George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll

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His Grace
The Duke of Argyll
George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll by George Frederic Watts.jpg
Portrait of Argyll, c. 1860
Lord Privy Seal
In office
4 January 1853 – 7 December 1855
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Aberdeen
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by The Earl of Harrowby
In office
18 June 1859 – 26 June 1866
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
Preceded by The Earl of Hardwicke
Succeeded by The Earl of Malmesbury
In office
28 April 1880 – 2 May 1881
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by The Duke of Northumberland
Succeeded by The Lord Carlingford
Postmaster General
In office
30 November 1855 – 21 February 1858
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by The Viscount Canning
Succeeded by The Lord Colchester
Secretary of State for India
In office
9 December 1868 – 17 February 1874
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt
Succeeded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Personal details
Born 30 April 1823 (1823-04-30)
Ardencaple Castle, Dunbartonshire
Died 24 April 1900(1900-04-24) (aged 76)
Inveraray Castle, Argyll
Citizenship United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Liberal

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.[1] Argyll succeeded his father as duke in 1847.[1] With his death he became also hereditary Master of the Household of Scotland and Sheriff of Argyllshire.[1]

Political career[edit]

1869 caricature of the Duke of Argyll by Carlo Pellegrini

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.[2] 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,[1] 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,[3] appointed a Knight of the Thistle in 1856[4] and a Knight of the Garter in 1883. In 1892 he was created Duke of Argyll in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[5]


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.

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.[1] In 1849 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and served as its President from 1860 to 1864.[6] In 1866, he was a founding member of the world's first aeronautical society, the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain (later renamed the Royal Aeronautical Society),[7] and served as its President from 1886 to 1895. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1869.[8]

Private life and descendants[edit]

Argyll was married three times. He married firstly Lady Elizabeth Georgiana Leveson-Gower, eldest daughter of George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland, in 1844.[1] They had five sons and seven daughters, being:[9][10]

