NEY Napoleon-Joseph 2nd Prince de la Moskowa - Autograph Letter Signed to a pioneer of homeopathy
Napoléon-Joseph NEY, 2nd Prince de la Moskowa (1803-1857)
Autograph Letter Signed (“le Gal. Prince de la Moskowa“) to a doctor [identified in pencil by a later collector as Baron Seutin], asking him to treat one of his servants for a chest complaint, probably consumption, on the recommendation of the Countess of Harrington.
2¼ pages 8vo in French, Elvaston Castle, 16 March n.y. [1850s].
A letter from one remarkable man to another, both of whom deserve to be better known.
Trans: “I have just, doctor, spent several days in the country at the Countess of Harrington’s, formerly Mrs. Leicester-Stanhope, and during that time she told me of your great talent, and of your great medical reputation; she told me how you had saved her daughter Lady Pole-Chandos [sic] from a chest complaint, through a procedure of your own invention, and how she herself, using this procedure which method she had used, had succeeded in healing many poor people suffering from consumption.
She gave me the hope that, in calling upon your experience, and especially upon your humanity, I could obtain your help for a poor devil of a valet who I care for very much, for he has been serving me for 20 years, and I would be very glad to see him healed of a chest complaint which has developed, I believe, in a serious manner, for recently in London he frequently vomited blood. I therefore take the liberty of sending him to Brussels, as I wish to see him have recourse to your science through which perhaps he may be saved.
I know that Masters and servants have equal recourse to your talents. I would be, doctor, extremely grateful of this goodness. I bear a name which will remind you, I know, honourable memories. May it earn me your sympathy, merit your care towards my poor David.
I am charged with sending you the friendship and best compliments from Lord and Lady Harrington and her family. . .”
Napoléon-Joseph Ney, son of the great Napoleonic marshal, the “bravest of the brave”, became a Peer of France and served as an officer in the French army under Louis-Philippe, enjoying a comfortable life. But it was only when Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, later Napoleon III, came to power that Ney’s political career developed, and he was a firm supporter of the new regime.
His correspondent, the Belgian physician Baron Seutin, is especially interesting. Credited with developing the modern method of setting fractures with an early form of plaster cast, he also pioneered the use of chloroform for anaesthesia. Perhaps more importantly, Seutin was one of the pioneers in the use of homeopathy and it seems very likely from the content of this letter that he may well have used this form of treatment to help Lady Chandos-Pole.
Anna Caroline Stanhope married Edward Chandos-Pole in 1850, hence the dating of this letter to the 1850s. She lived until 1913, so one must assume that the treatment was entirely successful.
Baron Seutin had served as a doctor at the battle of Waterloo, where it is possible he may have met Marshal Ney, father of his present correspondent.
Remains of mount to the verso.
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