Bloch, Mark Eliezer

, an eminent naturalist, and a Jew hy birth, was born at Anspech, in 1723, of very poor parents. He began to study very late at the age of nineteen, he knew neither German or Latin, and had read only some of the writings of the Rabbis, notwithstanding which, he was employed as a tutor in the family of a Jew surgeon at Hamburgh. There he himself was taught German, and a poor Bohemian Catholic gave him some instructions in Latin; he picked up also some knowledge of anatomy. Afterwards he made rapid progress in regaining lost time, and having removed to live with some relations he had at Berlin, he applied himself with eagerness and success to the study of anatomy and natural history, and received a doctor’s degree at Francfort on the Oder, with which he returned to practise as a physician at Berlin. Here the celebrated naturalist Martini procured him to be elected a member of the society of the “Curious in nature,” and he soon became highly distinguished among the scientific men of his time. He died Aug. 6, 1799, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. His principal work was his “Natural history of Fishes, particularly those of the Prussian states,” four parts, Berlin, 1781 and 1782, large 4to. He wrote afterwards a “Natural history of foreign Fishes,Berlin, 1784, and “The natural history of German Fishes,1782. These different works, of which the descriptions are in German, were afterwards united under the title of “Ichthyology, or the natural history of Fishes,Berlin, 1785, 12 vols. 4to, published by subscription, in seventy-two parts; the text was translated into French by Laveaux, and was published in 12 vols. fol. and reprinted in 1795. This is unquestionably one of the most splendid books in natural history, but the author, who had begun to have his drawings, engravings, and the colouring executed at his own expence, never could have completed it, had not his countrymen considered it as a national work, and princes, nobles, and amateurs, came forward with the most liberal assistance, and enabled him to finish the last six volumes upon the same scale of elegance as the former. The French edition in 12 vols. 8vo, Berlin, 1796, is greatly inferior to the former. Block | wrote also, a “Treatise on the generation of worms in the intestines, and on the method of destroying them,” which gained the prize offered by the royal society of Denmark, and was printed at Berlin, 1782, 4to, and a “Treatise on the waters of Pyrmont,” both in German, Hamburgh, 1774, 8vo. 1


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