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Florence Nightingale correspondence

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[Box 1 Folder 5]


London Nov 30 [18]62


Dearest friend


I am so very glad to her that Mr. Harris’ health gives you less uneasiness.  I trust that another visit to Adano may still farther restore him.


I go on at my War office and Army work, and God


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 5]


Still vouchsafes to me the power to work -  tho’ my body is so infirm that I scarcely now leave my bed, never my room – and it is very near the grave, I hope.  I have lost all my fellow workers by death.


I send you my photograph, as


[Page 3 Box 1 Folder 5]


you are so good as to ask for it.  tho’ it is the very first time I ever did such a thing.  And I did not even know that any photograph of me existed, except one which the poor Queen ordered.


You cannot think what a loss dear Albert was.  It is that which makes


[Page 4 Box 1 Folder 5]


Me call “Her poor”.


Shall you go up the Nile this year?  I remember seeing you working at Philae so well.  How I enjoyed that Philae.


Ever yours

F. Nightingale


[Page 1 Box 1 Folder 6]


35 South St.

Park Lane W.

July 4/[18]77




I cannot thank you enough for your great kindness.  I can only show my gratitude by accepting it, viz. my offering to obtain from your office records on India the information I have been eager to have: with a “statement on a Tabular form, giving the “information under each head and opposite “each work”: and with a description by yourself of “some of the principal works” and


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 6]


“some explanatory remarks”:


I am quite astounded at your kindness and at the trouble I am giving you:


You are so good as to tell me to ask any further questions: I really hesitate, because I think I have asked too many already: but then any can be rejected as invoking what cannot be answered conveniently:


Results, especially as regards extent of capital invested by gov’t and by cultivators in increased amount, variety or certainty of produce, or in diminished fertility of soil or healthiness of climate is wanted.


Would it be too much to ask such questions as these, either about each principal work in Western India concerning which you are so very good as to consult your records: or about each District or other ‘chore’ anyone judge best:


1. what is the extent of cultivated land?

2. how much of this is [XXXXXXX] irrigated?

a. by wells?


[Page 3 Box 1 Folder 6]


(a) by wells?

(b) by tanks?

(c) by diversion of streams?


3. Note under each of these heads what is the usual case of irrigation per acre [XX]

(d) original works

(e) annual [and] current repairs

(f) cost of cultivation as regards labour, stock, manure &c.


4. Note in similar manner under each head what are the general results distinguishing as to

(g) amount of produce?


[Page 4 Box 1 Folder 6]


(g) amount of produce?

(h) kind and character "  " [of produce]?

(i) total value per acre "  " [of produce]?


Then would come about the “drawbacks”: a question which I troubled you with before in my last letter:


1. Among the especial facts, relating to great works it should be noted where old works are repaired or extended.


2. Also (where possible):

how long has irrigation been known in the District: and to what extent has it fluctuated?


[Page 5 Box 1 Folder 6]


I hope that I am not too exorbitant in profiting by your kindness to ask these further questions:


Any can be omitted as giving too much labour to answer:


It would be most interesting to me to hear your opinion about those matters which are not directly matters of figures: as you kindly propose.


The subject of Irrigation and cheap Water Transport is second to none in this Empire now in vital importance


3. Could any particulars be given in regard to Water Transit afforded by Irrigation Canals in any of the works of Western India?


[There is no Steam Navigation, I presume, on any of these Canals.] [sic]


Should this letter not arrive in time for you to add these questions conveniently to those you are very good as to write to India by Friday’s mail, I beg you not trouble yourself


[Page 6 Box 1 Folder 6]


about them.  [ I know what business is: for I was prevented writing yesterday by some urgent Training School business.] [sic]


With renewed thanks and apologies pray believe me, Sir,

Ever your faithful and grateful servt.


