Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/147

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133
IRISH IMMIGRANTS IN THE COLONIES.

sacrifice my feelings, surrender all comfort; nor, in fact, consider my own wishes or feelings, but wholly devote myself to the work I had in hand. I felt that my offering was accepted, and that God's blessing was on my work; but it was His will to permit many serious difficulties to be thrown in my way, and to conduct me through a rugged path of deep humiliation. With one exception every person I wrote or spoke to on the subject acknowledged the need of such an institution, promised to subscribe when one was established, though with few exceptions all declared they thought the thing impossible."

It will thus be seen that the great difficulty Mrs. Chisholm had to encounter, on the threshold of her noble undertaking, was to awaken the people to a sense of the evils that were rampant in their midst, and to communicate to them some of the reforming zeal and enthusiasm that animated herself. The Governor of the colony. Sir George Gipps, did not scruple to describe her as a wild enthusiast, and her letters beseeching his patronage to a movement that he should have been the first to encourage, were merely acknowledged with the severest official brevity. The newspapers contented themselves with mildly debating the project, and the clergy, whilst admitting that the idea was laudable in itself, shook their heads and gravely doubted whether it could be made a reality. But Mrs. Chisholm was not depressed in the least by these prophecies of failure. Their effect was rather to make her work more energetically than ever, and her perseverance was at length rewarded by the Governor granting a reluctant interview to the "lady labouring under amiable delusions," to quote his own condescending phrase. "I expected," said Sir George Gipps many years afterwards, "to have seen an old lady in white cap and spectacles,