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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada


H F 21


Linda M. Hoad

September, 1972

Fortress of Louisbourg


The assignment which led to the preparation of this report was originally limited to biographical studies of Jean Baptiste Martin Lagrange and Louis Bertin, surgeons major at Louisbourg. As research progressed, it became evident that there was a vast amount of information about surgery and surgeons in Ile Royale that an analysis of this material would be required in order to clarify the nature of the surgeon major's position. In many instances, detailed documentation vas found which did not concern beyond the subjects of the original study, so it was decided that a general introduction to the biographies should written including this information and  pertinent secondary source material.

The report, then, is divided into three sections. The first consists of a brief history a the development e surgery in France until the 18th century, a discussion of medical services available in Ile Royale with special emphasis on the role e the surgeon major, together with a discussion of the diseases encountered, and the remedies and surgical instruments available in 18th century Ile Royale.

Part II is the biography of Jean Baptiste Martin Lagrange, surgeon major at Louisbourg from 1713 to 1716, and from 1724 to 1736 or 1737.

Part III is the biography of Louis Bertin, surgeon major at Louisbourg from 1737 to 1758.

In these biographies an attempt has been made to determine not only the professional activities of the two men, but also their place in the economic and social life of Louisbourg. It was hoped at the outset to compare the role and position of the two Louisbourg surgeons with that of surgeons in France and Canada, but lack of information has made this almost impossible. Also, because our knowledge of economic and social life in 18th century Louisbourg is still limited, few firm conclusions could be drawn about the roles played by Lagrange and Bertin in that society. Many of the suggestions or conclusions made in this report all have to be modified as research into the economy and society of the Fortress of Louisbourg progresses.

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