Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Salmon, Thomas (1679-1767)

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SALMON, THOMAS (1679–1767), historical and geographical writer, born at Meppershall and baptised there on 2 Feb. 1678–9, was son of Thomas Salmon (1648–1706) [q. v.], rector of Meppershall or Mepsall, Bedfordshire, by his wife Katherine, daughter of John Bradshaw [q. v.], the regicide. Nathanael Salmon [q. v.] was his elder brother. Cole says that although he was brought up to no learned profession, ‘yet he had no small turn for writing, as his many productions show, most of which were written when he resided at Cambridge, where at last he kept a coffee-house, but, not having sufficient custom, removed to London’ (Addit. MS. 5880, f. 198 b). He informed Cole that he had been much at sea, and had resided in both the Indies for some time. He also travelled many years in Europe and elsewhere (The Universal Traveller, 1752, Introd.), and the observations he records in his works are largely the result of personal experience. In 1739–40 he accompanied Anson on his voyage round the world. He died on 20 Jan. 1767 (Gent. Mag. 1767, p. 48).

His works are: 1. ‘A Review of the History of England, as far as it relates to the Titles and Pretensions of four several Kings, and their Respective Characters, from the Conquest to the Revolution,’ London, 1722, 8vo; 2nd ed. 2 vols. London, 1724, 8vo. 2. ‘An Impartial Examination of Bishop Burnet's History of his own Times,’ 2 vols. London, 1724, 8vo. 3. ‘Bishop Burnet's Proofs of the Pretender's Illegitimacy … compared with the Account given by other writers of the same fact,’ 2 vols. London, 1724, 8vo. 4. ‘A Critical Essay concerning Marriage … By a Gentleman,’ London, 1724, 8vo, and a second edition in the same year under the author's name. 5. ‘The Characters of the several Noblemen and Gentlemen that have died in the Defence of their Princes, or the Liberties of their Country. Together with the Characters of those who have suffer'd for Treason and Rebellion for the last three hundred years,’ London, 1724, 8vo. 6. ‘The Chronological Historian, containing a regular Account of all material Transactions and Occurrences, Ecclesiastical, Civil, and Military, relating to the English affairs, from the Invasion of the Romans to the Death of King George I,’ London, 1733, 8vo; 3rd ed. continued to the fourteenth year of George II, 2 vols. London, 1747, 8vo. A French translation, by Garrigue de Froment, appeared in 2 vols., Paris, 1751, 8vo. 7. ‘A new Abridgment and Critical Review of the State Trials and Impeachments for High Treason,’ London, 1738, fol. 8. ‘Modern History, or the Present State of all Nations … illustrated with Cuts and Maps … by Herman Moll,’ 3 vols. London, 1739, 4to; 3rd ed. 3 vols. London, 1744–6, fol. This is his best known work, and it has been abridged, continued, and published under various fictitious names. A Dutch translation, in forty-four parts, appeared at Amsterdam, 1729–1820, and an Italian translation in twenty-three volumes, at Venice, 1740–61, 4to. 9. ‘The Present State of the Universities, and of the five adjacent Counties of Cambridge, Huntingdon, Bedford, Buckingham, and Oxford,’ London, 1744, 8vo. Only one volume appeared, containing the history of the county, city, and university of Oxford. In the preface he speaks of a work which he had published under the title of 10. ‘General Description of England, and particularly of London, the Metropolis,’ 2 vols. 11. ‘The Modern Gazetteer, or a short View of the several Nations of the World,’ London, 1746, 12mo; 3rd ed. London, 1756, 8vo; 6th ed. ‘with great additions and a new set of maps,’ London, 1759, 8vo. 12. ‘The Foreigner's Companion through the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the adjacent Counties,’ describing the several Colleges and other Public Buildings,’ London, 1748, 8vo. 13. ‘Considerations on the Bill for a General Naturalisation,’ London, 1748, 8vo. 14. ‘A New Geographical and Historical Grammar, with a set of twenty-two Maps,’ London, 1749, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1751; 6th ed. 1758; other editions ‘brought down to the present time by J. Tytler,’ Edinburgh, 1778 and 1782, 8vo; 13th ed. London, 1785, 8vo. 15. ‘A Short View of the Families of the present English Nobility,’ London, 1751, 12mo; 2nd ed. 1758; 3rd ed. 1761. 16. ‘The Universal Traveller, or a Compleat Description of the several Nations of the World,’ 2 vols. London, 1752–3, fol. 17. ‘A Short View of the Families of the present Irish Nobility,’ London, 1759, 12mo. 18. ‘A Short View of the Families of the Scottish Nobility,’ London, 1759, 12mo. He also, in 1725, brought out an edition of his father's ‘Historical Collections of Great Britain,’ to which he prefixed a preface demonstrating the ‘partiality of Mons. Rapin and some other republican historians.’

[Bowes's Cambridge Books, p. 216; Gough's British Topography, ii. 119; Halkett and Laing's Dict. Anon. Lit. i. 537, iii. 1115; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 2179; Masters's Corpus Christi Coll. p. 366; Bourchier de la Richarderie's Bibliothèque des Voyages, i. 91–2; Moule's Bibl. Heraldica, pp. 378, 390; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iii. 11; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

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