Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Campbell, Archibald (d.1685)
CAMPBELL, ARCHIBALD, ninth Earl of Argyll (d. 1685), was the son of the Marquis of Argyll [q. v.] executed in 1661, and of Lady Margaret Douglas, second daughter of William, second earl of Morton. After a careful education from his father (Biog. Brit.), and after passing through schools and colleges (Douglas, Peerage of Scotland), he travelled in France and Italy. His letter of safe-conduct from Charles I is dated 7 Jan. 1647 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 631 b), which, if the style is English, means 1648. He remained abroad until the end of 1649. Upon his return he married, 13 May 1650, Lady Mary Stuart, the eldest daughter of the Earl of Murray (Lamont's Diary, p. 20). When Charles II was invited to Scotland in 1650, Lorne was made captain of his majesty's foot life guards, appointed by parliament to attend on the king's person. The commission from Charles, without which he refused to act, though such commissions were usually given by parliament alone, is dated 6 Aug. 1650 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. 491 a). He appears to have made himself especially grateful to Charles, who suffered under the restraints laid upon him by the presbyterian clergy, by bringing to him at all hours the friends he wished to see. In his zealous adherence to Charles he was in antagonism to his father, though it is supposed that this antagonism was feigned, in order that, whatever might happen, the family interests might be secured (Burnet, i. 57). Clarendon's account (Life, p. 499), that Lorne treated Charles with rudeness and barbarity, is evidently imaginary. Lorne was present with his regiment at Dunbar on 3 Sept. 1650, where he behaved with much bravery (Thurloe, State Papers, i. 164). On 12 Sept. he was the bearer of a letter from Charles at Perth to the committee of estates, urging the necessity of immediate recruiting (ib.) On 26 Sept. it was reported that Lorne had gone to raise his father's tenants, and that, finding his men would not follow him, Argyll had left the highlands (Whitelocke, Mem. pp. 546, 549). After the battle of Worcester he joined Glencairn, who was in arms in the highlands, with seven hundred foot and two hundred horse, in the winter of 1653, and with him prepared to invade the lowlands at Ruthven, with the commission of lieutenant-general (Thurloe, ii. 3, 27), and he was successful in surprising a ship laden with provisions for the English troops. His father, by whom he was ‘but coarsely used’ (Baillie, Letters and Journals, iii. 250), had submitted to Monck in the previous year, and we gain some information as to Lorne's action during 1653 from Argyll's letters to the English. He is not, Argyll says on 21 July, resolved to join the highlanders, but will not declare in the negative, ‘though privately he says he intends not at all to join with them.’ A little later Lorne has taken horse and gone to Glenurchie, to hold a meeting of his friends, and Argyll has sent him his last warning, but has not learned his resolution; finally, Lorne is reported to have gone with Kenmure and others to Menteith (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 617 a).
Between the various commanders of Glencairn's irregular force there were constant quarrels. Lorne and Glengarry ‘fell out, and drew upon each other, but were prevented from fighting, yet parted great enemies’ (Thurloe, i. 478). Glencairn distrusted and slighted Lorne. When Lorne and Kenmure went in joint command of a force to suppress the Kintyre remonstrants, Kenmure thought that Lorne treated them more mildly than they deserved, and left him in order to carry his complaints to Glencairn (Baillie, iii. 250). In March 1653–4 a quarrel took place, in which he was like to have been killed by young Montrose (Whitelocke, p. 566). Lorne shortly afterwards had a final dispute with his chief, as to whether the men of the district through which they were marching were subject, as his vassals, to his and to no other person's authority. Refusing to give way, or to accept orders from Glencairn, Lorne now left him with his men (1 Jan. 1653–4), and for a while there was fear of an encounter, as a stream alone separated them (Thurloe, ii. 4). The next night, with Colonel Meyner and six horsemen, he left his troops and fled. The reason for this, according to Baillie (iii. 250), was that a letter written by Lorne to the king full of complaints of Glencairn had been intercepted, and Glencairn had ordered Glengarry to arrest him. Thurloe's correspondent gives a version more discreditable to Lorne: that the intercepted letter was written to the general of the English forces, acquainting him with the disposition of Glencairn's men, and with the best plan for attacking them (Thurloe, ii. 4). He states, too, that while he was in arms he was ‘no way considerable with the enemy;’ that ‘he had raised a regiment of foote, and that they took away, and gave him a troop of horse, and that they took. He will not readily be brought to act again.’ In May 1654 Cromwell published his ‘Ordinance of Pardon and Greace to the Peopell of Scotland;’ Lorne was among the numerous exceptions. On 10 June he was reported as being reconciled with his father, and as helping him to raise men for the English (Whitelocke, p. 574). This, however, is clearly erroneous. In September he managed to capture a vessel loaded with provisions for Argyll's men. There seems little doubt that he joined Middleton's expedition of this year, Glencairn having been ‘slighted’ upon his letters (Baillie, iii. 255). In November we find him sweeping his father's lands of cattle, and Argyll was compelled to ask for an English garrison to protect him from his son's insolence (Whitelocke, p. 590). In the beginning of December, however, he was in such distress that he had to retire to a small island with but four or five men (ib. p. 591), and on 16 Dec. Monck informed Cromwell that Lorne was to meet his father, and would probably come over to the Protector if admitted (Thurloe, iii. 28). Lorne, however, informed Argyll that he could not capitulate without the full concurrence of Middleton (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 