was an Cornish
The Cornish are a people associated with Cornwall, a county and Duchy in the south-west of the United Kingdom that is seen in some respects as distinct from England, having more in common with the other Celtic parts of the United Kingdom such as Wales, as well as with other Celtic nations in Europe...
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...
. A native of Cornwall, he was nicknamed the "Cornish metaphysician" for his works on the human soul, the nature of God, and the deity of Christ. He also wrote on historical and biographical themes.
Early life and education
Drew was born in the parish of St Austell
St Austell is a civil parish and a major town in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated on the south coast approximately ten miles south of Bodmin and 30 miles west of the border with Devon at Saltash...
, in Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...
. His father was a poor farm labourer, and could not afford to send him to school long enough even to learn to read and write. At ten he was apprenticed to a shoe-maker, and at twenty he settled in the town of St Austell, first as manager for a shoe-maker, and in 1787 began business on his own account. He had already gained a reputation in his narrow circle as a keen debater and a jovial companion, and it is said that he had several smuggling adventures.
He was first aroused to serious thought in 1785 by a funeral sermon preached over his elder brother by Adam Clarke
Adam Clarke was a British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar, born in the townland of Moybeg Kirley near Tobermore in Ireland...
. He joined the Methodists, was soon employed as a class leader and local preacher, and continued to preach till a few months before his death. His opportunities of gaining knowledge were very scanty, but he strenuously set himself to make the most of them. It is stated that an accidental introduction to Locke's great essay
First appearing in 1690 with the printed title An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke concerns the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. He describes the mind at birth as a blank slate filled later through experience...
on human understanding determined the ultimate direction of his studies.
In 1798 the first part of Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...
's Age of Reason
was put into his hands; and in the following year he made his first appearance as an author by publishing his Remarks
on that work. The book was favourably received, and was republished in 1820. Drew had begun to meditate a greater attempt before he wrote his Remarks on Paine
; and, encouraged by the antiquary John Whitaker
John Whitaker B.D., F.S.A. , was an English historian and Anglican clergyman. Besides historical studies on the Roman Empire and on the early history of Great Britain he was a reviewer for London magazines and a poet.-Life:He was the son of James Whitaker, innkeeper, and was born in Manchester on...
, he published his Essay on the Immateriality and Immortality of the Soul
This work made the "Cornish metaphysician," as he was called, widely known, and for some time it held a high place in the judgment of the religious world as a conclusive argument on its subject. A fifth edition appeared in 1831. Drew continued to work at his trade till 1805, when he entered into an engagement with Dr Thomas Coke
Thomas Coke was the first Methodist Bishop and is known as the Father of Methodist Missions.Born in Brecon, south Wales, his father was a well-to-do apothecary...
, a prominent Wesleyan official, which enabled him to devote himself entirely to literature.
In 1809 he published his Essay on the Identity and General Resurrection of the Human Body
, perhaps the most original of his works, which reached a second edition in 1822. In 1814 he completed a history of Cornwall begun by Fortescue Hitchins. In 1819 he removed to Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...
, being appointed editor of the Imperial Magazine
, then newly established, and in 1821 to London, the business being then transferred to the capital. Here he filled the post of editor till his death, and had also the supervision of all works issued from the Caxton Press
The Caxton Press was founded in Shildon, County Durham in the United Kingdom in 1930 by Frank Wawne, 1900-1995.The business specialised in Letterpress printing, and boasted two 19th century, belt driven, hand fed printing presses, a Gordon and a Golding. During World War II Mr...
He was an unsuccessful competitor for the Burnett prize offered in 1811 for an essay on the existence and attributes of God. The work which he then wrote, and which in his own judgment was his best, was published in 1820, under the title of An Attempt to demonstrate from Reason and Revelation the Necessary Existence, Essential Perfections, and Superintending Providence of an Eternal Being, who is the Creator, the Supporter, and the Governor of all Things
(2 vols 8vo
Octavo to is a technical term describing the format of a book.Octavo may also refer to:* Octavo is a grimoire in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett...
). This procured him the degree of MA
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...
from the university of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...
Among Drew's lesser writings are a Life of Dr Thomas Coke
(1817), and a work on the deity of Christ (1813).
He died at Helston in Cornwall on the 29th of March 1833. He was a man of strong mind, honourable spirit and affectionate disposition, energetic both in speech and in writing.
A memoir of his life by his eldest son appeared in 1834.