Oliphant, Laurence(ŏl`ĭfənt), 1829–88, British author, b. Capetown, South Africa. Although he wrote some valuable travel books, he is probably best remembered for his fascinating life. The son of a judge, he became a lawyer and later secretary to Lord ElginElgin, James Bruce, 8th earl of
, 1811–63, British statesman, son of the 7th earl. He served as governor of Jamaica (1842–46) and in 1847 was appointed governor-general of Canada.
..... Click the link for more information. . He was a correspondent for the London Times during the Crimean War, went with Elgin to China, was an associate of Garibaldi, and traveled all over the world. In 1867 he became a disciple of Thomas Lake HarrisHarris, Thomas Lake,
1823–1906, American Christian mystic. Born in England, he was brought to the United States as a child. In 1845 he was called to the pulpit of the Fourth Universalist Society, in New York City, but three years later, deeply impressed by spiritualism,
..... Click the link for more information. in a religious community at Brocton, N.Y. His writings include several travel books, notably A Journey to Katmandu (1852); two novels, Piccadilly (1866) and Altiora Peto (1883); an autobiography, Episodes in a Life of Adventure (1887); and Scientific Religion (1888). He and his first wife, Alice Le Strange, wrote a curious book, Sympneumata: Evolutionary Forces Now Active in Man (1885), inspired by Harris and supposedly dictated by a spirit. After Alice's death Oliphant married (1888) Rosamond Dale Owen, granddaughter of Robert Owen. They established a colony of Jews in Palestine.
See her My Perilous Life in Palestine (1928); biography by his cousin, Margaret Oliphant (1891); study by V. and R. A. Colby (1966).