Oliphant, Lawrence, was born in 1829, and educated for the bar. He published A Journey to Khatmandu in 1852, The Russian Shores of the Black Sea in 1853, and other works of travel. He accompanied Lord Elgin to China in 1857, and held for a time the post of charge d'affaires at Pekin.
On his return to Europe he became Times correspondent in Paris, and from 1865 to 1868 sat in Parliament for the Stirling boroughs. Soon after this he published a novel, Piccadilly, which was followed up after a long interval by Altiora Peto. Meanwhile mysticism attracted him, and he went off with his wife to join a religious community established in America under the auspices of a teacher named Harris. He lost most of his fortune in this enterprise, and, quitting America, settled dowm on Mount Carmel, occasionally revisiting the civilised world. The Land of Gilead, Sympneumata, and Scientific Religion give some notion of his life at this period, and of the evolution of his views. He died in 1888.