George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll

Landowner

George Douglas Campbell (1823–1900) succeeded as 8th Duke of Argyll in 1847. He held multiple honorary and political offices, presided over estates of 170,000 acres, and wrote numerous religious, historical and social commentaries. 1 He married three times and had twelve children, of whom the eldest, John, Marquess of Lorne (1845–1914) became the 9th Duke and in 1871 married Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. 2

The Duke was at various times during the 1850s and 1860s Postmaster General and Lord Privy Seal in the cabinets of Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston, and was Gladstone's Secretary of State for India until 1874. 3 Exemplifying duty and 'noblesse oblige', 'his political career was useful and dignified', albeit noted for his 'dogmatic assertiveness', 'disputatiousness' and 'his strong faith in his own deliberately-formed opinions'. 4

He was Rector of Glasgow University and Chancellor of St Andrews University from the early 1850s, and as sometime-President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and of the British Association, exercised his long-standing interests in geology and science. 5

In the 1880s, during the debates over Highland land-tenure reform, the Duke published 'Crofts and Farms in the Hebrides', discussing his own estate management. His 'candid and forcible' support of eviction and 'compulsory emigration' in Mull and Tiree saw him 'regarded as the head and fount of offence' by crofters’ leaders. 6 In 1899, to rather greater popular approval, due to the 'very imperfect security' afforded by private ownership, he gifted Iona Abbey's ruins – 'of such great interest to the whole Christian world' – to a 'public trust'. The Iona Trustees were charged with 'raising the necessary funds’ for its restoration. 7

Notes:

1: ‘Argyll’, Who Was Who, Oxford University Press, 2007, online edition, www.ukwhoswho.com; H. G. C. Matthew, 'Campbell, George Douglas, Eighth Duke of Argyll', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, www.oxforddnb.com [both accessed 19 March 2013].

2: P. Beauclerk Dewar, ed., Burke's Landed Gentry, 1: The Kingdom in Scotland, Wilmington, Del.: Burke's Peerage, 2002 (19th edn), pp. 140–1.

3: The Times, 25 April 1900, p. 7; H. G. C. Matthew, 'Campbell, George Douglas, eighth duke of Argyll', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, www.oxforddnb.com [accessed 19 March 2013].

4: Glasgow Herald, 25 April 1900, p. 6; Scotsman, 25 April 1900, p. 8.

5: Scotsman, 25 April 1900, p. 8; Glasgow Herald, 25 April 1900, p. 8.

6: Scotsman, 25 April 1900, p. 8; H. G. C. Matthew, 'Campbell, George Douglas, Eighth Duke of Argyll', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, www.oxforddnb.com [accessed 19 March 2013].

7: Scotsman, 25 April 1900, p. 8; Iona Cathedral Trustees’ Minute Book 1899–1922, p. 1, 22 September 1899. RCAHMS, Edinburgh: Iona Cathedral Trustees' Archive, unpublished catalogue, compiled by Morag Cross, 2006.