Joseph Black (1728-1799)

Minutes of the life and character of Joseph Black M.D.

    M. D. Addressed to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

                           [Read Aug. 3. 1801.]

THE merits of studious men are to be estimated by the aids
they have given to the advancement of science, or the lite-
rary monuments they have left with posterity; but if the public
be gratified by their labours in these respects, readers are gene-
rally willing also to be told, who and whence they were.

JOSEPH BLACK, the person to whom these minutes relate,
successively Professor in the Universities of Glasgow and of
Edinburgh, Member of this Society, and of other royal and.
public institutions in Europe; having made important dis-
coveries, and having laid the foundations of many others, to-
wards erecting a fabric of science, which has since been raised to-
a considerable height; and having been himself distinguished for
modesty and felicity of manners, as well as correctness of under-
standing, and ingenuity of research,—will, it is hoped, be thought
worthy of notice on these accounts. He was born on the banks
of the Garrone, in France, in the year 1728. His parents were
Irish and Scots. His father, JOHN BLACK, a native of Belfast in
Ireland, was fettled in the wine-trade at Bourdeaux. His mo-
ther was a daughter of ROBERT GORDON, of the family of Hal-
head in Aberdeenshire, who was likewise fettled in the fame
trade, and at the same place, and in consequence of his success,
was enabled to purchase, with additions, the estate of his elder