1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Argyll, Earls and Dukes of

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ARGYLL, EARLS AND DUKES OF. The rise of this family of Scottish peers, originally the Campbells of Lochow, and first ennobled as Barons Campbell, is referred to in the article Argyllshire.

Archibald Campbell, 5th earl of Argyll (1530–1573), was the elder son of Archibald, 4th earl of Argyll (d. 1558), and a grandson of Colin, the 3rd earl (d. 1530). His great-grandfather was the 2nd earl, Archibald, who was killed at Flodden in 1513, and this nobleman’s father was Colin, Lord Campbell (d. 1493), the founder of the greatness of the Campbell family, who was created earl of Argyll in 1457. With Lord James Stuart, afterwards the regent Murray, the 5th earl of Argyll became an adherent of John Knox about 1556, and like his father was one of the most influential members of the party of religious reform, signing what was probably the first “godly band” in December 1557. As one of the “lords of the congregation” he was one of James Stuart’s principal lieutenants during the warfare between the reformers and the regent, Mary of Lorraine; and later with Murray he advised and supported Mary queen of Scots, who regarded him with great favour. It was about this time that William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burghley, referred to Argyll as “a goodly gentleman universally honoured of all Scotland.” Owing to his friendship with Mary, Argyll was separated from the party of Knox, but he forsook the queen when she determined to marry Lord Darnley; he was, however, again on Mary’s side after Queen Elizabeth’s refusal to aid Murray in 1565. Argyll was probably an accomplice in the murder of Rizzio; he was certainly a consenting party to that of Darnley, and then separating himself from Murray he commanded Mary’s soldiers after her escape from Lochleven, and by his want of courage and resolution was partly responsible for her defeat at Langside in May 1568. Soon afterwards he made his peace with Murray, but it is possible that he was accessory to the regent’s murder in 1570. After this event Argyll became lord high chancellor of Scotland, and he died on the 12th of September 1573. His first wife was an illegitimate daughter of James V., and he was thus half-brother-in-law to Mary and to Murray. His relations with her were not harmonious; he was accused of adultery, and in 1568 he performed a public penance at Stirling.

He left no children, and on his death his half-brother Colin (d. 1584) became 6th earl of Argyll. This nobleman, whose life was partly spent in feuds with the regent Morton, died in October 1584. He was succeeded as 7th earl by his young son Archibald (1576–1638), who became a Roman Catholic, fought for Philip III. of Spain in Flanders, whither he had gone to avoid his creditors, and, having entrusted the care of his estates to his son, died in London.