Florence Nightingale


Lt. Colonel James G. Fife


[Page 7 Box 1 Folder 6, Envelope]


Lt. Colonel

James G. Fife

Wark on Tyne



4/7/77 [July 4,1877]


[Page 8 Box 1 Folder 6, Envelope Reverse]


[Postmarks] July 5, [18]77 Newcastle Upon Tyne

July 5, [1877] Wark


[Box 1 Folder 7]



Wark on Tyne


29 July 1877




I think I can obtain from my office records in India all or nearly all the information mentioned in your letter of the 30th [XXX] I am not afraid that this delay, probably 2 months, will be a serious inconvenience as well as I can judge from the nature of the questions I think the


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 7]


the most useful thing will be a statement in a tabular form giving the information under each head and appointing each work.  I could append with statement a brief description of some of the principal works and add some explanatory remarks to correct any apparent error or inconsistency in the figures.  Some of the questions which are to come [XXXXXX]


[Page 3 Box 1 Folder 7]


matters of opinion and do not require figures.  I could answer [XXXXXX] but the most important information which requires accuracy to [XXXXX] [XXXXXX] must come from India.  I shall write by next mail of which leaves London on Friday next, and if there is any other information you may require I shall be greatest pleasure in waiting for it at the same time if it [XXXXX] come from India.  I hope you will not hesitate


[Page 4 Box 1 Folder 7]


to ask any further questions that may occur to you.  It is really a pleasure is not a trouble to me to afford information about the works in Western India.  I am very [XXXXX] interested in any thing connected with [XXXXX] and my report [XXXX].  The climate prevents me from being of late on the spot to witness their project.


I am so very sorry to learn the cause of the delay in the project of your inquiry and trust therefore this delay which must seem on my side will not prove onerous or inconvenient to you.


Believe me, Madam


Ever your faithful servant,


James G. Fife


[Page 5 Box 1 Folder 7]


General Heading

Statement showing the cost description, and revenue of the principal Irrigation works undertaken in Western India including the Province of Sind from 18__  to 1876/77.


Headings of Columns

1. Name of work.

2. Description.

3. Year of Commencement.

4. Year during which work was first brought into operations where partial or full.

5. Year during which work was virtually completed.

6. Actual cost of works {Interest added as the capital account} Total Cost

7. Estimated cost where work is not completed of progress

8. Present state of progress and length of canal opened for use.

9. Quantity of water in cubic feet per second the work can supply for 4, 8, and 12 months.


[Page 6 Box 1 Folder 7]


10. Area in acres the work is capable of irrigating.

11. Area in acres now irrigated.

12. gross Revenue {Irrigation. Enhancements. Land use. Town water supply. Fisheries. Forest} Total

13. Cost of Maintenance {Repairs In Total} Total {Interest charges}

14. Net Revenue

15. Financial result up to present time Loss

16. Financial result up to present time Profit remarks to explain some amounts in the above headings. 


General headings only.  The object in sum is to show whether irrigation works are are [sic] paying and where it is necessary to include the works which have been


[Page 7 Box 1 Folder 7]


in operation a long time.  The Kharu Irrigation works constructed or rather improved under Capt. Fitz---- a very long time ago should be included provided the information is usable.  The Begari Canal also as far back as General Jacobs first improvement—at a cost of about 1 1/4 lakh [1 lakh = 100,000] somewhere about 1851  The work then done was clearing away obstructions and widening canal to 50 feet.  The Ford was also.  This work was really simply an additional branch or Channel of supply about 5 miles only in length in an existing system of canals whose intended length was some hundreds of miles the supply of which by the old month


[Page 8 Box 1 Folder 7]


had been seriously diminishing for a long time The Fullness also.  The work consisted of an [XXXXXXXXXX] feeder about 6 miles in length and training and deepening this existing canal.  I do not know of any other old works which are worth bringing forward belonging to the period from 1843 (conquest) to about 1860 unless it is this Sind Canal in which a new mouth was made about 1859 but if there is information (reliable) about any other they should of course be included.


The Desert Canal and Sarlen Walla [can’t confirm the spelling here] are new works and complete information


[Page 9 Box 1 Folder 7]


is available.


It is very desirable not to omit any of the works carried out a long time ago, because it is those works only which have really had time to pay well.


Column 2. Description.

This should be brief, just sufficient to show the nature and extent of this work.  The following would do for new Sind Canal Main Canal 100 miles in length, 80 feet wide and 10 feet deep at head.


