Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
The Earl of Argyll, portrait from Argyll's Lodging.

Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll (26 February 1629 – 30 June 1685) was a Scottish peer.

Early life

He was born in 1629 in Dalkeith, Scotland, the son of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll. In his early life he bore the courtesy title Lord Lorne.


He became a colonel of the Foot Guards and fought in the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 and the Battle of Worcester in 1651 for King Charles II.

When Charles II was invited to Scotland in 1650, Lorne was made captain of his majesty's foot life guards, appointed by parliament to attend on the king's person. Charles was under restraints laid upon him by the presbyterian clergy, but Lorne brought him the friends he wished to see. Lorne was present with his regiment at the Battle of Dunbar on 3 September 1650. After the Battle of Worcester he joined Glencairn, who was in arms in the highlands, with 700 soldiers and 200 horses, in the winter of 1653, and with him prepared to invade the lowlands at Ruthven, with the commission of lieutenant-general.

His father had submitted to George Monck during the previous year. Between the various commanders of Glencairn's irregular force there were constant quarrels. Lorne and Glengarry "fell out, and drew upon each other, but were prevented from fighting, yet parted great enemies." Glencairn distrusted and slighted Lorne. When Lorne and Kenmure went in joint command of a force to suppress the Kintyre remonstrants, Kenmure thought that Lorne treated them more mildly than they deserved, and left him in order to carry his complaints to Glencairn. In March 1653–4 a quarrel took place, in which he was like to have been killed by young Montrose. Lorne shortly afterwards had a final dispute with his chief, as to whether the men of the district through which they were marching were subject, as his vassals, to his and to no other person's authority. Refusing to give way, or to accept orders from Glencairn, Lorne now left him with his men, and for a while there was fear of an encounter, as a stream alone separated them. The next night, with Colonel Meyner and six horsemen, he left his troops and fled. The reason for this, according to Baillie, was that a letter written by Lorne to the king full of complaints of Glencairn had been intercepted, and Glencairn had ordered Glengarry to arrest him. Thurloe's correspondent gives a version more discreditable to Lorne: that the intercepted letter was written to the general of the English forces, acquainting him with the disposition of Glencairn's men, and with the best plan for attacking them. He states, too, that while he was in arms he was ‘no way considerable with the enemy;’ that ‘he had raised a regiment of foote, and that they took away, and gave him a troop of horse, and that they took. He will not readily be brought to act again.’[1]

In May 1654, Cromwell published his "Ordinance of Pardon and Greace to the Peopell of Scotland;" Lorne was among the numerous exceptions. On 10 June he was reported as being reconciled with his father, and as helping him to raise men for the English. This, however, is clearly erroneous. In September he managed to capture a vessel loaded with provisions for Argyll's men. There seems little doubt that he joined Middleton's expedition of this year, Glencairn having been ‘slighted’ upon his letters. In November we find him sweeping his father's lands of cattle, and Argyll was compelled to ask for an English garrison to protect him from his son's insolence. In the beginning of December, however, he was in such distress that he had to retire to a small island with but four or five men, and on 16 December Monck informed Cromwell that Lorne was to meet his father, and would probably come over to the Protector if admitted. Lorne, however, informed Argyll that he could not capitulate without the full concurrence of Middleton. He was suspected of having an agent with the king and of intriguing in England as well, and on 30 December 1654 Charles wrote from Cologne, thanking him for his constancy to Middleton in all his distresses, acknowledging his good service upon the rebels, and promising future rewards.

