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Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts.

Woman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers online

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writing from a text, written upon a blackboard, which they
could all copy ; and some of these men in about four months
(hardly able to speak English at all except the broken
pigeon-English) were able to spell out a lesson in the New
Testament and write short texts very creditably. The
class at first commenced with twelve, and then one and
another asked to be allowed to bring their brothers and
friends, until at last our small dining-room was filled to
such an extent that it was almost unbearable, nearly one
hundred getting into a room 18 feet by 20 feet I then put
up a grass shed, and fitted it with rough tables and forms,
and about two hundred can be accommodated in it. It is
now getting too much filled, especially on Sundays, when
some of the labourers from a great distance can attend. A
large number of these boys have been baptized, and intend,
when their present engagements are completed, to go home
to their own islands, and teach their friends there the tidings
of joy which have worked so great a change in their own



348 Woman's Mission.



lives." Results which cannot be foreseen or limited may ensue
from this one woman's work; and yet, according to her
husband's farther account of her, Mrs. Donaldson is one of
those who might well plead much serving in other ways to
exonerate her from the obligations of philanthropy. " My
wife," her husband writes, " has four children to attend to and
her house work, which includes baking, etc. ; and she seldom
has a spare minute from between 5 and 6 a.m. till 10 p.m.,
and this although she is a very rapid and methodical
worker."

The Lady Bowen Lying-in Hospital, which is subsidized
by the Government, and is entirely under the management of
ladies, was opened at the close of the year 1889, and is a
most useful and flourishing institution. A special feature of
its work is the training of pupil nurses to act as midwives in
the outlying bush districts, where medical aid is not easily to
be procured. It is hoped now that ten nurses may be trained
annually. This addition to the work of the hospital is only
two years old. The Industrial Home at Brisbane was a fore-
runner of the Lady Musgrave Lodge. It has been in
existence for ten years, and has a fair record of success in its
work of mercy, conceived in the hearts, organized by the
heads, and carried out by the hands of women.

The Home for Governesses and Lady Workers in Bris-
bane was established in 1883, by twelve ladies, under the
presidency of the wife of Bishop Hale. Its object is to
provide governesses and other ladies, who have to maintain
themselves, with a comfortable home on very reasonable
terms while they are seeking employment, or during vaca-
tion. A few boarders who have daily engagements in the
neighbourhood are also received. The home is managed by
a committee of ten ladies, and is dependent upon voluntary
subscriptions.

The difficulty of great distances makes itself felt in the
operations of the Girls' Friendly Society in Queensland,
where it has been established for nine years, and is worked
on precisely the same principles as the parent institution in
England. The society is working fairly well, having six
branches, but the members in the inland districts of the
colony are so far apart that they cannot be got together for



Work in British Colonies and the East. 349



classes of instruction and amusement. With this drawback
it would seem that the objects of the society are for the most
part gained. A Ladies' Auxiliary to the Young Men's
Christian Association also exists in Brisbane. At Too-
woomba the Ladies' Benevolent Society is very active and
efficient ; the same is to be recorded of the Ladies' Benevolent
Association at Ipswich, which was organized by a committee
of women in 1877, and is now carried on by them. The
distinct object of this institution is the relief of distress by
house-to-house visitation. Such an enterprise needs, and
finds, numerous and indefatigable workers.

We have been unable to procure specific information
respecting women's share in the philanthropic work of South
Australia and Tasmania, but certain indications are obtainable
through the " Year Book of the Church of England in the
Diocese of Adelaide," one of the three bishoprics which the
colonies owe to the liberality of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts,
who endowed the bishoprics of Adelaide and Cape Town
in perpetuity in 1847. For lack of data, we shall be obliged
to limit our brief sketch of women's work in South Australia
to those charitable and educational associations which are in
connection with the Church of England ; entertaining no
doubt that other religious denominations are doing their
duty to their fellows, and affording succour to God's poor,
in that colony as in all the others.