For an old canal improved

Existing Main Canal 50 miles long 40 feet wide and 10 feet deep increased to 100 miles in length 70 feet wide and 12 feet deep bridged an unbranched and regulated.


For the Dekkan

Reservoir area 6 square miles.  Sar River Dam 80 feet high in deepest part of valley and 1 1/2 miles long. [XXXX] outlet towns and two canals, 20 Miles long 10 feet wide, and 5 feet deep and 10 miles long 5 feet


[Page 10 Box 1 Folder 7]


wide and 3 feet deep.  Water power for mills at dam 100 HP. Add on canal 50 HP for pumping water for supply of dam of  x x x




[XXXX] [XXXXX] Run 1000 feet in length and 15 feet high at deepest spot.  Two canals 30 and 10 miles in length and 20 and 10 feet wide and 5 and 3 feet deep respectively.


Column 5. Year during which work was initially established.


This column is necessary because these accounts are so often kept open for years because a bridge or a sluice on the schematic has not been completed.


Column 11. Area now irrigated in the case of the Dekkan works the latest information should be entered.


[Page 11 Box 1 Folder 7]


By this time the  areas and Revenues of this year 1876/77 are probably [XXXXX] for the Sind works information is always a year or so behind hand, but it does not so much signify to Sind as the works are already doing well there and the yearly increase makes but a small allocation in this percentages of returns. In the Dekkan where we are starting from something like zero the years increase makes a great difference.


Column 12. Gross Revenue.


I have mentioned enhancements of Land Revenue in case there should be any acknowledged by the Revenue people, but we should not go out of our way to include it unless the amount in consideration.  It would be better to add a research at the foot of the


[Page 12 Box 1 Folder 7]


statement to effect this there has been enhancement but that it’s value is not [XXXXXXX] known and is therefore excluded.


Columns 15 and 16 are intended to show how much loss or profit has occurred in each work from its commencement.


The works recently undertaken on account of the famine should be entered in the statement but a remark should be written across the sheet over them as follows:


“Works recently commenced in consequence of the Famine to give employment to the public”


At the bottom of the statement the explanations on new works during the past 5 years / for each year / should be shown.


[Page 13 Box 1 Folder 7] [Notes]


Compulsory water Rate – My opinion therein


Are they preparing to introduce it in Bombay


Are there any drawbacks from advantages of irrigation exhausting land effectiveness and unhealthiness


[Page 14 Box 1 Folder 7]


and the Remedies


What is the general feeling of the Cultivators as regards impacts [etc. etc.]


Do the deserve its [XXXXXXXX] and their own participation in it or not and the reasons.


What [XXXXX] effects on the Cultivators means


[Page 15 Box 1 Folder 7]


Gross Irrigation Rev[enue]


day £400,000


[xxxxxx] in capital £7,000


Working [XXXXXXXX] 1,20,000


Other charges 10,000



Balance available for investment when works 200,000













[Page 16 Box 1 Folder 7]







Increase of Revenue. 100,000

Increase in Working Sapum

Ripam,[XXXXXXX] [etc.] 40,000


Net worth                             60,000








[Page 1 Box 1 Folder 8]



Manor House

Tyne at Wark

22d. December 1877




I have the pleasure to enclose copy of a letter from Mr. Hughes who was my personal [XXXXX] and from which you will get that endeavours is being made by him to supply the information you require.  The papers alluded to have not yet arrived.  I fear they will not afford information as to the financial results of the [XXX] works in Sind which has been long in operation and which alone have had time to pay.


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 8]


Colonel Merriman who is officiating for me during my absence from India has written today that such a statement as I asked for could only have been prepared by himself or Mr. Hughes and that they have both so much work to get thru that they cannot spare the necessary time.  However when all the promised papers arrive I will endeavour myself to prepare a tabular statement containing all the information I can place from that and allow since my memory may be trusted for round figures as to cost of works [etc.] but I should hesitate to most figures which were not accurate as my


[Page 3 Box 1 Folder 8]


impression is that anything like [XXXXXXXXX] in the statement would most naturally weaken its force.


