Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Chisholm, Caroline

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CHISHOLM, CAROLINE (1808–1877), the emigrant’s friend, was a daughter of William Jones of Wootton, Northamptonshire, yeoman and philanthropist. She was born at Wootton in May 1808. In 1830 she married Archibald Chisholm, a native of Scotland, and a captain in the East India Company’s service. Two years afterwards they went to Madras, where Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm, horrified at the vices of the place, established schools for the education and teaching of the young girls and orphans of the poor soldiers, which soon developed into an establishment called the Female School of Industry. In 1838 Captain Chisholm and his family left India in search of health, and, after visiting Van Diemen's Land, finally settled at Sydney. In January 1841, being struck by the helplessness of female emigrants on their arrival in the colony, Mrs. Chisholm opened a home for the reception of newly arrived colonists, where the could be taken care of until situations could be found for them. Her energy knew no limit; she herself frequently went into the interior in charge of parties of women, and saw them properly established. At first she bore her own expenses, but, as her work became known, she received contributions from other sources, which enabled her so to extend her operations. In February 1846 the colonists in Sydney, on her departure for England, presented her with an address and a purse of a hundred and fifty guineas. In London she continued to aid persons desirous of emigrating; she communicated with the friends of settlers, and personally superintended the shipment of the inexperienced. On 20 April 1847 she gave evidence in the House of Lords before the Committee on the Execution of the Criminal Laws (Report of First Committee, 1847, pp. 385-9). She persuaded the government to send out a number of pauper children to their parents, liberated convicts, in Australia, and she herself helped the wives of many liberated convicts to emigrate. She next established a Family Colonisation Loan Society, to enable people of slender means, by small instalments, to pap the amount of their passage. In 1850 she published a pamplet entitled ‘The A B C of Colonisation,’ in which she denounced the existing plans of emigration, and followed this up by another work named ‘Emigration and Transportation relatively considered,’ which was addressed to Lord Grey. On 10 April 1854 she returned to Australia, and successfully carried on her work there during a further period of twelve years. She came back to England in 1866. A civil list pension of 100l. was granted to her on 19 June 1867. She died at Fulham on 25 March 1877, and was buried at Northampton on the 31st, the service being performed by the Roman catholic bishop.

Archibald Chisholm, who for many years ably supported his wife in all her charitable undertakings, passed as a cadet into the service of the East India Company in 1817, became a lieutenant in the 13th Madras native infantry on 31 Oct. 1818, rose to be a captain in 1833, and retired on the annuity fund on 5 Jan. 1845. He afterwards obtained the honorary rank of major, and died at Rugby on 17 Aug. 1877, aged 82.

[Mackenzie’s Memoirs of Caroline Chisholm, 1852, with portrait; The Emigrant’s Guide to Australia, with a Memoir of Mrs. Chisholm, 1853, with portrait; Michelet’s La Femme, 1860, pp. 398-406; Illustrated London News, 17 April 1852, p. 301, with portrait, 15 April 1854, p. 337, and 14 April 1877, P. 349, with portrait; Graphic, 7 April 1877, pp. 326, 324,* with portrait.]

G. C. B.