A catalogue of notable Middle Templars, with brief biographical notices/Ball, John
Admitted 18 April, 1837.
Eldest son "Magistri servientis" Ball of Dublin. He is so entered in the Register, but his father was Nicholas Ball, Judge of the Common Pleas in Ireland. He was educated at Oscott College and at Christ's College, Cambridge, where, with Darwin, he attended the lectures of Professor Henslow, which gave an impulse to his tastes for natural science, already strong in him. He passed aa Forty-first Wrangler, but, being a Roman Catholic, could not take a degree. He was called to the Irish Bar in 1845, and in 1846, the year of the potato famine, acted as Assistant Poor Law Commissioner. In 1852 he entered Parliament for Carlow, and in 1855 became Under-Secretary of the Colonies, in which position he was able to advance the cause of science by advocating the expedition under Palliser to explore the Canadian route to the Pacific, and by supporting Sir W. Hooker's efforts to systematize the floras of the British Colonies. In 1858, being defeated at Limerick, he retired from politics, and resumed his scientific studies, pursuing them in the Alps, in Morocco, and South America, and publishing from time to time the results of his researches in the Alpine Guide, and other scientific journals, his best known papers being his Journal of a Tour in Morocco (1878); his Notes of a Naturalist in South America (1887); and his Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers of the Alps (1859). He was, indeed, the first authority on matters relating to the Alps, and was first President of the Alpine Club. He died in Kensington 21 Oct. 1889.