Copyright
Stephen Paget.

Ambroise Paré and his times, 1510-1590 online

. (page 9 of 18)
Online LibraryStephen PagetAmbroise Paré and his times, 1510-1590 → online text (page 9 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


having lived many years at the French Court under
the care of her uncles the Guises, was married to the
Dauphin, afterward Francois II. In April, 1559, the
peace of Cateau-Cambresis was signed between
Henri II., Fhilip, Elizabeth, and the princes allied
with Spain, among whom at that time was WilHam,



142 Ambroise Pare



Prince of Orange. By it, France kept the three
episcopal towns, Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and re-
ceived back Saint Quentin ; a great number of towns
in the Netherlands and in Italy was restored to
Spain and her allies ; Calais was to remain in the
possession of France, on payment of a large sum of
money to England.

In July, 1559, came the King's death. A year
and a half later, died the first of the three sons who
succeded him, Francois II., aged seventeen when he
died (December, 1560), "having reigned seventeen
months, seventeen days, and seventeen hours "
(L'Estoile). To him succeeded his brother, Charles
IX., then ten and a half years old, under the regency
of the Queen-mother.

In March, 1560, came the plot of the Seigneur de
La Renaudie against the Guises; in 1562, the mas-
sacres of the Huguenots at Vassy and at Sens, and
the first war of religion. After forty years of martyr-
dom* and of ever-growing strength, the Huguenots
took the sword lest they should perish by the sword.
To the tyranny of the Guises, the Reformed Church

* After the period of the persecutions, came the wars ; and the
brutality of the age was in both armies alike. Stories are told of
murder and torture of defenceless Catholics by the Huguenot
soldiers, as terrible as those that are told of Alva's Spaniards.
See the Archives Curieuses^ containing a long extract from a book
published in Antwerp, 1588, entitled Theatre des Cruautez des
HerMques de nostre temps.



Notes to Journeys 143



opposed an army led by Cond6 and CoHgny. Civil
war, once begun, raged off and on for thirty-two
years, and was not ended till the conversion of Henri
IV. to the Catholic faith in 1594.

The war of 1562 seemed to break out everywhere
at once. The Huguenot cause was at its weakest in
Paris (the date of the first Reformed church in Paris
is so late as 1555) but it was strong in the country
towns and in the provinces. Within six weeks, two
hundred places had declared for it, including Lyon,
Orleans, Bourges, and Rouen. Philip sent to help
the Catholic army 3000 Spaniards, of whose brutality
fearful stories are told. Elizabeth sent a like num-
ber of English to Cond6 and Coligny, on condition
that Havre should be ceded to England.

Rouen was captured on the 26th of October, 1562.
The death of the King of Navarre was hailed by the
Huguenots as the divine judgment on a renegade:
it was an age of skits and epigrams, and L'Estoile
has preserved one which is worth quoting here :

" Par I'oeil, I'espaule, et 1' oreille,
Dieu a fait en France merveille ;
Par roreille, I'espaule, et I'oeil,
Dieu a mis trois rois au cerceuil ;
Par I'oeil, Toreille, et I'espaule,
Dieu a tue trois rois en Gaule,
Antoine, Frangois, et Henry,
Qui de lui point n' ont eu soucy."



144 Ambroise Pare



When the King of Navarre was on his death-bed,
he received a visit from the Queen-mother. " My
brother, how are you passing your time ? You
ought to have somebody to read to you." — " Madame,
most of those round me are Huguenots." — " They
are none the less your servants." When she went,
he got somebody to read the book of Job to him.
Then he said : " I know well what you will all be say-
ing ; that the King of Navarre was converted, and
died a Huguenot. Never mind what I am, be content
that I wish to die in the Augsberg confession, and
if I recover I will have the gospel preached again in
France" (L'Estoile). He died of pyaemia from his
wound on November 17th. His physician was de La
Mezieres, who, at his request, stayed by his side
praying for him ; to the surprise of the Cardinal de
Bourbon, who said under his breath that these Hu-
guenots were strange people, for here they were
using the same prayers as the Catholics. The King
insisted they should put him in a boat, that he
might get out of the pestiferous air of Rouen ; but
he was taken with a rigor, and had to be landed
again. He left 6000 livres to " his surgeon." I sup-
pose this was Ambroise Par6, for Ambroise always
counted the King of Navarre as one of the four
Kings whom he had served. The whole story of
the King's death is valuable for the light it throws



