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John Abercrombie


1780 - 1844

Physician and medical scientist. Born in Aberdeen, the son of a local minister, Abercrombie was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School, Marischal College (Aberdeen) and the University of Edinburgh. He failed in his application for the Chair of Medicine at Edinburgh on the death of James Gregory (1753 - 1821), despite excellent qualifications. However, he was appointed Physician to the King in Scotland, and went on to build a successful and lucrative medical practice in Edinburgh.

He published prodigiously on pathology and also in the field of philosophy, producing works such as Inquiries concerning the Intellectual Powers and the Investigation of Truth (1820) and The Philosophy of the Moral Feelings (1833), together with a Treatise on the Moral Condition of the Lower Classes in Edinburgh.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (1804), a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1823) and the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1831), serving as a Vice President of the latter 1835-44.

Abercrombie died at his home in York Place in Edinburgh's New Town and lies buried in St. Cuthbert's kirkyard.


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