617 a). He was suspected of having an agent with the king and of intriguing in England as well (Thurloe, iv. 49), and on 30 Dec. 1654 Charles wrote from Cologne, thanking him for his constancy to Middleton in all his distresses, acknowledging his good service upon the rebels, and promising future rewards (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 613 b). So obnoxious were he and his family to Cromwell that even Lady Lorne was on 18 Jan. 1654–5 driven out of Argyll by the English, since her presence there caused the rebels to collect (ib. 622 a). It has been stated, indeed (Biog. Brit.), that Lorne refused to make any engagements with the usurpers until he received the king's orders to capitulate, dated 31 Dec. 1655. This, however, is erroneous, and the error has arisen from a mistake in date. The instructions received through Middleton are dated Dunveaggan, 31 March. Lorne is urged to lose no time in taking such a course, by capitulation or otherwise, as he shall judge ‘most fit and expedient to save his person, family, and estate.’ He is spoken of as having been ‘principallie engaged in the enlyvening of the war, and one of the chief movers;’ and his ‘deportments in relation to the enemy and the last war are beyond all paralell’ (ib.) Another letter to the same effect from Middleton reached him in April, dated from Paris, in which he is similarly praised. Both of these letters were produced in his favour at his trial in 1681. The next evidence that Lorne was treating for surrender is a letter in which he requests the Laird of Weem to be one of his sureties for 5,000l. This is dated 6 June 1655. The conditions, which appear to have been drawn up in May, and to have received Cromwell's approval in August, were (1) that Lorne and the heads of clans serving him should come in within three weeks; (2) that he should give good lowland security for 5,000l., his officers and vassals giving proportional security; (3) that Lorne should have liberty to march with his horses and arms—the horses to be sold in three weeks; (4) that he and his party should enjoy their estates without molestation, and should be freed from all fines or forfeiture (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1655, 270). By 8 Nov. Monck had ‘bound Lorne in 5,000l. as good security as could be had in Scotland, Lorne promising to live peaceably; and garrisons were admitted at Lochaber and Dunstaffnage to see that his promises were kept’ (Thurloe, iii. 162; Douglas).
Lorne was at this time carefully watched by Broghill, who corrupted his servants, and who sent Thurloe constant accounts of his movements. On 20 Nov. he urged Lorne's arrest, although he had done nothing to justify it, in order that enemies more dangerous at the time might think themselves secure and unobserved. On 25 Nov. the king is reported to have great confidence in him, and on 1 Jan. 1655–6 he is described as having again declared for Charles Stuart, and taken the island and garrison of Mull. On 8 Jan. notice is sent that he has had a meeting of all his friends. If such a meeting were held, however, it was nominally to take order with his debts (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. 245, 372, 401), the great burden of which is emphatically noticed by Baillie (iii. 288). On 13 March other conditions were made between Argyll and the English, of which one was that he or Lorne, whichever the parliament might direct, should repair to England whenever desired, provided they had freedom within a compass of twenty miles, and leave to have audience of the council whenever they wished. Evidently a reconciliation or arrangement had been come to between Argyll and Lorne. On 10 June it is noted that Lorne had saved his estate by capitulating (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1655–6, 222, 362). He was still, however, regarded with great suspicion. On 13 May 1656 Broghill reported that he was ‘playing the roge,’ and sending despatches to Charles, and declared that if ever the king made any stir it would be through him; and this warning was twice repeated in the following August, when he was charged as being appointed, with Fairfax, to head another Scottish revolt (Thurloe, v. 18, 319, 323). Probably in consequence of Broghill's information, a new oath was now imposed upon the Scottish nobility in the beginning of 1656–7, whereby they were compelled to swear their renunciation of the Stuarts, and their adherence to the protectorate (Baillie, iii. 430). Upon his refusal Lorne was at once imprisoned. He is mentioned on 28 Feb. as one of the considerable prisoners in Scotland (Thurloe, vi. 81). In August Broghill urged that he and Glencairn, as the only two persons still capable of heading a party, should be sent for to England, where they would be able to have ‘less trinketing’ (ib. p. 436). While confined in the castle of Edinburgh a strange accident befell him in March 1658, thus described by Lamont (p. 20): ‘Being playing at the bullets in the castell, the lieutenant of the castell throwing the bullett, it lighted on a stone, and with such force started back on the Lord Lorne's head that he fell doune, and lay for the space of some houres dead; after that he recovered, and his head was trepanned once or twice.’ From this he appears never fully to have recovered (Fountainhall, Hist. Observes, p. 195). The date of his release is not known—probably it was in March 1659–60, when Lauderdale and the other prisoners taken at Worcester were set free (ib. p. 152). We find him asking for Lauderdale's advice as to his future action at that time (Lauderdale MSS.)
Upon the Restoration Lorne at once came to court, and was well received by the king. He asked leave for his father to come to London, and wrote to him saying that he need not fear, as the king bore himself kindly to all men. Upon this Argyll came up secretly, but was sent to the Tower so soon as Lorne ventured to tell Charles. Lorne remained to intercede, and found, or thought he had found, a powerful auxiliary in Lauderdale, whose wife's niece he had married (Mackenzie, Mem. p. 38), though Clarendon says that Lauderdale had in former years always written slightingly of him, calling him ‘that toad's bird’ (p. 500).