Notes to Journeys 145



on the motives of the wars of religion. A long ac-
count of it, written by a Huguenot, possibly by de
La M^zi^res, is published in the Archives Curieuses.

It was at Rouen that Pare began to be dissatisfied
with the results obtained with the puppy-dog oil ;
henceforth he preferred the use of ^gyptiacum, a
more stimulating preparation. But when he pub-
lished his collected works he still spoke well of the
oil, used in small quantities.

Cond6 escaped capture when Rouen fell : the work
of sacking the town went on for eight days. He
raised a reinforcement of 7000 German mercenaries,
and advanced as far as the environs of Paris, but was
driven back by Philip's Spaniards. Then he turned
toward Havre, hoping to get from England money
to pay his German troops, but was met by Guise's
army at Dreux, about fifty miles south of Rouen.
The battle of Dreux was fought on December 19, 1 562:
Guise, the Constable, Saint Andre, and 17,000 men,
against Cond6, Coligny, d'Andelot, and 12,000 men.
The victory was with the Catholics ; but Saint Andr^
was killed, and the Constable was wounded and taken
prisoner. Seven thousand men were killed ; Conde
was taken prisoner, and put under the guard of
Henri de Montmorency, Seigneur de Dampville,
Admiral de France. Before the engagement began,
Guise had sent to the Queen-mother and the young



146 Ambroise Pare



King, asking formal leave to give battle. During
the audience, the old Huguenot nurse came into
the room ; Catherine, knowing that the whole
thing was a mere formality, said mocking, " We
must ask the King's nurse if we shall give battle ;
what do you think of that ? " The old lady an-
swered, " Well, Madame, since the Huguenots will
never be satisfied, you must make them listen to
reason."

On February 18, 1563, Guise was assassinated be-
fore Orleans by Jean Poltrot, Seigneur de Mery.
Every least detail of the great soldier's death has
come down to us, and the story of it is full of inter-
est. He made a good end. There was no time to
fetch Ambroise Par6 from Paris ; and the surgeons
at Orleans treated the wound with caustics. With
Guise dead, and the Constable and Cond6 both pris-
oners, there was need of time to breathe ; and on
March 19th was signed the peace of Amboise. Thus
ended the first war of religion, and now that there
was peace, a combined force of Catholics and Hu-
guenots was sent against the English In Havre. The
town was but poorly defended, and after six days*
siege opened its gates to the besiegers, on July 28,

1563-

M. Lefevre : Physician-in-ordinary to Charles IX.,
Henri HI., and the Oueen-mother.



Notes to Journeys 147



M. le Cointe d'Eu : Francois de Cleves, Due de
Nevers, Comte d'Auxerre, de Rethel, et d'Eu, Seig-
neur d'Orval ; Governor of Champagne ; born, 1539;
married (i) Anne de Bourbon, (2) Jacqueline de
Longwic. It was under his command that the
French army assembled at Laon before the battle
of Saint Quentin. His death at Dreux was by acci-
dent : he was shot, before the battle, by one of his
own gentlemen.

M.Pigray : Pierre Pigray ; born, 153 1 ; a pupil of
Pare; master of surgery, 1564; surgeon-in-ordinary
to Charles IX., Henri III., and Henri IV. ; died,
October 15, 1613.

M. Cointeret : Jean Cointeret, born at Paris; one
of the surgeons of Le Chatelet ; died, May 13, 1592.

M. Hubert : Richard Hubert ; surgeon to Charles
IX.; died, September 7, 1581. He attended the
Comte de Mansfeld (see the Journey to Moncontoiir).
He was with Par6, when he broke his leg in 1561.