So obnoxious were he and his family to Cromwell that even Lady Lorne was on 18 January 1654–5 driven out of Argyll by the English, since her presence there caused the rebels to collect. It has been stated, indeed, that Lorne refused to make any engagements with the usurpers until he received the king's orders to capitulate, dated 31 December 1655. This, however, is erroneous, and the error has arisen from a mistake in date. The instructions received through Middleton are dated Dunveaggan, 31 March. Lorne is urged to lose no time in taking such a course, by capitulation or otherwise, as he shall judge ‘"most fit and expedient to save his person, family, and estate." He is spoken of as having been "principallie engaged in the enlyvening of the war, and one of the chief movers;" and his ‘deportments in relation to the enemy and the last war are beyond all paralell’. Another letter to the same effect from Middleton reached him in April, dated from Paris, in which he is similarly praised. Both of these letters were produced in his favour at his trial in 1681. The next evidence that Lorne was treating for surrender is a letter in which he requests the Laird of Weem to be one of his sureties for 5,000l. This is dated 6 June 1655. The conditions, which appear to have been drawn up in May, and to have received Cromwell's approval in August, were (1) that Lorne and the heads of clans serving him should come in within three weeks; (2) that he should give good lowland security for 5,000l., his officers and vassals giving proportional security; (3) that Lorne should have liberty to march with his horses and arms—the horses to be sold in three weeks; (4) that he and his party should enjoy their estates without molestation, and should be freed from all fines or forfeiture. By 8 Nov. Monck had ‘bound Lorne in 5,000l. as good security as could be had in Scotland, Lorne promising to live peaceably; and garrisons were admitted at Lochaber and Dunstaffnage to see that his promises were kept’.[1]

Lorne was at this time carefully watched by Broghill, who bribed his servants, and who sent Thurloe accounts of his movements. On 20 November he urged Lorne's arrest, although he had done nothing to justify it, in order that enemies more dangerous at the time might think themselves secure and unobserved. On 25 November the king is reported to have great confidence in him, and on 1 January 1655–6 he is described as having again declared for Charles Stuart, and taken the island and garrison of Mull. On 8 January, notice is sent that he has had a meeting of all his friends. If such a meeting were held, however, it was nominally to take order with his debts, the great burden of which is emphatically noticed by Baillie. On 13 March other conditions were made between Argyll and the English, of which one was that he or Lorne, whichever the parliament might direct, should repair to England whenever desired, provided they had freedom within a compass of twenty miles, and leave to have audience of the council whenever they wished. Evidently a reconciliation or arrangement had been come to between Argyll and Lorne. On 10 June it is noted that Lorne had saved his estate by capitulating.

He was still, however, regarded with great suspicion. On 13 May 1656 Broghill reported that he was ‘playing the roge,’ and sending despatches to Charles, and declared that if ever the king made any stir it would be through him; and this warning was twice repeated in the following August, when he was charged as being appointed, with Fairfax, to head another Scottish revolt. Probably in consequence of Broghill's information, a new oath was now imposed upon the Scottish nobility in the beginning of 1656–7, whereby they were compelled to swear their renunciation of the Stuarts, and their adherence to the protectorate. Upon his refusal Lorne was at once imprisoned. He is mentioned on 28 Feb. as one of the considerable prisoners in Scotland. In August Broghill urged that he and Glencairn, as the only two persons still capable of heading a party, should be sent for to England, where they would be able to have ‘less trinketing’. While confined in the castle of Edinburgh a strange accident befell him in March 1658, thus described by Lamont: ‘Being playing at the bullets in the castell, the lieutenant of the castell throwing the bullett, it lighted on a stone, and with such force started back on the Lord Lorne's head that he fell doune, and lay for the space of some houres dead; after that he recovered, and his head was trepanned once or twice.’ From this he appears never fully to have recovered. The date of his release is not known—probably it was in March 1659–60, when Lauderdale and the other prisoners taken at Worcester were set free. He was asking for Lauderdale's advice as to his future action at that time.[1]

Earl of Argyll

He became the ninth earl in 1663 (on the earldom's restoration after a dissolution two years earlier following the execution of his father for treason). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in October 1663.[2]

As Lorne, Campbell remained in Edinburgh Castle until 4 June 1663. His enemy Middleton having been disgraced, he was freed by an order from John Leslie, 1st Duke of Rothes, without a warrant but on private instructions; at the same time, through the intercession of Lauderdale, his death sentence was rescinded. He was restored to his grandfather's title of Earl of Argyll, and to the estates, by patent dated 16 October. He may have been in London by this time.[1]

Argyll's affairs were still encumbered by debt, and there was constant litigation with Montrose. They were, however, reconciled by February 1667. Montrose visited Argyll at Inverary in August, and in March 1669 Argyll travelled to Perthshire from Inverary to attend his funeral, becoming guardian to his son. On 29 April 1664 Argyll was placed on the Scottish privy council, and during 1664 and 1665 he was regarded as one of Lauderdale's chief adherents, Lauderdale being godfather to one of his children.[1]