After his father's death Lorne busied himself about his own restoration, with Lauderdale's active assistance against the influence of Clarendon and Middleton. The latter now hoped for the forfeited Argyll estates, in which design Lauderdale was bent upon baulking him (Wodrow, i. 297). The opposition of Clarendon he hoped to rid himself of through the chancellor's friend, Lord Berkshire, to whom he promised 1,000l. if his efforts were successful. Unfortunately, he recorded this in a letter to Lord Duffus, which was intercepted, and which, from the accusations against his enemies—the incriminating words being ‘and then the king will see their tricks’ (Mackenzie, p. 70)—afforded good ground for attack. Middleton produced the letter before parliament, which was under his control, and Lorne was indicted on the capital charge of leasing-making. On 24 June information of these proceedings was sent to the king, with a request that Lorne might be given up as a prisoner. Lauderdale, however, by offering himself as bail, life for life, succeeded so far that Lorne was only ordered to go to Edinburgh on parole, so that he might have the advantage of not appearing as a prisoner (Burnet, p. 149; Mackenzie, p. 71). On 17 July he arrived in Edinburgh, and appeared at the bar that afternoon, when he was at once committed to the castle. On 26 Aug. he knelt to receive his sentence of death with forfeiture to the king, to whom the time and place of execution were remitted, and who had previously sent positive orders that the sentence should not be carried out. At the same time an act was passed at Middleton's dictation, directed against Lauderdale, forbidding any one to move the king in favour of the children of attainted persons (Lauderdale Papers, Camden Society, i. 109, 113). Lorne remained in the castle until 4 June 1663, when, Middleton having in the meanwhile been disgraced, he was liberated by an order from Rothes, without any warrant from the king, from whom, however, Rothes had private instructions (Mackenzie, p. 117). It is clear, therefore, either that his imprisonment was purely nominal, or that Burnet's statement that at the time of the Billetting plot he sent a horseman by cross roads to warn Lauderdale is incorrect, for the Billetting plot was in September 1662 (Burnet, p. 151; Lauderdale Papers, i. 110). At the same time, through the intercession of Lauderdale, the death sentence was rescinded (Lamont, p. 204), and he was restored to his grandfather's title of Earl of Argyll, and to the estates, the patent being dated 16 Oct. (Douglas). He appears from a casual notice on 12 Oct. 1663 to have been in London when this took place (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1663, 295). From the estates a provision of 15,000l. a year was secured; the rest was to be used for the payment of his creditors, of the justice of whose claims he and his sisters were first to be satisfied (Wodrow, i. 380). This settlement was later renewed and ratified by Charles in a letter dated from Newmarket, 17 March 1682–3 (‘‘Hist. MSS. Comm’’. 6th Rep. 615 b). Burnet says that the estates reserved did not pay off more than one-third of the debt. The family had been reduced almost to beggary, while by a decreet of 16 April 1661 Montrose had established a claim upon him of 32,664l. 3s. 4d. Scots for Mugdock rents, which had been given to Argyll on Montrose's forfeiture, as well as 5,000l., being the price for the said lands with annual rent from Whitsun day 1655 (ib. 632 a). The constant litigation on these matters with Montrose intensified the natural enmity between the families. They were, however, reconciled by February 1667 (Lauderdale Papers, ii. 54; and Argyll Correspondence, Bannatyne Club). Montrose visited Argyll at Inverary in August (Lauderdale Papers, 23727, f. 211), and in March 1669 Argyll travelled all the way to Perthshire from Inverary to attend the funeral of his former enemy, to whose son he became guardian (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 609a), returning to find one of his own children dead. We may here mention that on 2 Oct. 1660 Lorne had had a lease granted to him by Charles of assyse herring of the western seas of Scotland for nineteen years, for 1,000l. yearly, which was renewed on 26 Jan. 1667, and it is interesting to find Charles speaking in September 1668 enthusiastically of the present of herrings and aqua vitæ which Argyll had sent him. Sir R. Moray, who wrote to tell him this, urged him to take immediate steps for supplying the London market. On 29 April 1664 Argyll was placed on the Scotch privy council (Wodrow, i. 416). On the 21st Rothes speaks of him as likely to be active in support of the government against the conventiclers (Lauderdale Papers, 23122, f. 139). In September 1664, however, we find him complaining that he is falsely reported to be slack in the king's service, and that pains are taken to misconstrue all he does. During 1664 and 1665 he was regarded as one of Lauderdale's chief adherents (ib. ii. App. xxvii), Lauderdale being godfather to one of his children (ib.), and is frequently consulted as to the best means of settling the country (ib. i. 195, 201, 210). In May 1665 he was busy disarming the covenanters in Kintyre, as he had formerly done in 1654 (ib. 23123, f. 38), and in October was instrumental in seizing Rallston and Hacket. He took, however, as little part as possible in public affairs; his main object was evidently to raise the fallen estate of his family, in doing which he is accused of great harshness to his creditors; and he remained for the most part quietly at Inverary, exercising his hereditary office of grand justiciar of the highlands, and composing the differences between highland chiefs (ib.) Many instances of his jurisdiction, especially against the McCleans, are recorded (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 624 a, b, 609 b, &c.). At this time, it may be noted, his family consisted of four boys and two girls (Lauderdale Papers, 23123, f. 224). As one of Lauderdale's confidants he was, with Tweeddale, Kincardine, and Moray, opposed to the oppression of Rothes, Sharp, Hamilton, Dalyel, and the needy nobility. There was naturally violent animosity against him on the part of the