In the first instance we find the Ladies' Diocesan Associa-
tion, which was founded in 1880 for the purpose of providing
regular visiting for the hospitals and charitable institutions
of Adelaide. Lady Jervois was the first president of this
society. There are now forty-four members, and the insti-
tutions visited are the General and Children's Hospitals, the
Destitute Asylum, the Gaol, and the House of Mercy at
Walkerville. The first charitable institution on the list was
in its initial stage only when the Year Book was published,
for although a suitable house had been procured for St.
Peter's Home, the work had not been organized. We may
take it for granted that the purposes of the home, which
include educational and rescue work and visiting of the sick,
are now in course of fulfilment. The Orphan Home, which



350 Woman's Mission.



is thirty-two years old (this speaks well for the early impulses
of the new colony), receives and trains orphan girls, and is
governed by a committee of ladies. At the date of the report
the inmates numbered only twenty-nine ; but again we have
to remember that the home is a Church of England institu-
tion only, and the division of philanthropic work would be
general among the denominations. The House of Mercy at
Walkerville dates from 1881. This institution was founded
in order to secure a retreat for young women who, having
previously borne a good character, had strayed from the path
of virtue, and to save them from further decline. A work of
mercy indeed ! and carried out by the workers by paying the
utmost attention to each individual case. The inmates are
employed in laundry and general housework, and well cared
for in every way. Each mother with her child is expected
to remain for a year, when she can, if she pleases, leave her
child in the House of Mercy by paying a small weekly
contribution. Here is a field for the best work of the best
women ; and they are busy in it. The committee is formed
of ladies ; the chairman is a clergyman, the Ven. Archdeacon
Dove.

The Children's Home at Walkerville is of more recent
establishment; it dates from 1887. This institution also is
managed by a committee of ladies, and Archdeacon Dove is
chairman. The objects of the home are to provide a dwell-
ing for parentless children, where they can be fed, clothed,
tended, educated, and have a foster-mother's care until they
are of age to be placed in some useful walk of life, and to
rescue children of vicious parents ; at the same time making
careful provision against the encouragement of vice.

A Convalescent Home and a Home for Incurables are
included in the Year Book list, but it is not stated whether
these institutions are for women. It may, however, be pre-
sumed, as the secretary is a lady, that the latter is so limited.
Then there are Cottage Homes, a Children's Hospital, a
Girls' Reformatory, a Lunatic Asylum (at which a lady acts
as organist), and the Destitute Asylum, where the chaplain is
greatly assisted by a staff of regular lady visitors, and a
voluntary choir of ladies. The Destitute Asylum is strictly
unsectarian, but has a priest in charge of the members of the



Work in British Colonies and the East. 351



Church of England. Numerous Sunday schools have their
women teachers, and Bible classes, district visitors' associa-
tions, working societies, and benevolent societies, presumably
on the same system as those which are found so useful in
the other Colonies, are in the list Clothing clubs, provident
funds, and mothers' meetings have been established through-
out the widely extended diocese of Adelaide, with communi-
cants' guilds and classes, and societies specially devoted to
Church needlework and decoration. The Society of St. Paul
would seem to be particularly active in the latter services,
for which St. Peter's Cathedral Guild is also established ; but
the duties of the guild include the visiting of sick persons
commended to the members by the bishop or his vicar.
The foregoing is a bare recapitulation of the service of women
in only one section of society in the colony of South Aus-
tralia ; but it is a creditable record in itself, and it affords a
standard whereby we may fairly estimate the energy, the
good sense, and the good will with which women outside the
sphere of action whose record is the only one we possess, are
doing their share of the never-ending day's work in that
distant land.