7. The Journey to Bayonne. i 564-1 565.

Between the battle of Dreux and the journey to
Havre, Par6 rearranged his surgical writings, and
added many new chapters to them, thus making up
the Ten Books of Surgery, which finished printing
on February 3, 1563. Next year, began that strange
Royal progress of the Queen-mother and the young



148 Ambroise Pare



King through the provinces; a long political cam-
paign against the Huguenots, with enforcement of
restrictions and prohibitions against them in the
great towns of France ; a two years' tour, with this
reason given for it, that Charles IX. must get to
know his people ; but its real object was to weaken
the cause of the Huguenots throughout the king-
dom, and the climax of it was the conference at
Bayonne with Alva, whose suggestions were fulfilled
seven years later by the massacre of Saint Bartholo-
mew's Day.

The Court left Fontainebleau on March 13, 1564,
and went by way of Troyes, Bar-le-Duc, Dijon,
Lyon, and Avignon, to Montpellier, where they
passed the winter. In the spring of 1565, came the
conference at Bayonne. In the summer the Court
moved homeward through Bordeaux, Tours, Blois,
and Orleans, and came back to Paris in December,
1565-.

Pare must have hated this waste of his time. To
make the best use of it, he talked diligently with
the physicians and surgeons in the towns through
which the Court passed ; and saw many patients in
consultation with them. He studied the plague, not
for the first time: it was raging at Lyon in 1564.
From Bayonne, he went to attend the Prince de La
Roche-sur-Yon at " a little village called Biarris " ;



Notes to Journeys 149



and here he interested himself in the whale fisheries,
and brought home a whale's vertebra to add to the
store of curious things in his house at Paris. His
account of the whaling, in his treatise Of Monsters
and Prodigies, is very pleasant reading :

" At Biarritz I learned and assured myself of the
means they use to take the whales, as I had read in the
book that M. Rondelet has written about fishes,
which is as follows : Over against the said village there
is a little hill, on which was built long ago a tower ex-
pressly to make watch from it both day and night, to
discover the whales that pass that way ; and they see
them come, part by the great noise they make, part by
the water they throw up through the passages in the
front of their heads. And seeing them coming, they
ring a bell, at whose sound all those in the village run
at once, well provided with all things necessary to catch
them. They have many ships and small boats, wherein
are some men set apart to fish out those who may fall
into the sea, others to give fight to the whale ; and in
each boat ten good strong men to row quick, and many
others with barbed irons and long ropes fastened to
them, and each man's iron is marked with his own mark
that he may know it again. And with all their strength
they cast them at the whale ; and when they see she is
wounded, which they know by the blood coming out,
they let out the ropes of their irons and follow the
whale, to weary her and take her more easily ; and
bringing her to land, they rejoice and make merry, and
divide her, each man having his portion according to
what he has done. . . . The flesh of the whale is



150 Ambroise Par^



of no value ; but the tongue, which is soft and dainty,
they salt ; also the lard, which they send far and wide into
the provinces, to be eaten in Lent with peas ; they keep
the fat to burn, and to grease their boats. Of the whale-
bone they make farthingales, stays for women, knife-
handles, and many other things. Of the bones, the peas-
ants make fences for their gardens ; and seats and stools
of the vertebrae. I took one away with me, and keep
it at home for a wonder."

