In Pare’s time the armies of Europe were not regularly equipped with a medical service. The great nobles were accompanied by their private physicians; the common soldiers doctored themselves, or used the services of barber-surgeons and quacks who accompanied the army as adventurers. “When Pare joined the army” says Paget, “he went simply as a follower of Colonel Montejan, having neither rank, recognition, nor regular payment. His fees make up in romance for their irregularity: a cask of wine, fifty double ducats and a horse, a diamond, a collection of crowns and half-crowns from the ranks, other honorable presents and of great value’; from the King himself, three hundred crowns, and a promise he would never let him be in want; another diamond, this time from the finger of a duchess: and a soldier once offered a bag of gold to him.”
When Pare was a man of seventy, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in Paris made an attack on him on account of his use of the ligature instead of cauterizing after amputation. In answer, Pare appealed to his successful experience, and narrated the “Journeys in Diverse Places” here printed. This entertaining volume gives a vivid picture, not merely of the condition of surgery in the sixteenth century, but of the military life of the time; and reveals incidentally a personality of remarkable vigor and charm. Pare’s own achievements are recorded with modest satisfaction: “I dressed him, and God healed him,” is the refrain. Pare died in Paris in December, 1590.
[Footnote: The present translation is taken from Mr. Stephen Paget’s “Ambroise Pare and His Times” by arrangement with Messrs. G. P. Putnam’s Sons.]
I will here shew my readers the towns and places where I found a way to learn the art of surgery: for the better instruction of the young surgeon.
And first, in the year 1536, the great King Francis sent a large army to Turin, to recover the towns and castles that had been taken by the Marquis du Guast, Lieutenant-General of the Emperor. M. the Constable, then Grand Master, was Lieutenant-General of the army, and M. de Montejan was Colonel-General of the infantry, whose surgeon I was at this time. A great part of the army being come to the Pass of Suze, we found the enemy occupying it; and they had made forts and trenches, so that we had to fight to dislodge them and drive them out. And there were many killed and wounded on both sides,—but the enemy were forced to give way and retreat into the castle, which was captured, part of it, by Captain Le Rat, who was posted on a little hill with some of his soldiers, whence they fired straight on the enemy. He received an arquebus-shot in his right ankle, and fell to the ground at once, and then said, “Now they have got the Rat.” I dressed him, and God healed him.