Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Thomson, George (fl.1643-1668)

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THOMSON, GEORGE (fl. 1643–1668), parliamentarian, was the son of Robert Thomson of Watton, Hertfordshire, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Harsflet or Halfehead of the same place. The family were staunch parliamentarians, and early in 1643 George held the commission of captain of a troop of horse under William Russell, fifth earl of Bedford. In the following year he served under Sir William Waller [q. v.] in his western campaign, and about the same time attained the rank of colonel; but, losing his leg in action, he retired from military service (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644, pp. 33, 102, 107, 108, 136, 153). He was returned to parliament for the borough of Southwark, probably in August 1645, and on 18 Feb. 1650–1 was appointed a member of the council of state (ib. 1651, p. 45). On 8 April following he became a commissioner of customs, and in 1652 he was sent to the fleet as a commissioner to consult with Blake and report the condition of affairs to the council (ib. 1651–2, passim; Journals of the House of Commons, vii. 118). On 2 Dec. 1652 he was appointed to the committee for the admiralty, the committee for the ordnance, and the committee for trades, plantations, and foreign affairs (Cal. State Papers, 1652–3, p. 2). But in April 1653 the differences between Cromwell and the Long parliament came to a head, and the parliament was dissolved. On 18 May Thomson was dismissed from his posts of commissioner of the customs and of the army and navy, as well as from his other offices (ib. p. 335). Released from active employment, he occupied his leisure with the mystical speculations of the Fifth-monarchy men, whose opinions he embraced.

He returned to Westminster on 7 May 1659 with the remainder of the Long parliament. On 16 May he was appointed a member of the council of state, and on 8 July he was added to the committee for intelligence (ib. 1658–9 p. 349, 1659–60 p. 11). On 18 Aug. he was appointed colonel of a regiment of volunteers to be raised in London (ib. pp. 124, 563).

After the Restoration Thomson took refuge at the residence of his brother Morris at Lee in Kent, and occupied himself in anti-royalist intrigues (ib. 1661–2, pp. 97, 122, 125). On 31 Oct. 1661 a warrant was issued for his apprehension. For some time he remained in obscurity, but about the beginning of 1668 he was nominated to the commission of accounts (Pepys, Diary, ed. Braybrooke, iv. 285, 287, 355, v. 67). The date of his death is unknown. He married Elizabeth, daughter of James Brickland of Thorncliff in Cheshire.

[Harl. Soc. Publ. xvii. 282; Cal. State Papers, passim; Peacock's Army Lists, p. 49; Masson's Life of Milton, index; Thurloe's State Papers, p. 492; Whitelocke's Memorials, p. 235.]

E. I. C.