American Medical Biographies/Sarrazin, Michel S.

Sarrazin, Michel S. (1659–1734)

Michel S. Sarrazin, physician and naturalist, was born in France in 1659, and came to Canada in 1685. Becoming noted both as a doctor and scientist, he had the honor of being elected member of the French Academy. Moreover, several years after his arrival in Canada he was appointed King's physician for the country, the only bearer of that title in all New France. His salary was a bare 600 livres, without recompence from his patients. Sarrazin was also a member of the Supreme Council of Quebec.

About 1712 he married Marie Anne, the daughter of François Hazeur, fils, and had seven children. He died in Quebec, September 9, 1734, and his widow received a pension from the King; his sons, who were regarded as protégés of the State, were then studying medicine in Paris. He wrote: "Description of the Castor," "Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences" (1704); "A Letter on the Mineral Waters of Cap de la Magdelaine," "Memoris of Trevoux" (1736); "Description of the Water or Musk Rat of America," in Paris "Documents," and a description of the plant which was named for him.

There seems to be some confusion among the botanists as to which Sarrazin the plant Sarracenia was named for. It was first named and described by J. M. Tournefort in "Institutiones rei herbariæ," second edition, Paris, 1700, thus: "Sarracena Canadensis foliis cavis et auritis. Saracenam appelavi a Clarissimo D. Sarrazin, Medicinæ Doctore, Anatomico et Botanico Regio insigni, qui eximiam hanc plantam pro summa qua me complectitur bene volentia e Canada misit." Linnaeus in his Genera Plantarum, 1753, established the genus ascribing it to Tournefort. The latter (on pp. 37, 38) gives great credit to Dr. Jean Antoine Sarrazin for his magnificent edition of Dioscorides and his notes on plants. As no initials are given to this Dr. Sarrazin, many writers have assumed that Dr. Jean Antoine is the one meant. But he was born in Lyons, France, April 25, 1547, and died there November 29, 1598, ten years before Tournefort was born. It was impossible, therefore, for him to have sent the plant to Tournefort.

Some Amer. Med. Botanists, H. A. Kelly, 1914.
The Jesuit Relations, vol. lxvii.
Montreal Med. Jour., June, 1908, vol. xxxvii, p. 424 M. Charlton ("Nicholas" erroneously given for "Michel.")
Biog. Lex. der Hervorr., Aerate, vol. v.
Enclo. Britt., vol. xiii, ed. 1878.