Daniel Campbell (died 1753)

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Daniel Campbell (1671/2-1753), or Donald Campbell, of Shawfield and Islay, was a leading Glasgow merchant and Member of Parliament, nicknamed “Great Daniel” because of his size and great wealth.[1]


Campbell was the eldest son of Walter Campbell of Skipnish, and was born about 1671. In many books of reference he is stated to have been born in 1696 and to have died in 1777, the former date being that of his son John Campbell's birth, and the latter that of his grandson Daniel Campbell's death.


At the age of 22 he set up business in New England, before settling in Glasgow, where he traded tobacco for iron ore. He also engaged in the slave trade and in finance. He was very successful as a merchant, and in 1707 purchased the estate of Shawfield or Schawfield, in Rutherglen, from Sir James Hamilton. He also came to possess the valuable estate of Woodhall, near Holytown.

Member of Parliament[edit]

A follower of the Duke of Argyll, he represented Inverary in the Scottish parliament from 1702 till the union, and was one of the commissioners who signed the treaty. He also sat in the first Parliament of Great Britain, 1707-8, and represented the Glasgow burghs from 1716 to 1734. In 1711 he built, for his town residence in Glasgow, Shawfield mansion, which became famous in connection with the Shawfield riots in 1725.

The Shawfield Riots and the purchase of Islay[edit]

A letter from a gentleman in Glasgow, to his friend in the country, concerning the late tumults which happened in that city.

Campbell had voted for the imposition of the malt tax in Scotland, and on this account the mob, after taking possession of the city and preventing the officers of excise from collecting it, proceeded to the Shawfield mansion and completely demolished the interior. The provost and magistrates were arrested on the ground of having favoured the mob, and Campbell received £9,000 from the city as compensation for the damages caused by the riot. Soon afterwards he purchased the island of Islay, the sum obtained from the city forming a large part of the money paid for it.


Campbell died on 8 June 1753, aged 82. By his first marriage to Margaret Leckie (the daughter of John Leckie of Newlands) he had three sons and three daughters, and by his second to Catherine Denham one daughter. On his death, having been pre-deceased by his eldest son, he was succeeded by his grandson, Daniel Campbell of Shawfield and Islay (c 1737-1777). Another grandson was Walter Campbell of Shawfield.


Campbell's biography A very canny Scot was written by Joanna Hill and Nicholas Bastin, and published in 2007.


  1. ^ Hill, Joanna; Bastin, Nicholas (3 December 2007). A Very Canny Scot: 'Great' Daniel Campbell of Shawfield and Islay 1670-1753. Two Plus George Ltd. ASIN 0955622816 – via Amazon. 


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Campbell, Daniel (1671?-1753)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Smith
Member of Parliament for Clyde Burghs
1716 – 1727
Succeeded by
John Blackwood
Preceded by
John Blackwood
Member of Parliament for Clyde Burghs
1728 – 1734
Succeeded by
William Campbell