DRUMMOND, Adam (1713-86), of Lennoch and Megginch, Perth.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1761 - 1768
1768 - 11 Dec. 1778
11 Jan. 1779 - 1784
1784 - 17 June 1786

Family and Education

b. 31 Jan. 1713, 1st s. of John Drummond, M.P., of Lennoch and Megginch by Bethia, da. of James Murray of Deuchar, Selkirk. educ. Leyden 1733; adv. 1736. m. 4 Feb. 1755, Catherine, da. of Harry Powlett, 4th Duke of Bolton, wid. of William Ashe, M.P., s.p. suc. fa. 1752.

Offices Held

Entered army 1739; lt. 47 Ft. 1741, capt. 1745; half-pay 1753; ret. 1756.

Inspector gen. of the annexed estates 1780.


Drummond left the Scottish bar to join the army, served in the ’45, was captured at Prestonpans, and was afterwards in America. Shortly after his marriage, he set up as a merchant. In 1761 he was returned for Lymington on the Bolton interest, but did not follow his brother-in-law into opposition, and was listed by Fox among those favourable to the peace preliminaries. When Grenville in 1763 gave Sir George Colebrooke and Arnold Nesbitt ‘notice to quit’,1 Drummond and his partner Sir Samuel Fludyer applied for their contract for victualling the troops in North America. James Stuart Mackenzie wrote to Charles Jenkinson, 21 Dec. 1763:2

I understand that nothing is yet settled about the contract in which Mr. Drummond and Sir Samuel Fludyer are concerned ... my only concern in it is about Drummond, whom I wish Mr. Grenville would pay some attention to, as he is extremely well inclined to support Government, notwithstanding the powerful drawback he has to divert him from it in his brother-in-law the Duke of Bolton, and he (I will be answerable for it even to the King himself) will have no influence on Drummond if Mr. Grenville will take the least pains to prevent it, for I know him to be a most honest worthy man.

Drummond adhered to the Government, and in April 1764 he, Fludyer, and their American partner Moses Franks were awarded the contract.3 In July 1764 Drummond, in partnership with Fludyer and Anthony Bacon secured a 30 years lease of ‘all the coals on Cape Breton Island’4 and in 1767 a large land grant for himself in St. John’s Island.5

On the formation of the Rockingham Administration, George Colebrooke, asked by Newcastle ‘if there was anything upon the change of ministry which occurred to him to have’, wrote, 15 July 1765:6

Now, my Lord, you will be pleased to observe that Mr. Drummond is brother-in-law to the Duke of Bolton, and though Sir Samuel Fludyer has no pretension to be well considered by the present Administration, yet Mr. Drummond I doubt not will have the protection of the noble Duke above mentioned, who will expect to see him continued in this thing, or that he should be considered in something else ... If Mr. Drummond is to be provided for, or in other words, the Duke of Bolton will be satisfied with Mr. Drummond’s removal to something else, I shall be very well pleased to return again to my place and stand contractor again with Mr. Franks.

Cancellation of Fludyer’s and Drummond’s contract did not take effect until July 1766, when, Colebrooke having withdrawn, the new victualling contract was awarded to Nesbitt, Drummond and Franks.7

Drummond, from his connexion with Bolton, was listed ‘pro’ by Rockingham, July 1765, and did not vote against the repeal of the Stamp Act. Next he adhered to the Chatham Administration; and received in November 1767 an additional contract for victualling the troops in Illinois.8 Returned at the general election on Bolton’s interest for both Lymington and St. Ives, he chose to sit for St. Ives. He supported the Grafton Administration on Wilkes and the Middlesex election.

On 20 Nov. 1770 the Treasury gave Nesbitt, Drummond and Franks 12 months’ notice of the termination of their Illinois contract, although their terms were no higher than those of ‘the merchants of the country’.9 Drummond apparently turned to other American enterprises,10 but continued to support North’s Administration.

Although he had suffered reverses in business by the loss of his army contracts and, as a partner in the Bank of Ayr, in the crash of 1772, his financial standing was not seriously affected. In 1775 Thomas Coutts the banker, having dissolved his partnership with his brother James, took Drummond into the business. He wrote 24 Aug. 1775 to his friend Colonel J. W. Crawfurd of Crawfurdland:11

I am so teased about taking a partner that I have concluded with Mr. Adam Drummond ... He is to live in the house in the Strand. I could not have the benefit of my brother’s advice ... but I wished, if I could, to find a man who I thought might prove agreeable to him. Drummond is his old acquaintance and a good humoured man, and I hope will continue to live in friendship with him.

To Lord Stair, Coutts was more explicit:12

I felt so fearful of the dissipated manners of the young people of the present age, that I believe I shall be thought to have gone to the other extreme in taking Mr. Adam Drummond the member for St. Ives, but I could only choose from among such as offered and the objections to him ... were not so capital as to any of the others ... His being in the Ayr Bank was an objective [sic], though in the way their affairs are settled, and Mr. Drummond having got from the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry the most ample relief they could give for all consequences, I got over the difficulty. Besides on six months notice I may part with him if necessary.

In Parliament Drummond supported North’s American policy and spoke on 22 Mar. 1775 against Burke’s conciliation motion.13 In 1776 he, Nesbitt and Franks were given a contract for victualling 12,000 troops in America.14 Opposed to Bolton in politics, he vacated his St. Ives seat, 11 Dec. 1778, and was returned on 11 Jan. 1779 for Aberdeen Burghs with Government support.

In 1780 Thomas Coutts asked for Drummond’s resignation. He wrote to Col. Crawfurd, 24 June 1780:15

I have thought it expedient on account of Mr. Drummond being a partner in the Ayr Bank that he should retire from my house and partnership, which he has accordingly done. It is not proper that any partner in a banker’s shop should in any shape be liable to payments which he cannot answer on demand ... We are perfectly in good friendship.

Drummond remained with North to the end, and voted with him against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783. He voted for Fox’s East India bill but was among those early won over to the Pitt Administration.16

Robinson, in his electoral survey of 1784, wrote of Aberdeen Burghs:17

If Mr. Adam Drummond should come in again he would be pro it is apprehended. His attachment to Lord North made him go for the East India bill though averse to it.

When it became obvious that Drummond would not prevail against the Opposition candidate, Sir David Carnegie, Robinson listed him among the Pittites who might ‘probably choose to come in upon purchase’,18 and he was returned for Shaftesbury.

He died 17 June 1786.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Namier, Structure, 51-53.
  • 2. Jenkinson Pprs. 239-40.
  • 3. T54/39, pp. 273-6.
  • 4. Bd. Trade Jnl. 1764-7, p. 50; APC Col. Unbound Pprs. 10 July 1764; ibid. 1745-6, p. 661.
  • 5. APC Col. 1766-83, p. 63.
  • 6. Add. 32967, ff. 434-6.
  • 7. T29/38, p. 75.
  • 8. T29/30, p. 28.
  • 9. T29/40, pp. 414-15.
  • 10. Bd. Trade Jnl. 1768-75, p. 288.
  • 11. E. H. Coleridge, Life of Thomas Coutts, i. 75.
  • 12. Ibid. 77.
  • 13. Fortescue, iii. 188.
  • 14. T29/45, pp. 30-32.
  • 15. Life of Coutts, i. 131.
  • 16. Laprade, 54.
  • 17. Ibid. 98.
  • 18. Ibid. 124, 127, 128.