Archibald Campbell, 1st marquess and 8th earl of Argyll (1607–1661), eldest son of Archibald, 7th earl, by his first wife, Lady Anne Douglas, daughter of William, 1st earl of Morton, was born in 1607[1] and educated at St Andrews University, where he matriculated on the 15th of January 1622. He had early in life, as Lord Lorne, been entrusted with the possession of the Argyll estates when his father renounced Protestantism and took service with Philip of Spain; and he exercised over his clan an authority almost absolute, disposing of a force of 20,000 retainers, and being, according to Baillie, “by far the most powerful subject in the kingdom.” On the outbreak of the religious dispute between the king and Scotland in 1637 his support was eagerly desired by Charles I. He had been made a privy councillor in 1628, and in 1638 the king summoned him, together with Traquair and Roxburgh, to London; but he refused to be won over, openly and courageously warned Charles against his despotic ecclesiastical policy, and showed great hostility towards Laud. In consequence a secret commission was given to the earl of Antrim to invade Argyllshire and stir up the Macdonalds against the Campbells, a wild and foolish project which completely miscarried. Argyll, who inherited the title by the death of his father in 1638, had originally no preference for Presbyterianism, but now definitely took the side of the Covenanters in defence of the national religion and liberties. He continued to attend the meetings of the Assembly after its dissolution by the marquess of Hamilton, when Episcopacy was abolished. In 1639 he sent a statement to Laud, and subsequently to the king, defending the Assembly’s action; and raising a body of troops he seized Hamilton’s castle of Brodick in Arran. After the pacification of Berwick he carried a motion, in opposition to Montrose, by which the estates secured to themselves the election of the lords of the articles, who had formerly been nominated by the king, a fundamental change in the Scottish constitution, whereby the management of public affairs was entrusted to a representative body and withdrawn from the control of the crown. An attempt by the king to deprive him of his office as justiciary of Argyll and Tarbet failed, and on the prorogation of the parliament by Charles, in May 1640, Argyll moved that it should continue its sittings and that the government and safety of the kingdom should be secured by a committee of the estates, of which, though not a member, he was himself the guiding spirit. In June he was entrusted with a “commission of fire and sword” against the royalists in Atholl and Angus, which, after succeeding in entrapping the earl of Atholl, he carried out with completeness and some cruelty. It was on this occasion that took place the burning of “the bonnie house of Airlie.” By this time the personal rivalry and difference in opinion between Montrose and Argyll had led to an open breach. The former arranged that on the occasion of Charles’s approaching visit to Scotland, Argyll should be accused of high treason in the parliament. The plot, however, was disclosed, and Montrose with others was imprisoned. Accordingly when the king arrived he found himself deprived of every remnant of influence and authority. It only remained for Charles to make a series of concessions. He transferred the control over judicial and political appointments to the parliament, created Argyll a marquess (1641) with a pension of £1000 a year, and returned home, having in Clarendon’s words “made a perfect deed of gift of that kingdom.” Meanwhile the king’s policy of peace and concession had, as usual, been rudely and treacherously interrupted by a resort to force, an unsuccessful attempt, known as the “incident,” being made to kidnap Argyll, Hamilton and Lanark. Argyll was mainly instrumental at this crisis in keeping the national party faithful to what was to him evidently the common cause, and in accomplishing the alliance with the Long Parliament in 1643. In January 1644 he accompanied the Scottish army into England as a member of the committee of both kingdoms and in command of a troop of horse, but was soon in March compelled to return to suppress royalist movements in the north and to defend his own territories. He compelled Huntly to retreat in April, and in July advanced to meet the Irish troops now landed in Argyllshire, which were acting in conjunction with Montrose, who had put himself at the head of the royalist forces in Scotland. A campaign followed in the north in which neither general succeeded in obtaining any advantage over the other, or even in engaging battle. Argyll then returned to Edinburgh, threw up his commission, and retired to Inveraray Castle. Thither Montrose unexpectedly followed him in December, compelled him to flee to Roseneath, and devastated his territories. On the 2nd of February 1645, when following Montrose northwards, Argyll was surprised by him at Inverlochy and witnessed from his barge on the lake, to which he had retired owing to a dislocated arm, a fearful slaughter of his troops, which included 1500 of the Campbells. He arrived at Edinburgh on the 12th of February and was again present at Montrose’s further great victory on the 15th of August at Kilsyth, whence he escaped to Newcastle. Argyll was at last delivered from his formidable antagonist by Montrose’s final defeat at Philiphaugh on the 12th of September. In 1646 he was sent to negotiate with the king at Newcastle after his surrender to the Scottish army, when he endeavoured to moderate the demands of the parliament and at the same time to persuaade the king to accept them. On the 7th of July 1646 he was appointed a member of the Assembly of Divines.

