Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Adams, Thomas (1586-1667)
ADAMS, Sir THOMAS (1586–1667), lord mayor of London, was born at Wem, in Shropshire, in the year 1586, and, after being educated at Cambridge, carried on business as a draper in London. In 1639 he was chosen sheriff of London, and became master of the Drapers' Company and alderman of the ward of Portsoken. In this capacity his name appears in May 1640 as making a return of such persons in that ward as were capable of lending money to the king. He always appears as a consistent royalist, and, though returned as a member, never sat in parliament. In 1645 he was elected to the office of lord mayor. During the year of his mayoralty his house was searched in hopes of finding the king, who it was supposed lay there concealed. For his loyalty to the king he was kept for some time a prisoner in the Tower, and was excluded from all public offices. At the Restoration he was one of the deputies from the city to the Hague to attend on Charles II on his return from Breda to England, and with the rest of the deputies received the honour of knighthood, and after the Restoration was created a baronet June 13, 1660. During his lifetime he founded and endowed the free school of Wem, his native place, and presented to it the house in which he was born. He also founded the Arabic Lecture at Cambridge, to which he gave 40l. a year for ever, and, at the instigation of Mr. Wheelock, the first reader of Arabic, bore the expense of a translation of the Gospels into the Persian language for circulation in that country, with a view to the conversion of Mahometans. He is described as having been a devout member of the English church, and a regular communicant at the monthly celebrations of the sacrament. In his old age he was afflicted with the stone, which carried him off in his 82nd year, 24 Feb. 1667. Though four of his sons survived him, the baronetcy became extinct before the end of the last century, having been held by five of his descendants. He was buried at Sprowston in Norfolk (Blomefield's Norfolk, x. 460), and his funeral sermon was preached in the church of St. Catharine Cree, by his friend and former fellow-commissioner at the Hague, Dr. Nathaniel Hardy, 10 March following. This sermon, which contains a fulsome panegyric written in the worst taste, was printed in 1668. Most of it was reproduced in Wilford's ‘Memorials,’ p. 87, which is the authority for most of the facts of his life. It is said that the stone taken from him after his death weighed more than 25 ounces, and was preserved at Cambridge. There is a long Latin inscription on his monument at Sprowston, written in the style of the period, which may be seen in Wilford's ‘Memorials,’ appendix, pp. 27, 28.