George John Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll British polymath and Liberal statesman. He made a significant geological discovery in the 1850s when his tenant found fossilized leaves embedded among basalt lava on the Island of Mull. He also helped to popularize ornithology and was one of the first to give a detailed account of the principles of bird flight in the hopes of advancing artificial aerial navigation (i.e. flying machines). His literary output was extensive writing on topics varying from science and theology to economy and politics. In addition to this, he served prominently in the administrations of Lord Aberdeen, Lord Palmerston, John Russell and William Gladstone.(30 April 1823 – 24 April 1900; styled Marquess of Lorne until 1847), was a
The Duke of Argyll
|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 (aged 76)|
Inveraray Castle, Argyll
(m. 1844; died 1878)
(m. 1881; died 1894)
|Children||12, including John, Colin, Victoria and Frances|
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.
By the time of his succession, Argyll had already obtained notice as a writer of pamphlets on the disruption of the Church of Scotland, which he strove to avert, and he rapidly became prominent on the Liberal side in parliamentary politics. He was a frequent and eloquent speaker in the House of Lords. 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.
Argyll was a major catalyst of the Education (Scotland) Act of 1872. Under his leadership in 1866, the Argyll Commission looked into the Scottish schooling system and found it severely inadequate. The report - eventually finished in 1869 - was used to call for education reforms. As a result of this lobbying, the 1872 Education Act of Scotland was passed making primary school education mandatory for children aged between 5 and 13.
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. Argyll also played a key role in the establishment of the Royal Indian Engineering College which functioned from 1872 to 1906. This college which was located on the Coopers Hill estate, near Egham was set up in order to train civil engineers for service in the Indian Public Works Department. 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 an amateur scientist dedicated to many areas of science. Aside from his own work in ornithology, he wrote on anthropology, evolution, glaciology and economics. He was a leader in the scholarly opposition against Darwinism (1869, 1884b) although he was not against the theory of evolution, Argyll argued instead for theistic evolution. He did argue against the erosive capability of glaciers (1873) and was 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. In 1849 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and served as its president from 1860 to 1864. In 1855 he became president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. From 1872 to 1874 he was President of The Geological Society. 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), and served as its president from 1866 to 1895. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1869. In 1886, he was elected as a member to the American Philosophical Society.
Argyll was married three times. He married firstly Lady Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, eldest daughter of George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland, in 1844. They had five sons and seven daughters, being:
- 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 Callander on 12 January 1869. They had two children included Niall Campbell, 10th Duke of Argyll.
- Lord Walter Campbell (30 July 1848 – 2 May 1889) he married Olivia Rowlanndson Milns on 14 April 1874. They had two children included Douglas Campbell.
- Lady Edith Campbell (7 November 1849 – 6 July 1913) she married Henry Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland on 23 December 1868. They had thirteen children.
- Lady Elisabeth Campbell (14 February 1852 – 24 September 1896) she married Lt.-Col. Edward Harrison Clough-Taylor on 17 July 1880. They had one daughter.
- 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 had three children.
- 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 had 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 had three children.
- 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. There were no children from either the second or third marriages.
- (1867) The Reign of Law. London: Strahan. (5th Ed. in 1868).
- (1869) Primeval Man: An Examination of some Recent Speculations. New York: Routledge.
- (1873) President's Anniversary Address. Proceedings of the Geological Society. pp. li - lxxviii.
- (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.
- (1896) The Philosophy of Belief; Or, Law in Christian Theology
- (1898) Organic Evolution Cross-Examined
- (1906) Autobiography and Memoirs
- Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 92.
- public domain: Yorke, Philip Chesney; Chisholm, Hugh (1911). "Argyll, Earls and Dukes of s.v. George John Douglas Campbell, 8th duke". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 486. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the
- Partridge, Michael (2003). Gladstone. Routledge. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-415-21626-5.
- "No. 21399". The London Gazette. 4 January 1853. p. 29.
- "No. 21881". The London Gazette. 6 May 1856. p. 1680.
- "No. 26276". The London Gazette. 8 April 1892. p. 2082.
- "RAeS History". Royal Aeronautical Society. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
- "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
- The Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire as at Present Existing
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