In an examination of a great subject necessarily so
cursory, we must be content with a superficial statement of
the aspects and condition of women's work in India, where
it is of vast importance, most difficult and onerous, and
productive of consequences perhaps it is too early to call
them by the larger name results well deserving of
careful study from all points of view. India is especially
the woman's field of missionary labour ; she only can gain
access to the secluded class of the women of the country, and
bring to them the knowledge which will in time prove itself
to be power ; she only can realize the precept : " Get the
hearts of the women, and you will get the heads of the men."
The Church of England Zenana Missionary Society holds
exceptional rank among the philanthropic enterprises which
bear witness to the " goodwill towards men " that animates
our age, and glows more or less brightly among all Christian
nations, and it affords an honourable example of intelligent
organization, steady purpose, and unfailing devotion. The



35 2 Woman's Mission.



society, working in co-operation with the Church Missionary
Society, has, in addition to its large number of mission
stations in India, stations in Travancore and Cochin, in
Ceylon, and in China. The methods of its work are Normal
Schools, Zenana Visitation, Medical Missions, Hindu and
Mohammedan Female Schools, and Bible Women's service.
The twelfth annual report (1892) of the Zenana Society gives
a satisfactory account of the progress of the educational
work of the missions, and urges the necessity for many
additions to the long list of women who are doing devoted
service in this immensely important department of the
gigantic task of philanthropy. The report makes a special
appeal for volunteers for the China Mission, and states
that the anti-foreign agitation has not affected the work in
the Fuh-Kien Province. In connection with this subject a
word must be said concerning the Chinese Bible Woman's
Mission for Women and Children, a small society which is
doing good work. The object of the mission is to teach
Christianity, in the first place, to Chinese women whom the
missionaries and catechists cannot reach, and to educate and
bring up Chinese girls in its Christian boarding-schools. The
report describes one of these boarding-schools at Ningpo, as
follows : " We have now a native lady as matron in the
school, and she is doing very well. Many of the girls come
to us at five or six years old, not knowing anything. The
course of instruction for them is much the same as in our
infant school. They can as a rule read the Roman character
almost fluently in three months, so as to be able to learn
lessons themselves. Reading both Roman and Chinese
characters, arithmetic, geography, singing, and Bible lessons,
form their course of study. Needlework in all its branches
(so that they may be able to clothe themselves), house-work,
and cooking also take up much time ; so that when they
marry (to which they all look forward instead of service) they
are likely to make useful wives."

One hundred and sixty English and foreign missionaries
and teachers connected with the Ladies' Association are now
at work in the eleven Zenana Missions in India, and in the
twenty-two schools in Burmah, Japan, North China, Mada-
gascar, and South Africa ; in these five thousand children



Work in British Colonies and the East. 353



are under instruction. It is pleasant to learn that at home
three hundred working parties contribute a large quantity of
work and native clothing ; their co-operation enables the
association to send out thirty-five valuable boxes to various
missions in India and South Africa yearly. The schools
maintained or assisted by the Ladies' Association comprise
boarding-schools, training-schools, industrial schools, and
day-schools. The training-up of native Christian teachers is
a most important part of its work.

The Society for Promoting Female Education in the East
is the oldest Zenana Society in existence. It was formed
fifty-eight years ago for the purpose of giving instruction to
women in the Zenanas in India and in their own homes by
visitation ; boarding, day, infant, and Sunday schools ; Bible
and sewing classes ; the training of native women as mission-
aries, district visitors, schoolmistresses, and Bible women ;
mothers' meetings, the Children's Scripture Union, and the
Young Women's Christian Association. Much honour is due
to this, the pioneer society, to which its ten successors and
colleagues are indebted for initiative in some of the worthiest
and most arduous tasks that are imposed upon the women
of this age.

The National Association for supplying Female Medical
Aid to the Women of India is so important an institution, and
has marked so great a step in advance in the organization
of philanthropic work, that we shall best fulfil the purpose
of this paper by giving extracts from an account of it written
by Miss Sutcliffe, with the approval of the Marchioness of
Dufferin and Ava, by whom the society was founded. First
as to the origin of the work. "In 1884, when the Countess
of Dufferin was on the point of leaving for India with her
husband, the newly-appointed Viceroy, her Majesty the
Queen sent for her to Windsor and asked her if she would
consider on her arrival in the East what could be done
towards supplying the women of our Empire in that part of
the world with medical aid. Lady Dufferin gave her best
attention to the subject, and in August, 1885, six months
after her arrival in India, she published a prospectus of the
new society she wished to form." This was announced as
" The National Association for supplying Female Medical Aid