They do not think that you will be under any obligation to me for such information as I can give.  You will see from the tenor of Mr. Hughes’ letter have deeply interested [XX] write the subject. 


I only ask that you will prepare me for the long delay and I am afraid the important information I shall afford after my promise of some months back. 


I’m most faithfully yours Miss Nightingale


James G. Fife


[Page 4 Box 1 Folder 8]


How long has irrigation been known in the district and to what extent has it fluctuated.


Water transit in western India steam navigation on canals.


How does irrigation affect the Soil Revenue either directly by selling the amount or adding to its permanence and sturdiness or indirectly by improving the means of the cultivators and increasing trade and consumption of exciseable and dutiable articles.


Generally speaking is extent of irrigation regarded as desirable or undesirable by the majority of the


[Page 5 Box 1 Folder 8]


Results.  Especially as regards the extent of capital invested by Govt and by cultivators and in increased amounts variety or certainty of produce (value of produce per acre) or in diminished fertility of soil or healthiness of climate.


And what is wanted.  Can I reply to have questions for each work or each district in Western India.


What is the extent of cultivated land and how much of this is usually irrigated with water and by tanks and by diversion of streams.


[Page 6 Box 1 Folder 8]


Majority of the cultivatiors and of Govt Revenue officers and with what limitations and safe guards if any. 


If capital is required to what extent will it be formulated by the allocations by Middlemen and by Zemindars [property owners in Colonial India] or must it be found by Govt or capitalists interests the local community.


When land Revenue is collected thru Zemindars or Middlemen of any kid what are the effects on the Zemindars or Middlemen’s interests as the representatives of Govt


[Page 1 Box 1 Folder 9]




Manor House


4th Febry 1878




In speaking of the unwillingness of the Ryot [Indian peasant] to change the style of farming he and his forfathers have practiced I should have added that in the Dekkan [Deccan Plateau of central India] a considerable amount of labor is moreover necessary to prepare land for irrigation.  The fields have to be divided with irrigation fields and the latter


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 9]


leveled and separated from each other by earthen ridges.


Believe me


I’m your faithful servant


James G. Fife


Miss Nightingale


[Page 1 Box 1 Folder 10]


Manor House


2d. Feby 1878




I am still awaiting the promised Revenue Report from Bombay.  I have attempted myself to prepare the statement I asked for, but the information I have at hand is so incomplete that most of the columns are still blank.  Possibly the Revenue report may contain the greater part of the information required but I doubt whether all the details will be given.  I am in


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 10]


great hopes of receiving the report by next mail.


With respect to the slowness of the Ryots to make use of the water my experience is confined to the Dekkan and Sind.


In Sind where there is no rain the ryots quickly avail themselves of aid in irrigation.  They may watch the water during the first season it is supplied before they can realize the value of the supply and make the necessary farming arrangements, but there is no serious delay: and in one instance when the opening of the first sections of a canal


[Page 3 Box 1 Folder 10]


was attended with great success and inspired confidence and expectations of large profit the people were ready to use the water as fast as it could be carried forward with the next section.


The extent of irrigation in Sind is only limited by the population which is small.  The mountainous country of Balouchistan  [Baluchistan Agency/Province, now a part of Pakistan] on the west and north and the Great Eastern Desert on the East side of the Province have hardly any population to speak of and consequently a very large number of people cannot be drawn in by the attraction of irrigation.  But for this the


[Page 4 Box 1 Folder 10]


increase of irrigations would have been very much greater than it has been.


The nature of the crops raised is much affected by the indebtedness and ignorance of a large proportion of the Ryots.  With more knowledge and wealth they might grow valuable crops like sugar cane where they now have inferior rice.


In the Dekkan including Guzerat [Gujarat Province in India] the Ryots are slow in making use of the water.  It is unfortunately true that our dams give the money lender such complete power over the


[Page 5 Box 1 Folder 10]


borrower for the recovery of money that the former has been only too ready to lend and the letter has had too much facility to borrow.  This is true of both Sind and the Dekkan.


In former times before our fixed annual rents and leases were introduced the Ryot paid a high rent when he had a good harvest and a low rent when he had a bad one. 


