« AnteriorContinuar »
IN HIS OWN WORDS.
HIS LATE SURGEON.
IN TWO VOLS.-VOL. II.
H. C. CAREY AND I. LEA, CHESNUT STREET.
21st April, 1817.-NAPOLEON has been for some clays in very good spirits. On Saturday, the 19th, some captains of East Indiamen came to see Count and Countess Bertrand. Captains Innes, Campbell, and Ripsley, with Mr. Webb, stationed themselves at the back of the house in such a situation as to be likely to see Napoleon on his return from Bertrand's, where he had gone about four o'clock. Napoleon beckoned to, and conversed with them for nearly an hour, during which he asked many questions about India, the East India Company, Lord Moira, their own profits, &c.; and to the commodore, who had a very youthful appearance, in a laughing manner he observed, that he was a child, and ought to be ashamed of commanding captains so much older than himself.
Asked the emperor whether it was at Lodi or Arcola that he had seized the standard, and precipitated himself amongst the enemy's troops. He replied, cola, not Lodi. At Arcola I was slightly wounded; but at Lodi no such circumstance occurred. Why do you ask? Do you think me lâche ?” said he, laughing. I begged to assure him of any thorough conviction of the contrary, which was too well known to be doubted; and that it was merely to solve a difference of opinion
which had occurred between some of us English who had not the means of procuring at St. Helena any books to satisfy us at which of the two it had occurred, that I had taken the liberty to ask him. “ Those things," said he, with a smile, " are not worth mentioning."
Had a long conversation with him on medical subjects. He appeared to entertain an idea that in cases purely the province of the physician, the patient has an equal chance of being despatched to the other world, either by the physician mistaking the complaint, or by the remedies administered operating in a different manner from what was intended and expected, and was for trusting entirely to nature. With respect to surgery, he professed a far different opinion, and acknowledged the great utility of that science. I endeavoured to convince him, that in some complaints, nature was a bad physician, and mentioned in proof of my argument the exampler which had taken place under his own eyes of the cases of Countess Montholon, General Gourgaud, Tristan, and others; who if left to nature, would have gone to the other world. I observed that in practice we always had a certain object in view, and never prescribed remedies without first having considered well what we had to expect from their operation. Napoleon, however, was sceptical; and inclined to think that if they had taken no medicine, maintained strict abstinence from every thing except plenty of diluents, they would have done equally well. However, after having heard all my arguments, he said, “ well, perhaps if ever I have a serious malady, I may change my opinion, take all your medicines, and do what you please. I should like to know what sort of patient I should make, or whether I should be tractable, or otherwise. I am inclined to think the former.” I reasoned with him afterwards about inflammation of the lungs, and asked him if he thought that nature, if left to herself, would effect a cure in that complaint. He appeared a little staggered at this at first; but after asking me what were the remedies, to which I replied that venesection was the sheetanchor, he said, “ that complaint belongs to the surgeon, because he cures it with his lancet, and not to the phy