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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Henrion, Nicolas

< Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography

HENRION, Nicolas, French scientist, b. in Montpellier in 1733; d. in Paris in October, 1793. He studied botany in Paris under Jussieu, and by his recommendation was sent in 1780 to South America to study the medicinal plants of Chili and Peru, and to bring to France some of the best specimens for acclimation in the Paris botanical gardens. He landed in Concepcion in October, 1780, and in two years he had collected over 1,500 of the plants of Chili. He crossed to Peru in 1783, but had scarcely arrived at Callao when the Asiatic cholera broke out there. He was at once appointed chief physician of the city, and, by thoroughly disinfecting every building and pulling down unhealthy houses, succeeded in abating the disease. He refused all rewards except letters of nobility that were granted to himself and his descendants. Having made a complete collection of the plants of Peru, Henrion was about to sail for France in 1785 with an herbarium numbering over 2,300 specimens, when the governor-general opposed his leaving, and offered him every inducement to make Peru his home, but without success. Henrion was then required to present to the Spanish government a complete memoir about the Peruvian mines of silver and sulphur, and was occupied in his investigation till 1787, when he was allowed to sail. In 1791 Henrion went to the United States by order of the French government to study the medicinal plants of the country. He had scarcely landed in Bordeaux, on his return in 1793, when he was arrested on suspicion of being a royalist, transported to Paris, and put to death. Henrion published “Mémoire sur le cholera du Callao” (Paris, 1788); “Herbier expliqué des plantes du Chile” (3 vols., 1788); “Mémoire sur les mines d'argent et de sulphure du Pérou” (1789); “Herbier expliqué des plantes du Pérou” (2 vols., 4to, 1790); and “Plan de mineralogie du Pérou” (1790).