majority of the council, and especially on that of James Sharp, of which Lauderdale was informed by Bellenden. Bellenden urges that Argyll should be set right with the king (ib. i. 247). It is somewhat surprising to find his signature appended, on 6 Aug. 1666, to the letter of the privy council to Charles, in which the iniquitous act compelling landlords to be sureties for their heritors and tenants is suggested. He had been summoned to Edinburgh by Rothes for this purpose (ib. ii. App. lxxv). The jealousy of Sharp and others was evidenced by an attempt to challenge his formal restoration to his hereditary offices in October 1666, and still more when the Pentland revolt took place. According to a letter to England, dated 28 Nov., he was forward in the attack (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1666, 295). As a matter of fact he was not even present. He had raised a force of 1,500 or 2,000 men (Burnet, p. 234; Douglas, Peerage of Scotland), but Sharp, who in Rothes' absence had the direction of affairs, would not allow him to come on the scene, fearing that he and his men would join the rebels (Burnet, p. 234). On 6 Dec. 1666, however, Rothes expressed to Lauderdale his surprise at Argyll's absenting himself, ‘never having been so much as heard of all this while,’ and pointed out that if he had studied his own interests by bestirring himself he would have undeceived thousands who had no good opinion of him. Rothes added that he had placed Argyll on the commission that was going west, and urged Lauderdale to write to him, if he was his friend, to bestir himself (Lauderdale Papers, 23125, f. 183). Argyll, however, writes to Lauderdale to contradict the reports of his lukewarmness, and to complain of the fact that he has never been sent for in spite of his readiness (ib. 23125, ff. 101, 177), and in another letter speaks of himself as almost killed with toil and ill weather in Kintyre (Argyll Correspondence, Bannatyne Club). After the rout the principal leaders of the rebels endeavoured to reach the western coast to cross over to Ireland, and on 14 Dec. Argyll received instructions from the privy council to capture them if possible (Lauderdale Papers, i. 261). He is reported as having done so on 25 Dec. (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1666, 369).
In January 1667, however, he again complained of the unfair jealousy that keeps him from employment, and in February compelled Sharp to retract his charge against him of hostility to the bishops. His twin children died in June of this year. The treasurership was now taken from Rothes and placed in commission, and Argyll was made one of the commissioners; he also received from Charles a new charter of all his lands, offices, &c. On 3 Aug. he was appointed, with Atholl and Seaforth, to have the oversight of the highlands, which were in a disturbed state, with a grant of the effects of all thieves and the forfeiture of their associates, and the duty of making up to every person the value of what has been stolen from them (ib. 1667, 356). In 1669 he made a celebrated proposition regarding the putting down of the thieves, viz. that some private gentleman should have put into his hands a list of all the notorious freebooters, and that he should be bound to produce them dead or alive by a certain date before being able to claim a reward. Nevertheless, he more than once remonstrates against the language used of the highlanders, which is such, he says, as would be used if they did not belong to Christendom (Lauderdale Papers, ii. 136). On 10 Jan. 1667 he came forward at the convention of estates, and named 6,000l. a month for a year as the sum to be raised for the king's use (ib. i. 270), although only two years before, 11 March 1665, he had spoken against endeavouring to raise money from so impoverished a country (ib. i. 210). He was still on good terms with Lauderdale, and upheld him against the party headed by Rothes. In September he wrote to Lauderdale urging him to secure Rothes's resignation of the commissionership, and on 12 Dec. he exposes the designs and characters of Sharp, Hamilton, and Rothes in the most felicitous language (Argyll Correspondence, Bannatyne Club).
In May 1668 Argyll's wife died, and the letter in which, on 5 June, he describes her last moments and his own desolation is extremely touching (Lauderdale Papers, 23129, f. 138). In October 1669 Lauderdale came down as high commissioner. The nobility went to meet him at Berwick, and the ‘Earl of Argyll outwent them all in his journey and compliment, and is looked upon as a great favourite’ (Mackenzie, p. 141). Possibly this is connected with the fact that, as stated by Burnet (245), Argyll was aware that Lady Dysart, who shortly became Lauderdale's second wife, was using her influence against him. At the opening of the session he carried the sceptre (Lamont, p. 267). On 9 Nov. he is recorded as speaking strongly against any advances being made to England in the matter of the union (Lauderdale Papers, ii. 155). It was supposed that one great object of this parliament was to ratify Argyll's gift of forfeiture. This ratification was vehemently opposed by Erroll and other creditors, but Lauderdale carried it through by high-handed action. The reasons which, through Tweeddale's jealousy, brought about the breach with Lauderdale, it is not necessary to recount (Mackenzie, p. 180). The final cause, however, appears to have been Argyll's second marriage with that very remarkable woman, Anna Seaforth [see Campbell, Anna Mackenzie], dowager Lady Balcarres, on Friday, 28 Jan. 1670 (Lamont), whereby Lauderdale and Tweeddale thought that their godson, the young earl, would be injured. The enmity with Tweeddale was strengthened by the action of the latter in frustrating Argyll's desire to be made justice-general over all the isles. In May 1670 he raised a regiment of militia, and in writing to Lauderdale accidentally mentions his own slight stature thus: ‘The colonel, you may be sure, is the least of the regiment’ (ib.) The only other purely personal notice of him is that in Fountainhall (Hist. Observes, p. 195): ‘He was so conceitly he had neir 20 several pockets, some of them very secret in his coat and breeches, and was witty in knacks.’
