Henry Drummond (evangelist)

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Henry Drummond

Henry Drummond (17 August 1851 – 11 March 1897) was a Scottish evangelist, writer and lecturer.

Life and work[edit]

Drummond was born in Stirling. He was educated at Edinburgh University, where he displayed a strong inclination for physical and mathematical science. The religious element was an even more powerful factor in his nature, and disposed him to enter the Free Church of Scotland. While preparing for the ministry, he became for a time deeply interested in the evangelizing mission of Moody and Sankey, in which he actively co-operated for two years.

In 1877 he became lecturer on natural science in the Free Church College, which enabled him to combine all the pursuits for which he felt a vocation. His studies resulted in his writing Natural Law in the Spiritual World, the argument of which is that the scientific principle of continuity extends from the physical world to the spiritual. Before the book was published in 1883, an invitation from the African Lakes Company drew Drummond away to Central Africa.

Upon his return in the following year he found himself famous. In 1884 he was a guest at Haddo House for a dinner hosted by John Hamilton-Gordon, 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair in honour of William Ewart Gladstone on his tour of Scotland.[1] Large bodies of serious readers, among the religious and the scientific classes alike, discovered in Natural Law the common standing-ground which they needed; and the universality of the demand proved, if nothing more, the seasonableness of its publication. Drummond continued to be actively interested in missionary and other movements among the Free Church students.

In 1888 he published Tropical Africa, a valuable digest of information.[2] In 1890 he travelled in Australia, and in 1893 delivered the Lowell Lectures at Boston. It had been his intention to reserve them for mature revision, but an attempted piracy compelled him to hasten their publication, and they appeared in 1894 under the title of The Ascent of Man. Their object was to vindicate for altruism, or the disinterested care and compassion of animals for each other, an important part in effecting the survival of the fittest, a thesis previously maintained by Professor John Fiske.

Drummond's health failed shortly afterwards (he had suffered from bone cancer for some years), and he died on 11 March 1897. His writings were too nicely adapted to the needs of his own day to justify the expectation that they would long survive it, but few men exercised more religious influence in their own generation, especially on young men.

In 1905 the church placed a medallion plaque to his memory in the Free Church College in Edinburgh, sculpted by James Pittendrigh Macgillivray.

Selected writings[edit]

Signature of Henry Drummond

See Lennox's book for a fuller bibliography of Drummond's writings.[3]

  • Natural Law in the Spiritual World (1883)
  • Tropical Africa (1888)
  • The Greatest Thing in the World and Other Addresses (1894)
  • The Ascent of Man (1894)
  • The Ideal Life and Other Unpublished Addresses (1897)
  • The Monkey That Would Not Kill (1898)
  • The New Evangelism and Other Papers (1899)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Emslie, Alfred Edward. "Dinner at Haddo House, 1884". National Portrait Gallery, London. 
  2. ^ Review, Anti-Slavery Reporter, May–June 1888, p 82
  3. ^ * Lennox, Cuthbert (1901). The Practical Life Work of Henry Drummond. New York: James Pott and Company. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]