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

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



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

Family and Education

b. c.1693, 1st s. of Hon. John Campbell, M.P.[S], of Mamore by Elizabeth, da. of John, 8th Lord Elphinstone [S]. m.1720, Mary, da. of John, 2nd Lord Bellenden [S], 5s. 1da. suc.fa. 7 Apr. 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; col. 39 Ft. 1737-8, col. 21 Ft. 1738-52; maj.-gen. 1744; gov. Milford Haven 1746-61; lt.-gen. 1747; col. 2 Drag. 1752- d. ; gov. Limerick Jan. 1761- d. ; gen. 1765.

Groom of the bedchamber 1727-61, P.C. 2 Jan. 1762; Scottish rep. peer 1761- d.


When Charles Townshend was intriguing to gain the leadership of Scottish affairs, his supporter John Dalrymple wrote to him, 5 Oct. 1759:1

General Campbell ... has, I believe, no political views at all; he is a man of pleasure and his frequent topic is his astonishment at people’s throwing away their lives in managing men and conducting measures ... You used to think that he would be afraid of you taking a great part in this country and the measures concerning it out of his hands some future day. I believe he neither thinks of the country or its interests with these great views; he would rather see both the country and its measures at the devil than be so plagued with them.

Campbell owed his advancement to his cousins John, Duke of Argyll, and Archibald, Earl of Islay, who, on succeeding to the dukedom in 1743 treated Campbell as his heir. Elected for the fifth time for Dunbartonshire in 1754, he followed Argyll in supporting Newcastle’s Administration and voted in its defence in the division on Minorca, 2 May 1757. He was Argyll’s nominee for the governorship of Dumbarton castle in 1759 against Bute’s nominee Lord Eglintoun,2 and thus became involved in the Argyll-Bute quarrel of 1759-60, but was compensated with the governorship of Limerick.

Two days after his unopposed return for Dunbartonshire on 17 Apr. 1761, news arrived that by the death of Argyll on the 15th he had succeeded to the dukedom. His letter to Bute proposing candidates in the constituencies affected by the new situation was interpreted as an attempt to assume control of the ‘viceroy’s’ interest. Gilbert Elliot wrote to Bute, May 1761:3

It carries the most manifest marks of dotage and childish intoxication of new honours ... I cannot help being persuaded that his Grace when advised by his real friends will drop all these vain pretensions.

An accommodation prevented any conflict with the easy-going Duke, whose politics thereafter followed those of his abler sons Lord Lorne and Lord Frederick Campbell. He died 9 Nov. 1770.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Buccleuch mss.
  • 2. Newcastle’s memorandum for the King, 5 Dec. 1759, Add. 32899, f. 308; Newcastle to Hardwicke, 28 Feb. 1760, Add. 32902, f. 453.
  • 3. Bute mss; see also Argyll to Bute, 6 May 1761, ibid.; Bute to Mure, 15 Apr. 1761, Caldwell Pprs. ii (I), p. 127.