must dispense with that cultivated forethought that makes both sides wish for some provision for the future before entering into matrimony. It i s true there i s a certain number who have  6l  62  T a y l o r , First Duty . . ..p. Greg, op. c i t . , pp. U3U-60.  262  162. attained their object, and have the means to marry, but the greater number are intentionally single, as are the corresponding class in England. 63  Although she did not discuss i t , Mary Taylor would, as her advice to Ellen Nussey indicated, recommend emigration as a means to female independence and employment, but as husband-hunting she saw that i t must work against the cause of female independence. In this she differed from the late-Victorian emigration societies, which never hesitated to hold up marriage as a praiseworthy motive for emigration.  Mary Taylor was sufficient-  l y sophisticated i n her thinking to be able to make this distinction. Mary Taylor was highly untypical of middle-class female emigrants i n the early Victorian period.  Her financial resources, her personality  and, above a l l , her radical feminism set her apart from more characterist i c "distressed gentlewomen" and even "independent adventurers." despite these differences her history i s s t i l l instructive.  But  As Ellen  Taylor's experience suggests, the very attraction of New Zealand for Mary Taylor, principally a marked tolerance towards the performance of ungenteel work by middle-class women, was the most crucial factor i n enabling less exceptional emigrants to adjust to a colonial environment and overcome their experience of alienation so common i n England.  The study there-  fore supports the previous hypothesis that middle-class women could safely accept menial work i n the colonies without experiencing degradation and social exclusion from the colonial middle-class.  63  T a y l o r , First Duty . .  p. 1*3  Furthermore, despite  163.  Mary Taylor's salutary emigration experience, she steadfastly opposed any notion of female emigration as a device to f i n d husbands.  In this re-  spect she foreshadowed the feminist run emigration society of the 'sixties and 'seventies which consistently worked against any form of "matrimonial colonization."  Her feminism differed from that of most contemporary fem-  i n i s t s , however, i n that i t was only one integral aspect of her more comprehensive radical outlook.  164.  Chapter V The Early 'Fifties?  Voluntary Effort and the New Image of Emigration  During the f i r s t half of the nineteenth century public attitudes i n Britain towards Australian emigration were extremely slow to change. Despite the founding, under Wakefieldian auspices, of new, convict-free colonies i n South Australia i n 1836 and New Zealand i n 1840, the old association of Australian emigration with the disgrace of convict transportation persisted throughout the 'forties.  Similarly, the old view of emigra-  tion as a cure for pauperism died hard.  When Thomas Carlyle pleaded, i n  1843, f o r a "free bridge for emigrants'' he had i n mind not the uneasy middle-class but the most depressed section of the labouring-class, the paupers and "Physical-Force Chartists" who posed such a threat to domestic tranquillity.  x  Until these attitudes changed, and female emigration was  seen to be safe and respectable, the departure of any significant number of middle-class women would be inhibited. These entrenched attitudes underwent a profound change during the early eighteen-fifties.  No single event, but a conjuncture of develop-  ments which upheld public interest i n Australia and emigration at a sustained high pitch, operated to transform the image of emigration f o r the middle-classes.  The impetus given to emigration by the Irish famine i n  ^T. Carlyle, Past and Present, (London, 1897, orig. published 1843), pp. 266-8.  165. the late 'forties, the Wakefieldian Canterbury Settlement in New Zealand i n 1850,  the proliferation of philanthropic emigration societies at mid-  century arid discussion of the Australian gold-rush i n 1852 a l l played an important part i n this minor revolution.  Significantly, in each of these  developments female emigration assumed a unique importance and prompted a serious discussion on the role of women i n the founding of new societies. Consequently the issue of female emigration was i t s e l f instrumental i n revolutionizing the appeal of emigration for the middle-classes, but more important, the changes of these years l a i d the groundwork f o r more enduring projects to assist educated women to emigrate. At this point, therefore, i t i s necessary to digress slightly from the precise subject of middle-class female emigration i n order to establish that the early ' f i f t i e s formed a watershed i n the evolution of attitudes towards Australia and female emigration.  The catalyst to this transforma-  tion was the energetic activity of private and philanthropic emigration promoters.  To indicate the contrast between their work and the unpopular  activities of the Colonial Office i t w i l l be useful to examine f i r s t the progress of the State-assisted emigration to Australia during the 'forties. The contrast should become clear i n the subsequent investigation of Edward Gibbon Wakefield's Canterbury Settlement project, which, although not obviously related to female emigration, affords the f i r s t and most apparent indication of a fundamental change i n attitudes towards Australasian emigration.  The subsequent discussion of the philanthropic work of Caroline  Chisholm and Sidney Herbert, and of the role of middle-class women i n the  166. Australian gold-rush, should demonstrate the significance of these attitude changes for the future of female emigration. During the decade prior to 1850 a l l organized female emigration was i n the hands of the Colonial Office.  The o f f i c i a l scheme consisted solely  of the assisted working-class emigration to Australia, financed out of the colonial land fund and administered, f o r the most part, by the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners.  The Colonial Office was at f i r s t re-  luctant to conduct any large scale project but pressures from both Australia and Britain eventually forced them to send out regular shiploads of single women. The greatest stimulus to their change of policy was the Irish famine, **iich threw a large surplus of young female orphans into Irish workhouses.  After I8I4.8 Irish orphans formed the majority of assist-  ed female emigrants, and the results of the project gave rise to much criticism and adverse publicity i n Australia and Britain.  The apparent  bungling of the State system stimulated humanitarians to form a multitude of voluntary emigration organizations, which, i n contrast, earned enthusi a s t i c support i n Britain.  The Irish orphan system therefore provides a  convenient background against which t o study voluntary activity. The Colonial Office emigration system underwent a series of administrative changes during the eighteen-forties.  From 1835 to 18U5 the