Pare', Ambrose

, a French surgeon of eminence, was born at Laval, in the district of the Maine, in 1509. He commenced the study of his profession early in life, and practised it with great zeal both in hospitals and in the army; and when his reputation was at its height, he was appointed surgeon in ordinary to king Henry II. in 1552; and he held the same office under the succeeding kings, Francis II. Charles IX. and Henry III. To Charles IX. especially he is said to have on one occasion conferred great professional benefits, when some formidable symptoms had been produced by the accidental wound of a tendon in venesection, which he speedily removed. His services appear to have been amply acknowledged by the king; who spared him in the horrible massacre of St. Bartholomew’s, although a protestant. “Of all those,”‘ says the duke of Sully, <c who were about the person of this prince (Charles IX.) none possessed so great a share of his confidence as Ambrose Pare“, his surgeon. This man, though a Huguenot, lived with him in so great a degree of familiarity, that, on the day of the massacre, Charles telling him, the time was now come when the whole kingdom would be catholics; he replied, without being alarmed, * By the light of God, sire, I cannot believe that you have forgot your promise never to command me to do four things namely, to enter into my mother’s womb,*

*

This absurd promise seems intended as an illustration of the impossibility of the king’s breaking his word with him in the other cases.

to be present in the day of | battie, to quit your service, or to go to mass.‘ The king soon after took him aside, and disclosed to him freely the trouble of his soul: * Ambrose,’ said he, * I know not what has happened to me these two or three days past, but I feel my mind and body as much at enmity with each other, as if I was seized with a fever; sleeping or waking, the murdered Huguenots seem ever present to my eyes, with ghastly faces, and weltering in blood. I wish the innocent and helpless had been spared!‘ The order which was published the following day, forbidding the continuance of the massacre, was in consequence of this conversation.” Pare", after having been long esteemed as the first surgeon of his time, and beloved for his private virtues, died Dec. 20, 1590, at the age of eighty-one; and as he was buried in the church of St. Andrew, Eloy would from that circumstance infer that he died a Roman catholic, of which we have no proof.

Pare was not a man of learning, although we meet with learned references and numerous quotations from the ancients, in his writings; but he must be considered as a bold and successful operator, and a real improver of his art; particularly in the practice of tying divided arteries, which he effected by drawing them out naked, and passing a ligature over them; and in the treatment of gun-shot wounds. Even in anatomy, in which he did not excel, he was, by frequent dissections, enabled to add some observations of his own to what he had borrowed from Vesalius. As an author he had high fame, and his works were universally read and translated into most of the languages of Europe. His first treatise, “Maniere de trailer les playes faites par harquebuses, fleches, &c.” was published at Paris in 1545, and again in 1552 and 1564. He afterwards laboured strenuously to put his brethren in possession of a body of surgical science in their native tongue; and in 1561 published the first edition of his works, in folio. This was translated by Thomas Johnson, Lond. 1634, and reprinted with additions in 1649. His treatise on gun-shot wounds was published by Walter Hammond in 1617, and that on the plague in 1630. Numerous editions of his whole works were afterwards printed io German, Dutch, and French; and his pupil, Guillemeau, who was also surgeon to Charles IX. and Henry IV. translated them into Latin. This translation has been frequently reprinted at variousplaces, with the title of “Ambrosii Paraei, Opera, | novis iconibus elegantissimis illustrata, et Latinitate donata.” This volume contains twenty -six treatises, and there is no branch of surgery which is not touched upon in the collection. 1

1

Eloy, —Dict. Hist. de Medicine. flaller. —Moreri. Rees’s Cyclopædia.