William Drummond of Logiealmond

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. [ [http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/drummond.htm Drummond ] ] These were both rotten boroughs in Cornwall. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1801 ["Concise Dictionary of National Biography"] , and left Parliament as a diplomat, becoming British Ambassador to Naples and the Ottoman Empire ["...ambassador to the Court of Naples 1801-3; to the Ottoman Porte 1803-6; to the Court of Naples for the second time, 1806-9." [http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/etext06/7blj210.htm] ; this reference also gives opinions by Lord Byron.] .

The Argument of "Academical Questions"

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.

According to C. E. Pulos's 1954 book "The Deep Truth: A Study of Shelley's Scepticism", 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.


In contrast to other scholars he names, Pulos argues that Shelley was decisively influenced by "Academical Questions", and under its influence confidently abandoned 18th century French materialism. According to Pulos, 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."

Other writings

His "Oedipus Judaicus" references the "Oedipus Aegyptiacus" of Athanasius Kircher, and was printed for private circulation. It was reprinted in 1866, having proved highly controversial (introduction to 1986 reprint by James P. Carley). 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)


External links

* [http://books.google.com/books?id=xezmySsKM9oC "The Oedipus Judaicus"] by Sir William Drummond
*"Origines; or, Remarks on the Origin of Several Empires, States, and Cities" by Sir William Drummond [http://books.google.com/books?id=qSIOAAAAYAAJ Vol. I] , [http://books.google.com/books?id=cSIOAAAAYAAJ Vol. II] , [http://books.google.com/books?id=QYA2AAAAMAAJ Vol. III]
*"On the Antiquity of the Zodiacs of Esneh and Dendera" by Sir William Drummond [http://books.google.com/books?id=4k8UAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA151 Part I] , [http://books.google.com/books?id=4k8UAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA251 Part II] , [http://books.google.com/books?id=S2wSAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA63 Part III]
*"On the Science of the Egyptians and Chaldeans" by Sir William Drummond [http://books.google.com/books?id=W3ISAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA145 Part I] , [http://books.google.com/books?id=W3ISAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA262 Part II]
* [http://www.electricscotland.com/history/other/drummond_sirwilliam.htm Biography]
* [http://www.perthshireheritage.co.uk/logiealmond.html Genealogy]
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=Lz7AQhG2eWkC&pg=RA1-PA90&lpg=RA1-PA90&dq=%22william+drummond%22+lostwithiel&source=web&ots=W-iZ4ScH3l&sig=bsU45iXmqH72eNuqHbePmFkCE5s#PRA1-PA91,M1 Obituary]
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=UYeoZdpCGyYC&pg=PA629&lpg=PA629&dq=%22origines+or+remarks+on+the+origin+of+several+empires+states+and+cities%22&source=web&ots=x4IIus9XAV&sig=_YbW4GESsTwLSsE7nrMMN5EI-RI#PPA628,M1 Old "Cyclopaedia" article]

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