George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll
The Duke of Argyll
PC KG KT FRS FRSE
|The Duke of Argyll (c. 1860)
by George Frederic Watts.
|Lord Privy Seal|
4 January 1853 – 7 December 1855
|Prime Minister||The Earl of Aberdeen
The Viscount Palmerston
|Preceded by||The Marquess of Salisbury|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Harrowby|
18 June 1859 – 26 June 1866
|Prime Minister||The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
|Preceded by||The Earl of Hardwicke|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Malmesbury|
28 April 1880 – 2 May 1881
|Prime Minister||William Ewart Gladstone|
|Preceded by||The Duke of Northumberland|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Carlingford|
30 November 1855 – 21 February 1858
|Prime Minister||The Viscount Palmerston|
|Preceded by||The Viscount Canning|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Colchester|
|Secretary of State for India|
9 December 1868 – 17 February 1874
|Prime Minister||William Ewart Gladstone|
|Preceded by||Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt|
|Succeeded by||The Marquess of Salisbury|
|Born||30 April 1823
Ardencaple Castle, Dunbartonshire
|Died||24 April 1900
Inveraray Castle, Argyll
|Citizenship||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland|
|Spouse(s)||(1) Lady Elizabeth Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (1824-1878)
(2) Amelia Claughton
(3) Ina McNeill
George John Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, KG, KT, PC, FRS, FRSE (30 April 1823 – 24 April 1900), styled Marquess of Lorne until 1847, was a Scottish peer and Liberal politician as well as a writer on science, religion, and the politics of the 19th century.
Argyll was born at Ardencaple Castle, Dunbartonshire, the second but only surviving son of John Campbell, 7th Duke of Argyll, and his second wife Joan Glassel, the only daughter of John Glassel. Argyll succeeded his father as duke in 1847. With his death he became also hereditary Master of the Household of Scotland and Sheriff of Argyllshire.
A close associate of Prince Albert, he served as Lord Privy Seal between 1852 and 1855 in the cabinet of Lord Aberdeen, and then as Postmaster General between 1855 and 1858 in Lord Palmerston's first cabinet. He was again Lord Privy Seal between 1859 and 1866 in the second Palmerston administration, and then under Lord Russell's second administration, in which position he was notable as a strong advocate of the Northern cause in the American Civil War.
In William Ewart Gladstone's first government of 1868 to 1874, Argyll became Secretary of State for India, in which role his refusal to promise support against the Russians to the Emir of Afghanistan helped lead to the Second Afghan War. Argyll's wife, née Lady Elizabeth Georgiana Leveson-Gower, also served as Mistress of the Robes in this government. In 1871, while actually serving in the Cabinet, his son and heir, Lord Lorne, married one of Queen Victoria's daughters, Princess Louise, enhancing his status as a leading Grandee.
In 1880 he again served under Gladstone, as Lord Privy Seal, but resigned on 31 March 1881 in protest at Gladstone's Land Bill, claiming it would interfere with the rights of landlords and had been brought in response to terrorism. In 1886, he fully broke with Gladstone over the question of the Prime Minister's support for Irish Home Rule, although he did not join the Liberal Unionist Party, but pursued an independent course. Having been already Vice Lord Lieutenant from 1847, Argyll held the honorary post of Lord Lieutenant of Argyllshire from 1862 until his death in 1900. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1853, appointed a Knight of the Thistle in 1856 and a Knight of the Garter in 1883. In 1892 he was created Duke of Argyll in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
Argyll was also a scientist, or at least a publicist on scientific matters, especially evolution and economics. He was a leader in the scholarly opposition against Darwinism (1869, 1884b) and an important economist (1893) and institutionalist (1884a), in which latter capacity he was quite similar to his political opponent, Benjamin Disraeli. While some of his works seemed strangely reactionary and obsolete at the times and for many decades, recent trends in scholarship - in evolutionary and institutional economics, as well as in ("post-genomic") biology - have led to some very positive re-evaluation of his work. Though regarded by some professional scientists as an amateur, his ability, knowledge, and dialectic power made him a formidable antagonist, and enabled him to exercise a useful, generally conservative, influence on scientific thought and progress. In 1851, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and was appointed Chancellor of the University of St Andrews. Three years later, he became additionally Rector of the University of Glasgow.
Argyll was married three times.
He married firstly Lady Elizabeth Georgiana, eldest daughter of George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland, in 1844. They had six sons and seven daughters. Their fifth son Lord Colin Campbell was a politician. Their daughter, Edith, married Henry Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland. Elizabeth died aged 53 in May 1878.
In 1895, Argyll took Ina, daughter of Archibald McNeill, as his third wife. There were no children from either the second or third marriage.
Argyll died at Inveraray Castle in April 1900, six days before his 77th birthday, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, John. His third wife survived him by a quarter of a century, dying in December 1925.
- (1867) The Reign of Law. London: Strahan. (5th Ed. in 1868).
- (1869) Primeval Man: An Examination of some Recent Speculations. New York: Routledge.
- (1879) The Eastern Question. London: Strahan.
- (1884) The Unity of Nature. New York: Putnam.
- (1887) Scotland As It Was and As It Is
- (1893) The Unseen Foundations of Society. An Examination of the Fallacies and Failures of Economic Science Due to Neglected Elements. London: John Murray.
- (1906) Autobiography and Memoirs
- Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 92.
- Partridge, Michael (2003). Gladstone. Routledge. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-415-21626-5.
- The London Gazette: . 4 January 1853.
- The London Gazette: . 6 May 1856.
- The London Gazette: . 8 April 1892.
- thepeerage.com George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Duke of Argyll
- Archival material relating to George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll listed at the UK National Archives
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