Gregory, John

, professor of medicine in the university of Edinburgh, was born at Aberdeen in 1724. He was the third son of James Gregory, M. D. professor of medicine in King’s college, Aberdeen, by Anne, daughter of the rev. George Chalmers, principal of King’s college there. His grandfather was David Gregory of Kinardie, and his grand-uncle the James Gregory, whose life we have first given, the inventor of the reflecting telescope. Though the father of Dr. John Gregory died when he was very young, his education was carefully superintended, and he made a rapid progress in his studies, and like the rest of his ancestors became deeply versed in mathematical knowledge. He also cultivated an elegant and just taste, clearness -and beauty of expression, with precision of judgment, and extensive knowledge. He was the early, intimate, and constant friend and associate of Drs. Gerard, Beattie, and the other eminent men who belonged to the university of Aberdeen. In 1742, he went to Edinburgh, to prosecute the study of medicine, and thence to Leyden in 1745, and to Paris in 1746, for further improvement. On his return he was appointed professor of philosophy in King’s college, Aberdeen, and had at the same time the degree of M. D. conferred upon him. He held this professorship for a few years. In 1754, he went to London, where he. cultivated the acquaintance, and fixed the esteem and friendship of' some of the most distinguished literati there. Edward Montague, esq. an eminent mathematician, maintained a firm friendship for the doctor, founded on a similarity of manners and studies. His, lady the celebrated Mrs. Montague? and George lord Lyttelton, were of the number of his friends; and it is not improbable that he would have continued in London, and practised there in his profession, if the death of his brother Dr. James Gregory, professor of physic in King’s college, Aberdeen, in 1756, had not occasioned his being recalled to his native university to fill that chair. His occupations in physic now began to be active; he gave a course of lectures in physic, and practised in his profession, with great success. In the | above-mentioned year, while at London, he was elected a fellow of the royal society. In 1766, on the death of Dr. Robert Whytt, the ingenious professor of the theory of physic at Edinburgh, Dr. Gregory was called to succeed him, as his majesty’s first physician in Scotland; and about the same time he was chosen to fill the chair of professor of the practice of physic, which was just resigned by Dr. Rutherford. Dr. Gregory gave three successive courses of practical lectures. Afterwards by agreement with his ingenious colleague, Dr. Cullen, they lectured alternate sessions, on the practice and institutions of medicine, with just and universal approbation, till the time of Dr. Gregory’s death.

The doctor having attained the first dignities of his profession in his native country, and the most important medical station in the university, far from relaxing from that attention to the duties of his profession which had raised him, endeavoured to merit the rank he held in it, and in the public esteem, by still greater exertions of labour and assiduity. It was during this time of business and occupation, that he prepared and published his practical Syllabus for the use of students, which, if it had been finished, would have proved a very useful book of practice; and likewise, those admired “Lectures on the Duties, Office, and Studies of a Physician.

Dr. Gregory, for many years before his death, felt the approach of disease, and apprehended, from an hereditary and cruel gout, the premature death, which indeed too soon put a period to his life and usefulness. In this anxious expectation, he had prepared “A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters.” But for some days, and even that preceding his death, he had been as well as usual; at midnight, he was left in good spirits by Dr. Johnstone, late physician in Worcester, at that time his clinical clerk; yet at nine o’clock in the morning of the 10th of February, 1773, he was found dead in his bed.

Dr. Gregory was tall in person, and remarkable for the sweetness of his disposition and countenance, as well as for the ease and openness of his manners. He was an universal and elegant scholar, an experienced, learned, sagacious, and humane physician a professor, who had the happy talent of interesting his pupils, and of directing their attention to subjects of importance, and of explaining difficulties with simplicity and clearness. He entered with | great warmth into the interests and conduct of his hearers, and gave such as deserved it every encouragement and assistance in his power: open, frank, social, and undisguised in his life and manners, sincere in his friendships, a tender husband and father: and an unaffected, cheerful, candid, benevolent man.

Dr. Gregory married in 1752, Elizabeth, daughter of William lord Forbes: he lost this amiable lady in 1761 she left the doctor three sons and three daughters. His eldest son, James Gregory, M. D. now professor of medicine in Edinburgh, is likely to perpetuate the honours of this learned family, which has given sixteen professors to British universities.

Dr. Gregory published: 1. “Comparative View of the state and faculties of Man with those of the Animal World,” 8vo. This work was first read to a private literary society at Aberdeen, and without the most distant view to publication. Many hints are thrown out in it on subjects of consequence, with less formality, and more freedom, than if publication had been originally intended. The author put his name to the second edition of this work many additions are also joined to it and it is dedicated to George lord Lyttelton, who always professed a high esteem for the author and his writings. This work, indeed, if the author had left no other, must convince every one, that, as a man of science, he possessed extensive knowledge, exquisite taste and judgment, and great liberality of mind. 2. 4 * Observations on the duties and offices of a Physician, and on the method of prosecuting inquiries in Philosophy,“1770, 8vo, published by one who heard the professor deliver them, in lectures; but they were acknowledged, and republished in a more correct form, by the author, in the same year. 3.Elements of the practice of Physic for the use of Students," 1772, repubiished 1774, and intended as a text book, to be illustrated by his lectures on the practice of physic; but he died before he had finished it, and before he had finished the first course of lectures which he gave on that text.

The doctor’s death happened while he was lecturing on the pleurisy. His son, Dr. James Gregory, finished that course of lectures, to the general satisfaction of the university and published in 1774, a small tract of his father’s, entitled “A Father’s Legacy to his Daughters” which was written solely for their use (about eight years before | the author died) with the tenderest affection, and deepest concern for their happiness. This work evinces great knowledge of human nature, and of the world, and manifests such solicitude for their welfare as strongly recommends the advice which he gives. In 1788, all his works were published together in 4 vols. 8vo, with a life of himself, and an account of his family. 1

1 Life prefixed to his Works, and in the Manchester Memoirs, 1786.