Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Smith, Aquilla

SMITH, AQUILLA, M.D. (1806–1890), Irish antiquary, born at Nenagh, co. Tipperary, on 28 April 1806, was the youngest child of William Smith of that town, and of Catherine Doolan, his wife. He received his education first at private schools in Dublin, and afterwards at Trinity College. He embraced the medical profession, in which his career was distinguished. He received the degree of M.D. honoris causa from his university in 1839, was king's professor of materia medica and pharmacy in the school of physic from 1864 to 1881, and from 1851 to 1890 represented the Irish College of Physicians on the council of medical education.

Smith was an active member of the Royal Irish Academy from 1835 until his death in 1890, and was reckoned in his lifetime the best authority on Irish coins, of which he was a large collector. At his death his collection of Irish coins and tokens was acquired by the academy for 350l. The Numismatic Society acknowledged his services by conferring its medal upon him in 1884. Smith was a copious writer on antiquarian subjects, mainly numismatics. His more important contributions to the department of archæology were published in the ‘Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ 1839–53; ‘Transactions of the Kilkenny Archæological Society,’ 1852–63; the ‘Numismatic Chronicle,’ 1863–83, and by the Irish Archæological Society. Of his papers on medical topics, the most valuable is his account of the ‘Origin and Early History of the College of Physicians in Ireland,’ published in the ‘Journal of Medical Science’ (vol. xix.).

[Memoir by J. W. M., privately published; private information.]

C. L. F.