Chamousset, Charles Humbert Piarron De

, was born at Paris in 1717, and destined to supply his father’s place in the parliament of that city as a judge, as well as that of his uncle in the same situation. He made choice of the one of them that would give him the least trouble, and afford him the most leisure for his benevolent projects. Medicine was his favourite study. This he practised on the poor only, with such an ardour and activity of mind, that the hours which many persons give to sleep, he bestowed upon the assistance of the sick. To make himself more useful to them, he had learned to bleed, which operation he performed with all the dexterity of the most experienced surgeon. His disposition to do good appeared so early that when he was a boy, he used to give to the poor the money which other boys spent in general in an idle and unprofitable manner. He was once very much in love with a young lady of great beauty and accomplishment; but imagining that she would not make him a suitable assistant in his attendance upon the poor, he gave over all thoughts of marriage; not very wisely, perhaps, sacrificing to the extreme delicacy of one woman only his attachment to that sex, in whose tenderness of disposition, and in whose instinctive quickness of feeling, he would have found tluufc reciprocation of benevolence he was anxious to procure. He was so forcibly struck with the wretched situation of the great hospital of Paris (the Hotel Dieu, as it is called), | where the dead, the dying, and the living, are very often crowded together in the same bed (five persons at a time occasionally occupying the same bed), that he wrote a plan of reform for that hospital, which he shewed in manuscript to the famous John James Rousseau, requesting him to correct it for him. “What correction,” replied Rousseau, “can a work want, that one cannot read without shuddering at the horrid pictures it represents? What is the end of writing if it be not to touch and interest the passions?M. de Chamousset was occasionally the author of many benevolent and useful schemes; such as the establishment of the penny post at Paris; the bringing good water to that city; a plan for a house of association, by which any man, for a small sum of money deposited, may be taken care of when he is sick; and many others; not forgetting one for the abolition of begging, which is to be found in “Lesvues d’uncitoyen.M. de Chamousset was now so well known as a man of active and useful benevolence, that M. de Choiseul (when he was in the war department) made him, in 1761, intendant-general of the military hospitals of France, the king, Louis XV. telling him, “that he had never, since he came to the throne, made out an appointment so agreeable to himself;” and added, “I am sure I can never make any one that will be of such service to my troops.” The pains he took in this employment were incredible. His attention to his situation was so great, and conducted with such good sense and understanding, that the marshal de Soubise, on visiting one of the great military hospitals at Dusseldorf, under the care of M. de Chamousset, said, “This is the first time I have been so happy as to go round an hospital without hearing any complaints.” Another marshal of France told his wife: “Were I sick,” said he, “I would be taken to the hospital of which M. de Chamousset has the management.M. de Chamousset was one day saying to the minister, that he would bring into a court of justice the peculation and rapine of a particular person. “God forbid you should!” answered the minister, “you run a risk of not dying in your bed.” “I had rather,” replied he, “die in any manner you please, than live to see my country devoured by scoundrels.

This good man died in 1773, at the age of 56 years only. He is supposed to have hastened his death by not taking sufficient care of himself in his illness, saying | always, when pressed to do so, that he had not time to spare for it. He died as he lived, with the sentiments of 3, good Christian, and left a considerable sum of money in charity not, however, without providing for his relations and dependents. 1


Last edition of this Dictionary.—Dict. Hist.