At Montpellier he was handling some vipers in
an apothecary's shop, and got bitten :

" Now I will give another instance, that I may always
instruct the young surgeon. When King Charles was at
Montpellier, I was bitten by a viper on the end of my
first finger, between the nail and the flesh, in the house
of an apothecary named de Farges, who was making up
some U?iguentum Theriacce. I asked him to let me see
the vipers he was going to put in it. He showed me a
good number of them, that he kept in a glass vessel,
whence I took one ; and was bitten by it, trying to see
its teeth, which are in the upper jaw, covered with a
little membrane where it keeps its poison, which it ex-
presses into the part as soon as it has made a wound
there. And having received this bite, I at once felt
extreme pain, both from the sensitiveness of the part
and from the poison ; then I tied the finger round very
tight, above the wound, to make the blood flow and to
let out the poison, and prevent it from advancing up the
arm. Then I asked for some old theriac ointment,
which 1 moistened with eau-de-vie in the hand of one of
de Farges' servants, and then I dipped some cotton in



Notes to Journeys 151



the mixture, and laid it to the bite ; and in a few days I
was healed without any further trouble, by this remedy
alone."



M. Chapelain : Jean Chapelain, doctor of medicine
of Montpellier and Paris, physician-in-ordinary
to Francois I., premier physician to Henri II. and
Charles IX. To him was dedicated Park's book on
Wounds of the Head. He died of the plague, De-
cember 5, 1569, at the siege of Saint Jean d'Angely.

M. Castellan : Honor6 Duchastel (Castellanus),
doctor of medicine of Montpellier, afterward pro-
fessor, physician-in-ordinary to Henri II., Frangois
II., and Charles IX., and premier physician to the
Queen-mother. To him Par^ dedicated his book
on the plague. His sister's son was Andr6 du
Laurens, premier physician to Henri IV. He died
in the same house as Chapelain, and of the same
epidemic, November 4, 1569.



8. The Battle of Saint Denis. 1567.

In January, 1566, Pare was with the Court at Mou-
lins. In 1567, he made application to have jurisdic-
tion over the whole body of "chirurgiens jur^s k
Paris," and was refused.

The peace of Amboise lasted from 1563 to 1567.



152 Ambroise Pare



The murder of Guise was laid to the charge of Co-
hgny, who made passionate declaration of his inno-
cence, and was acquitted on oath before the King
and his Council, in January, 1556. The Queen-
mother, seeing the power of the Guises weakened,
sought to redress the balance of forces by imposing
fresh disabilities on the Huguenots. In June, 1567,
when Cond6 claimed the royal promise, given in
1563, that he should succeed his brother the King
of Navarre, as Lieutenant-General of France, Cath-
erine evaded the claim ; and her son Henri d'Anjou,
afterward Henri HI., then a boy of sixteen, repudi-
ated it with such scorn, and so plainly threatened
war, that Conde left the Court and joined Coligny,
dAndelot, and other leaders of the Huguenot army ;
and in September, 1567, the second war of religion
broke out.

Forty towns, Orleans and Montpellier among
them, opened their gates to the Huguenot troops,
or were forced to open them. Conde and Coligny
advanced toward Paris, and encamped at Saint
Denis, with 6000 men. There was a plot to seize
the person of the young King, but it failed : negoti-
ations also were tried, but came to nothing. The
Catholic army, no less than 20,000, was under the
command of the Constable, then seventy-five years
old. On November loth, was fought the battle of



Notes to Journeys 15,



Saint Denis; the Constable had disposed his troops
badly, and was himself mortally wounded. The
victory rested with the Catholics : but when Cond^
the next day again offered battle, they dared not
accept it. Strengthened by an enormous reinforce-
ment of German mercenaries, the Huguenot army
now laid siege to Chartres*; the Catholic party,
dispirited by the death of the Constable, were will-
ing to come to terms; and on March 25, 1568,
the second war of religion was ended by the peace
of Longjumeau.

Par^ was kept hard at work within the walls of
Paris, dressing the wounded who came pouring
in from Saint Denis. He attended the Constable
during the few days of life that remained to him
after his wound.

The Battle of Moncontour. The Journey
TO Flanders. 1569.

In 1568, Par6 published his book on the Plague:
certainly the most admirable and vivid of all his
writings.

