US Congressman. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1869, and was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He practiced law off and on for 5 years, and from 1871 to 1875 he was a member of the United States Geological Survey that explored Yellowstone Park. He was a member of the the 1st Philadelphia City Troop, Pennsylvania National Guard, and in December 1881 he became the Judge Advocate of the 1st Brigade, Pennsylvania National Guard. He was later named a Colonel on the Staff of Governor James Beaver. From 1883 to 1887 he served as a Senator in the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he championed the Bullitt Bill, which produced the Philadelphia City Charter in 1885. In 1884 he had graduated from the Wharton School of Economy and Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, a move he took to better prepare himself for public political life. In April 1889 he was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison as United States Minister to Brazil, a post he served in until July 1890, when he resigned due to the ill effects the wet climate had on his health. In December 1893 he was elected as a Republican to represent Pennsylvania's 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, filling the vacancy caused by the death of Charles O'Neill. He would spend the next twelve and a half years representing a constituency that included residents of Rittenhouse Square and the Mayfair section of Philadelphia. His nadir in Congress would come in the hours preceding the start of the Spanish-American War. Previously named to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he often acted as chairman in the stead of Illinois Congressman Robert R. Hitt, who was frequently absent due to bouts of ill health. When the battleship "USS Maine" blew up in Havana Harbor, Cuba in February 1898, and the United States and Spain were escalating tensions towards war, resolutions debated and confirmed in Congress that declared the recognition of Cuban independence and the authorization of use of American troops to free Cuba were drawn up and introduced by Congressman Adams, who then pushed it through the Foreign Relations committee in a single hour. Financial troubles dogged him in the later stages of his life, and made him increasingly despondent in the spring of 1906. On June 1, 1906 he committed suicide in his apartment in Washington, DC. John Edgar Reyburn, who had served three previous terms in Congress, and would become Mayor of Philadelphia the next year, was elected to serve out Robert Adams' Congressional term.
Bio by: RPD2