24 Dec 1856

Envelope marked: The last particulars of dearest Malcolm Dec 1850

Copy of the greater part of the surgeons letter   

HMS Vulture
24 Dec 1856

My dear Sir
Your kind letter of 8th inst reached me on Monday. I feel very grateful for your appreciation of my efforts & those of Mr Wilkinson the xx Surgeon on your sons behalf.
It pleased God to take him away from us. Up to a late period I had every hope that he would have recovered to live [xxx] [xxx] [barely legible text] his prolonged fever & the weakness deciding it. But the sudden extraordinary changes of temperature wh. we experienced along the Cireapian Coast between the 19th & 22nd had affected the lining membrane of his throat & developed inflammation so rapidly as to hasten speedy dissolution had not some attempt been made, without delay to relieve the urgent breathing- under these desperate conditions & rather than suffer him to die a painful death, I performed the operation of tracheotomy. His consent was previously obtained, he readily gave it  - the Captn & Chaplain having kindly explained the nature of the operation – he xxx eventually was relieved, so much so that some of the distressing efforts to breath from wh. he had previously suffered returned. His life was thus prolonged 2 days - Those days were passed without suffering – his intellect remaining clear - The chaplain was frequently with him [xxx] [barely legible text].  We believe a consolation [xxx] [barely legible text] my dear sir for you to know that your sons last words were ”I will go to my Father” & these words he kept repeating for several hours before his death, uttered almost in a whisper but very distinctively - He died at half past three o’clock on the morning of the 24th Nov. The Vulture was then on her way to Sebastopol near Balaklava - Your son was buried with military honours in the English cemetery at Therepia Nov 28th - Capn Campbell kindly invited me with him as chief mourner - I felt the compliment repaid me & tho in our profession we cannot command success, it is a comfort to know that our efforts to save, tho poor they may be, are appreciated by those whose opinion we value – You ask me if I told him of your enquiry - I did not - I was afraid he wd have been too much affected & confused about the Telegraphic message. He was even then balancing between life & death & the least excitement might have proved hurtful.
With regard to his change of temper it was nothing more than we must expect in sickness.  In your sons case the contrast was the more remarkable owing to the extraordinary amiability of his temper in health. For he had always a smile for everyone. During his sickness his servant, a corporal of [Marines?] was Evidently his final friend. This man was the best of nurse & had much more influence with him than even the Captn or myself. Almost from the first day to the date of his death, Corporal Kendale (Bevdale?) was with your son constantly & nothing could exceed his affection
Re xx
James D. Cronin

James D. Cronin