Under our revenue system the fixed annual rent is less that the average under the old nature plan but the people are ignorant and improvident and when they have a good harvest they spend


[Page 6 Box 1 Folder 10]


their profits and consequently when they have a bad one they must go to the money lender for help.


One of the causes of [XXXXXX] for delay in making use of the water is that the Ryot is in debt and that the outturn of the harvest whatever it may be is already the property of the money lender.


Another is that the Ryot thinks that if he once makes use of the water Govt will [XXXX] his land as “Bhagayat” or “garden irrigated” the rate or rent for which is commonly about five times as much as that for irrigated land.  He has not been told this by Govt and the only additional charge


[Page 7 Box 1 Folder 10]


he has to pay is simply the water rate for the season during which he uses the water.  Still he has got the idea into his head and it is an acceptance with the revenue system as he thinks enforced both water rule and our own.


A third cause is the ignorance of the ordinary Ryot and his willingness to change the style of farming he and his forfathers have practiced.  He knows how to get the best result from his land with some ordinary crop and the average rain fall but he knows no more.


In the Dekkan the holdings are as a rule extremely small.  There are [XX] areas of Ryots


[Page 8 Box 1 Folder 10]


who hold small plots of lands just large enough to support a family.  They are tenacious of their little holdings and prefer struggling under the grinding money lender, whose grasp is strengthened by our Laws, to selling and becoming ordinary laborers.


It is not difficult to see how all these circumstances must operate in retarding the development of irrigation. 


As to the remedies, First Law for debt might be modified as to prevent the Ryot from becoming the unwilling slave of the money lender, but I must leave this question for those who are


[Page 9 Box 1 Folder 10]


learned in Law.


Second- The water might be sold to the people on irrigating branch channel at a fixed rate or annual living sum.  They should be informed that Gov’t will not [XXXX] their lands as irrigated in future land settlements and that they will have no other charge to pay for irrigation beyond the price of the water which they may use or not as they please.  They should be left to arrange among themselves the distributions of the water and the proportion of the whole charge to be paid by


[Page 10 Box 1 Folder 10]


each cultivator.


It may be said in oppositions to this plan that it is as a whole impossible to measure the water accurately and therefore that it cannot be sold at the head of each irrigating branch channel, but I say on the other hand that the people will accept and be content under a system which gives only a mere approximation to correct measurement if only they be left to themselves to distribute the water and turn it to the best account without the dread of


[Page 11 Box 1 Folder 10]


a permanently increased payment whether they intend to irrigate regularly or not. 


Such and arrangement would lead to discussion among the people themselves of the value of irrigation and where omitted in small communities as they would be they would be continued in making use of the water than they now are acting singly as they must do.


I endeavored to introduce this arrangement on the Jaruda Canal before leaving India.  I have since heard


[Page 12 Box 1 Folder 10]


that the irrigation has largely extended on that canal.  Whether this has been brought about by the new arrangement I do not yet know.  I trust the Revenue Report will be clear on this point.  I should mention that the country is very flat and the quantity of water in each channel very large.  Then two things continued under water measurement improvements.


[Page 16 Box 1 Folder 10]


There is however in Sind an arrangement a very old one under which the Ryots on small branch canals combine to maintain them and a very excellent custom it is, but this is a different question from the one I have endeavoured to explain.


Believe me


I’m your Faithful Servant


James G. Fife


Miss Nightingale


[Page 1 Box 1 Folder 11]


35 South St.

Park Lane W.

June 5/78


My dear Sir


Most happy shall I be to see you tomorrow (Thursday) at 5 p.m. as you kingly propose.


When I have the advantage of hearing your information, I feel penetrated with my own ignorance and that of Englishmen in general of the real bearing of the Irrigation on the people.  To that I think I shall hardly dare to write a word on the subject.  What we ought to understand, and do not, is the bearing (upon a successful use of the water to the land’s and the people’s benefit) of the way in which they are rated for the water: -


-whether by paying so much per acre.

-whether by paying for the water whether they take it or not.

