Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brother in law


The descendant of a long line of booksellers and publishers, young Saugrain was born in Paris in 1763 and was brought up to the profession of medicine. Under the eye of Guillotin, study-
ing with the leading doctors and scientists of Paris, he was soon infiniment plus instruit, plus experimente, plus raisonable at plus forme qu'on ne l'est communement a son age. At the age of
nineteen, Guillotin placed his young friend as physician and surgeon with Maxent, a rich merchant-official in Louisiana. On the voyage out he held the position of surgeon-major and started the accumulation of adventures in his life by being held prisoner in Jamaica for seven months. Presently, however, he was able to take over his duties in New Orleans where he exercised them for three years. In this time he made such an excellent impression that when the Count Bernardo de Galvez, governor of Louisiana, was named Viceroy of Mexico, that official asked his father-in-law, Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent, for Saugrain. Galvez then sent the young man back to France to inform himself concerning the latest scientific discoveries and to purchase scientific equipment for the Viceroy. There he remained for a year studying. At the moment of his departure he received news of the death of his patron. It was then, in the midst of his despair
over his future, that he became interested in Guillotin's project and eagerly undertook to do the advance work. With Picque he would examine the western country and, having chosen a loca-
tion, the botanist would remain to watch over the establishment while Saugrain would report in person to Paris. The young man would return in the spring of 1788 with at least half a dozen
of the new colonists, among whom would be Guillotin and his wife, Saugrain's mother and his brother, and a cousin of the Saugrains; others would follow as soon as they could arrange
their affairs. The facts which are summarized here were presented at length by Guillotin in a very interesting letter to Franklin.

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