Both from conviction and policy Argyll was opposed to the persecution of the western covenanters, and on 7 Dec. 1671 we find him pleading for gentler methods (Lauderdale Papers, ii. 218). On 2 April Argyll received an order from the privy council to suppress the conventicles in his jurisdiction (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 622 b). In this year Lauderdale endeavoured, by means of Gilbert Burnet, to renew the friendship with Argyll; but through Lady Dysart's desire for a family alliance with Lord Atholl, Argyll's hereditary enemy, this was partially frustrated (Burnet, p. 299). Burnet, however, is completely in error in stating that in 1673, when Hamilton led the attack upon Lauderdale, Argyll joined him (p. 362). Mackenzie (p. 256) contradicts this, and that Mackenzie is right is shown by the fact that, along with Atholl and Kincardine, Argyll spoke on 19 Nov. against Hamilton's proposals (Lauderdale Papers, ii. 242), and was named as one of Lauderdale's representatives in the discussions which followed. On 11 July 1674 he was made an extraordinary lord of session (Douglas). He had in May been made a member of the committee for public affairs appointed to do its utmost to put down conventicles (Wodrow, ii. 234), and was employed upon this work in June following, and in May 1676 (ib. pp. 281, 324), though he is stated as in favour of moderate measures in 1677 (ib. p. 349).
Very little is known of Argyll's life during the few following years. In September 1677 we find him successfully engaged in a suit against James, duke of York, who had contested his claim to a sunken ship, supposed to contain vast treasures (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 613 b), and who wrote to confess himself defeated, and to assure Argyll that their dispute would in no way be to his disfavour. In February of the same year Lauderdale had again applied for his assistance against his opponents (ib. 621 b). His alliance with Lauderdale was strengthened by the marriage of the daughter of the second Duchess of Lauderdale with his eldest son, Lord Lorne, in this year (Wodrow, ii. 348). On 10 Oct. 1678 he received a commission to seize, with the aid of three companies, the island of Mull. For the possession of this island continued fighting, characterised by great barbarity on both sides, had been going on between Argyll and the McCleans since 1674 (Douglas).
In the following November he received notice of the king's satisfaction with his prudence and moderation in carrying out the commission (Wodrow, iii. 144). It was not, however, until 1680 that he possessed the island without disturbance (Law, Memorials, p. 159). On 12 April 1679, in consequence of the popish terror in England, he received a special commission to secure the highlands, to disarm all papists, and to reduce several highland chiefs suspected of popery (Wodrow, iii. 39; Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 632 b), and in May had special armed assistance for this purpose from the sheriffs of Dumbarton and Bute (Wodrow, iii. 61). From this expedition, however, he was recalled. He was entirely opposed to the shameful measure of quartering the highland host upon the disaffected western shores, and had sent none of his men to join it. Accordingly, on 7 June 1679, he received an order from the council to leave his highland expedition and at once repair with all his forces to Linlithgow's camp. The language of this peremptory notice points to considerable suspicion on the part of the council as to his intentions (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 622 b). There is, however, no account of his being present at the fights of Drumclog, of Bothwell Brigg, or at any of the operations against the insurgents. Doubtless his slackness increased the animosity of the government. He was, however, in 1680 one of the lords of the secret committee, which was in constant communication with Lauderdale (Lauderdale Papers, 23247, f. 22). In 1680 James, whose sitting in the council without taking the oath of allegiance he had strongly opposed in the previous year (ib. 23245, ff. 3, 5), came as high commissioner to Scotland, and a parliament was held in 1681, Argyll bearing the crown at the opening on 13 Aug. He was, too, a member of the committee of religion in this parliament (Wodrow, iii. 291). It seems probable that his downfall had been already determined upon. Mackenzie, writing to Lauderdale on 17 Feb., represents James as much displeased with a paper he handed in upholding Argyll's right in some ‘affair of the highlands’ (Lauderdale Papers, 23245, f. 86). James expressly states that the king thought his power too great for any one subject, his hereditary judicatories practically rendering him the real king of a large part of the west of Scotland. He had, too, but few friends among the nobles, while his arbitrary and selfish conduct in his own courts and his policy in the highlands, especially against the McCleans, had occasioned a confederacy of principal highland chiefs against him (Fountainhall, Hist. Notices, p. 108). Moreover, he was the prominent representative of the staunch protestant interest, and as such was obnoxious to James. Argyll, however, assured James that he would firmly adhere to his interest, and we find his signature, on 17 Feb., to a letter of the council to Charles, in which the doctrine of the divine right is asserted in its extremest form. James also paid a solemn visit of ceremony to Argyll at Stirling in this same month (Fountainhall, Hist. Observes, p. 27). In his declaration to James, however, he expressly reserved his loyalty to the protestant religion, a reservation met by the duke with marked coldness. In the first two acts that were passed, to secure the observance of all the laws against popery and the unalterable succession to the crown, Argyll eagerly concurred. In the first, however, parliament, in deference to James, omitted the clause ‘and all acts against popery.’ Argyll moved its restoration, and thus still further discredited himself in James's eyes. With regard to the second, a test was enacted compelling all who served in church or state to declare their firm adherence to the protestant religion. To this the court party subjoined a recognition of the supremacy, and a disavowal of all resistance without the king's authority, or attempts to change the government either in church or state. Argyll opposed this addition to the multiplicity of oaths, and especially the proposal to exempt the royal family from the action of the test, desiring that the exemption might be confined to James himself. The act passed, however, and Argyll was called upon to take the test. He was warned by Paterson, bishop of Edinburgh, that his opposing the exemption had ‘fired the kiln,’ and that a refusal now would insure his ruin. In the late parliament he had been significantly attacked. Erroll gave in a claim for a large sum, for which, he said, he had been cautioner in favour of Argyll's father; and an act was brought in to take from him his heritable judicatories, which had twice been confirmed, in 1663 and 1672. This failing, a special commission was proposed by parliament, having parliamentary power, to investigate Argyll's right, and to examine, or rather resume, the gift of his father's forfeiture; but the illegality was so patent that James quashed it (Wodrow, iii. 313). When parliament rose it was determined to get a commission from Charles for the same purpose, but this design was again frustrated. He now wrote for leave to come to court; this was refused until he should take the test, and on 1 Nov. his name was omitted in the new list of lords of session (Fountainhall, Hist. Observes, p. 51). As privy councillor and commissioner of the treasury he was now forced to declare himself. He was suddenly cited by one of the clerks of council to take the oath; he remonstrated with James, as the interval allowed had not elapsed, and was abruptly informed that he must appear next council day, 3 Nov. He would have given up his employments in preference, but his various public and private engagements prevented it. He therefore took and signed the oath, which was a mass of contradictions, ‘so far as consistent with itself and the protestant faith,’ but refused to bind himself against ‘endeavouring any alteration of advantage’ to church and state not repugnant to the protestant religion and his loyalty. To this explanation, which Lockhart, Dalrymple, and others are doubtfully credited with having informed him he was entitled to make (Omond, Lord Advocates of Scotland, i. 217), he obtained James's assent on the day on which he resumed his seat in the council; he did not vote in the general explanation given by the council, as the debate was over before he arrived (Wodrow, iii. 315). The next day he had, as commissioner, to go through the same scene. This time he was required to put his reservation in writing, and to sign it. The latter, however, though at first willing, he skilfully avoided doing. He was thereupon immediately dismissed the council, as not having properly taken the test, and a few days later, 9 Nov., was committed to the castle on the charge of leasing-making, treason, perjury, and assuming the legislative power. On the 8th the council had written to Charles, who replied at once, requiring full notice before sentence was declared. A request for a private interview with James was refused, and though, through the activity of Gilbert Burnet, the intercession of Halifax, who declared that in England they would not hang a dog on such a charge, was not wanting with Charles, nothing came of it. It was clear that conviction was determined upon. The assistance of Lockhart, who, with Dalrymple, Stuart, and others, had given an opinion in Argyll's favour, was twice denied, James declaring, ‘If he pleads for Argyll, he shall never plead for my brother or me,’ and only granted when Argyll took the necessary legal steps to secure it. The trial, so far as the relevancy of the libel was concerned (Omond, Lord Advocates of Scotland, i. 218), that is whether or no his explanation brought him in law under the acts against leasing-making, began on 12 Dec. 1681, before Queensberry and four other judges, and was marked by shameless quibbling and illegality on the part of the crown. After Lockhart's defence the court adjourned, but the judges continued sitting until midnight. They were equally divided in opinion; their president, who had the casting vote, had himself offered an explanation. To save him from voting, Nairn, a superannuated judge, was brought from his bed, and the depositions were read to him, during which he fell asleep, and was awakened for his vote. The relevancy of the libel, as to treason and leasing-making, was then pronounced, and the question of fact was next day brought before a jury composed in great measure of his enemies; Montrose, his hereditary foe, sat in court as chancellor. Before such a tribunal Argyll refused to defend himself. The jury similarly acquitted him of perjury in receiving the oath in a false acceptation, and agreed with the judges on the other counts. Application was made to Charles for instructions by the council, and for justice by Argyll. Charles ordered that sentence should be pronounced, but execution suspended. Upon 22 Dec. the king's letter reached the council; and, though strictly illegal, inasmuch as forfeiture could only be pronounced in absence of the offender in cases of perduellion and riotous rebellion, sentence of death as well as of forfeiture was pronounced in Argyll's absence on the 23rd. His estates were confiscated, and his hereditary jurisdictions assigned to Atholl, in order to perfect his ruin (Lindsay's Mem. of Anna Mackenzie, p. 121). Every intimation, however, was given to Argyll that execution was immediately to follow. He was lying then in daily expectation of death, when about 9 p.m. on 20 Dec. his favourite stepdaughter, Sophia Lindsay (afterwards married to his son Charles), obtained leave to visit him for one half-hour. She brought with her a countryman as a page, with a fair wig and his head bound up as if he had been engaged in a fray. He and