The peace of Longjumeau lasted only six months.
Massacres of the Huguenots were not stopped by
it : a hundred died at Amiens, a hundred and fifty

* For the whole story of Chartres, and the siege of it, see Mr.
Pater's Gaston de Latour,



154 Ambroise Par6



at Auxerre, thirty at Fr^jus. An attempt was made
to sieze Cond6 and Coligny at Noyers: they escaped
to La Rochelle, where Jeanne dAlbret joined them,
the widowed Queen of Navarre, an ardent Huguenot ;
with her son Henri de Navarre, afterward Henri IV.
Help was obtained from the German Protestants,
and from Ehzabeth of England ; and in August,
1568, began the third war of religion. On March
13, 1569, came the battle of Jarnac and the death
of Cond^ : on June 23d, the battle of Saint Yrieux,
with some advantage on the side of the Huguenots :
in September, Coligny was forced to raise the siege
of Poitiers. On October 3d, came the great battle
of Moncontour; the victory was with the Catholics ;
Coligny was wounded, and his army lost between
5000 and 6000 men, and a great part of their
baggage.

Still the war dragged on into the next year ; by
which time both armies were exhausted. In vain
Philip offered the King 9000 men to help him to
prolong the war : in vain Pope Pius V. wrote to
Catherine that there could be no communion be-
tween Satan and the children of light. Peace was
signed at Saint Germain, August 8, 15 70, on terms
favourable to the Huguenots, and was confirmed by
the marriage of the King's sister, Marguerite de
Valois, to Henri de Navarre, on October 4th. It



Notes to Journeys 155



was a time of marriages : the King, on November
26th, was married to the Archduchess Elizabeth
of Austria.

With the peace of Saint Germain came the end of
Ambroise Park's work in the army. And of all his
yourneys in Diverse Places, surely the last of them,
the journey to Flanders, is just the one which
should come at the end ; it shows the whole work-
ing of his mind, the whole wealth of his shrewdness,
patience, gentleness, and skill. He was now sixty
years old, and had served in the army, off and on,
for thirty-three years. Francois de Guise, Anne de
Montmorency, the King of Navarre, Conde, were all
gone. One heroic soldier, one true lover of France,
was yet to be his patient : but Ambroise need not
leave Paris to stand at the bed-side of Coligny.



Plessis-les-Tours : A village, i kilom. from Tours.

M. dii Bois : Guillaume du Bois, surgeon-in-ordinary
to Henri H. He was one of those who received
Par6 into the College of Surgeons in 1554 : and was
present when Pare made the embalment of Charles
IX. He must not be confounded with the great
Jacques du Bois (Sylvius) Pare's old teacher.

Monseigneur lefr^re du Roy : Henri, Due d'xA.njou,
afterward Henri HI.



156 Ambroise Pare



M. de Mansfeld : Pierre Ernest, Comte de Mans-
feld : he married a sister of Francois de Bassompierre.

M. de Montmorency : Francois, son of the Con-
stable: taken prisoner at Theroiienne, 1553.

M. de Rhingrave : Jean Philippe de Dauhn,
Comte de Rhingrave, eldest son of Philippe Fran-
gois de Dauhn : born 1545.

M. de Bassompierre : Christophe, son of Francois
de Bassompierre, and father of another Francois
who was a Marshal of France.

M.le Due d' Ascot : Philippe, Due d'Arschot, Prince
de Chimay, Knight of the Golden Fleece, Grandee of
Spain : born July 10, 1526 ; married, in 1559, Jeanne
Henriette, DamedeHalluyn: died December 6, 1581.

M. le Marquis d'Auret : Charles Philippe de Croz,
son of Philippe de Croz and of Anne de Lorraine :
born September i, 1549: married Diane, widow of
M. de Rhingrave: died November 23, 1613. He
was only twenty years old when Par6 attended him.



^S<^(^fe)^)^



IV.



PARIS.



1541-1572.

" God is my witness, and men know it well, I have worked more
than forty years to illumine and perfect the art of Surgery. I have
been so prodigal of myself, my toil, my powers, that I have not
spared time, working night and day, nor money." — Fare's dedication
of his Works to the King : first edition, 1575.

