Florence Nightingale Letters

[Letter, Sir Bartle Frere to Florence Nightingale, July 10, 1877] Frere, Bartle, 1815-1884 Jul 10, 1877

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 Government House, Cape Town July 10th, 1877 My dear Miss Nightingale, I did not intend to have been three months in this City, most beautiful by Nature, & most dirty & unhealthy by the will of man - without invoking your help to make it more as Nature intended.¬† But a long story which I began on the subjects is still unfinished - for which you will be thankful, immersed, as I am sure you are, in toils & anxieties connected with this terrible war. I should not have ventured to write now, but in the hope of introducing to your kind notice two ladies, who have been doing your work in S. Africa. Miss Trench, a daughter of the Archbishop of Dublin, we had met before at the Arthur Mills'. She has been at work for the last year & a half, at Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State, where she has been educating some of the better class of girls who used to grow up with little education at all beyond a disbelief in the possibility of anything good coming from England. Miss Trench & her friends have laboured with such success that I trust she may be able to return when she can be spared from home.¬† Her fellow traveller, "Sister Henrietta" - the daughter I believe, of a Yorkshire clergyman of the name of Stockdale, has, I hear, permanently devoted herself to hospital nursing, & I know her only, previous to her arrival here, through the reports of Major Langon & of many others from the Diamond Fields, who spoke most enthusiastically of all she had done in the Kimberley Hospital - which previous to her arrival had been, Langon assures me, a terrible scene of disorder & suffering of every kind.¬† From what I hear, few of your countrywomen have followed more completely in your footsteps than this lady. I have asked them to leave their London addresses in South Street, in case you should be able to find a few minutes to see them, & give them a few words of encouragement & advice. They will not be able to tell you much of this end of the Colony but a good deal of later acquisitions in the far East. I am obliged you see to use my daughter Katie's pen as my only chance of writing by this mail which I did not wish to lose as Miss Trench will, I believe, be only a few days in London.¬† "Sister Henrietta" is going to get some Hospital experience there. Lady Verney will be glad to hear that May's arm is out of splints. With affectionate regards to her & Sir Harry from us all Believe me Dear Miss Nightingale Very sincerely yours (?)Frere The enclosed slip was one of the first I cut out of the newspapers here after my arrival. The proposal to throw the rubbish near the Hospital "because the people there were half dead already & would suffer less than their lively fellow citizens was actually made in the Cape Town Council! Town Council Wednesday, April 18 Present: The Mayor, Councillors Inglesby, Leibbrandt, H.T. Bam, Stigant, Marais, Boyes, J.S. Bam, H.A. Bam, Davies, Prince, Stuttaford. Finance The Treasurer's statement showed a credit balance of £8.183 5s. 1d. Gutters The Council adopted the recommendations of the committee that in certain specified lanes the gutters should be laid down in granite. An amendment proposing to include some other streets and lanes was referred to the Public Works Committee. Blood Poisoning The Public Works Committee reported that they had considered the letter of Mr. Goodban, of the Customs, forwarded by the Colonial Secretary, complaining of the effluvia proceeding from the mouth of the Adderley-street sewer at the Central Wharf, which was alleged to have caused a case of blood poisoning in one of Custom House clerks.  Mr. Goodban also complained that the streets were watered with sea-water impregnated with noxious matter from the same sewer.  The committee having referred the complaint to the Civil Engineer, reported that the water used for the streets was perfectly clear, and that the blood poisoning may have been caused by exhalation from the closet in the Custom House, but as the mouth of the sewer was 250 yards from that place the mischief could not have proceeded thence. Two bottles of water were produced in evidence of the purity of the fluid used for laying the dust in the streets.  Mr. Inglesby had more belief in the evidence of his own nose, but Mr. McKenzie, who seems thoroughly well-posted in all matters connected with the street contract, showed that under the existing pumping arrangement no sewage could possibly enter the tank under the impression, it would seem, that the noxious extracts from sewage assume a solid form.  The report was adopted, Mr. Inglesby only dissenting, and it was resolved that a letter be addressed to the Colonial Secretary intimating the conclusion arrived at by the Council.  It was also resolved to have a valve placed in the Adderley-street sewer to prevent the return of any effluvium and that a similar proposal with regard to the Long-street sewer be referred to the Public Works' Committee. Fish Curing The Committee of Public Works not feeling justified in supporting the application of the fisherman to be allowed to carry on their curing operations on the site now used for the purpose, recommended that a portion of the beach near Mouille Point, Murray's Bay, be appropriated for the purpose. Mr. Boyes remonstrated against removing to the proximity of the Somerset Hospital a nuisance which had proved intolerable in Cape Town; but, as he had previously remarked, if people must be poisoned, it is preferable to poison those who are half dead; his objection did not influence the vote of the Council, which was given in favour of the report. New Reservoir

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