Thomas Peronnet Thompson - Encyclopedia

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THOMAS PERONNET THOMPSON (1783-1869), English political writer and mathematician, was born at Hull in 1783. He was educated at the Hull grammar school, and in October (1798) entered Queens' College, Cambridge. He entered the navy as midshipman in the "Isis" in 1803, but in 1806 exchanged to the army. Through his acquaintance with William Wilberforce, he was appointed governor of Sierra Leone in 1808, but was recalled on account of his hostility to the slave trade. In 1812 he returned to his military duties, and, after serving in the south of France, was in 1815 attached as Arabic interpreter to an expedition against the Wahabees of the Persian Gulf, with whom he negotiated a treaty (dated Jan. 1820) in which the slave trade was for the first time declared piracy. He was promoted major in 1825, lieutenant-colonel in 1829 and major-general in 1854. He entered parliament as member for Hull (1835-1837) and afterwards sat for Bradford (1847-1852, 1857-1859). He took a prominent part in the corn-law agitation, his Catechism of the Corn Laws (1827) being by far the most effective pamphlet published on the subject. In 1829 he became the proprietor of the Westminster Review, to which he contributed a large number of articles, republished in 1842 in six volumes, under the title Exercises, Political and Others. His mathematical publications were of a somewhat eccentric kind. He published a Theory of Parallels (1844), and was also the author of Geometry without Axioms, in which he endeavoured to "get rid" of axioms and postulates. His new Theory of Just Intonation (1850) was, however, a contribution of great value to the science of musical acoustics, and went through many editions. It may be said to have formed the basis of the tonic sol-fa system of music. He died at Blackheath, near London, on the 7th of September 1869.

See Colonel C. W. Thompson's memoir in the Proc. Roy. Soc. (1869).

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