Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat

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Miniature of Archibald Campbell Fraser, 1795, Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Colonel the Hon. Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat, 20th MacShimidh (1736–1815) was British consul at Tripoli and Algiers, and later colonel 1st Inverness local militia. Upon the death of his brother, Simon Fraser (1726–1782), Archibald assumed the Chiefship of Clan Fraser of Lovat,[1] and replaced his brother as Member of Parliament (M.P) for Inverness-shire, which he represented in succeeding parliaments down to 1796.[2]


Archibald Campbell Fraser son of Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, by his second wife, was born 16 August 1736. He was at school at Petty, and with some school companions was led by curiosity to the field of Culloden during the battle. Anderson states that he afterwards acquired a sporting reputation under the name of FitzSimon.[3]

Fraser was British consul at Tripoli at the time of the traveller Bruce's visit.[4] He was appointed consul at Algiers in 1766,[5] and held that post until 1774.[6]

Fraser inherited the restored family estates in 1782, on the death of his elder half-brother Lieutenant-General Simon Fraser (1726–1782), whom he also succeeded as M.P. for Inverness-shire, which he represented in succeeding parliaments down to 1796.[2] On the extension of the Local Militia Act to Scotland,[7] he was appointed colonel of the 1st Inverness-shire local militia, with headquarters at Inverness.[2]

In 1794, Fraser received letters of service to raise a Frazer fencible regiment,[8] but because of the advanced age of the chief of the Clan Fraser, James Fraser 7th of Belladrum,[8][9] (who had served in the old 78th Fraser Highlanders under Lieutenant-General Simon Fraser[10]), during the Seven Years' War, was appointed to raise the Fraser Fencibles. It was completed in the spring of 1795, and was inspected and embodied at Inverness on 14 June same year. 300 of the men bore the name of Fraser, chiefly from the Aird and Stratherrick. With the exception of 30 Scottish Lowlanders, and 18 English and Irish, who had formerly served in the army, the rest of the corps were from the counties in the neighbourhood of these districts.[9] The regiment was ordered to Ireland, where it arrived on 1 August 1795. In November 1797, Archibald's son, Simon Fraser, was appointed colonel, in consequence of the resignation of Belladrum. The regiment helped to crush the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and was disbanded at Glasgow in July 1802.[9]

Fraser died on 8 December 1815.[10]


Fraser, who is described as a typical gentleman of the old school, but very eccentric, some years before his death put up a monument to himself setting forth his public services—that, when on a mission to the Mahomedan states of Africa in 1764, he concluded a peace between these states, Denmark, and Venice; that during his ten years' consulate he ransomed imperialist, Spanish, and Portuguese subjects to the value of two millions sterling, and that not a single British subject during that time was sold into slavery; that he co-operated with the Duke of Montrose in procuring the restoration of the highland garb; that in 1785 he surveyed the fisheries of the western coast at his own cost, and petitioned for a repeal of the duties on coal and salt; that he encouraged the manufacture of wool, hemp, and flax; laboured to improve the soil; amended the breed of highland oxen; improved dairy practice; and, by providing employment for a hardy race of men returning from the wars, prevented emigration and preserved to the country their services, equally valuable in peace; that he put down insurrection on 10 August 1792, and planned the system of placing arms in the hands of men of property, and, when invasion threatened, had the satisfaction of seeing its adoption and efficiency. These statements appear to require a good deal of qualification.[2]

Around 1800 the old church at Kirkhill was pulled down and rebuilt on a site two hundred yards away; but the monument still survives as late as 1898 on the wall of the Lovat mausoleum within the enclosure of the parish churchyard. The bombastic monument put up in his own glorification by Fraser's father, Lord Lovat,[11] is fixed in the same wall.[10]

Fraser was author of Annals of … the Patriots of the Family of Fraser, Frizell, Simson, or FitzSimon (published 1795, reprinted 1805, 8vo). Several brochures relating to the Lovat estates are entered under his name in the British Museum Catalogue of Printed Books.[10]


Fraser married, in 1763, Jane, daughter of William Fraser and sister of Sir William Fraser, bart., of Leadclune. With her he had six sons, all of whom died before their father.[10]

  • Simon Fraser (1765–1803), the eldest son, was lieutenant-colonel of the Fraser Fencibles, and sat in parliament for Inverness-shire from 1796 to 1802. He died, unmarried in Lisbon. He had a single illegitimate child, Archibald Thomas Frederick Fraser of Albertaff who married a daughter of MacPherson of Cluny. He died in March 1844.[citation needed]
  • Archibald Fraser was born in Edinburgh, and died 1792.[citation needed]
  • Henry Emo Fraser was born in Algiers, while his father was Consul General. Died August 1782.[citation needed]
  • George Fraser died in infancy in 1781.[citation needed]
  • William Henry died in February 1801.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Using the Gaelic patronym MacShimidh.
  2. ^ a b c d Chichester 1889, p. 206.
  3. ^ Chichester 1889, p. 206 cites Anderson 1825
  4. ^ Chichester 1889, p. 206 cites Bruce, Travels, i. xxxviii.
  5. ^ Chichester 1889, p. 206 cites Cal. Home Office Papers, 1766-9, par. 60.
  6. ^ Numerous references to his consular services in Barbary appear in the printed Calendars of Home Office Papers for that period (Chichester 1889, p. 206).
  7. ^ Chichester 1889, p. 206 notes: 48 Geo. Ill, c. 50.
  8. ^ a b Harper 1979, p. 161.
  9. ^ a b c Browne 1854, p. 377.
  10. ^ a b c d e Chichester 1889, p. 207.
  11. ^ Chichester 1889, p. 207 cites Hill-Burton 1845


  • Harper, J. Ralph (1979), The Fraser Highlanders, Society of the Montreal Military & Maritime Museum, p. 161 }
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Browne, James (1854), history of the Highlands and of the Highland clans: with an extensive selection from the hitherto inedited Stuart papers 4, A. Fullarton and Co., pp. 368–384 
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChichester, Henry Manners (1889). "Fraser, Archibald Campbell". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 20. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 206–207.  Endnotes:
    • Anderson, J. (1825), Account of the Family of Frizell or Fraser, Edinburgh 
    • Hill-Burton, J. (1845), Life of Simon, Lord Lovat, London 
    • Cal. of Home Office Papers, 1766–9, 1770–2;
    • British Museum Cat. Printed Books;
    • Official Lists of Members of Parliament;
    • information from private sources.
    • Fraser was one of the trustees of the Inverness bank according to a work entitled Observations on Objects interesting to the Highlands … By Invernessicus (Edinburgh, 1814, 8vo).
    • A notice of the Fraser Fencibles will be found in Stewart, General D. (1822), Sketches of the Scottish Highlanders ii, Edinburgh, pp. 392–395 
    • A list of fencible and local militia regiments in Colburn's United Service Mag. December 1873.

Further reading[edit]

  • Clyde, Robert (2004), "Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat (1736–1815): John Simon Frederick Fraser", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/10125 
Preceded by
Simon Fraser
Succeeded by
Thomas Alexander Fraser