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George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll

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George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll

His Grace
The Duke of Argyll
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, KGKTPCFRSFRSE (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.


  • Background 1
  • Political career 2
  • Scholarship 3
  • Family 4
  • Key works 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


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

1869 caricature of the Duke of Argyll by Carlo Pellegrini

A close associate 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 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]


Argyll was married three times.

He married firstly

Political offices
Preceded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Lord Privy Seal
1852 – 1855
Succeeded by
The Earl of Harrowby
Preceded by
The Viscount Canning
Postmaster General
1855 – 1858
Succeeded by
The Lord Colchester
Preceded by
The Earl of Hardwicke
Lord Privy Seal
1859 – 1866
Succeeded by
The Earl of Malmesbury
Preceded by
Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt
Secretary of State for India
1868 – 1874
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Lord Privy Seal
1880 – 1881
Succeeded by
The Lord Carlingford
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Breadalbane
Lord Lieutenant of Argyllshire
1862 – 1900
Succeeded by
The Duke of Argyll
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Melville
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
1851 – 1900
Succeeded by
The Lord Balfour of Burleigh
Preceded by
The Earl of Eglinton
Rector of the University of Glasgow
1854 – 1856
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Bt
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
John Campbell
Duke of Argyll
1847 – 1900
Succeeded by
John Campbell
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Duke of Argyll
1892 – 1900
Succeeded by
John Campbell
  • 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

External links

  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.  
  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. ^ The Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire as at Present Existing
  8. ^ George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll


  • (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

Key works

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. He is buried at Kilmun Parish Church. His third wife survived him by a quarter of a century, dying in December 1925.[8]

In 1895, Argyll took Ina, daughter of Archibald McNeill, as his third wife. There were no children from either the second or third marriage.

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.

. Elizabeth died aged 53 in May 1878. Henry Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland was a politician. Their daughter, Edith, married Lord Colin Campbell Their fifth son [7] They had five sons and seven daughters.[1]

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