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Florence Nightingale Letters

[Letter, Norman Chevers to Florence Nightingale, November 13, 1877] Chevers, Norman, 1818-1886 Nov 13, 1877

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 32 Tavistock Road, Westbourne park, W. Tuesday November 13th/77 My dear Madam, I am quite unable to acknowledge sufficiently the great care and kindness with which you have considered and acted in this question of St. Thomas's Hospital. Had the result disappointed me, the fact of your generous interposition would have been as it is a true and valid recompense. In the question of this election, however, I have not entertained any strong personal nterest, apart from the very important question at issue. I moved in it at the instigation of a friend, who adds influence to activity, but, having for many years, watched the manner in which City people hold the great medical charities. I never believed that the Governors would admit an outsider. The existing system resembles the slave trade in being full of good points but being vicious in principle and liable to many gross abuses. Thirty years ago Guy's (superficially viewed) worked very fairly under it. While St. Thomas's was – what I attempted to describe in my book. I lost no time in seeing Mr Tompkins, the senior almoner, who told me very candidly the true intentions of the majority of Governors, and suggested that I should withdraw. I said that I did not dread any loss of reputation from defeat & so he promised to bring my application forward on Wednesday; but added that he did not believe that the Governors would allow the application of one who is not a Governor to be read! I think that, by this means the principle mooted by the Lancet & the Medical Times and Gazette will be fairly let forward and that at some extremely distant period. The London Hospitals may have medical treasures. As superintendent, I should do more harm than good. A young physician believing in the old system and obeying its indications might be of some good. Again offering you my heartfelt thanks. Not only for myself but also for my profession. I remain ever gratefully and faithfully yours, Norman Chevers


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