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Florence Nightingale Letters

[Letter, Sir James Caird to Florence Nightingale, August 7, 1878] Caird, James, Sir, 1816-1892 Aug 7, 1878

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 Aug 7.78 Dear Miss Nightingale I received the 'Good Words' & '19th Century' which you so kindly sent to me, both of which I had previously looked into. Having them now beside me I shall peruse them with more care. I have had an interview with Mr. Routledge the Paper Maker who was one of the first to use Esparto for that purpose in this country. He told me that the quantity introduced from the shores of the Mediterranean (it grows like our Bent in the sandhills) was now about 200,000 tons yearly - & had now reached its maximum. A better paper he says can be made from Bamboo fibre, in proof of which he sent me a pamphlet printed on Paper made from Bamboo. He thinks this might become a profitable export from India & give profitable returns & employment to the people engaged about it. A beginning must be made in such a business - and until its success has been proved by a paying example in this country there would be little chance of the native money lenders putting their capital into it. But in course of time that desirable result may come about. They will take their money where they can, in the safest and easiest way, get a good return. But it is certainly the duty of Govt. to discourage their extortion. Mr. Rendel the Engineer gave evidence before the Commons Committee to show the great saving that had been already made, by the substitutions of equally competent & much more pliable Engine drivers & stokers - natives - for the Europeans, at first considered indispensable. The natives can be got at the rate of 10 for 1 European. If fuel could be had as cheap as coal in England then traffic could by these means be carried still more cheaply, but even with expensive fuel the Indian railways seem likely to give a better & more increasing return than English railways. As soon as this becomes evident there will be plenty of English Capital forthcoming without any guarantee. As to want of skill on the part of the Indian peasant - I have a letter from Colonel Tuckle who had several years experience in Mysore, where he originated a Horticultural Society, and he tells me that he was surprised at the skill & intelligence displayed by the native gardeners, and he has no fears of their incapacity, but great hopes from their intelligence. As to the (?) article. I will certainly not forget to enquire. We must not wholly condemn the moneylenders. They have formed an integral part of the system of agriculture in Asia for a long time back - long before we had anything to do with India - and it may be prudent to try to reform that system without eradicating an important factor in it until we can confirm we can do without their help. If native gentlemen would start a Cooperation Bank there would be indeed a useful rivalry to the Sowkar, but nobody prevents them - Why don't they do it? I confess to great doubt of the expediency of enlarging our Govt. machinery even in that direction. If a plan could be devised by which private enterprise could be brought in aid of Govt. Officialism I should have more hope of it. We have given up in Bengal the right of property to the Zemidars. But I do not know that, in return for that, we have obtained their cooperation like that of the English country Gentlemen in the local management of their districts. I have not seen the "observations" you allude to by the Govt. of India on the duties of the Famine Comm. I have had a copy of the Commission queries sent to me. You must not think of coming to Town in order to see me. If you are in Town at any rate I shall be glad to call. But otherwise you must kindly write to me anything else that occurs to you for my guidance. I fear very greatly that I shall come short of your expectation, but I am resolved to do my best to obtain some insight that may be useful to the vast population now united with us under the sovereignty of the Queen. With kind regards Believe me Dear Miss Nightingale Yours very sincerely (signature) I leave London about Oct 1. & Brindisi by the mail of Oct 8. reaching Bombay 25 Oct.

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