Up to this point the statesmanship of Argyll had been highly successful. The national liberties and religion of Scotland had been defended and guaranteed, and the power of the king in Scotland reduced to a mere shadow. In addition, these privileges had been still further secured by the alliance with the English opposition, and by the subsequent triumph of the parliament and Presbyterianism in the neighbouring kingdom. The sovereign himself, after vainly contending in arms, was a prisoner in their midst. But Argyll’s influence could not survive the rupture of the alliance between the two nations on which his whole policy was constructed. He opposed in vain the secret treaty now concluded between the king and the Scots against the parliament, and while Hamilton marched into England and was defeated by Cromwell at Preston, Argyll, after a narrow escape from a surprise at Stirling, joined the Whiggamores, a body of Covenanters at Edinburgh; and, supported by Loudon, Leven and Leslie, he established a new government, which welcomed Cromwell on his arrival there on the 4th of October. This alliance, however, was at once destroyed by the execution of Charles I., which excited universal horror in Scotland. In the series of tangled incidents which followed, Argyll lost control of the national policy. He describes himself at this period as “a distracted man ... in a distracted time” whose “remedies ... had the quite contrary operation.” He supported the invitation from the Covenanters to Charles II. to land in Scotland, gazed upon the captured Montrose, bound on a cart on his way to execution at Edinburgh, and subsequently, when Charles II. came to Scotland, having signed the Covenant and repudiated Montrose, Argyll remained at the head of the administration. After the defeat of Dunbar, Charles retained his support by the promise of a dukedom and the Garter, and an attempt was made by Argyll to marry the king to his daughter. On the 1st of January 1651 he placed the crown on Charles’s head at Scone. But his power had now passed to the Hamilton party. He strongly opposed, but was unable to prevent, the expedition into England, and in the subsequent reduction of Scotland, after having held out in Inveraray Castle for nearly a year, was at last surprised in August 1652 and submitted to the Commonwealth. His ruin was then complete. His policy had failed, his power had vanished. In his estate he was hopelessly in debt, and on terms of such violent hostility with his eldest son as to be obliged to demand a garrison in his house for his protection. During his visit to Monk at Dalkeith in 1654 to complain of this, he was subjected to much personal insult from his creditors, and on visiting London in September 1655 to obtain money due to him from the Scottish parliament, he was arrested for debt, though soon liberated. In Richard Cromwell’s parliament of 1659 Argyll sat as member for Aberdeenshire. At the Restoration he presented himself at Whitehall, but was at once arrested by order of Charles and placed in the Tower (1660), being sent to Edinburgh to stand his trial for high treason. He was acquitted of complicity in the death of Charles I., and his escape from the whole charge seemed imminent, but the arrival of a packet of letters written by Argyll to Monk showed conclusively his collaboration with Cromwell’s government, particularly in the suppression of Glencairn’s royalist rising in 1652. He was immediately sentenced to death, his execution by beheading taking place on the 27th of May 1661, before even the death warrant had been signed by the king. His head was placed on the same spike upon the west end of the Tolbooth on which that of Montrose had previously been exposed, and his body was buried at the Holy Loch, where the head was also deposited in 1664. A monument was erected to his memory in St Giles’s church in Edinburgh in 1895.

While imprisoned in the Tower he wrote Instructions to a Son (1661; reprinted in 1689 and 1743). Some of his speeches, including the one delivered on the scaffold, were published and are printed in the Harleian Miscellany. He married Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of William, 2nd earl of Morton, and had two sons and four daughters.

See also the Life and Times of Archibald Marquis of Argyll (1903), by John Willcock, who prints for the first time the six incriminating letters to Monk; Eng. Hist. Review, xviii. 369 and 624; Scottish History Society, vol. xvii. (1894); Charles II. and Scotland in 1650, ed. by S. R. Gardiner, and vol. xviii. (1895); History of Scotland, by A. Lang, vol. iii. (1904).