-whether by being allowed only to take so much water and so much land:

-how it is to be made their interest to use the water in the most profitable manner

            - not to exhaust the land.

            - to cultivate in the best manner.

We ought to sit at your feet to learn these


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 11]


things: 2. Also: to learn how Settlement questions bear upon Irrigation development.  Supose the people’s poverty or well doing.


You are dissatisfied with the Sind Settlement.

            Will you explain to me why?

            And what it is?

I wish I could see your Evidence.


3. I am very sorry there is no Dekkan Irrigation Map: What is to be done? 


            Are the Storage Tanks you have completed

Moola, Bhatodi, Gkrook, Madag, Maini, Koregaon, Kavurdi, Hartala:

            that makes 8


[Page 3 Box 1 Folder 11]


A man who can say: I have completed 3000 miles of life bringing Canals ought to be the happiest man alive:


Pray believe me

ever your faithfully and gratefully


Florence Nightingale


Colonel Fife Re.


[Page 4 Box 1 Folder 11]


[Blank aside from] Nightingale [written in top right corner]


[Page 5 Box 1 Folder 11]


[Envelope face]


With 2 packets




Colonel Fife RE

77 Park St.




[in pencil] 3 " 17 " 11


[Page 6 Box 1 Folder 11]


[Envelope reverse, penciled notes in Colonel Fife’s handwriting]


10th March


10th May



[In different handwriting]


Nightingale 9


[Page 1 Box 1 Folder 12]


10 South St.

Park Lane W.

March 1/80


My dear Sir


I feel honoured by so kind a letter from one who inspires our deepest respect.


When you know that it was written on the morning of my dearest Mother’s death, your kindness will, I know, understand my not having answered it sooner.


I also had a very long and most interesting letter from [XXX] Frere, finished at the close of December, Geo. E. Frere Esq.


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 12]


telling one that she had sent two “private” M. S. S. to you – one consisted of notes concerning Mr. Morley’s Article in the “Fortnightly,” that I was to receive them and then return them to you, when read and digested.


I have never heard another word about them.  I have been anxiously expecting them.


[I am so very sorry that I have not [XXX] Frere’s letter by me; but it is on its travels, obeying her behests.] [brackets as are appear in the letter]


But I am certain that there is no more definite


[Page 3 Box 1 Folder 12]


information as to how these “notes” are to be claimed than that I have mentioned. I trust that by this time you have received these valuable papers.


Pardon this brief and tardy answer.  For 6 years and more, ending with the blessed going home of my dear Mother, I have never had one day’s rest of body or mind.  And I am sent away from home and ordered complete silence.  Three and twenty years of overwork and illness have been


[Page 4 Box 1 Folder 12]


mine.  But I pray that I may still “recover strength before I go hence” to do a little more work.  If not, God’s will be done.


When you write to the Cape, would you kindly tell those old kind friends, for whom may there be a glorious future in their work, about my dear Mother’s entering into rest.  No not rest but blessedness – ‘thrice blest to go.’  But oh what a gap to me.


Pray believe me

Ever your faithful servant


Florence Nightingale


[In pencil:] Nightingale 10


[Page 1 Box 1 Folder 19]


March 10/93


10, South Street,

Park Lane W.




I am extremely obliged to you for your not of yesterday’s date, which I re inclose for reference together with the Bournemouth Postmater’s

S. Shore Smith Esq.

Embly Park




in his present address to which the parcels of Vols 1, 2, 10, and 13 may be re-directed.  He did receive the others, thank you.


With thanks, yours faithfully

Florence Nightingale

Mepro Eyre and Spottiswood


[Page 1 Box 1 Folder 25]


[Floral greeting card glued on blue paper; in handwriting:] Nightingale Box


[Page 2 Box 1 Folder 25]


[Inside greeting card, white paper doilie]


Gathering on Cathcarts Hill-Crimea

Florence Nightingale


[Page 3 Box 1 Folder 25]


[Within the paper doilie, a small bouquet of dried flowers from Cathcarts Hill Crimea]


[In Nightingale’s hand] Gathering on Cathcarts Hill – Crimea

                                                Florence Nightingale








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