Argyll exchanged clothes, and she left the castle in floods of tears, accompanied by Argyll. But for her extreme presence of mind they would have been twice discovered. At the gate Argyll stepped up as lackey behind Sophia Lindsay's coach. On reaching the custom-house he slipped quietly off, dived into one of the narrow wynds adjacent, and shifted for himself (ib. p. 116). He first went to the house of Torwoodlee, who had arranged for the escape, and by him was conducted to Mr. Veitch, in Northumberland, who in turn brought him under the name of Hope to London (M'Crie, Memoirs of Veitch). From London he wrote a poetic epistle of five hundred lines to his stepdaughter, expressing himself as in safety amid noble friends and surrounded by comforts. This comfort appears to have been chiefly afforded by Mrs. Smith, wife of a rich sugar-baker. He also found refuge with Major Holmes, the officer who had arrested him when Lord Lorne in 1656–7. After a delay of some time Mrs. Smith brought him to her country house at Brentford. Wodrow states that offers were made to him on the king's part of favour if he would concur in the court measures; that he refused, and that then, in the loyal reaction before which Shaftesbury and Monmouth fled, he also went to Holland. It is certain that no real steps were taken to recapture him. Charles is said to have known that he was in London, but when a note was put into his hands naming the place of concealment, he tore it up, exclaiming, ‘Pooh! pooh! hunt a weary partridge? Fye, for shame!’ Probably this clemency may have arisen from the fact that the temper of people, and especially in London, was at that time such that any attempt to reimprison so noted a sufferer for protestantism might have caused considerable embarrassment to the government. Fountainhall expressly says that the persecution that Argyll suffered for being a protestant caused more pity than his oppression of his creditors and non-payment of his own and his father's debts caused hatred. As has been said, the moment the court was triumphant over the whigs Argyll evidently thought it unwise to reckon any longer upon its forbearance. In 1682 he was supposed to be in Switzerland, but Lord Granard, to whom he had many years before been of great assistance, received a message from him in London, and held a meeting with him, on account of which he was accused of complicity in his crimes (Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. 213 b). In June 1683, when Baillie of Jerviswood and others were taken on account of the Rye House plot, letters of Argyll's were found among their papers, in a cipher which at first baffled detection (ib. 6th Rep. 315). They were sent to Scotland, and the countess was summoned in December 1683 to decipher them. She, however, replied that she had burnt the only key she had. Both she and Lorne, however, admitted that they were in Argyll's writing (ib. 7th Rep. 377 b). The cipher was, however, at length read by Spence, Argyll's private secretary (Wodrow, iv. 97), and, according to Law (Mem. p. 251), by two experts, George Campbell and Gray of Crigie. Gray certainly deciphered the papers by his independent effort, and received 100l. Argyll, it appears, expostulated with the other conspirators upon their rejection of his proposals, viz. that he should be provided with 30,000l. and 1,000 English horse. They, however, offered 10,000l. with 600 or 700 horse, the money to be paid by the beginning of July, and Argyll was then to go at once to Scotland and begin the revolt. He gave an account of the standing forces, militia, and heritors of Scotland, who would be obliged to appear for the king, to the number of 50,000. Half of them, he said, would not fight. He represented too that his party needed only money and arms; and he desired Major Holmes to communicate fully with his messenger from Holland (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. 364 a, b, 377 a). Holmes was himself taken and examined on 28 June 1683, and from his replies it would seem that Argyll was in London. In October Preston wrote from Paris, informing Halifax that Argyll had his agents in France, and added his belief that he had, after consultation with his friends in Holland, gone back to Scotland (ib. 7th Rep. 342, 396–8). On 28 and 29 June 1684 William Spence was examined before the privy council, but he said nothing to Argyll's discredit (ib. 6th Rep. 633 b). In July he was sent to Scotland, where he was put to the torture; but no more was learnt from him then. He appears from Fountainhall's ‘Hist. Notices’ to have read the cipher on 22 Aug. In September 1684 Argyll's charter chest and family papers were found concealed in a tenant's house in Argyllshire, a further stroke towards the extinction of the family (Law, p. 304).
While in Holland Argyll appears to have devoted himself to private religious exercises and preparations for the death that he anticipated, and he refused to have any connection with Shaftesbury. He speedily, however, became involved in the cabals which took place under Monmouth upon the death of Charles. He came from Friesland to Rotterdam upon the news (Douglas), and was present at a meeting of Scotchmen in Amsterdam on 17 April 1685, at which an immediate invasion of Scotland was determined on, and himself appointed captain-general. He was among those who insisted that Monmouth should engage never to declare himself king. He carried on his preparations with great secrecy, and, furnished with 10,000l. by a rich English widow in Amsterdam, possibly the Mrs. Smith before referred to, supplemented by 1,000l. from Locke (Burnet, p. 629), he collected arms as if for a trader of Venice. He sailed from the Vlie on 1 or 2 May 1685 with about three hundred men in three small ships, well provisioned, accompanied by Patrick Hume, Cochran, a few more Scots, and the Englishmen Ayloffe and Rumbold. They anchored at Cariston in Orkney on 6 May, where unluckily his secretary Spence—apparently the one formerly mentioned, though this is doubtful—went ashore, was seized by the bishop, and the design discovered.
