Adam Steuart (Stuart, Stewart) (1591–1654) was a Scottish philosopher and controversialist.


He became professor at the Academy of Saumur in 1617.[1] He was in London in the year 1644. where he engaged in propaganda for the Presbyterians against the Independents. The first attack on the Apologeticall Narration of the Five Dissenting Brethren[2] was Steuart's.[3] The Second Part of the Duply to M. S. alias Two Brethren addressed the issue of religious tolerance, which he classed with depravity.[1][4] It was answered by John Goodwin.[5] Steuart is mentioned (as A. S.) in John Milton's poem On the New Forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament, a caudate sonnet, along with Samuel Rutherford and Thomas Edwards (and, implicitly, Robert Baillie).[6][7][8]

In 1644 he took up a position as Professor of Physics at the University of Leiden .[9] With Jacobus Triglandius and Jacobus Revius he attacked Cartesianism there.[10] In what is now known as the Leiden Crisis,[11][12] coming to a head in 1647, he opposed Adriaan Heereboord, over whom he had been brought in, and presided at a rowdy debate with the Leiden Cartesian Johannes de Raey. René Descartes himself commented on Steuart, in Notae in Programma Quoddam (1648), to which Steuart replied in Notae in notas nobilissimi cujusdam viri in ipsius theses de Deo (1648).[13] Steuart's party, the proponents of continuing to teach along the lines of Aristotelian philosophy, won a temporary victory.[14][15][16][17]

He was attacked by the theologian Samuel Maresius, during further controversy, as heterodox. He died in Leiden. .[1]


  1. ^ a b c Andrew Pyle (editor), Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century British Philosophers (2000), article Steuart, Adam, pp. 770-2.
  2. ^ February 1644, February 1644, An Apologetical Narration, humbly submitted to the Honorable Houses of Parliament, by Thomas Goodwin, Philip Nye, Sidrach Simpson, Jeremiah Burroughs, and William Bridge;
  3. ^ Some Observations and Annotations upon the Apologetical Narration (1644).
  4. ^ Wallace St John, The Contest for Liberty of Conscience in England (1900), p. 81.
  5. ^ A short ansvver to A. S. alias Adam Stewart's second part of his overgrown duply to the two brethren
  6. ^
  7. ^ William Bridges Hunter, Milton's English Poetry: Being Entries from A Milton Encyclopedia (1986), pp. 101-3.
  8. ^ David Loewenstein, The War Against Heresy in Milton's England, p. 197, in Albert C. Labriola (editor), Milton Studies (2007).
  9. ^
  10. ^ Harold John Cook, Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age (2007), p. 260.
  11. ^ Theo Verbeek, Descartes and the Dutch: Early Reactions to Cartesian Philosophy, 1637-1650 (1992), Chapter 3.
  12. ^ Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, note p. 16.
  13. ^ Roger Ariew, Marjorie Grene, Marjorie Glicksman Grene, Descartes and His Contemporaries: Meditations, Objections, and Replies (1995), p. 31.
  14. ^ Daniel Garber, Michael Ayers, The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-century Philosophy Volume II (2003), p. 1458.
  15. ^ Desmond Clarke, Descartes: A Biography (2006), p. 350
  16. ^ Willem Frijhoff, Marijke Spies, Dutch Culture in a European Perspective: 1650: Hard-won unity (2004), pp. 303-5.
  17. ^ Roger Kenneth French, Andrew Wear (editors), The Medical Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (1989), p. 64.