Lassone, Joseph Maria Francis De

, an eminent French physician, was born at Carpentras, on the 3d of July, 1717. He was removed for education to Paris, but in his early years he was less remarkable for his perseverance in study, than for a propensity which he shewed for the gay pleasures of youth; yet even then he raised the hopes of his friends by some ingenious performances, which merited academic honours. At length he applied with seriousness to study, and devoted himself wholly to the pursuits of anatomy, in which he made such rapid progress, that, at the age of twenty-five, he was received into the academy of sciences as associate-anatomist. An extraordinary event, however, put a period to his anatomical pursuits. In selecting among some dead bodies a proper subject for dissection, he fancied he perceived in one of them some very doubtful signs of death, and endeavoured to re-animate it: his efforts were for a long time vain; but his first persuasion induced him to persist, and he ultimately succeeded in bringing his patient to life, who proved to be a poor peasant. This circumstance impressed so deep a sense of horror on the mind of the anatomist, that he declined these pursuits in future. Natural history succeeded the study of anatomy, and mineralogy becoming a favourite object of his pursuit, he published his observations on the crystallized tree-stones of Fotuainbleau; but chemistry finally became the beloved occupation of M. de Lassone. His numerous memoirs, which were read before the royal academy of sciences, presented a valuable train of new observations, useful both to the progress of that study, and to the art of compounding remedies; and in every part of these he evinced the sagacity of an attentive observer, and of an ingenious experimentalist. After having practised medicine for a long time in the hospitals and cloisters, he was sent for to court; and held the office of first physician at Versailles. He lived in friendship with Fontenelle, Winslow, D’Alembert, Buffon, and other scientific characters; and the affability of his manners, and his ardent zeal for the advancement of knowledge, among the young scholars, whose industry he encouraged, and whose reputation was become one of his most satisfactory enjoyments, | gained him general respect. When from a natural delicacy of constitution, M. cle Lassone began to experience the inconveniences of a premature old age, he became sorrowful and fond of solitude; yet, reconciled to his situation, he calmly observed his death approaching, and expired on Dec. 8, 1788. Lassone, at the time of his death, held the appointment of first physician to Louis XVL and his queen; he was counsellor of state, doctor-regent of the faculty of medicine at Paris, and pensionary-veteran of the academy of sciences, member of the academy of medicine at Madrid, and honorary associate of the college of medicine at Nancy.1


Hutchinson’s Medical Biograohy.—Rees’s Cyclopædia.