Campbell, John

, second duke of Argyle, and duke of Greenwich and baron of Chatham, grandson to the unfortunate earl of Argyle, was born on the 10th of October, 1678. He was son to Archibald, duke of Argyle, by Elizabeth, daughter of sir Lionel Talmash, of Helmingham, in the county of Suffolk. He very early -gave signs of spirit and capacity, and at the age of fifteen, made considerable progress in classical learning, and in some branches of philosophy, under the tuition of Mr. Walter Campbell, afterwards minister of Dunoon, in Argyleshire. It soon, however, appeared, that his disposition was towards a military life; and being introduced at the court of king William, under the title of Lord Lorn, he was preferred by that prince to the command of a regiment of foot in 1694, when he was not quite seventeen years of age; and in that station he gave signal proofs of courage and military capacity during the remainder of king William’s reign, and till the death of his father, the first duke of Argyle, 28th of September, 1703, whom he succeeded in his honours and estate and was soon after sworn of queen Anne’s privy council, appointed captain of the Scotch horseguards, and one of the extraordinary lords of session. He was likewise made one of the knights of the order of the thistle the following year, on the restoration of that order.

In 1705, he was nominated her majesty’s lord high commissioner to the Scottish parliament, though he was then only twenty-three years of age, an appointment which gave | much satisfaction to that nation, where, on his arrival, he was received with unusual ceremony. On the 28th of June, his grace opened the parliament by a speech, and was so well convinced of the advantages which would result to both kingdoms from an union between England and Scotland, that he employed his whole interest in the promotion of that measure; for which, on his arrival in England, her majesty created him a peer of England, by the title of Baron of Chatham, and Earl of Greenwich. In 1706, he made a campaign under the duke of Marlborough; and greatly distinguished himself by his courage and conduct in the battle of Ramillies, in which he acted as a brigadier-general; and also at the siege of Ostend, and in the attack of Menin, of which his grace took possession on the 25th of August. After that event, he returned to Scotland, in order to be present in the parliament of that kingdom, when the treaty for the union was agitated; and was, as before, very active in the promotion of it, though he declined being one of the commissioners. When a riotous multitude came to the parliament-close, demanding, with loud clamours, “That the treaty of union should be rejected,” his grace went out of the house, and appeased the people who were assembled, by the calmness and strength of reason with which he addressed them; but his zeal in this affair diminished his popularity, though even his enemies did justice to the rectitude of his intentions. In 1708, he commanded twenty battalions at the battle of Oudenarde; and the troops under his command were the first of the infantry that engaged the enemy, a*nd they maintained their post against unequal numbers. He likewise assisted at the siege of Lisle and commanded as major-general at the siege of Ghent, taking possession of the town and citadel on the 3d or‘ January, 1703-9. He was afterwards raised to the rank of lieutenant-general, and commanded in chief under general Schuyiemberg, at the attack of Tournay. He had also a considerable share, on the llth of September, 1709, in the victory a Malplaquet, where he was much exposed, and gained great honour. On the 20th of December, 1710, he was installed a knight of the garter; and about this time took some part in the debates in parliament, relative to the inquiry which was set on foot concerning the management of affairs in Spain, when he spoke and voted with the tofies, and joined | in the censure that was passed on the conduct of the late whig ministry.

On the 18th of January, 1710-11, he was appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Charles the Third, king of Spain, and commander in chief of her majesty’s forces in that kingdom. Dr. Smollett observes, that his grace “had long been at variance with the duke of Marlborough, a circumstance which recommended him the more strongly to the ministry.” But it is intimated, that some of his friends were averse to his acceptance of these employments, being sensible, from the state of our affairs in Spain, how extremely difficult it would be for him to gain any ground in that kingdom. However, he set out for Barcelona, and in his way thither arrived at the Hague ou the 4th of April. He made a visit to the grand pensionary, and another to lord Townshend, the British plenipotentiary at the Hague: but though the duke of Marlborough was there at that time, he did not visit him. When he arrived at Barcelona, on the 29th of May, he found the troops in so wretched a condition, and the affairs of the allies at so low an ebb, by the losses sustained the preceding year at the battle of Almanza, and in other actions, that he was not able to undertake any thing of consequence. The British troops were in the utmost distress for want of subsistence, though the ministry had promised to supply him liberally, and the parliament had granted 1,500,000l. for that service. The duke of Argyle wrote pressing letters to the ministry, and loudly complained that he was altogether unsupported: but no remittances arrived, and he was obliged to raise money on his own credit, to defray part of the subsistence of the troops. He had the misfortune also to be seized with a violent fever, which rendered it necessary for him to quit the camp, and retire to the town of Barcelona; but his health being reestablished, he quitted Spain, without having been able to attempt any enterprise of importance. Before his return to England, he went to Minorca, of which he had been appointed governor; but made no long stay there.

