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Vassal, Pierre Gerard

A French physician and Masonic writer, who was born at Manosques, in France, October 24, 1769. He was intended by his parents for the Church, and entered the Seminary of Marseilles for the purpose of pursuing his ecclesiastical studies. At the commencement of the revolution he left the School and joined the army, where, however, he remained only eighteen months.

He then applied himself to the study of medicine, and pursued the practice of the profession during the rest of his life, acquiring an extensive reputation as a physician.

He was elected a member of several medical societies, to whose transactions he contributed several valuable essays. He is said to have introduced to the profession the use of the Digitalis purpurea (dried leaves of the foxglove plant) as remedial agent, especially in diseases of the heart.

He was initiated into Freemasonry about the year 1811, and thenceforth took an active part in the Institution.

He presided in the Lodge, Chapter, and Areopagus of the Sept Ecossais Runis, meaning in French the Seven Reunited Scottish, with great zeal and devotion; was in 1819 elected ,Secretary-General of the Grand Orient, and in 1827 President of the College of Rites He attained the Thirty-third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and was a warm advocate of Scottish Freemasonry. But his zeal was tempered by his judgment, and he did not hesitate to denounce the errors that had crept into the system, an impartiality of criticism which greatly surprised Ragon.

His principal Masonic worlds are Essai historique sur l'institution du RitEcossais, or HistoricalEssay on the Institution of the Scottish Rite, Paris, 1827, and a valuable historical contribution to Freemasonry entitled Cours complet de la Maonnerie, ou Histoire gnrale de Initiation depuis son Origine jusque' son institution en France, or Complete Course of Masonry, or General History of Initiation since its Origin up to its Institution in France, Paris, 1832. In private life, Vassal was distinguished for his kind heart and benevolent disposition. The Lodge of Sept Ecossais Reunis presented him a medal in 1830 as a recognition of his active labors in Freemasonry. He died May 4, 1840, at Paris.

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