JOHN ADAMSON (1787 - 1855)
Adamson was educated at the Newcastle Royal Grammar School and in 1807 worked in the counting-house of his brother, a Lisbon merchant, in order to study Portuguese. He was intending to settle there permanently until the French invaded Portugal, prompting him to return to Newcastle where he was under-sheriff in 1811.
Adamson was a founder-member of the Newcastle Law Society, and in 1813 also founded the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries, of which he was joint-secretary for 40 years. He also served as the co-secretary of the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society. He produced translations from the Portuguese in prose and verse, and in 1820 published through Longmans in London his Life of Camoens, the principle Portuguese poet. Over a period of 25 years Adamson assembled his Portuguese Library ('Bibliotheca Lusitana'); Thomas Dibdin (q.v.) the antiquary and bibliophile, spent much time in Adamson's company on his visit to Newcastle in 1838, and says of the library: 'It should never be dismembered. The catalogue is at once elegant, unostentatious and instructive.' It seems, alas, that this great library was destroyed by fire.