In June 1712, the queen appointed him general and commander in chief of all the land forces in Scotland, and captain of the company of foot in Edinburgh castle. But he did not long continue upon good terms with the ministry; and spoke against a bill which was brought in by the | administration, appointing commissioners to examine the value of all the grants of crown lands made since the revolution, by which a general resumption was intended to have been made. In 1714, when it was debated in the house of peers, whether it should be resolved, that the protestarit succession was in danger under the then administration, the duke of Argyle maintained the affirmative; and also declared his disapprobation of the proceedings of the ministry, relative to the peace of Utrecht. His grace likewise zealously opposed the extension of the malt- tax to Scotland and was appointed with the earl of Mar, and two Scotch members of the house of commons, to attend the queen, and make a remonstrance to her majesty on this subject. He also supported the motion that was made by the earl of Seafield, for leave to bring in a bill for dissolving the union. In his speech in parliament upon this subject, he admitted, “that he had a great hand in making the union, and that the chief reason that moved him to it was the securing the protestant succession; but that he was satisfied that might be done as well now, if the union were dissolved.” He added, “that he believed in his conscience, it was as much for the interest of England, as of Scotland, to have it dissolved: and if it were not, he did not expect long to have either property left in Scotland, or liberty in England.” This conduct, which was certainly not very consistent, having given great offence to the ministry, he was about this time deprived of all the employments he held under the crown; and continued to oppose the administration to the end of this reign. But when queen Anne’s life was despaired of, he attended the council-chamber at Kensington, without being summoned; and his attendance on this occasion, was considered as highly serviceable to the interests of the house of Hanover* On the demise of the queen, the duke of Argyle was appointed one of the lords justices for the government of the kingdom, till George I. should arrive in England, and on the 27th of September, 1714, he was again. constituted general and commander in chief of the forces in Scotland; and, on the 1st of October following, he was sworn a member of the new privy council. On the 5th of the same month, he was appointed governor of Minorca; and on the 15th of June, 1715, made colonel of the royal regiment of horse-guards in England. He was also one of the commissioners for establishing the household of the prince | and princess of Wales, and was made groom of the stole to the prince.

When the rebellion of 1715 was raised in Scotland in favour of the pretender, the duke of Argyle was sent to take the command of the forces there, and on the 13th of November he engaged the rebel army, commanded by the earl of Mar, at Dumblain. The duke’s troops did not consist of more than three thousand five hundred, while those of the earl of Mar amounted to nine thousand. Notwithstanding this inequality of numbers, the rebels were worsted, though the victory was not complete, and was, indeed, claimed by both sides. His grace behaved in the action with great gallantry; and was congratulated, on account of the advantage that he had obtained, in a letter from the town -council of Edinburgh. Soon after, the duke was joined by some dragoons from England, and by six thousand Dutch troops under general Cadogan; and being thus reinforced, he compelled the rebels to abandon Perth, on the 30th of January, 1716; and the pretender was soon afterwards obliged to retire to France with the utmost precipitation. The duke of Argyle now repaired to Edinburgh, where he arrived on the ’J7th of February, and after being magnificently entertained by the magistrates of Edinburgh, in gratitude for the signal services he had rendered to that city and kingdom in the suppression of the rebellion, set out for England, and arrived on the 6th of March in London, where he was very graciously received by his majesty.