2 A



354 Woman's Mission.



to the Women of India." Its objects were " medical tuition,
including the teaching and training in India of women as
doctors, hospital assistants, nurses, and midwives ; medical
relief, including the establishment, under female superin-
tendence, of dispensaries and cottage hospitals for the treat-
ment of women and children ; the opening of female wards
under female superintendence in existing hospitals and dis-
pensaries ; the provision of female medical officers and
attendants for existing female wards ; the founding of hos-
pitals for women, where special funds or endowments are
forthcoming ; the supply of trained female nurses and mid-
wives for women and children in hospitals and private
houses."

Certain other purposes were defined, but those enumerated
are sufficient to show how wide was the scope, and how com-
prehensive was the beneficence of the project which found
immediate acceptance, and upon which the public are now
in a position to pronounce, with the results of seven years'
work before them. The story of the interest that was excited
by the Queen's request to Lady Dufferin, and the practical
manner of the Countess's response to it, the success which
attended the project from the first, and the readiness with
which it was welcomed and aided in England, is too well
known to require capitulation. If the idea of teaching native
women to be doctors and medical officers in all the grades of
the profession, so that enlightened science should be applied
to the needs of multitudes of women previously deprived of
any such assistance, was startling, it was also fascinating,
and such an extension of the philanthropic work which for
many years had been carried on in our Indian Empire, was
hailed with enthusiastic approval.

" The Queen-Empress became the Patron of the society,
and the Governors and Lieutenant-Governors of the various
Provinces were nominated Vice-Patrons ; while other sub-
scribers, according to the amount of their subscriptions,
were designated life councillors, life members, or ordinary
members." Money was obtained with facility and speed, and
" The Countess of Dufferin Fund " assumed such satisfactory
proportions that the enterprise had not to suffer from the
checks and difficulties with which most philanthropical under-



Work in British Colonies and the East. 355

takings have to contend, their beginnings being usually on a
small scale. It was arranged that " the general affairs of the
association should be managed by a central committee, and
branches were formed at Madras, Bombay, the Punjab, the
North-Western Provinces, Burmah, the Central Provinces,
Bengal, and Mysore. Each branch is, for all financial and
executive purposes, entirely independent, and each one has
its own fund, named, as is the central one, after the founder.
With regard to medical tuition, it was at once determined to
make use of existing institutions, and to give grants in aid
to the medical schools all over the country rather than to
establish a new female college ; at Calcutta, Lahore, Bombay,
Agra, and Madras female medical education has been carried
on with great success, native, Eurasian, and European pupils
attending either in mixed or separate classes as may be
arranged by the authorities of the schools."

In 1891 there were 224 European and native ladies under
medical instruction. Of these, seventy-three were training
as assistant surgeons, eighty-eight as hospital assistants, and
sixty-three as nurses and dhais. "With regard to medical
relief, the operations of the fund have gradually extended
throughout the whole continent of India. The report of
1891 states that upwards of 1,200,000 rupees had been spent
on the erection of female hospitals and dispensaries ; that
there are now forty-eight hospitals in connection with
the fund, and that 466,000 women had been attended in
them. Twelve lady doctors with English qualifications,
thirty-two assistant surgeons, and twenty-nine female practi-
tioners are now working under the National Association.
Lady Dufferin considered the teaching of midwifery and the
supply of trained dhais to be of urgent importance, and
classes for the instruction of these women were established
wherever possible. Trained nurses were also sent to various
districts to work amongst the native women. This work has
been specially successful in Burmah, where the women have
proved most apt pupils."

The royal and the maternal-hearted injunction laid by
Queen Victoria upon the wife of the Viceroy of India, has,
therefore, produced results whose sum will go on increasing
with every year, and which will exercise influence in ways



356 Woman's Mission.



that seem to have no direct connection with the objects
of the association, but yet are subtly linked with them.
These results are of women's making ; the action that
produced them was a woman's, the impulse that originated
them was a Queen's.

