Drummond, George

, an eminently patriotic and public-spirited magistrate of Edinburgh, was born June 27, 1687, and educated in that city, principally with a view to active life, in which he very soon maue a distinguished figure. On the accession of queen Anne, when he was of course very young, he assisted the committee appointed by the parliament of Scotland to settle the public accounts of the kingdom. Tn 1707 he was appointed accountant-general of the excise, and assisted, with indefatigable diligence, in putting the accounts of that important branch of the revenue into the same form and method with those in England. In 1710, the then total change of the ministry alarmed the friends of the house of Hanover, and these alarms increasing, in 1713, at a meeting of gentlemen who had formed a society for guarding the country against the designs of the pretender, Mr. Drummond proposed a plan, which was unanimously approved and carried into execution, by which a correspondence was established with every county in the kingdom, and arms imported from Holland, and put into the hands of the friends of liberty every where. In 1715, he gave the first notice to the ministry of the arrival of the earl of Mar, was honoured with the command of a company of volunteers that was raised by the friends of government on that occasion, and was attendant on the duke of Argyle, during his residence in Scotland till the rebellion was extinguished. He assisted at the battle of Sheriffmuir, and dispatched to the magistrates of Edinburgh the earliest notice of Argyle’s victory, in a letter which he dated from the field on horseback. In 1717 he was elected a member of the corporation of Edinburgh, and discharged all the intermediate offices of magistracy until 1725, when he was elected lord provost, an office which he filled with the highest reputation and true dignity. To his indefatigable industry and perseverance it was chiefly owing, that the several professorships in the university were filled with men of the first abilities, and several new ones were founded, as that of chemistry, the theory and practice of physic, midwifery, the belles lettres, and rhetoric, by | which means Edinburgh arrived at the rank of one of the first schools in the kingdom, particularly for medicine.

In October 17 ‘7 he was promoted to be one of the commissioners of the excise, an office which he retained during the remainder of his lite. In July 1727 he had been named one of the commissioners and trustees for improving fisheries and manufactures in Scotland, and, as connected with the city of Edinhurgh, he now became the principal agent in the patriotic institution of a public infirmary. By his exertions, accordingly, a charter was procured in August 1736, and the foundation-stone of the present building was laid on Aug. 2, ’738, and the edifice completed at the expence of 13,000l. a great part of which was subscribed by opulent individuals in consequence of his active solicitation.

In 1745, on the breaking out of the second rebellion, he exerted himself with his usual spirit and loyalty, in raising several companies of volunteers; and in endeavouring, though without success, to keep the rebels out of the city; and when that could not be accomplished, he joined sir John Cope at Dunbar, and was present at the unfortunate battle of Preston-pans, in which the king’s troops were defeated. After this action, he attended sir John Cope to Berwick, and remained with him during his stay there, procuring from time to time, from Edinburgh, intelligence of the motions of the rebels, which was communicated to the secretaries of state. The city was in possession of the rebels at the usual time of their annual election of magistrates this year. But when his majesty issued his royal warrant for a post election, Mr. Drummond was again chosen lord provost, which office he discharged so much to the satisfaction of his fellow-citizens, that he was afterwards four times re-elected, which is as often as the constitution of the city permits. Peace being restored, he began his farther improvements, by laying the foundationstone of the Exchange in 1753; and in October 1763, during his sixth provostship, he laid the first stone of the north bridge, which connects the new town of Edinburgh with the old. Mr Driunmond, after a life thus spent in eminent public services, died Nov. 4, 1766. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. XXXVI.—Stark’s Biog. Scotica.