|Description||Gregory (also spelt Gregorie), the youngest son of James Gregori, Professor of Medicine at King's College, Aberdeen, was born on 3 June 1724 in Aberdeen. Having been educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and King's College, Aberdeen, in 1742 Gregory moved with his mother to Edinburgh, where he studied medicine at the university under Alexander Monro, primus, Andrew Sinclair, and John Rutherford. During his time in Edinburgh Gregory joined the Edinburgh Medical Society and became a close friend of the physician and poet Mark Akenside. |
Following his medical course in Edinburgh, Gregory went to Leiden in 1745 and studied under Gaubius, Albinus, and others. While there he received the degree of MD in 1746 from King's College, Aberdeen. He soon returned to Aberdeen and, in June 1746, was elected regent (professor) of philosophy at King's College, lecturing in mathematics and moral and natural philosophy. At the same time he started to practise medicine in Aberdeen, and in September 1749 he resigned his regentship to concentrate on his practice. On 2 April 1752 he married Elizabeth Forbes. They had three sons, including the physician James Gregory (1753-1821), and three daughters. As medical practice in Aberdeen was mostly in the hands of his brother James, Gregory moved to London in 1754 and it was during this period that he changed the spelling of his name from Gregorie to Gregory. In November 1755 Gregory was elected 'mediciner' at Aberdeen on the death of his brother, and the following year he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.
In 1764 Gregory took his children to Edinburgh, where his practice grew quickly, and he became a celebrity on the publication of A Comparative View. On 5 March 1765 the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh granted him a licence to practise, and on 6 August 1765 he was admitted as a fellow of the college.
In 1766 Gregory was elected professor of the practice of physic at Edinburgh University, and only then was he required to resign his Aberdeen chair. This election was the cause of ill feeling. Rutherford resigned on condition that Gregory, known to be an excellent teacher, was elected in his place, rather than the students' preference, William Cullen, then professor of chemistry. Accordingly Gregory was given an interim appointment and, on 12 February that year, was granted the freedom of the city of Edinburgh. In that same year the chair of the institutes (or theory) of medicine at the university became vacant. Students petitioned that Gregory be transferred to this chair and Cullen be appointed to the chair of the practice of physic. This was refused, and Cullen was appointed to the chair of the institutes of medicine. Between 1767 and 1769 Gregory lectured on the practice of medicine, then in 1769 permission was granted for Cullen and Gregory to give alternate courses on the practice and theory. This unprecedented arrangement continued until Gregory's death. In 1767 Gregory also began lecturing on medical ethics. When he heard that a copy of his lectures had been offered to a bookseller, he published a corrected version, entitled Observations on the Duties and Offices of a Physician and on the Method of Prosecuting Enquiries in Philosophy (1770).
He died in Edinburgh on 9 February 1773.
[Source: Dictionary of National Biography]
Contents: Lectures on the practice of physick, c1770; notes taken from lectures by John Gregory, 1768-c1770; clinical lectures, 1771-1772