1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Adam, William

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ADAM, WILLIAM (1751--1839), British lawyer and politician, eldest son of John Adam of Blair-Adam, Kinross-shire, and nephew of the architect noticed above, was born on the 2nd of August 1751, studied at the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and passed at the Scottish bar in 1773. Soon afterwards he removed to England, where he entered parliament in 1774, and in 1782 was called to the common law bar. He withdrew from parliament in 1795, entered it again in 1806 as representative of the united counties of Clackmannan and Kinross, and continued a member, with some interruptions, till 1811. He was a Whig and a supporter of the policy of Fox. At the English bar he obtained a very considerable practice. He was successively attorney and solicitor-general to the prince of Wales, one of the managers of the impeachment of Warren Hastings, and one of the counsel who defended the first Lord Melville when impeached. During his party's brief tenure of office in 1806 he was chancellor of the duchy of Cornwall, and was afterwards a privy councillor and lord-lieutenant of Kinrossshire. In 1814 he became a baron of Exchequer in Scotland, and was chief commissioner of the newly established jury-court for the trial of civil causes, from 1815 to 1830, when it was merged in the permanent supreme tribunal. He died at Edinburgh on the 17th of February 1839.