In May 1665 Argyll was disarming the Covenanters in Kintyre. He remained for the most part at Inverary, exercising his hereditary office of grand justiciar of the highlands, and mediating between highland chiefs. As one of Lauderdale's confidants he was, with Tweeddale, Kincardine, and Moray, opposed to the oppression of Rothes, Sharp, Hamilton, Dalyel, and the needy nobility. There was animus against him on the council, especially from James Sharp. It surfaced in attempt to challenge his formal restoration to his hereditary offices in October 1666, and again when the Pentland Rising took place, when Sharp would not allow Argyll's forces to participate, fearing that he and his men would join the rebels. After their rout the leaders of the rebels tried to reach the west coast to cross over to Ireland, and on 14 December Argyll received instructions from the privy council to capture them if possible.[1]

The treasurership was now taken from Rothes and placed in commission, and Argyll was made one of the commissioners; he also received from Charles II a new charter of all his lands, offices, &c. On 3 August he was appointed, with Atholl and Seaforth, to have the oversight of the highlands, which were in a disturbed state. He was still on good terms with Lauderdale, and upheld him against the party headed by Rothes. In September he wrote to Lauderdale urging him to secure Rothes's resignation of the commissionership.[1]

File:Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll; Countess of Argyll from NPG.jpg
Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll, with his second wife Anna.

In May 1668 Argyll's wife died. In October 1669 Lauderdale visited as high commissioner; Argyll, aware that Lady Dysart, who shortly became Lauderdale's second wife, was using her influence against him, made a point of attentions to Lauderdale at Berwick. At the opening of the session he carried the sceptre. One issue of this parliament was to ratify Argyll's gift of forfeiture; this ratification was opposed by Erroll and other creditors, but Lauderdale carried it through by high-handed action. For reasons including Tweeddale's jealousy, Argyll broke with Lauderdale, the last straw being Argyll's second marriage with Lady Anna Mackenzie, dowager Lady Balcarres, on Friday, 28 January 1670[3] (Lauderdale and Tweeddale thought that their godson, the young earl, would be adversely affected).[1]

Argyll was opposed to further persecution of the western Covenanters, but was ordered by the privy council to suppress the conventicles in his jurisdiction. On 11 July 1674 he was made an extraordinary lord of session. He had in May been made a member of the committee for public affairs appointed to put down conventicles; in 1677 he was still supporting moderate measures. He quietly rebuilt his alliance with Lauderdale, and the daughter of the second Duchess of Lauderdale married his eldest son, Lord Lorne. On 10 October 1678 he received a commission to seize, with the aid of three companies, the Isle of Mull, where a vicious turf war had been going on between Argyll and the McCleans since 1674. It took until 1680 for him to gain possession.[1]


On 12 April 1679, in consequence of the Popish Plot allegations in England, Argyll received a special commission to secure the highlands, to disarm all Catholics, and to bear down several highland chiefs suspected of popery. He had armed assistance for this purpose from the sheriffs of Dumbarton and Bute, but was soon called off. He was ordered with all his forces to Linlithgow's camp; and remaining suspicions of his intentions meant he was absent from operations against the insurgents. In 1680 James, Duke of York came as high commissioner to Scotland, and a parliament was held in 1681, Argyll bearing the crown at the opening on 13 August. James stated that the king thought him an over-mighty subject, his hereditary judicatories practically making him the real king of a large part of the west of Scotland. Argyll, finding himself isolated, assured James that he would firmly adhere to his interest, and signed a letter of the council to Charles, in which the divine right of kings was asserted. James paid a solemn visit of ceremony to Argyll at Stirling in this same month; but Argyll remained an assertive Protestant. He lost his position on the council, in manoeuvres and prevarications on oath-taking. The hostility of James and others pursued the matter into a court case.[1]

