Adam de Cardonnel was born in Southampton in 1663, the son of a Huguenot immigrant also called Adam. The elder Adam had prospered in his adopted town; he had been naturalised in 1656 and had risen to the post of collector of customs. He was also involved with other Huguenots in the early paper making industry. He died in 1711 and was buried in the chapel of St Julian's, The French Church
The younger Adam was a member of parliament for Southampton from 1700 and at some point after this was appointed to a position in the War Office, where his knowledge of French and his administrative skills were valued. He quickly rose to the position of chief clerk. Thereafter his career became linked with that of the Duke of Marlborough, who he accompanied on his European campaigns, acting as his secretary. He was present at many of the Duke’s battles, including the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.
The careers of both Marlborough and Cardonnel declined after 1710, largely because of the antipathy the new Prime Minister, Robert Harley. In 1712, Cardonnel was accused of fraud and was forced to resign his seat in parliament. He did not hold an official post after this, but continued as Marlborough’s secretary. He lived at Westminster and died there in 1719. He was buried in Chiswick Parish Church.

Further reading:
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, Volume 12.


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