Thomas Adamson (master gunner)

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Thomas Adamson (fl. 1680), was an English master gunner in King Charles II's train of artillery, notable for the 1680 publication of England's Defence, a Treatise concerning Invasion.[1]

Adamson's treatise was based on a work by Thomas Digges, who had been Muster-Master-General to Queen Elizabeth's forces in the Low Countries. Digges' treatise had been leaked to the Earl of Leicester shortly before the attempted Spanish invasion of England in 1588.

When the fear of a French invasion was imminent, Adamson, who hailed from Lancashire, edited this tract with additions of his own, giving an account of ‘such stores of war and other materials as are requisite for the defence of a fort, a train of artillery, and for a magazine belonging to a field army;..’ adding also a list: (1) of the ships of war, (2) of the governors of the garrisons of England, (3) of the lord-lieutenants and high sheriffs of the counties adjacent to the coasts; and concluding his tract by a statement of the wages paid per month to the officers and seamen in the fleet.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography notes that Adamson feared a French invasion would be supported by English Catholics and that he expressed the view that the people of England should take action against any such invasion - even to the point of deposing governors of garrisons should this be necessary. Adamson's work thus sailed close to advocating rebellion.[2]


  1. ^ Bullen, A. H. (1885). "Adamson, Thomas (fl. 1680), master gunner in King Charles II's train of artillery". Dictionary of National Biography Vol. I. Smith, Elder & Co. Retrieved 2009-11-23.  The first edition of this text is available as an article on Wikisource:  "Adamson, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ Porter, Stephen (2004). "Adamson, Thomas (fl. 1680), military writer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-11-23.