Drummond, Robert Hay

, an English prelate, was the second son of George Henry, seventh earl of Kinnoul, | and Abigail, youngest daughter of Robert Harley, earl of Oxford and Mortimer, lord high treasurer of Great Britain. He was born in London, Nov. 10, 1711, and after being educated at Westminster school, was admitted student of Christ church, Oxford, where he prosecuted his studies with great diligence and credit. When he had taken his first degree in arts, he accompanied his cousingerman, Thomas duke of Leeds, on a tour to the continent. From that he returned in 1735 to college, to pursue the study of divinity; the same year, June 13, he was admitted M. A. and soon after entered into holy orders, and was presented by the Oxford family to the rectory of Bothall in Northumberland; and in 1737, by the recommendation of queen Caroline, was appointed chaplain in ordinary to his majesty. In 1739 he assumed the name and arms of Drummond, as heir in entail of his great grandfather William, first viscount of Strathallan. In 1743, he attended the king abroad, and on his return was installed prebendary of Westminster, and in 1745 was admitted B. D. and D. D. In 1748 he was promoted to the see of St. Asaph; a diocese where his name will ever be revered, and which he constantly mentioned with peculiar affection and delight, as having enjoyed there for thirteen years, a situation most congenial to his feelings, and an extent of patronage most gratifying to his benevolent heart.

In 1753 when a severe attack was made on the political character of his two intimate friends Mr. Stone and Mr. Murray, afterwards the great earl of Mansfield, the bishop vindicated his old school-fellows before a committee of the privy council, directed to inquire into the charge, with that persuasive energy of truth, which made the king exclaim on reading the examination, “That is indeed a man to make a friend of.” In May 1761 he was translated to the see of Salisbury, and when archbishop of York elect, in which dignity he was enthroned in the November following, he preached the coronation sermon of their present majesties, and soon after became lord high almoner, and a member of the privy council. In the former office he rectified many abuses, and rendered it more extensively beneficial, by preventing the royal bounty from being considered as a fund to which persons of high n;nk and opulence could transfer any just claims on their own private generosity. On one occasion, when applied to by a very rich peer in behalf of two of his cousins, he replied, “that | he was sorry to say that the very reason which would induce himself to assist them, prevented his considering them as objects of his majesty’s charity their near relationship to his lordship.” His conduct in the metropolitan see of York is described with great spirit and truth by Mr. llastal, the topographer of Southwell, who styles him “peculiarly virtuous as a statesman, attentive to his duties as a churchman, magnificent as an archbishop, and amiable as a man.” This character appears to be confirmed by all who knew him. As a statesman he acted upon manly and independent principles, retiring from parliament in 1762, when new men and measures were promoted, averse, in his opinion, to that system of government under which the country had so long flourished. When, however, any question was introduced, in which the interference of a churchman was proper, he was sedulous in his attendance, and prompt in delivering his sentiments. His munificence in his see deserves to be recorded. When he was translated to York, he found the archiepiscopal palace, small, mean, and incommodious; and the parish church in a state of absolute decay. To the former he made many splendid additions, particularly in the private chapel. The latter he rebuilt from its foundation, with the assistance of a small contribution from the clergyman of the parish, and two or three neighbouring gentlemen. He died at his palace at Bishopsthorpe, Dec. 10, 1776, in the 66th year of his age, and was buried by his own desire, in a very private manner, under the altar of the church. Although his literary attainments were very considerable, he published only six occasional sermons, which were much admired, and of which his son, rev. George Hay Drummond, M. A. prebendary of York, published a correct edition in 1803: to this edition are prefixed “Memoirs of the Archbishop’s Life,” and it also contains “A Letter on Theological Study,” addressed to the son of an intimate friend, then a candidate for holy orders, which evinces an intimate acquaintance with many of the best writers on theological subjects. His own principles appear to have been rather more remote from those contained in the articles and homilies than could have been wished, because they are thereby not so consistent with some of the writers whom he recommends; and he speaks with unusual freedom of certain doctrines which have been held sacred by some of the wisest and best divines of the established church. Of | the “Memoirs” prefixed to this new edition of his Sermons, we have availed ourselves in this brief record of a prelate whose memory certainly deserves to be rescued from oblivion. His Sermons are composed in an elegant and classical style, and contain many admirable passages, and much excellent advice on points of moral and religious practice. 1


Memoirs as above. See also some excellent letters in Forbes’s Life of Beattie, and Butler’s Life of Bishop Hildesley.—His son, the editor of his Sermons, was unfortunately drowned by shipwreck, in passing from Bideford to Greenock in December 1807.