Archibald Campbell, 9th earl of Argyll (1629–1685), eldest son of the 8th earl, studied abroad, and at the age of thirteen was appointed captain in the Scottish regiment serving in France under his uncle the earl of Irvine. He returned home at the close of 1649, and was made captain of Charles II.’s life guards on the king’s arrival in Scotland in 1650. He declared himself a royalist in opposition to his father, with the view, as some said, of securing the family estates in any event. He fought at Dunbar on the 3rd of September 1650, and after the battle of Worcester joined Glencairn in the Highlands. Bitter disputes arose, and on the 2nd of January 1654 Lorne, quitting his troops, fled to avoid arrest. In 1655 he submitted to Monk. He appears, however, to have maintained communications with Charles, and on his refusal to take the oath renouncing allegiance to the Stuarts in 1657 he was imprisoned, remaining in confinement probably till a short time before the Restoration. He was then well received at court by Charles II. After the execution of his father, he endeavoured to obtain the restitution of his forfeited estates and title, but having incautiously attacked certain members of the government in letters which were made public, he was indicted at Edinburgh on the capital charge of “leasing-making” and was sentenced to death on the 26th of August. He remained a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle till the 4th of June 1663, when the sentence was cancelled and he was re-created earl and restored to his estates. He disapproved of the severities practised upon the Covenanters in the west, and in 1671 pleaded for milder methods. His staunch Protestantism rendered him exceedingly obnoxious to James, duke of York, who in 1680 arrived as high commissioner in Scotland and at once expressed his jealousy of Argyll’s immense territorial influence. Argyll moved the re-enactment of “all the acts against popery” omitted on James’s account, and opposed the exemption of the royal family from the test, though allowing it in the case of James. In signing the test himself, in its final form both ambiguous and self-contradictory, he made the reservation “so far as consistent with itself and the Protestant faith,” and declined to engage himself not to promote any alteration of advantage in church or state. On his refusal to record his oath in writing and to sign it, he was dismissed from the Scottish privy council, and on the 9th of November 1681 was accused of treason, a charge which Halifax declared openly in England “they would not hang a dog upon.” A trial followed, a scandalous exhibition of illegality and injustice, at the close of which Argyll was sentenced to death and to the forfeiture of his estates. Shortly afterwards, through the instrumentality of his step-daughter, Sophia Lindsay, he succeeded in making his escape, and after some adventures retired to Holland. His subsequent movements are uncertain, but he appears to have again visited London, and was in correspondence with the Rye House plotters and proposing to head a rebellion in Scotland in 1683. In 1685 he joined the conspiracy in Holland to set Monmouth on the throne instead of James II., arriving in Orkney on the 6th of May and making his way to his own country. But his clansmen refused to join him, and whatever small chances of success remained were destroyed by constant and paralysing disputes. His ships and ammunition were captured, and after some aimless wanderings he found himself deserted, with but one companion, Major Fullerton. On the 18th of June he was taken prisoner at Inchinnan and arrived at Edinburgh on the 20th, where he was paraded through the streets and put in irons in the castle. James ordered his summary execution on the 29th, and it was carried out by beheading on the following day, on the old charge of 1681. His head was exposed on the west side of the Tollbooth, where his father’s and Montrose’s had also been exhibited, his body finding its final place of burial at Inveraray.

By his first wife, Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of the 4th earl of Moray (Murray), he had four sons and three daughters.

See Argyll Papers (1834); Letters from Archibald, 9th Earl of Argyle, to the Duke of Lauderdale (1829); Hist. MSS. Comm. vi. Rep. 606; Life of Mr Donald Cargile, by P. Walker, pp. 45 et seq.; The 3rd Part of the Protestant Plot . . . and a Brief Account of the Case of the Earl of Argyle (1682); Sir George MacKenzie’s Hist. of Scotland, p. 70; and J. Willcock, A Scots Earl in Covenanting Times (1908).

Archibald Campbell, 1st duke of Argyll (? 1651–1703), was the eldest son of the 9th earl. He tried to get his father’s attainder reversed by seeking the king’s favour, but being unsuccessful he went over to the Hague and joined William of Orange as an active promoter of the revolution of 1688. In spite of the attainder, he was admitted in 1689 to the convention of the Scottish estates as earl of Argyll, and he was deputed, with Sir James Montgomery and Sir John Dalrymple, to present the crown to William III. in its name, and to tender him the coronation oath. In 1690 an act was passed restoring his title and estates, and it was in connexion with the refusal of the Macdonalds of Glencoe to join in the submission to him that he organized the terrible massacre which has made his name notorious. In 1696 he was made a lord of the treasury, and his political services were rewarded in 1701 by his being created duke of Argyll. He had two sons by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Lionel Talmash, John (the 2nd duke) and Archibald (the 3rd duke.)