It must, however, by no means be forgotten or overlooked
that, long before this good work was inaugurated on the
large scale which only the powerful support afforded to
Lady DufFerin's comprehensive scheme could have rendered
possible, the supply of medical aid and relief to women in
India had been a prominent feature of some of the earlier
societies. We find in an account of the Zenana Bible
and Medical Mission, written by its secretary, Miss Gilmore,
some very interesting facts connected with its earliest action
in this direction. In 1852 the society opened its Normal
School in Calcutta, and the success of the missionary ladies
in getting access to zenanas and being permitted to teach
the native ladies and their children led to the extension of
their mission to several other cities in various parts of India,
where the children from the zenanas were induced to attend
their day-schools. "The missionary ladies soon realized
the great need of medical relief for the secluded women
whose husbands and fathers preferred to see them suffer
and die rather than allow them to be seen by a male
physician. No sooner was the medical profession thrown
open to women than the society hastened to avail itself of the
privilege ; and the very first student who entered the London
School of Medicine for Women was the late lamented Dr.
Fanny Butler. They had previously sent out four ladies
carefully trained in nursing." The society has now built two
hospitals one at Lucknow, the other at Benares ; it has five
fully qualified medical ladies at work in these stations, and
five more training at the London School of Medicine for
Women. The society proposes to begin medical work among
the women in Jaffna, in North Ceylon, where it is intended to
build a Hospital for Women, for which the money is promised
by friends in America. During the year 1891 the number of
patients in the society's hospitals was 343 ; that of out-
patients was 8179, while 382 were attended in their zenanas,
and the attendances at the dispensaries amounted to 24,387.



Work in British Colonies and the East. 357



It is most satisfactory to learn, as we do from Lady
Duflferin, that no friction exists between the National
Association for Supplying Female Medical Aid to the
Women of India, and the other Medical Missions. Taking
the " great deal of humanity in human nature " into account,
this affords a welcome proof of the sincerity and loftiness
of the motives by which the philanthropic workers in our
Indian Empire are inspired and sustained.

Under the Methodist New Connexion Missionary Society,
women, both English and Chinese, are doing good educational
work in North China, where Mrs. Innocent is president of the
Girls' School and the women's work at Shantung. This
woman's work includes medical care and nursing, and the
long list of native ladies enrolled among the voluntary
workers gives a more vivid idea of the progress of this mission
than the dry detail of figures. In his report Mr, Innocent
states that " a system of musical notation for singing has been
introduced. It is an adaptation of the 'Tonic Sol Fa 'to the
Chinese, by which they learn to sing from the notes." This
is a woman's work, and a class, conducted by its author, Mrs.
Richardson, and consisting of all the students and pupils of
the Girls' School, is held at the Training School. Native
ladies are actively assisting in the missionary work in the
villages which is carried on by the native agents.

The Ladies' Association for the Promotion of Female
Education among the Heathen is in the twenty-eighth year of
its existence, and its report for 1891, in addition] to a goodly
sum of work in all the branches of its enterprise in India,
where its objects are practically identical with those of the
Zenana Society, records the proceedings of the society's
delegates in Japan, with the opening of a Girls' School at
Kobe, the progress of the mission in North China this is
slow at Peking the condition of the Girls' and Infant Schools
in Madagascar, and the general work in South Africa.
Although this report is not altogether satisfactory, the vast
extension of the society's field of labour rendering its need of
funds and workers more and more pressing, it is valuable as
evidence of how, and where, all over the world women are
working for the good of the human race, undeterred, undis-
mayed, recruiting their ranks as death and removals cause



358 Woman s Mission.



gaps in them ; women of various position and origin, of all
creeds, of many nations, a great army, but ever needing
accessions to its forces for the never-ending conflict with
ignorance and want, abroad and at home.

Turning from the Eastern land which is so important to
England as her greatest Dependency and her most sacred



Online LibraryAngela Georgina Burdett-CouttsWoman's mission; a series of congress papers on the philanthropic work of women, by eminent writers → online text (page 33 of 49)