On the 10th and 16th of April he spoke in the house of peers in defence of the bill for repealing the triennial act, and rendering parliaments septennial. But soon after this his grace seems to have conceived some disgust against the court, or some dislike was taken at his conduct there, for in June following he resigned all his places. The particular grounds of his dissatisfaction, or of his being removed from his offices, are not mentioned; but we now find him in several instances voting against the ministry. In February 1717-18, he spoke against the mutiny-bill, and endeavoured to shew, by several instances drawn from the history of Great Britain, that “a standing army, in the time of peace, was ever fatal, either to the prince or the nation.” But on the 6th of February 1718-19, he was made lord-steward of the household; and, after that event, we again find his lordship voting with administration; | which he generally continued to do for many years afterwards. On the 30th of April, 1718, he was advanced to the dignity of a duke of Great Britain, by the title of duke of Greenwich. His grace opposed, in 1722, the bill “for securing the Freedom of election of Members to serve for the Commons in Parliament:” and promoted the resolution of the house for expunging the reasons that were urged by some of the lords in their protest against the rejection of the bill. He also supported a motion made by the earl of Sunderland, for limiting the time for entering protests: and he spoke in favour of the bill for suspending the habeas corpus act for a year, on occasion of the discovery of Layer’s plot; as he did likewise, with great zeal and warmth, for the bill of pains and penalties against bishop Atterbury. In 1724, he defended the mutiny-bill; and, it appears, that his grace had not the same fears of a standing army now, as when he was out of place a few years before.

On resigning his place of lord-steward of his majesty’s household, he was constituted master- general of the ordnance and by king George II. he was appointed colonel of her majesty’s own regiment of horse, and governor and captain of the town and isle of Portsmouth, and of SouthSea castle. He spoke against the bill for disabling pensioners from sitting in the house of commons; and on the first of May, 1731, against lord Bathurst’s motion for an address to the king to discharge the Hessian troops in the pay of Great Britain. In 1733 he made a long and elaborate speech against any reduction of the army; and endeavoured to prove, in direct contradiction to the sentiments he had formerly advanced, “that a standing army never had in any country the chief hand in destroying the liberties of their country;” and that it could not be supposed they ever would. He also opposed the efforts that were made by some* of the minority lords to prevent tha influence of the crown in the election of the sixteen peers for Scotland. And on the 14th of January, 1735-6, he was constituted field-marshal of all his majesty’s forces.'

When the case of the city of Edinburgh, relative to the affair of Porteus, came to be agitated in parliament in 1737, the duke of Argyle exerted himself vigorously in favour of that city; and in 1739, from whatever cause it proceeded, he repeatedly voted against administration. He spoke against the Spanish convention with great spirit, and | against the motion made by the duke of Newcastle, for an unlimited vote of credit. About this time he was removed from all his places, and engaged vigorously in the opposition against sir Robert Walpole. After the removal of that minister in 1741, he was again made master-general of the ordnance, colonel of his majesty’s royal regiment of horse-guards, and field marshal and commander in chief of all the forces in England. But in less than a month he resigned his employments for the last time, being, probably, dissatisfied with some of the political arrangements that took place after the removal of Walpole. About this time he is said fo have received a letter from the pretender, which some of his enemies are supposed to have procured to be written to him, with a view of injuring him; but he prevented any ill effects from it, by immediately communicating it to his majesty’s ministers. He had been for some years afflicted with a paralytic disorder, which now began to increase: and towards the close of his life he was somewhat melancholy and reserved. He died on the 3d of September, 1743, and was interred in Westminster-abbey, where one of the finest monuments in that place, by Roubiliiac, was afterwards erected to his memory. The titles of duke and earl of Greenwich, and baron of Chatham, became extinct at his death; but in his other titles he was succeeded by his brother Archibald earl of Ila.

His biographer, Dr. Campbell, says of him, that he was a nobleman of great political abilities, an eloquent and distinguished senator, of high spirit, undaunted courage, and eminent military talents. But he has been accused of being much actuated by motives of avarice and ambition; and, indeed, the uniformity with which he supported alt the measures of government at one period, and opposed them at another, cannot be reconciled to principles of real patriotism. He had, however, the honour to be celebrated in very high terms both by Pope and Thomson. In private life his conduct is said to have been very respectable. He was an affectionate husband, and an indulgent master. He seldom parted with his servants till age had rendered them incapable of their employments; and then he made provision for their subsistence. He was liberal to the poor, and particularly to persons of merit in distress: but though he was ready to patronize deserving persons, he was extremely cautious not to deceive any by lavish promises, or leading them to form vain expectations. He was a strict | œconomist, and paid his tradesmen punctually every month; and though he maintained the dignity of his rank, he took care that no part of his income should be wasted in empty pomp, or unnecessary t-xpences." Mr. Macpherson’s character of him, as a public character, is less favourable, but the reader may consult, with more confidence, the judicious and impartial sketches in Coxe’s Life of Walpole. 1

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Biog. Brit.