  • John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll (6 August 1845 – 2 May 1914) he married Princess Louise of the United Kingdom on 21 March 1871.
  • Lord Archibald Campbell (18 December 1846 – 29 March 1913) he married Janey Sevilla Callander on 12 January 1869. They have two children.
  • Lord Walter Campbell (30 July 1848 – 2 May 1889) he married Olivia Milns on 14 April 1874. They have two children.
    • Lilah Olive Campbell (10 October 1875 – 6 July 1960)
    • Douglas Walter Campbell (6 March 1877 – 5 January 1926) he married Aimeé Lawrence on 28 November 1899. They have one son. He remarried Lilian Sclater on 17 June 1920.
  • Lady Edith Campbell (7 November 1849 – 6 July 1913) she married Henry Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland on 23 December 1868. They have thirteen children.
  • Lady Elisabeth Campbell (14 February 1852 – 24 September 1896) she married Lt.-Col. Edward Harrison Clough-Taylor on 17 July 1880. They have one daughter and one granddaughter:
    • Lesley Venitia Clough-Taylor (1886-21 May 1954) she married Colonel Hon. Arthur Brodrick on 29 April 1912. They have one daughter:
      • Elisabeth Venitia Marion Brodrick (4 June 1914)
  • Lord George Granville Campbell (25 December 1850 – 21 April 1915) he married Sybil Lascelles Alexander, daughter of James Brace Alexander, on 9 May 1879. They have three children:
    • Joan Campbell (5 August 1887 – 18 July 1960)
    • Lieutenant Ivar Campbell (14 May 1890 – 8 January 1916)
    • Enid Campbell (8 July 1892 – 18 December 1964) she married Douglas Tollemache Anstruther on 9 December 1914 and they were divorced in 1925. They have three children. She remarried Colonel Lancelot Holland on 18 August 1925 and they were divorced in 1931.
      • Adrian Fagus Campbell Anstruther (28 Apr 1917-2 January 1932)
      • Janet Finetta Campbell Anstruther (11 July 1920) she married Reverend William Cole on 4 October 1945 and they were divorced in 1959. They have two children. She remarried Clive Baker on 5 July 1968 and they were divorced in 1983.
        • Michael Henry Campbell Cole (1945)
        • Janet Barbara Campbell-Cole (1947)
      • Sir Ian Fife Campbell Anstruther of that Ilk, 8th/13th Bt (11 May 1922 – 29 July 2007) he married Geraldine Blake on 7 March 1951 and they were divorced in 1963. They have one daughter. He remarried Susan Paten on 15 November 1963. They have six children.
        • Emily Kate Campbell Anstruther (25 January 1953) she married Malcolm Harrison in 1975 and they were divorced in 1986. They have four children. She remarried Andrew Crosby, in 1988.
          • Rebecca Vanora Campbell Harrison (17 September 1975) she married Jaime Benjamin Maxwell-Grant. They have two daughters:
            • Tara Alexandra Maxwell-Grant (27 November 2010)
            • Emily Arwen Maxwell-Grant (14 March 2013)
          • Gabriel Orlando Campbell Harrison (14 August 1977) he married Colette Elizabeth Erskine, daughter of Roseanna Havelock, on 20 May 2006. They have one son:;
            • Leo James Harrison (12 November 2014)
          • Simon Luke Campbell Harrison (30 October 1980) he married Samantha Littleford on 3 May 2009. They have one son:
            • Finn William Campbell Harrison (15 February 2016)
          • Abigail Usha Campbell Harrison (22 May 1984) she married Jeremy Thomas Merrick. They have two children:
            • Megan Joan Merrick (7 December 2008)
            • Seth Andrew Benjamin Merrick (29 November 2011)
        • Sebastian Paten Anstruther of that Ilk, 9th/14th (13 September 1962) he married Pornpan Pinitwong in 1992. They have two children
          • Penelope Julalak Pinitwong Anstruther (6 August 1992)
          • Maximilian Sengtawan Pinitwong Anstruther (26 January 1995)
        • Lucy Anstruther (1964-June 1964)
        • Rachel Whittome Campbell Anstruther of that Ilk (28 February 1965)
        • Harriet Joan Campbell Anstruther (24 March 1967) she married Hamish Summers on 19 July 1991 and they were divorced in 1995. They have one daughter. She remarried, Henry Bourne on 27 July 2002.
          • Celestia Nell Campbell Summers (23 August 1993)
        • Tobias Alexander Campbell Anstruther (16 December 1968) he married Kate Pevsner, daughter of Thomas Pevsner, in 1996. They have two children:
          • Madeleine Isobel Anstruther (9 April 2000)
          • Alexander Thomas Anstruther (14 May 2002)
        • Eleanor Thurber Campbell Anstruther of that Ilk (30 March 1971)
  • Lord Colin Campbell (9 March 1853 – 18 June 1895) he married Gertrude Blood and they were divorced in 1884.
  • Lady Victoria Campbell (22 May 1854 – 6 July 1910)
  • Lady Evelyn Campbell (17 August 1855 – 22 March 1940) she married James Baillie-Hamilton on 10 August 1886.
  • Lady Frances Balfour (22 February 1858 – 25 February 1931) she married Eustace Balfour on 12 May 1879. They have five children.
  • Lady Mary Emma Campbell (22 September 1859 – 22 March 1947) she married Rt. Rev. Hon. Edward Carr Glyn on 4 July 1882. They have three children:
    • Major Ralph George Campbell Glyn, 1st and last Baron Glyn (3 March 1884 – 1 May 1960) he married Hon. Sibell Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone on 25 April 1921,
    • Margaret Isabel Frances Glyn (22 February 1888 – 15 June 1977) she married Admiral Hon. Sir Herbert Meade-Fetherstonhaugh on 6 July 1911. They have four children:
      • Anne Margaret Meade-Fetherstonhaugh (15 June 1912 – 1980) she married Robert Cecil, 2nd Baron Rockley on 9 May 1933. They have three children:
        • James Hugh Cecil, 3rd Baron Rockley (5 April 1934 – 5 December 2011)
        • Hon. Charles Evelyn Cecil (15 November 1936)
        • Hon. Elizabeth Anne Cecil (6 July 1939 – 15 January 2016)
      • Richard James Meade-Fetherstonhaugh (14 December 1913 – 7 July 1958)
      • Jean Mary Meade-Fetherstonhaugh (31 May 1917 – 22 November 2001)
      • John Herbert Meade, 7th Earl of Clanwilliam (27 September 1919 – 24 December 2009)
    • Alice Mary Sybil Glyn (1 May 1889 – 31 March 1970)
  • Lady Constance Harriett Campbell (11 November 1864 – 9 February 1922) she married Charles Emmott on 27 June 1891.

The Duchess of Argyll died aged 53 in May 1878. In 1881, Argyll married Amelia Maria (born 1843), daughter of the Right Reverend Thomas Claughton, Bishop of St Albans, and widow of Augustus Anson. She died aged 50 in January 1894. In 1895, Argyll married a third time, to Ina, daughter of Archibald McNeill. Ina survived the duke by a quarter of a century, dying in December 1925.[11] There were no children from either the second or third marriages.

Argyll died at Inveraray Castle in April 1900, six days before his 77th birthday, and is buried at Kilmun Parish Church. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son John,.[11] who was married to Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria.

Key works[edit]

  • (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


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 92. 
  2. ^ Partridge, Michael (2003). Gladstone. Routledge. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-415-21626-5. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21399. p. 29. 4 January 1853.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21881. p. 1680. 6 May 1856.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26276. p. 2082. 8 April 1892.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "RAeS History". Royal Aeronautical Society. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  8. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  9. ^ The Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire as at Present Existing
  10. ^ The Peerage, entry for 8th Duke of Argyll
  11. ^ a b George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Earl of Harrowby
Preceded by
The Viscount Canning
Postmaster General
Succeeded by
The Lord Colchester
Preceded by
The Earl of Hardwicke
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Earl of Malmesbury
Preceded by
Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt
Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Lord Carlingford
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Breadalbane
Lord Lieutenant of Argyllshire
Succeeded by
The Duke of Argyll
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Melville
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
The Lord Balfour of Burleigh
Preceded by
The Earl of Eglinton
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Bt
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
John Campbell
Duke of Argyll
Succeeded by
John Campbell
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Duke of Argyll
1892 – 1900
Succeeded by
John Campbell