Campbell, Archibald, first Duke of Argyll d. 1703, was the eldest son of Archibald, ninth earl [qv.], by his first wife, Lady Mary Stuart, eldest daughter of James, fifth earl of Moray or Murray. During his father's lifetime he received a grant out of his forfeited estates, and on receiving intelligence of his father's descent on Scotland in 1685, he put himself in the king's hands, and offered to serve against him (Barillon to Louis XIV, 4 June 1685, in appendix to Fox's History of James II). But although, according to Lockhart (Papers, i. 63), he also endeavoured to curry favour with King James by becoming a convert to catholicism, he was unsuccessful in obtaining a reversal in his favour of the attainder of the title and estates. He had therefore special reasons for welcoming with eagerness the proposed expedition of William of Orange, whom he joined at the Hague and accompanied to England. At the convention of the Scottish estates in March 1689, only a single lord protested against his admission as earl of Argyll on account of his technical disqualification. Argyll was one of the commissioners deputed to proceed to London to offer to William and Mary the Scottish crown, and it was he who administered to them the coronation oath. On 1 May he was elected a privy councillor, and on 5 June following an act was passed rescinding his father's forfeiture. Among the highland clans the news of his restoration to his estates was received with general consternation; and when they mustered in strong force under Dundee, they were influenced more by hatred and fear of the Argylls than by loyal devotion to James II. When, through the mediation of Breadalbane [see Campbell, John, first earl of Breadalbane], and the threats of military execution, all the clans, with the exception of the Macdonalds of Glencoe, gave in their submission within the prescribed time, Argyll immediately informed the government of the failure of MacIan of Glencoe to comply with the letter of the law, and along with Breadalbane and Sir John Dalrymple [qv.] he concerted measures for their massacre, the regiment which he had lately raised in his own territory being entrusted with its execution. Lockhart (Papers, i. 63) states that, though Argyll was in outward appearance a good-natured, civil, and modest gentleman, his actions were quite otherwise, being capable of the worst things to promote his interest, and altogether addicted to a lewd, profligate life. He adds that he was not cut out for business, only applying himself to it in so far as it tended to secure his court interest and politics, from whence he got great sums of money to lavish away upon his pleasures. Once invested with his titles and property, he was regarded by the presbyterians with the traditionary respect paid to his ancestors. In the differences which occurred between the government and the Scottish estates, he took the popular side, but after matters were satisfactorily arranged he joined in the support of the ministers, the importance of securing his services being recognised by a lavish distribution of honours. In 1696 he was made one of the lords of the treasury, in 1694 an extraordinary lord of session, and in 1696 colonel of the Scots horse guards. Argyll was frequently consulted by the government in the more important matters relating to Scotland, and there are a large number of his letters in the Carstares State Papers. By letters patent dated at Kensington 23 June 1701, he was created duke of Argyll, marquis of Lorne and Kintyre, earl of Campbell and Cowal, viscount of Lochow and Glenisla, lord Inverary, Mull, Morven, and Tyree. He died on 20 Sept. 1703. By his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Lionel Talmash, he had two sons and one daughter. Both sons, John, second duke of Argyll and duke of Greenwich, and Archibald, third duke of Argyll, have separate biographies. For several years he lived in separation from his wife, who resided chiefly at Campbelltown, and is said, on pretence of revising the charters which had been given to various members of the clan after the conquest of Kintyre, to have got the documents into her hands and destroyed them.
Crawford's Peerage of Scotland, p. 22
Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, i. 106-7
Carstares State Papers
Memoirs of Sir Ewen Cameron (Bannatyne Club, 1842)
Leven and Melville Papers (Bannatyne Club, 1843)
Burnet's Own Time
Macaulay's History of England.
Contributor: T. F. H. [Thomas Finlayson Henderson]