Adams, George (1750-1795) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 01
Adams, George (1750-1795)

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ADAMS, GEORGE, the younger (1750–1795), was the son of George Adams [q. v.], the mathematical instrument maker to George III, and succeeded his father in that office and in the superintendence of his business. He was the author of a large number of elementary scientific works, which, according to a writer in the ‘British Critic,’ were so planned as ‘to comprise a regular and systematic instruction in the most important branches of natural science with all its modern improvements.’ He also wrote largely on the use of mathematical instruments, and his books on that subject were highly valued. In politics he was a staunch tory, and as such was received with favour at court by George III. In many of his published works he combined a religious with a scientific aim, and ‘applied all his knowledge,’ says the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ ‘to the best of purposes—to combat the growing errors of materialism, infidelity, and anarchy.’ He died 14 Aug. 1795, at Southampton, and was succeeded in his business and in the post of mathematical instrument maker to the king by his brother, Dudley Adams. His works are: 1. ‘An Essay on Electricity, to which is added an Essay on Magnetism’ (1784). 2. ‘Essays on the Microscope’ (1787). 3. ‘An Essay on Vision, briefly explaining the fabric of the eye’ (1789). 4. ‘Astronomical and Geographical Essays’ (1790). 5. ‘A Short Dissertation on the Barometer’ (1790). 6. ‘Geometrical and Graphical Essays, containing a description of the mathematical instruments used in geometry, civil and military surveying, levelling and perspective’ (1790). 7. ‘Lectures on Natural and Experimental Philosophy,’ in five volumes (1794). To many of Adams's books elaborate plates were published separately, and almost all of them passed through more than one edition.

[Gent. Mag. lxv. 708; A. de Morgan in S.D.U.K. Biog. Dict.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]