Joseph Adams, M.D., was the youngest son of a respectable apothecary in Basinghall-street, and was born in 1756. After an apprenticeship to his father he entered to the practice of St. Bartholomew’s hospital, and attended the lectures of John Hunter, Mr. Pott, and Dr. William Saunders. He then commenced business as an apothecary, in the city, but the duties of such an office were distasteful to his feelings, and having obtained a diploma from Aberdeen dated 27 th February, 1796, creating him doctor of medicine, he was induced, on the recommendation of Dr. Saunders, to settle at Madeira as a physician. Previously thereto he presented himself at the College of Physicians, and was admitted an Extra-Licentiate 17th March, 1796.
His success at Madeira was equal to his most sanguine expectations. He remained there some years, and returning to England and settling in London, was elected on the 23rd April, 1805, physician to the Small Pox hospital. For this office he was peculiarly fitted by his former studies. Morbid poisons had been the chief subject of his investigations, and he had been from the first a warm advocate of vaccination. Dr. Adams was admitted a Licentiate of the College of Physicians 26th June, 1809; and died from the effects of a broken leg on the 20th June, 1818, in the sixty-second year of his age. He was buried with his ancestors in Bunhill-fields with the simple motto, "Vir justus et bonus."
He was the author of—
Observations on Morbid Poisons, Phagedena, and Cancer. 8vo. Lond. 1795.
Observations on the Cancerous Breast. 8vo. Lond. 1801.
A Guide to the Island of Madeira; with an account of Funchal, and instructions to those who resort thither for their Health. 8vo. Lond. 1801.
An Account of the Lazaretto in Madeira, and on Leprosy. 4to.
Answer to the Objections hitherto made against the Cowpox. 8vo. Lond. 1805.
A Popular View of Vaccine Inoculation with the Practical Mode of Conducting it: showing the Analogy between the Smallpox and Cowpox, and the Advantages of the latter. 12mo. Lond. 1807.
An Inquiry into Epidemics; with Remarks on the Plans lately proposed for exterminating the Smallpox. 8vo. Lond. 1820.
Reports from the Royal Colleges of the United Kingdom in favour of Vaccination. 8vo. Lond. 1811.
Syllabus of a Course of Lectures on the Institutes and Practice of Medicine. 8vo. Lond. 1811.
A Philosophical Dissertation on Hereditary Peculiarities of the Human Constitution. 8vo. Lond. 1814.
An Illustration of Mr. Hunter’s Doctrine concerning the Life of the Blood: in answer to the Edinburgh Reviewers. 8vo. Lond. 1814.
Memoirs of the Life and Doctrines of the late John Hunter, esq. 8vo. Lond. 1816.