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Letter of General Sir John Burgoyne to Lord Raglan, 27 March 1855

Burgoyne outlined his thoughts on the work and character of Florence Nightingale at Scutari during the Crimean War (1854-1856): 'The hospitals appear to me to be in excellent order, and without wants of any kind unprovided for; the patients have generally that kind of countenance that indicates amendment, rather than despondence. There is however manifestly an under current of troubles and turmoils in the establishments. Miss Nightingale is decidedly not in favour with the authorities, and from the accounts I hear of her I can hardly wonder at it.

Whatever philanthropy she may have on a great scale, she does not appear to be amiable in ordinary intercourse with her equals or superiors. She likes to govern, and bestows all her tenderness upon those who depend upon her: for instance, she will not give an atom or a thought upon any Officer who may be in the most wretched state. She seems also to court popular applause, even unduly. If anything is wanted for the sick, she will hurry to provide it from her own funds and stock for fear it might be obtained in the regular course. She is considered also very hard, seems to delight in witnessing surgical operations, with arms folded, and where she can be of no use whatever, and is considered to be of that strong minded class of woman, that is indifferent on religion.'

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1968-07-293-8


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

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