As a consequence Argyll was put in trial, on 12 December 1681, before Queensberry and four other judges. After Lockhart's defence the court adjourned; the question of fact was next day brought before a jury composed mainly of Argyll's enemies; Montrose, his hereditary foe, sat in court as chancellor. Argyll refused to defend himself. The jury acquitted him of perjury in receiving the oath in a false acceptation, and agreed with the judges on the other counts. Application was made to Charles for instructions by the council, and for justice by Argyll. Charles ordered that sentence should be pronounced, but execution suspended. On 22 December the king's letter reached the council; and, questionably, sentence of death as well as of forfeiture was pronounced in Argyll's absence on the 23rd. His estates were confiscated, and his hereditary jurisdictions assigned to Atholl.[1]

Escape and exile

At the end of 1681 Argyll was therefore in Edinburgh Castle, under expectation of imminent death. On 20 December, however, Sophia Lindsay obtained leave to visit him; she brought with her a countryman as a page, in wig and his head bound up as if he had been in a fight. He and Argyll exchanged clothes, and she left the castle in floods of tears, accompanied by Argyll; at the gate Argyll stepped up as lackey behind he coach. On reaching the custom-house he slipped quietly off, into one of the narrow wynds adjacent. He first went to the house of George Pringle of Torwoodlee, who had arranged for the escape, and by him was conducted to William Veitch, in Northumberland, who in turn brought him under the name of Hope to London.[1]

In London Argyll was sheltered by Mrs. Smith, wife of a rich sugar-baker. He also found refuge with Major Abraham Holmes, who had arrested him when Lord Lorne in 1656–7. After a delay of some time Mrs. Smith took him to her country house at Brentford. No real steps were taken to recapture him, and his subsequent movements are opaque. In 1682 he was supposed to be in Switzerland, but Arthur Forbes, 1st Earl of Granard received a message from him in London, and held a meeting with him.[1]

In June 1683, when Baillie of Jerviswood and others were arrested after the Rye House plot, letters of Argyll's were found among their papers, in cipher.They were sent to Scotland, and the countess was summoned in December 1683 to decipher them. She claimed that she had burnt the only key she had; but admitted that they were in Argyll's writing. The cipher was, however, at length read by William Spence, Argyll's private secretary, and independently by two cryptographers, George Campbell and Gray of Crigie. Argyll, it appeared, had remonstrated with other Whig conspirators about their rejection of his proposal that he should be provided with £30,000 and 1,000 English horse. They offered £10,000 with 600 or 700 horse, the money to be paid by the beginning of July, and Argyll was then to go at once to Scotland and begin the revolt. He gave an account of the standing forces, militia, and heritors of Scotland, who would be obliged to appear for the king, to the number of 50,000. Half of them, he said, would not fight. He represented too that his party needed only money and arms; and he desired Holmes to communicate fully with his messenger from Holland.[1]

Holmes was himself arrested and examined on 28 June 1683, and from his replies it appeared that Argyll was then in London. In October Preston wrote from Paris, informing Halifax that Argyll had his agents in France, and added his belief that he had, after consultation with his friends in Holland, gone back to Scotland. On 28 and 29 June 1684 Spence was examined before the English privy council, but he said nothing against Argyll. In July he was sent to Scotland, and was tortured; but no more was learnt from him then. He is said to have read the cipher on 22 August. In September 1684 Argyll's charter chest and family papers were found concealed in a tenant's house in Argyllshire.[1]

The "Argyll expedition"

At the time of the Monmouth rebellion against James VII in 1685, Argyll was General of the forces which invaded Scotland in support of the rebellion, from 17 April 1685.

Argyll became involved in the cabals which took place under the Duke of Monmouth,on the death of Charles II. He moved from Friesland to Rotterdam on the news, and was present at a meeting of Scots in Amsterdam on 17 April 1685, at which an immediate invasion of Scotland was decided on, and was appointed captain-general. He was among those who insisted that Monmouth should promise never to declare himself king. He carried on his preparations with £10,000 given by a rich English widow in Amsterdam (possibly the same Mrs. Smith), and £1,000 from John Locke. He sailed from the Vlie on 1 or 2 May 1685 with about three hundred men in three small ships, accompanied by Patrick Hume, John Cochrane, a few more Scots, John Ayloffe and Richard Rumbold. They anchored at Cariston in Orkney on 6 May, where his secretary went ashore, and was arrested by the bishop.[1]