John Campbell, 2nd duke of Argyll and duke of Greenwich (1678–1743), was born on the 10th of October 1678. He entered the army in 1694, and in 1701 was promoted to the command of a regiment. On the death of his father in 1703, he was appointed a member of the privy council, and at the same time colonel of the Scotch horse guards, and one of the extraordinary lords of session. In return for his services in promoting the Union, he was created (1705) a peer of England, by the titles of baron of Chatham and earl of Greenwich, and in 1710 was made a knight of the Garter. He first distinguished himself in a military capacity at the battle of Oudenarde (1708), where he served as a brigadier-general; and was afterwards present under the duke of Marlborough at the sieges of Lille, Ghent, Bruges and Tournay, and did remarkable service at the battle of Malplaquet in 1709. He was very popular with the troops, and his rivalry with Marlborough on this account is thought to have been the cause of the enmity shown by Argyll afterwards to his old commander. In 1711 he was sent to take command in Spain; but being seized with a violent fever at Barcelona, and disappointed of supplies from home, he returned to England. Having a seat in the House of Lords, and being gifted with an extraordinary power of oratory, he censured the measures of the ministry with such freedom that all his places were disposed of to other noblemen; but at the accession of George I. he recovered his influence. On the breaking out of the rebellion in 1715 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the forces in North Britain, and was principally instrumental in effecting the total extinction of the rebellion in Scotland without much bloodshed. He arrived in London early in March 1716, and at first stood high in the favour of the king, but in a few months was strippee of his offices. This disgrace, however, did not deter him from the discharge of his parliamentary duties; he supported the bill for the impeachment of Bishop Atterbury, and lent his aid to his countrymen by opposing the bill for punishing the city of Edinburgh for the Porteous riot. In the beginning of the year 1719 he was again admitted into favour, appointed lord steward of the household, and, in April following, created duke of Greenwich; he held various offices in succession, and in 1735 was made a field marshall. He continued in the administration till after the accession of George II., when, in April 1740, a violent speech against the government led again to his dismissal from office. He was soon restored on a change of the ministry, but disapproving the measures of the new administration, and apparently disappointed at not being given the command of the army, he shortly resigned all his posts, and spent the rest of his life in privacy and retirement. He died on the 4th of October 1743. A monument by Roubillac was erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey. He was twice married, and by his second wife, Jane Warburton, had five daughters; his Scottish titles passed to his brother, but his English titles became extinct, and though his eldest daughter was created baroness of Greenwich in 1767 this title also became extinct on her death in 1794.

Archibald Campbell, 3rd duke of Argyll (1682–1761), was born at Ham House in Surrey, in June 1682. On his father being created a duke, he joined the army, and served for a short time under the duke of Marlborough. In 1705 he was appointed treasurer of Scotland, and in the following year was one of the commissioners for treating of the Union; on the consummation of which, having been raised to the peerage of Scotland as earl of Islay, he was chosen one of the sixteen peers for Scotland in the first parliament of Great Britain. In 1711 he was called to the privy council, and commanded the royal army at the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. He was appointed keeper of the privy seal in 1721, and was afterwards entrusted with the principal management of Scottish affairs to an extent which caused him to be called “king of Scotland.” In 1733 he was made keeper of the great seal, an office which he held till his death. He succeeded to the dukedom in 1743. Both as earl of Islay and as duke of Argyll he was prominently connected (with Duncan Forbes of Culloden) with the movement for consolidating Scottish loyalty by the formation of locally recruited highland regiments. The duke was eminent not only for his political abilities, but also for his literary accomplishments, and he collected one of the most valuable private libraries in Great Britain. He died suddenly on the 15th of April 1761. He was married but had no legitimate issue, and his English property was left to a Mrs Williams, by whom he had a son, William Campbell.

