CAMPBELL, John (c.1693-1770), of Mamore, Dunbarton, and Coombe Bank, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1713 - 1715
7 Apr. 1715 - 1722
25 Jan. 1725 - 1727
1727 - 1761

Family and Education

b. c.1693, 1st s. of Hon. John Campbell of Mamore and bro. of Charles and William Campbell. m. 1720, Mary, da. of John, 2nd Lord Bellenden [S], maid of honour to Caroline, Princess of Wales, 5s. 1da. suc. fa. 1729, and cos. Archibald as 4th Duke of Argyll [S] 15 Apr. 1761; K.T. 7 Aug. 1765.

Offices Held

Ensign 3 Ft. Gds. 1710, capt.-lt. and lt.-col. 1712, capt. and lt.-col. 1715-17; lt.-col. 9 Ft. 1720-22, 27 Ft. 1735-7; col. 39 Ft. 1737-8, 21 Ft. 1738-52; maj.-gen. 1744; gov. Milford Haven 1746-61; lt.-gen. 1747; col. 2 Drags. 1752-d.; gov. Limerick 1761-d.; gen. 1765.

Groom of the bedchamber to George II as Prince of Wales and King 1714-61; rep. peer [S] 1761-d.; P.C. 2 Jan. 1762.


First brought in on the Argyll-Bute interest for Buteshire, which was represented only in alternate Parliaments, Campbell stood in 1715 as an Argyll candidate for Elgin Burghs, where he was defeated by a Jacobite but was seated on petition. During the Fifteen he was aide-de-camp to his first cousin, the Duke of Argyll.1 In Parliament he followed Argyll, voting against the Government on Lord Cadogan, in 1717, at the cost of being dismissed from his company in the Guards, but with them on the bill for repealing the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts in 1719, when Argyll returned to office. Reinstated in the army in 1720, he married ‘incontestably the most agreeable, the most insinuating and the most likeable woman of her time, made up of every ingredient likely to engage or attach a lover’, who had attracted George II when he first came to England.2 Again defeated by a Jacobite in 1722, he once more petitioned, but this time the Commons, though ‘much set’ on returning ‘Mrs. Campbell’s husband’, who had the advantage of ‘acquaintance and friendship with the greatest part of the House’, were so impressed by his opponent’s speech that instead of deciding the case at once in his favour, as they had done in 1715, referred the petition to the elections committee.3 It was not till 1725 that the committee reported in his favour.

At George II’s accession Campbell was continued in his place by the new King, his wife being appointed keeper of Somerset House, where they lived till her death, when she was succeeded in the post by her daughter. By the death of his father, whom he succeeded as Member for Dunbartonshire, he became heir-presumptive to the Duke of Argyll and Lord Ilay. Politically he followed Ilay, who used him and his brother-in-law, Lord Lovat, in an unsuccessful attempt to bribe his uncle, Lord Elphinstone, to vote for the ministerial list of representative peers in 1734 by offering him a commission for his son.4

During the war of the Austrian succession, Campbell served in Germany, fought at Dettingen, and, after Lord Stair’s resignation of the command of the British expeditionary force, was one of the officers deputed by the King to manage the army under the Duke of Cumberland.5 In the debate on the Hanoverians, 6 Dec. 1743, he intervened to refute reports by other army officers of serious dissensions between the British and Hanoverian troops, saying that

though not used to trouble the House with his sentiments [he had been] provoked to it by what he had just heard; such accidents common to all armies composed of different nations, must be checked and prevented by good discipline and the prudence of those who command; nothing had passed but what might easily be remedied; not deserving the notice of the House; does not think any ill consequences can attend the junction of the two corps another year.

To which Pitt replied that he had ‘never heard a gentleman of merit say, before the honourable person, that no bad consequences can attend the junction of Englishmen and Hanoverians next year’.6

In the Forty-five Campbell was general commanding in the Western Highlands.7 After the rebellion he voted with the rest of the ‘Duke of Argyll’s people’ against the bill abolishing hereditary jurisdictions, 14 Apr. 1747.8 In the next Parliament he spoke in favour of a bill providing that the rents of forfeited estates in Scotland should be applied to the purpose of civilizing the Highlands.9 Succeeding to the dukedom of Argyll in 1761, he died 9 Nov. 1770.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Pol. State, xiv. 80.
  • 2. Hervey, Mems. 41.
  • 3. Ld. Finch to Ld. Nottingham, 20 Oct. 1722, Finch mss.
  • 4. HMC Polwarth, v. 30-32, 52-54, 67-69, 79-80, 109.
  • 5. HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 275.
  • 6. Yorke's parl. jnl. Parl. Hist. xiii. 141-2.
  • 7. Sir J. Fergusson, Argyll in the Forty-five, passim.
  • 8. HMC Polwarth, v. 235.
  • 9. Walpole, Mems. Geo. II, i. 258.