The plan was discovered, but Argyll sailed by The Minch towards the coast of his own country, but was compelled by contrary winds to go to the Sound of Mull. At Tobermory he was delayed three days, and then with three hundred men whom he picked up there he went across to Kintyre, a Covenanter stronghold. At Campbeltown Argyll issued A declaration: James had caused the death of Charles, Monmouth was the rightful heir, and that by him he had been restored to title and estates. He had previously sent his son Charles to raise his former vassals, who now held of the king; but very few answered the summons of the fiery cross, and all his son could do was to garrison the castle of Carnasory. Here he spent time to no purpose, and then marched to Tarbet, where he sent out a second declaration: he denied the statements of his enemies that he had come for private advantage, and promised to pay both his father's debts and his own.[1]

At Tarbet Argyll was joined by Sir Duncan Campbell with a large body of men. An invasion of the Lowland Scotland was settled on by a council of war, but Argyll demurred. At Bute he was detained for three days, and his forces then marched to Corval in Argyllshire. After a pointless raid on Greenock he moved off to Inverary, but after the appearance of two English frigates compelled him to shelter under the castle of Ellangreig. He took Ardkinglass castle, but gave up on taking Inverary, and returned to Ellangreig. He then proposed to attack the frigates, but was frustrated by a mutiny among his men. The garrison of Ellangreig deserted, the king's ships took those of Argyll, with their cannon and ammunition as well as the castle of Ellangreig, and Argyll's standard on which was written "For God and Religion, against Poperie, Tyrrannie, Arbitrary Government, and Erastianism".[1]

In a poor situation Argyll took up the lowland enterprise. Near Dumbarton he encamped in an advantageous position in the face of the royal troops; but his proposal to fight was overruled, and the rebels retreated without any engagement towards Glasgow. It crossed to the south side of the River Clyde at Renfrew by Kirkpatrick ford, dwindling from two thousand to five hundred men; and after one or two skirmishes with the troops commanded by Rosse and William Cleland, Argyll found himself alone with his son John and three personal friends. To avoid pursuit they separated, only Major Fullarton remaining with Argyll.[1]

Having been refused shelter at the house of an old servant, the two crossed the Clyde to Inchinnan. There, after a struggle, Argyll was taken prisoner on 18 June by the militia. He was led first to Renfrew and then to Glasgow. On 20 June he arrived at Edinburgh, taken to the castle and put in irons. He was questioned before the council as to his associates. While in prison he was visited by his sister, Lady Lothian, and by his wife, who, with Sophia Lindsay, had been placed in confinement on the first news of his landing.[1]


File:Last Sleep of Argyle.jpg
The Last Sleep of Argyle, Victorian history painting by Edward Matthew Ward.

On 30 June 1685 Argyll was executed, like his father, on the maiden in Edinburgh. He was first interred in Greyfriars Kirkyard and later reburied at Kilmun Parish Church.


On May 13, 1650, at the Canongate Kirk, he married Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of the 4th Earl of Moray, with whom he had seven children:

He married again, in 1670, the widow Lady Anne Mackenzie, Countess of Balcarres. She survived her husband, being spared execution, and died of old age in 1707.[4]

See also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19  Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  2. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  3. Rosalind K. Marshall, ‘Mackenzie, Anna , countess of Balcarres and countess of Argyll (c.1621–1707)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 accessed 29 Nov 2014
  4. Mary McGrigor: "Anna--Countess of the Covenant"

Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]

Further reading

  • Dalrymple, John, Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, 1771.
  • Erskine, John, Journal, 1893.
  • Fountainhall, John, Chronological Notes of Scottish Affairs, 1822.
  • Hume, Sir Patrick, Narrative of the Earl of Argyle's Expedition, in Marchmont Papers, vol. III, 1831.
  • A Letter Giving a Short and True Account of the Earl of Argyls Invasion in the year 1685, 1686.
  • Fox, C. J. A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second, 1807.
  • Hopkins, P. Glencoe and the End of the Highland War, 1986.
  • Macaulay, T. B., History of England from the Accession of James II, 1985 reprint.
  • McKerral, A., Kintyre in the Seventeenth Century, 1948.
  • Paterson, R. C., The Forgotten Rebellion, in BBC History Magazine, June 2003.
  • Wilcock, J., A Scots Earl in Covenanting Times, 1907.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by Earl of Argyll
Succeeded by
Archibald Campbell