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Stephen Maturin - Biographical Notes

by Liz Bezera

"All the Biographical Information You Can Glean About Stephen Maturin From the Books"  Well, books 1-17.

Book Notes
1 United Irishman-failed rebellion
lost love, Mona
2 a man of some estate in Lérida
Irish father connected with some of the first families
speaks Catalan, Spanish
has a Spanish passport in the name of Joan Margall from Lérida
has a castle just over the Spanish border
plays the flute
has an estate in the mountains with sheep; his main place is near Lérida
speaks French
understands Irish of the seamen without trying to
3 full name is Esteban Maturin y Domanova
lived in France, studied in Paris
"enthusiastic" supporter of the revolution until 1793
United Irishman until the rising
a Fitzgerald on the wrong side of the blanket; adviser to Lord Edward, his cousin
"so chaste that at one time we were liaison-woman of very good family-ended unhappily"
had seen much of Lt. Nicolls in Gibralter years before & had dined together at Chatham
speaks Portuguese
speaks a "trifle of Arabic", enough Hindustani
is taken for a holy man in India
has 15 upper teeth and 14 lower teeth
tells Diana he has £10,000 plus his estate
learning to speak Malay
4 delivered scores of babies as a student at the Rotunda
abhors slavery
5 illegitimate son of Irish officer and Catalan lady
recalls Bligh's botanist, David Nelson, but not Capt. Bligh
has been a prisoner of war, and a prisoner for debt
My favorite quotation: Sophie to Jack: "But if you had heard him speak of wombats-oh, just in passing, and not with any sense of ill-usage-it would have brought tears to your eyes. Oh, Jack, he is so very low."
comments on prisons he's known-filthy in Spain; Lisbon's underground vaults are wetter than the forepeak prison
says he has "no great experience of midwifery"-performs C-section
6 had a cousin Kevin in the Austrian service who died
was a republican in the frothy pride of his youth..."had I been out of coats at the time, I should have joined...@ Bunker Hill. As it was, I cheered the taking of the Bastille."
speaks Greek, Latin
7 goes to Ireland to ride the bounds of cousin Kevin's land which had been confiscated and is now to be restored since he died fighting Bonaparte
when a student in Paris, lodged in a garret in Rue Gît-le-Coeur. Dupuytren lived downstairs-they shared corpses
Kevin's father, Col. Fitzgerald, lived at the Hôtel d-Arpajon-DV also lived there as child
says he's "sadly ignorant of midwifery"
address to the Institut is attended by Cuvier, Latreille, Larrey, Gay-Lussac, etc.
his godfather is Ramon d'Ullastret i Casademon. spent time with him as a child; got his first wolf, bear, eagle's next, desman, genet
had been in several prisons before the Temple, "but they were all underground"
was a student with Larrey
8 I didn't note anything on SM's previous life
9 doesn't eat meat on Fridays
can pass for Irish, Spanish, or French
Laura Fielding reminds him of his first love-slim, with dark red hair
not rich
not very good at drawing teeth
chews khat
finds out he's richer than he thought
spent a long time in a Spanish prison sharing cell with a card-sharp
doesn't speak German
as a youth, promised his godfather never to touch dice again after being rescued from "a sad scrape." sticks to cards.
10 says he's never learned the knack of pulling teeth
"moderately fluent in Portuguese"
poor, slow at arithmetic
speaks Irish with Padeen
likes his coffee made the Arabian way
once met a pugilist named Henry Pearce, the Game Chicken, but missed seeing him fight Thomas Cribb
has not read Dr. Darwin's Zoonomia
11 plays a "gentle lament" he learned from Hempson, the great harper of the world, aged 104, in the city of Cork
met Croker, new Admiralty secretary, years ago in Ireland at Trinity College
his cousin Thaddeus Fitzgerald, and three others, all soldiers (England, Austria, Spain). News of Pamela, Lord Edward's widow
says his godfather was Don Ramón; he's now rich
the Catalan of his youth more familiar than the Irish of his childhood
12 his godfather was his father's particular friend, his mother's third cousin one removed, "the last of his wealthy race"
his godfather's great-great-grandmother lived at Avila, and knew St. Theresa
brought up on the shores of the Mediterranean
duelling at Trinity College- went out a score of times his first year
highest point he ever reached on land was Maladetta, on a mule from Benasque
13 recognizes Robert Gough, a United Irishman, on snow they're chasing. they were both for Irish government & Catholic emancipation
was opposed to violence & helping French tyranny
shocked by the 1798 defeat of the rising and the loss of his sweetheart-felt terribly low at the point when he met Jack
says a Rosary
his first contacts with naval intelligence were with John Somerville, after his early days in the Sophie
has used only sporting guns and muskets, not rifles
at audience with Sultan, wears scarlet robes and hood of an MD
14 after his parents' deaths, spent much of his childhood and youth in Spain, living with various family members, settling with his godfather and cousin Don Ramón
Cosí Francesc & Cosí Eulália he knew as child, adolescent & man
has had smallpox
Irish the first language he spoke-was fostered in County Clare
runs into his cousin James Fitzgerald, a wordly priest, in Sydney
they spent time running about the Galtee mountains from great-uncle's home; last met at the Patriach of Lisbon's
15 smell of pigs part of his childhood-fostered with peasants in the ancient Irish way
in one of his Catalan homes he & his godfather reared a wild boar
his first sight of St. Dabeoc's heath at age 7
the Pyrenean desman a few weeks later
16 met Dutourd 3 or 4 times in Mme. Roland's salon before the war
in 1789 was studying medicine in the wards of the Hôtel-Dieu, running around Paris
studied medicine with Francis Geary, shared corpses from the Liffey & the Seine
has some influence in Rome
has exceptional powers of recollection-can repeat the entire Aeneid, knows the private code by heart
17 is a Fellow of the Royal Society
doctorates from Dublin and Paris
an aunt of his father's is abbess of the Benedictine house in Avila
Aunt Petronilla
offers Padeen a small farm in Munster
his cousin in Corunna, Col don Patricio Fitzgerald y Saavedra
has poor handwriting
over the years, has tried nitrous oxide, hemp, tobacco, bhang, betel, qat, hallucinating cacti, opium, coca
knew Michel Adanson in Paris



Book Publication
  • Tar-Water Reconsidered
  • Suggestions for the Amelioration of Sick-Bays
  • Thoughts on the Prevention of the Diseases most usual among Seamen
  • New Operation for Suprapubic Cystotomy
  • Tractatus de Novae Febris Ingressu
  • a paper on boobies
  • Remarks on Pezophaps Solitarious
  • Modest Proposals for the Preservation of Health in the Navy
  • The Diseases of Seamen
  • Mariners: Consensus and cohesion in certain states of adversity
  • Some remarks on Peruvian cirripedes