Eminent Women of the Age: Being Narratives of the Lives and Deeds of the Most Prominent Women of the Present Generation

By James Parton ; Horace Greeley et al. | Go to book overview
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EMINENT WOMEN OF THE AGE.

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE.

BY JAMES PARTON.

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE, is one of the fortunate of the earth. Inheriting from nature a striking and beneficent talent, she was able to cultivate that talent in circumstances the most favorable that could be imagined, and, finally, to exercise it on the grandest scale in the sight of all mankind. Whatever difficulties may have beset her path, they were placed in it not by untoward fortune; they existed in the nature of her work, or were inseparable from human life itself. She has had the happiness, also, of laboring in a purely disinterested spirit, and has been able to do for love what money could neither procure nor reward.

The felicity of both her names, Florence and Nightingale, has often been remarked; and it appears that she owes both of them to accident. Her father is William Edward Shore, an English gentleman of an ancient and wealthy Sheffield family, and her mother is a daughter of William Smith, who was for many years a member of Parliament, where he was particularly distinguised for his advocacy of the emancipation of the slaves in the British possessions. In 1815, her father inherited the estates of his grand-uncle, Peter Nightingale, on the condition expressed in his uncle's will, of his assuming the name of Nightingale. It so happened that she first saw

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