IT is certain Pare loved peace, and loved Paris.
" I returned to Paris," he says again and again ;
thankful to get back to his wife and his work there,
" Truly I repented to have left Paris. . . . To
speak truth, I could have wished myself back in
Paris. ... I was very glad to be at liberty, out
of the noise of the artillery, and far from the sol-
diers." Turin, Metz, Hesdin, La F^re, — at all of
them he worked hard, and took his chance of death,
even of torture ; and at all of them he was longing
to be back again in " this great and famous city of
Paris."

Now, therefore, his Journeys in Diverse Places
157



158 Ambroise Pare



must be set aside, and he must give an account of
himself, not as an army surgeon, but as a citizen of
no mean city, bourgeois de Paris, a peaceful gentle-
man, whose face got to be as well known in the
streets as the face of the King himself, and much
more welcome. It is just half a century, from 1541,
when he qualified as a master barber-surgeon, to
December, 1590, when he died. Half a century of
such a life is too much for one chapter : and it
may be divided at the Massacre of Saint Bartholo-
mew's Day, August 24, 1572. The blood then
shed in Paris was but a small quantity in comparison
with the whole flood poured out over France in the
persecutions, and in the wars of religion ; yet for its
place in history, and for the mark it left on Paris,
this one of many massacres of the Huguenots is a
good dividing-point of Fare's hfe. He himself was
in the midst of it : and it nearly coincides with that
other break in his life, the death of Jehanne Mazelin,
in 1573. So this chapter tells the story of the years
1 541-1572: from the time he became qualified to
practice, to the day he stood by the bed-side of
his old friend Coligny, and heard Coligny's murderers
come howling round the house.

Starting in Practice.
In 1 54 1, Ambroise Pare had come back from his
first sight of war, had dined with Sylvius, had told




H

S :

OT S

H ^

IS z

O w

eu u

13 <

Q '

« -!;

P-i <;

H "

""- I

O
C

Ph



Paris 159

him how hot oil was not good for gunshot wounds,
and had been urged by Sylvius to write a book on
the subject.* He was thirty-one years old, qualified,
and without a wife : and he lived at the end of the
Pont Saint-Michel, not far from his old hospital, in
the parish of Saint Andr6 des Arcs.

His lodging was at one corner of a little open
place, called Place Saint Michel Archange : on the
ground floor of a little house running far back. He
had two fair-sized rooms, with the staircase between
them ; and being on the ground floor he had to open
the door for any belated fellow-lodger or strayed
reveller. At the back of the house was a cold, dark
little courtyard, with kitchen and woodshed. f The

* The book was published in 1545. A copy of it (i 551 edition)
presented to the King, or to Diane de Poitiers, is, or was ten years
ago, in the possession of Mr. Quaritch. See Quaritch's General
Catalogue, 1887, vol. ii., p. 1234 : n° 12876. "Pare (Ambroise) La
Maniere de Traicter les Playes faictes tat par hacquebutes que par
fleches , . . sm. 8vo. {\2mo) printed ott vellum, with numerous
initials and woodcuts of surgical instruments and their uses, all
richly painted and illuminated, the presentation copy to Diane de
Poitiers in the original calf-binding repaired, with a grand geometrical
or architectonic pattern in gold on the sides, the back covered with
gilt tooling, unique, in an olive morocco case, ;^300. Paris, 1551.
There is no mark on the binding, except its beauty and its age, that
indicates possession by the famous Diane : but in cadres within the
illuminated border of the title-page, the three crescents and the
interlacing H and QD are wrought in silver upon a blue ground ;
and the style of the ornament is that usually adopted by her binder.
This unique vellum copy is the dedication-copy to Henri II."

f M. Emile Begin gives these details : on the authority of the



i6o Ambroise Pare



streets round the house were crowded, crooked, and
only five or six feet across : the river, without quay
or parapet, and the sewers, kept everything damp


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryStephen PagetAmbroise Paré and his times, 1510-1590 → online text (page 9 of 18)