Four-sided letter in pencil on '10 South Street, Park Lane W.' headed notepaper, addressed to John Murdoch, and signed 'God speed you / yours sincerely / Florence Nightingale' to the final leaf. Dated 9th July 1897. The letter a little browned and with two archival tape repairs to the folds is otherwise in very good condition.
An enthusiastic letter written by Florence Nightingale to John Murdoch (1819-1904), the Scottish Christian missionary, concerning her ongoing campaigns for improving public health at home and abroad. Following the Crimean War, Nightingale had turned her attention to the health of the British Army in India, demonstrating that bad drainage, contaminated water, overcrowding, and poor ventilation were causing the high death rate. Following 'The Royal Commission on India (1858–1863)' report, however, Nightingale expanded her concerns, concluding that the health of the army and that of the people of India was intrinsically bound-up together, thus subsequently campaigning to improve the sanitary conditions of the country as a whole. The recipient of the present letter, John Murdoch, served in Ceylon and India for the Christian Vernacular Education Society from 1858. During this time he corresponded at length with Nightingale, discussing issues of sanitation and health for the native population. As the present letter reveals, Nightingale thought highly of the tracts he produced, thanking him "for your little book which I am so very glad to possess", and seeking to utilise his writings as part of her ongoing work in nursing and health reform, asking which "four of your little sanitary tracts...would you consider the best example to send to a Government? Is the 'How to have healthy villages' which you were so good as to send me last one? And what are 3, or 4, or 5 others which you would consider the best as specimens? They are all good. I have had a very great many of these precious booklets; but one gives them away, & now I have no list...I should like to mark a few words with a sentence or two in each of those I send - and you would guide me as to those sentences you consider the most important for a Head of Govt." A wonderful letter, demonstrating the unrelenting dedication of Nightingale in her ongoing, and frequently successful, attempts to influence government policy and public opinion in the sphere of health reform.
Stock code: 19676