Argyll immediately sailed by the inside of the western islands to the coast of his own country, but was compelled by contrary winds to go to the Sound of Mull. At Tobermory he was delayed three days, and then with three hundred men whom he picked up there he went across to Kintyre, the stronghold then, as always, of the extreme covenanting party. At Campbeltown Argyll issued his declaration which had been drawn up by Stuart in Holland. In this declaration he intimates that James had caused the death of Charles, that Monmouth was the rightful heir, and that by him he had been restored to title and estates. He had previously sent his son Charles to raise his former vassals, who now held of the king; but very few answered the summons of the fiery cross, the results of former insurrections having frightened the people, and all his son could do was to garrison the castle of Carnasory. Here he spent much time to no useful purpose, and then marched to Tarbet, whence he sent out a second declaration in which he combated the statements of his enemies that he had come for private advantage, and promised to pay both his father's debts and his own. Here he was joined by Sir Duncan Campbell with a large body of men. The invasion of the lowlands appears to have been settled by a council of war against his wish; and it is certain that any chance of success which he had was ruined both by his own want of mastery over his followers, and by the divided counsels in his camp. At Bute he was again detained for three days, and his forces then marched to Corval in Argyllshire. After a purposeless raid on Greenock he struck off to Inverary, but contrary winds and the appearance of two English frigates compelled him to shelter under the castle of Ellangreig. He took Ardkinglass castle, and in a skirmish for its possession he had the advantage; he was, however, compelled to give up his design of taking Inverary, and to return to Ellangreig. He then proposed to attack the frigates, but this was frustrated by a mutiny among his men. The garrison of Ellangreig deserted, the king's ships took those of Argyll, with their cannon and ammunition as well as the castle of Ellangreig, and the great standard on which was written ‘For God and Religion, against Poperie, Tyrrannie, Arbitrary Government, and Erastianism,’ and then Argyll in despair determined again on the lowland enterprise. A little above Dumbarton he encamped in an advantageous position in the face of the royal troops; but further disputes led to his proposal to fight being overruled, and to an immediate retreat without any engagement towards Glasgow (Fountainhall, Hist. Observes, p. 179). His force, which crossed to the south side of the Clyde at Renfrew by Kirkpatrick ford, rapidly dwindled from two thousand to five hundred men; and after one or two skirmishes with the troops commanded by Rosse and Cleland, Argyll, who appears to have previously left his men, found himself alone with his son John and three personal friends. To avoid pursuit they separated, only Major Fullarton remaining with Argyll. Having been refused admittance at the house of an old servant to whom they applied for shelter, they crossed the Clyde to Inchinnan, where, after a violent personal struggle, Argyll was taken prisoner on 18 June by the militia. He was led first to Renfrew and thence to Glasgow. On 20 June he arrived at Edinburgh. He was brought along the long-gate to the water-gate, and from thence ‘up the street, bareheaded, and his hands behind his back, the guards with cocked matches, and the hangman walking before him;’ finally he was carried to the castle and put in irons (Wodrow, iv. 299). It was, however, so late in the evening that the procession caused but little notice (Fountainhall, p. 185). He was now closely questioned before the council as to his associates; his replies are not preserved, but he states in papers which he left that he answered only in part, and that he did all in his power to save his friends. And Fountainhall notices that ‘he pled much for his children, and especially for John, who followed him without armes.’ While in prison he was visited by his sister, Lady Lothian, and by his wife, who, with Sophia Lindsay, had been placed in confinement on the first news of his landing. On the 29th a letter arrived from James ordering summary punishment. It was long debated whether he should be hanged or beheaded, and the less ignominious sentence was carried with difficulty. He behaved with the utmost fortitude, and on the morning of his execution wrote to his wife, his stepdaughter, and his sons, as well as to Mrs. Smith, who had sheltered him in London, letters of calm resignation. It should be observed that he was never brought to trial for his rising, but was beheaded on Tuesday, 30 June, upon the sentence of 1681. His head was placed on a high pin of iron on the west end of the Tolbooth; his body was taken first to Newbottle, the seat of Lord Lothian (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. 116 b), and afterwards to Inverary. His son Charles was taken by Atholl a few days later while lying sick of fever.
Argyll's execution apparently took place on his former sentence because Mackenzie, the advocate who insisted on this course, trusted that so manifestly illegal a sentence would be afterwards removed (Hailes, Catalogue, note 77). Fountainhall, however (Hist. Observes, p. 193), states that the reason was merely that a new indictment would have reflected upon his former judges.
His children by his first wife (Lady Mary Stuart) were Archibald, first duke of Argyll [q. v.], John, father of John, fourth duke, and grandfather of Lord Frederick Campbell [q. v.], Charles, James, and three daughters.[Authorities cited above.]