Quotations by Nightingale, Florence


Perhaps it is not true to speak of God as a judge at all, or of his judgements. There does not seem to be really any evidence that His worlds are places of trial but rather schools, place of training, or that He is a judge but rather a Teacher, a Trainer, not in the imperfect sense in which men are teachers, but in the sense of His contriving and adapting His whole universe for one purpose of training every intelligent being to be perfect.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) English social reformer, statistician, founder of modern nursing
“Note on God and judgment”
    (Source)

In Lynn McDonald, Ed., Florence Nightingale's Theology: Essays, Letters, and Journal Notes (2002), noted as "ADD MSS 45783 ff65-67".
Added on 19-Aug-21 | Last updated 19-Aug-21
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The true foundation of theology is to ascertain the character of God. It is by the aid of Statistics that law in the social sphere can be ascertained and codified, and certain aspects of the character of God thereby revealed. The study of statistics is thus a religious service.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) English social reformer, statistician, founder of modern nursing
(Attributed)

Attributed in F.N. David in Games, Gods, and Gambling: A History of Probability and Statistical Ideas (1962).

There is a related variant of this quote: "To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of his purpose." This appears to be a paraphrase by Francis Galton of her beliefs (in full in Karl Pearson, Life of Francis Galton, Vol. 2, ch. 13, sec. 1 (1924)). While Galton is describing her beliefs, the quotation is often rewritten from third to first person, as though it were something she said.
Added on 1-Jul-21 | Last updated 1-Jul-21
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Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) English social reformer, statistician, founder of modern nursing
Cassandra (1860)
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Added on 9-Sep-21 | Last updated 9-Sep-21
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How very little can be done under the spirit of fear; it is the very sentence pronounced upon the serpent, “Upon they belly shalt thou go all the days of thy life.”

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) English social reformer, statistician, founder of modern nursing
Letter to Hannah Nicholson (May 1846)
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Added on 12-Aug-21 | Last updated 12-Aug-21
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What the horrors of war are, no one can imagine — they are not wounds & blood & fever, spotted & low, or dysentery chronic & acute, cold & heat & famine. They are intoxication, drunken brutality, demoralization & disorder on the part of the inferior — jealousies, meanness, indifference, selfish brutality on the part of the superior.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) English social reformer, statistician, founder of modern nursing
Letter to her family (5 May 1855)
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Added on 22-Jul-21 | Last updated 22-Jul-21
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I agree as to the doubtful value of competitive examination. The qualities which you really want, viz., self-control, self-reliance, habits of accurate thought, integrity and what you generally call trustworthiness, are not decided by competitive examination, which test little else than the memory.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) English social reformer, statistician, founder of modern nursing
Letter to Lord Edward Geoffrey Stanley (17 May 1857)
    (Source)

Regarding selection processes for military officers. This was undergoing reform during the period, including the radical proposal to prevent people from buying their way into lower officer ranks.
Added on 5-Aug-21 | Last updated 5-Aug-21
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