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History of the St Andrew's Society of the State of New York
Biographies: Lord Drummond


Twelfth President
1773-1774

It is singularly unfortunate that so little can be learned of the Twelfth President of the Society. The Drummond family is of ancient Scottish origin and commenced with John Drummond of Cargill, who was created Lord Drummond on the 29th January, 1488. Thereafter, the family intermarried with the Lindsays, Campbells, Grahams, Stuarts, and Kerrs, and in later generations became powerful Jacobites, casting their lot with the House of Stuart until the Battle of Culloden finally wrecked the hopes of that ill-fated race. Their titles and estates were declared forfeited after the battle, and the family has long struggled against loss of fortune and the fatal tendency of this race to leave no heirs male to inherit. Successor after successor to the title had died without issue, and on the death of the present incumbent the peerage will devolve to a remote branch in France.

Thomas, Lord Drummond, the Twelfth President of Saint Andrew's Society, was the eldest son of James Lundin and Lady Rachel Bruce. He was probably born at Largs, Scotland, as he was baptized at that place on the 21st July, 1742, and died in November, 1780, at the Bermuda Islands, unmarried, aged thirty-eight years.

James Lundin, his father, was the son of Robert Drummond of Lundin, who assumed the name of Lundin as heir to his mother, and the grandson (by his first wife, Sophia, heiress of Lundin) of John Drummond, afterwards Earl and Duke of Melfort, who was the second son of James, 3rd Earl of Perth. This James Lundin in 1760 was served heir male to Lord Edward Drummond, 9th Earl of Perth and 6th Duke of Perth, in France, and assumed the name of Drummond. In 1766 he was served and returned as heir male general to James, 4th Earl of Perth, the Chancellor, and 1st Duke of Perth, when he assumed the titles of Lord Drummond and 10th Earl of Perth. He died in 1781, and had three sons, Robert, Thomas and James, the youngest of whom, the Honorable James Drummond, claimed the titles.

Thomas, Lord Drummond, went to America for the first time in 1768, as appears from a letter written 011 the 21st March, 1768 to his cousin, John Drummond, of Logie Almond, in which he states “I shall certainly go for America next month.” His mission in this country was to look after an estate located in or near Perth Amboy, New Jersey, which belonged to his kinsman, the Earl of Melfort, and had not been forfeited to the Crown.

At this time his father was Earl of Perth, and gave to his son, Thomas, then by courtesy, Lord Drummond, a power of attorney to represent him and transact general business, which reads, “James, Earl of Perth, lately called James Drummond of Lundin, to The Honorable Thomas Drummond, commonly called Lord Drummond, eldest son of him, the said Earl, who now resides in East New Jersey.” This instrument was dated the 2d December, 1769, duly certified to by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and was recorded in the office of the Secretary of State for New Jersey, where it can now be seen.

Lord Drummond was at New York in July, 1772, as he wrote his cousin, the Laird of Logie Almond, from that city, and executed various deeds in March, 1773, and November, 1774, to lands in New Jersey, which are on record. At the end of 1774 he returned to England, landing at Plymouth on the 19th December, as appears in a letter from Salisbury, England, dated the 21st December, 1774, addressed to his same cousin, in which he states “my landing happened on the 19th at Plymouth, where the ship was put in, after a very horrible passage of thirty-nine days.” .

After a short stay in Scotland, Lord Drummond returned again to the Province of New York, and must have taken some active part in the growing struggle between the mother-country and her American colonies, which endangered his freedom, for on the 26th April, 1776, he sailed suddenly for Bermuda in company with Dr. Peter Middleton, John McAdam and Henry Nicholls, doubtless on account of his royalist sympathies during the progress of the Revolutionary War.

Concerning this flight, one of his companions, John Loudon McAdam, the nephew of William McAdam, the Eleventh President of the Society, wrote from Bristol, England, on the 23d December, 1810, to answer family inquiries:

“Lord Drummond’s name was Thomas; the whole party that fled together to the West Indies in 1766, from New York, are dead except myself, but on our return to New York, or very soon after it. Lord Keith, then Captain Elphinstone, commanded H. M. S. Perseus on that station. Lord Drummond and I lived together and Captain

Elphinstone was much with us, so that Lord Keith had an opportunity of seeing Lord Drummond as long as His Lordship remained in New York.”

Lord Drummond must have returned from Bermuda almost immediately to this city, as on the 12th April, 1776, he submitted to Lord Howe a scheme for the pacification of the American colonies, writing from on board the sloop Polly lying off New York. A copy of this letter and scheme, dated Philadelphia, was published by order of Congress on 18th September, 1776, and may be read in the annals of that assembly.

His stay in this city must have been short, for he once more returned to Bermuda, where he appears to have remained for the next two years and applied himself to the armament and organization of those British forces which were despatched thence to reinforce the army in the colonies.

That he came to New York again in 1778 appears in a letter addressed to General Washington, dated New York, November 16th, 1778, in which he writes:

“Sir: As I design to embark soon for England, I must once more apply to you on a subject which has given me much concern."

Soon after this date he left New York and again returned to Bermuda, where he remained a year and a half more, and then, about May, 1780, sailed for England, drawing upon the Messrs. Drummond for money when off Brest on the 18th June, 1780, and a second time from Falmouth on the 1st July, 1780, and a third time on the 21st August, 1780.

Lord Drummond was seen constantly in London after his arrival, during the first weeks of July, 1780, but left England for the last time at either the end of September or commencement of October to return to spend the Winter at Bermuda. His health must have been much impaired, for shortly after his arrival in those islands his death was reported.

An entry in the Scots’ Magazine, Volume 53, page 54 (anno 1781) states:

“About two weeks ago Lord Drummond (son of the Earl of Perth) died here. In 1776 he was an officer in the King’s troops at New York (two letters passed between his Lordship and Lord Howe [see Vol. 38, page 585] relating to a peace) and was taken prisoner. Washington gave him leave to go to New York on parole. That city being too cold for his weak constitution in Winter, he asked permission to come and reside in this island, which is reckoned the finest air in the universe, which was refused. His health, however, declining, he took his passage in a vessel bound hither, arrived safely and has lived among us four years beloved by everyone for his polite behavior and good qualities.”

There is a strong probability that Thomas, Lord Drummond, the Twelfth President of the Society, was an officer in the British Army, although a careful search of the army records in the War Office, London, fails to disclose that he ever held a commission. He was in all probability attached either to the military or civil household of some representative of the British Government in the Province of New York, and a letter written by Mrs. Murray Brown from London on the 19th September, 1809, to Mr. Stephen Crane in America, bears out this assumption. This letter states: “That Thomas Drummond, called Lord Drummond, was in America at the commencement of the American War in the interest of the colonies, but soon after attached to the King’s troops and was one of the leaders of an expedition from New York to Jersey with the 71st Regiment,” and also said “that he was at the Battle of the Brandywine and Germantown, and that a Lieut. Drummond was wounded there and “that he had a younger brother in the King’s service who died at Lisbon in August, 1780.”

Lord Drummond was elected a member of Saint Andrew’s Society in 1768 and served as President from 1773-1774.

It is greatly to be regretted that no portrait of him can be traced through collateral ancestors now in England.


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