14 AUGUST 1880, Page 13


Sla,—I believe I speak the mind of many plain, unbiassed on- lookers in expressing a hope that the attempt now being made to drive the Sisters out of the Hospitals will not be successful. The tone adopted of late years by medical men in dealing with such questions as the Contagious Diseases Act and Vivisection has profoundly shaken the confidence of many persons, and has raised serious apprehensions of the lengths to which medical men may be carried in their zeal for scientific discovery or pro- fessional distinction. The presence in the hospital wards of a number of women with an independent moral sense, and of education and social standing equal to that of the Medical Staff themselves, is, for men of my way of thinking, a most comforting fact. One has been accustomed, long before the rise of the pre- sent controversy, to hear the Sisters spoken of by medical men in private with much bitterness, and the assault now publicly made upon them does not come as a surprise, but makes us more desirous than ever that they should remain where they are. That educated women taking up the profession of nursing from motives of humanity and a desire to be useful, should be less amenable to discipline, and less likely to discharge properly the duties of their calling, than uneducated women taken from a lower rank of life, is contrary to common-sense and to experience in analogous matters. The explanation of the bitter and unmanly hostility with which they are pursued must be looked for elsewhere.

In the midst of the dispute occurs the melancholy death of poor Mrs. Morgan. In presence of this tragic incident, one would have thought that, as it has no connection whatever with the unseemly quarrel, a truce at least might have been observed, even if the solemn feelings naturally aroused did not lead to a peaceable arrangement. To see it regarded merely as a fortu- nate opportunity of raising ignorant clamour in the interest of excited and selfish partisans, is enough to fill one with despair.