Edward Drummond

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For other people named Edward Drummond, see Edward Drummond (disambiguation).

Edward Drummond (30 March 1792 – 25 January 1843) was a British civil servant, and was Personal Secretary to several British Prime Ministers. He was murdered by Daniel M'Naghten, whose subsequent trial gave rise to the M'Naghten Rules, the legal test of insanity used in many common law jurisdictions.

Drummond was a scion of the family who owned and ran Drummonds Bank. He was the second son of Charles Drummond, a banker, and his wife, Frances Dorothy (herself the second daughter of the Reverend Edward Lockwood). He joined the civil service in June 1814, becoming a clerk at the Treasury. He was Private Secretary to a succession of British Prime Ministers: George Canning, Lord Goderich, the 1st Duke of Wellington, and Robert Peel.

On 20 January 1843, while serving as Personal Secretary to Peel, he was shot by Daniel M'Naghten (or McNaughton), who had developed delusions about the Tory government. Drummond emerged from Peel's house in Whitehall Gardens at about 4pm, and set off to walk to his apartment in Downing Street. M'Naghten mistook him for Peel and shot him in the back. The ball passed through his chest and diaphragm, lodging in his abdomen. The ball was removed later that day, but despite medical treatment, Drummond died five days later, at Charlton, near Woolwich, and was buried in the vaults of St Luke's Church, Charlton on 31 January.[1]

M'Naghten was later tried for murder but found not guilty by reason of insanity. The M'Naghten Rules developed by the House of Lords after his trial were to establish the basis for the insanity defence in all common law countries.


  1. ^ Greenwich guide
  • Dalby, J. T. (2006) The case of Daniel McNaughton: Let's get the story straight. American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 27, 17-32.
  • J. A. Hamilton, ‘Drummond, Edward (1792–1843)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 4 Sept 2007