The succession now passed to the descendants of the younger son of the 9th earl, the Campbells of Mamore; the 4th duke died in 1770, and was succeeded by his son John, the 5th duke (1723–1806). He was a soldier who had fought at Dettingen and Culloden, and became colonel of the 42nd regiment (Black Watch), and eventually a field marshall. He sat in the House of Commons for Glasgow from 1744 to 1761, when on his father’s succession to the dukedom he became legally disqualified, as courtesy marquess of Lorne, for a Scottish constituency; he could sit, however, for an English one, and was returned for Dover, which he represented till 1766, when he was created an English peer as Baron Sundridge, the title by which till 1892 the dukes of Argyll sat in the House of Lords. The 5th duke was an active landlord, and was the first president of the Highland and Agricultural Society. In 1759 he had married the widowed duchess of Hamilton (the beautiful Elizabeth Gunning), by whom he had two sons and two daughters. The eldest of his sons, George (d. 1841), became 6th duke, and on his death was succeeded as 7th duke by his brother John (1777–1847), who from 1799–1822 sat in parliament as member for Argyllshire. He was thrice married, and by his second wife, Joan Glassell (d. 1828), had two sons, the eldest of whom (b. 1821) died in 1837, and two daughters, the second of whom died in infancy.

George John Douglas Campbell, 8th duke (1823–1900), the second son of the 7th duke, was born on the 30th of April 1823, and succeeded his father in April 1847. He had already obtained notice as a writer of pamphlets on the disruption of the Church of Scotland, which he strove to avert, and he rapidly became prominent on the Liberal side in parliamentary politics. He was a frequent and eloquent speaker in the House of Lords, and sat as lord privy seal (1852) and postmaster-general (1855) in the cabinets of Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston. In Mr Gladstone’s cabinet of 1868 he was secretary of state for India, and somewhat infelicitously signalized his term of office by his refusal, against the advice of the Indian government, to promise the amir of Afghanistan support against Russian aggression, a course which threw that ruler into the arms of Russia and was followed by the second Afghan War. His eminence alike as a great Scottish noble, and as a British statesman, was accentuated in 1871 when his son, the marquess of Lorne, married Princess Louise, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria; but in the political world few memorable acts on his part call for record except his resignation of the office of lord privy seal, which he held in Mr Gladstone’s administration of 1880, from his inability to assent to the Irish land legislation of 1881. He opposed the Home Rule Bill with equal vigour, though Mr Gladstone subsequently stated that, among all the old colleagues who dissented from his course, the duke was the only one whose personal relations with him remained entirely unchanged. Detached from party, the duke took an independent position, and for many years spoke his mind with great freedom in letters to The Times on public questions, especially such as concerned the rights or interests of landowners. He was no less active on scientific questions in their relation to religion, which he earnestly strove to reconcile with the progress of discovery. With this aim he published The Reign of Law (1866), Primeval Man (1869), The Unity of Nature (1884), The Unseen Foundations of Society (1893), and other essays. He also wrote on the Eastern question, with especial reference to India, the history and antiquities of Iona, patronage in the Church of Scotland, and many other subjects. The duke (to whose Scottish title was added a dukedom of the United Kingdom in 1892) died on the 24th of April 1900. He was thrice married: first (1844) to a daughter of the second duke of Sutherland (d. 1878); secondly (1881) to a daughter of Bishop Claughton of St Albans (d. 1894); and thirdly (1895) to Ina Erskine M‘Neill. Few men of the duke’s era displayed more versatility of intellect, and he was remarkable among the men of his time for his lofty eloquence.

He was succeeded as 9th duke by his eldest son John Douglas Sutherland Campbell (1845–  ), whose marriage in 1871 to H.R.H. Princess Louise gave him a special prominence in English public life. He was governor-general of Canada from 1878 to 1883; member of parliament for South Manchester, in the Unionist interest, 1895 to 1900; and he also became known as a writer both in prose and verse. In 1907 he published his reminiscences, Pages from the Past.

See the Autobiography and Memoirs of the 8th duke, edited by his widow (1906), which is full of interesting historical and personal detail.  (P. C. Y.; H. Ch.) 

  1. The date of 1598, previously accepted, is shown by Willcock to be incorrect.