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date: 28 February 2021

Moore [later Carrick-Moore], Jamesfree

  • Deborah Brunton

Moore [later Carrick-Moore], James (1762–1860), surgeon and biographer, was born on 21 December 1762 in Glasgow, the son of John Moore (1729–1802), physician and writer, and Jean (1735–1820), daughter of John Simson, professor of divinity at Glasgow University. Moore followed his father into medicine and studied in Edinburgh, and in London as a pupil and later house surgeon at St George's Hospital. He served as an army medical officer in 1781 during the American War of Independence, and returned to Britain in early 1782. By 1784 Moore had become a member of the Surgeons' Company of London, and had set up in practice in the city. He later also held the post of surgeon to the 2nd regiment of Life Guards. Moore married a daughter of John Henderson, a distinguished actor, and had at least three children.

Moore published on a variety of topics in both medicine and surgery, including a speculative work on the processes of wound healing, a critical survey of William Cullen's categorization of drugs, and an analysis of quack medicine. In A Method of Preventing or Diminishing Pain in Several Operations of Surgery (1784) he described experiments to induce anaesthesia by compressing the nerves in the arm and leg, a technique which was successfully used by John Hunter. Moore's most significant contribution to medicine came through his involvement in the new practice of vaccination. Around the turn of the century Moore took part in debates over the safety and immunity conferred by the procedure. As a result he met Edward Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination, and joined Jenner's circle of friends and allies. In 1806 Moore defended the new practice in two pamphlets, A Reply to the Antivaccinists and Remarks on Mr. Birch's Serious Reasons for Uniformly Objecting to the Practice of Vaccination. The following year he published a satirical pamphlet, Pethox parvus: dedicated, without permission, to the remnant of the blind priests of that idolatry (1807), under the pseudonym Iconoclastus. In these works Moore argued that introducing a vaccine, produced from cowpox, into the human body did not induce bovine diseases, and that the procedure conferred permanent immunity to smallpox. After the initial dispute had died down, Moore helped to consolidate support for vaccination by publishing A History of Smallpox (1812), reminding the public of the dangers of the disease, and A History of Vaccination (1817), a comprehensive account of the history of the practice. Through Jenner's patronage Moore was appointed assistant director to the new National Vaccine Establishment in 1808, and on Jenner's rapid resignation he became director of the institution. During his tenure Moore ensured that the establishment fulfilled its remit to provide free vaccination and a guaranteed supply of vaccine lymph, and to investigate cases where vaccination had apparently failed to prevent smallpox. After 1821 Moore gradually gave up his medical practice. In that year he inherited, through his wife, the property of Robert Carrick, a wealthy Glasgow banker, including land in south-west Scotland. He then adopted the name Carrick-Moore.

Moore probably achieved his greatest fame as the biographer of his elder brother, Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, who died at the battle of Corunna in 1809. Shortly after his death Moore published A Narrative of the Campaign of the British Army in Spain (1809), incorporating letters and extracts from his brother's journals, which defended John Moore's role in the action. In 1833 he also produced a lively two-volume Life of Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. Carrick-Moore died on 1 June 1860 at 9 Clarges Street, London.



  • BL, corresp. with second earl of Liverpool, Add. MSS 38243, 38321, 38571, passim

Wealth at Death

under £40,000—in UK: probate, 1860, CGPLA Eng. & Wales

, 63 vols. (1885–1900), suppl., 3 vols. (1901); repr. in 22 vols. (1908–9); 10 further suppls. (1912–96); (1993)
R. Chambers, ed., (1832–5) [1st edn; many edns to 1875]
British Library, London
Calendars of the grants of probate … made in … HM court of probate [England and Wales]
J. Irving, ed., (1881)