Posts Tagged ‘William Drummond of Logiealmond’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

General Henry Edward Fox
4 March 1755 – 18 July 1811


Henry Edward Fox

General Henry Edward Fox a son of Henry Fox, first Baron Holland and his second wife, (Georgiana) Caroline Fox, née Lennox, he was a younger brother of the politician Charles James Fox.

He attended Westminster School before being commissioned as a cornet in the 1st dragoon guards in 1770. Soon after that he spent 1 year’s leave at the military academy at Strasbourg. After his return he rose to lieutenant (1773) then captain (1774).

In 1773 he moved to the 38th Regiment of Foot, stationed at Boston, and fought in the American War of Independence (spending 1778-79 on leave in England). By the end of the war he had risen to colonel and king’s aide-de-camp, and he then moved to command the forces in Nova Scotia (1783–89), where he was influential in the creation of the new colony of New Brunswick, and then the Chatham barracks (1789–93).

Next he was quartermaster-general on the Duke of York’s staff in Flanders to replace the recently killed James Moncrieff (1793–95) and fought in the Netherlands theatre of the French Revolutionary Wars. He then served as inspector-general of the recruiting service (1795–99), lieutenant-governor of Minorca (1799–1801) following its capture from the French, commander in chief of all British Mediterranean forces outside Gibraltar (1801–03, replacing General Sir Ralph Abercromby fatally wounded at the battle of Alexandria) and finally Commander-in-Chief, Ireland (1803). In Ireland he was caught off-guard by Robert Emmet’s Dublin uprising (23 July 1803) and was quickly replaced by Lieutenant-General Cathcart, whose appointment was gazetted on 20 October.

Fox moved to be commander of the London district (1803), Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar (1804–06), Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean (1806–07) and minister to Sicily. With his health weakening, Fox passed active command of the force to his deputy, Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. The smallness of his force (made yet smaller when Major-General Mackenzie Fraser was sent to occupy Alexandria) meant he refused the repeated requests from the Sicilian court and William Drummond, British minister at the Sicilian court, for land operations on the Italian mainland. Fox and Moore also opposed the naval commander William Sidney Smith’s political machinations at the Sicilian court, contrary as they were to the army’s tactics for the Italian theatre, until Fox’s ill health finally led to his being recalled by the British government and replaced by Moore. Fox was promoted full general on 25 April 1808, appointed governor of Portsmouth in 1810 and died the following year.

On 14 November 1786 he married Marianne Clayton, daughter of William Clayton, 4th Baronet and sister of Catherine, Lady Howard de Walden, and they had 3 children

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

William Drummond of Logiealmond


Sir William Drummond

Sir William Drummond of Logiealmond (ca. 1770-1828) was a Scottish diplomat and Member of Parliament, poet and philosopher. His book Academical Questions (1805) is arguably important in the development of the ideas of English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

In 1795 he was MP for St. Mawes, and in the elections of 1796 and 1801 was returned for Lostwithiel. These were both rotten boroughs in Cornwall. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1801, and left Parliament as a diplomat, becoming British Ambassador to Naples and the Ottoman Empire.

He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1799 and knighted in 1813.

The title of Drummond’s book refers to the later Platonic Academy, which was, in fact, not so much Platonist as Sceptical in orientation, based on the work of Pyrrho the Sceptic and later followers of Pyrrho such as Carneades. Academical Questions is a work in the Sceptic tradition, in this case influenced by the Sceptical Scottish philosopher David Hume.

Drummond uses Sceptical Humean ideas in an attempt to refute the British philosophy predominant in his day, the Common Sense ideas of Thomas Reid and his followers. These had been enunciated first in Reid’s An Enquiry Into the Human Mind (1765). Drummond failed to unseat Reid’s ideas in popularity; they remained dominant in English philosophy for the first half of the 19th century.

Shelley was decisively influenced by Academical Questions, and under its influence confidently abandoned 18th century French materialism. Drummond altered the poet Shelley’s beliefs. He ceased being an 18th-century French materialist; Shelley asserted that some passions (of the heart) are “innate.”

His Oedipus Judaicus references the Oedipus Aegyptiacus of Athanasius Kircher, and was printed for private circulation. It interprets passages from the Book of Genesis (in particular the Chedorlaomer story), and the Book of Joshua, in allegorical fashion, with a detailed argument based on astrology.

  • A Review of the Government of Sparta and Athens (1794)
  • Academical Questions (1805)
  • Herculanensia (1810) with Robert Walpole
  • Oedipus Judaicus (1811, privately circulated and reprinted in 1986)
  • Odin (1818), poem
  • Origines, or Remarks on the Origin of several Empires, States, and Cities (1824-9)

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