Charles Adam

Charles Adam
Charles Adam
Admiral Sir Charles Adam.jpg
Admiral Sir Charles Adam
Born 6 October 1780
Died 19 September 1853
Greenwich, London
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service 1790 - 1847
Rank Admiral
Commands held First Naval Lord
Battles/wars Napoleonic Wars
Awards KCB

Admiral Sir Charles Adam, KCB (6 October 1780 – 19 September 1853) was a British naval officer. He was the second son of William Adam of Blair Adam and his wife Eleanora, the daughter of Charles Elphinstone, 10th Lord Elphinstone and sister of Lord Keith.[1]


Naval career

He entered the navy in 1790[2] , under the patronage of his uncle, and served under him in the Mediterranean and during the capture of the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch. He was made acting lieutenant by Keith in 1795 and sent aboard HMS Victorious, on the East Indies station.[1] He was promoted lieutenant on 8 February 1798 and commander on 16 May 1798. The next year, on 12 June 1799, Adam was promoted to captain and given command of the frigate Sybille.[2] While commanding Sybille, he captured the French Chiffonne under difficult circumstances at Mahé in the Seychelles.[1]

Adam returned from the East Indies in 1802, and on 23 May 1803, was given command of the captured Chiffonne, which operated in the North Sea under Lord Keith until 1805. He commanded Spain in command of Invincible. He briefly commanded Impregnable from 16 May 1814 to 29 June 1814, ending his active service.[2]

Administrative career

After the war, Adam twice commanded the royal yacht, William Patrick Adam.[1]

He was promoted rear admiral on 27 May 1825.[2] From 1831 until 1841, he was Member of Parliament for Clackmannanshire and Kinross-shire, a seat previously held by several members of his family.[1] He briefly served as First Naval Lord from 1 November 1834 to 23 December 1834. He was awarded the KCB on 10 January 1835 and was again appointed First Naval Lord on 25 April 1835.[2]

Adam was a friend of Lord Auckland and brother-in-law to Lord Minto, both of whom served as First Lord of the Admiralty during his time in office, fostering a close working relationship. He was also on good terms with Lord Palmerston, the Foreign Secretary.[1]

During his tenure, the Admiralty Board dealt ably with the economies of a peacetime budget, which his Whig loyalties prevented him from questioning. The one major naval campaign of the era was the expulsion of Muhammad Ali's forces from Syria in 1840, an able demonstration of the continued strength of the Royal Navy. During this time, technological progress continued at the Admiralty, with the decision to adapt Francis Pettit Smith's screw propeller, and the new battleship designs of Sir William Symonds in 1841.[1] During his tenure on the Board, Adam was promoted to vice admiral on 10 January 1837.[2]

After leaving the Board, Adam resumed a naval command. From 17 August 1841 until 27 December 1844, he was commander-in-chief of the North America and West Indies Station, aboard HMS Illustrious (flag-captain John Elphinstone Erskine).[2] On 24 July 1846, soon after the reappointment of Lord Auckland as First Lord of the Admiralty, he became First Naval Lord for the third and last time. He retired the next year, on 20 July 1847, to become Governor of Greenwich Hospital, and was promoted admiral on 8 January 1848. Adam died at Greenwich on 16 September 1853.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Laughton, J. K. (2004). "Adam, Sir Charles (1780–1853)". In rev. Andrew Lambert. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Biography of Charles Adam R.N.". Retrieved 2007-02-01. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Abercromby
Member of Parliament for Clackmannanshire and Kinross-shire
Succeeded by
George Abercromby
Military offices
Preceded by
George Dundas
First Naval Lord
Succeeded by
Sir George Cockburn
Preceded by
Sir George Cockburn
First Naval Lord
Succeeded by
Sir George Cockburn
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Harvey
Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Austen
Preceded by
Sir William Parker, Bt
First Naval Lord
Succeeded by
Sir James Dundas
Honorary titles
Preceded by
William Adam
Lord Lieutenant of Kinross-shire
Succeeded by
Sir Graham Graham-Montgomery

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