Buissière, Paul (DNB00)

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BUISSIÈRE or BUSSIÈRE, PAUL (d. 1739), surgeon and anatomist, was a native of France, and a protestant who had fled his country on account of his religion. Before leaving France he had practised with distinction in the principality of Orange. He settled in the first instance at Copenhagen, then coming over here was naturalised 10 Oct. 1688, and afterwards fixed himself in Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, where he rapidly attained to the highest reputation and success. He was the surgeon who attended Mr. Harley when stabbed at the council table by the Marquis de Guiscard, in March 1710–11; he also attended the assassin after his committal to Newgate, and had the honour of being called in to the consultation on the last illness of Queen Caroline. Lord Hervey, in writing of the last event in November 1737, states that ‘although fourscore years old the king and queen had a great opinion of [Buissière], and preferred [him] to every other man of his profession.’ Buissière was one of the first to introduce a course of lectures on anatomy and physiology into England. He had been admitted a foreign member of the Royal Society on 22 May 1700, but was placed on the home list in 1713, and chosen one of the council in 1719. To the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ he contributed six papers, wholly on anatomical subjects. Other papers from his pen are to be found in the ‘Mémoires’ of the Academy of Sciences, Paris, of which he became a corresponding member in March 1699, and in the ‘Acta Eruditorum.’ He also maintained a scientific correspondence with Sir Hans Sloane, which is still preserved in the archives of the Royal Society. Buissière died at his house in Suffolk Street in January 1738–9 (Probate Act Book, P. C. C. 1739). His will, dated 19 July 1737, was proved 22 Jan. 1738–9. By it he bequeathed the sum of 200l. to the French hospital in London, of which he had been elected governor in 1729 (Burn, Hist. of Foreign Protestant Refugees, p. 183). A portrait of Buissière, presented by his family, is at the Royal Society.

His separate publications were: 1. ‘Lettre à M. Bourdelin pour servir de réponse au sieur Méry sur l'Usage du Trou ovale dans le Fœtus,’ 12mo, Paris, 1700. 2. ‘Nouvelle Déscription anatomique du Cœur des Tortues terrestres de l'Amérique et de ses Vaisseaux,’ 12mo, Paris, 1713. In all that he did Buissière was distinguished by his curious learning and the happy mode in which he handled the most difficult subjects.

[Haag, La France Protestante, deuxième édit. iii. pt. i. 413–14; Agnew's Protestant Exiles, 2nd edit. i. 49, iii. 51, 73; Alban Thomas's List of the Royal Society, 1718; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, iv. 618; Lord Hervey's Memoirs, ii. 505, 507–8; Gent. Mag. vii. 699; Will reg. in P. C. C., 3 Henchman; Weld's Descriptive Cat. of Portraits at Royal Society, p. 12; Biographie Universelle, nouvelle édition, vi. 128–9; Nouvelle Biographie Générale, vii. 758–9; Chalmers's Biog. Dict. ix. 238.]

G. G.