Dr. David Livesey /ˈlɪvsɪ/ is a fictional character in the novel Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. As well as doctor he is amagistrate, an important man in the rural society of south-west England where the story begins; his social position is marked by his always wearing a white wig - even in the harsh conditions of the island where the story later takes place.
Some years previously, he had been in the British army which fought (and lost) the 1745 Battle of Fontenoy.
The doctor's first appearance in the book is when he comes to the "Admiral Benbow". There he demonstrates his courage and strength of character when the pirate Billy Bones attempts to bully him. On Bones's subsequent death and the discovery of the treasure map, Dr. Livesey is soon in with Squire Trelawney's plans to recover Flint's hoard. Dr. Livesey is much the cooler-headed of the two and would have kept the purpose of the Hispaniola's voyage secret if he had had his way.
When Jim Hawkins discovers the pirates' plot, it is to the doctor that he goes to see. Livesey keeps his head in the crisis and lets none of the crew see that he has just been given dreadful news. Thanks to his cool temperament, he, Captain Alexander Smollett, and the squire are able to plan their escape with the few men they can trust. The doctor himself narrates their subsequent flight from the ship and the establishing of their camp in the old stockade on the island.
Later, when Silver and the pirates attack, the doctor fights well (he is a battle-hardened veteran, having served at Fontenoy as a younger man) and, with Captain Smollett wounded, takes responsibility for the safety of the expedition. Acting on Jim's account of his earlier adventures, he goes to find Ben Gunn and succeeds in winning the castaway's loyalty, no doubt helped by the fortunate circumstance of having a small Parmesan cheese in his possession (a foodstuff Gunn has been pining for through three years of living on goat meat). He negotiates a truce with Silver by surrendering the treasure map which he (but not Silver) now knows to be useless, and during the consequent fight at the site of the plundered cache he arrives opportunely to orchestrate the rescue of Jim and, as it turns out, Silver.
Doctor Livesey, though at one point earning a merited rebuke from Captain Smollett for inattention to his post, likely has the largest share of the credit for the expedition's success. He can very well be considered the hero of the story. Without him the whole expedition would have been a disaster.
Devoted to his Hippocratic Oath, Dr. Livesey feels duty-bound to treat wounded and ill pirates, even though they are enemies who tried to kill him and might try again.
Robert Stevenson does not describe Dr Livesey, he lets the Dr describe himself in actions. He is intelligent, brave and cool-headed; qualities which win the day against the cunning and ruthlessness of his formidable adversary Silver.