Campbell, John, third Earl of Breadalbane 1696-1782, was the son of John, second earl (1662-1752), generally known by the nickname of Old Rag, and noted for his extraordinary eccentricities (note by Sir Walter Scott in the Sinclair Memoirs, p. 185). His mother was Henrietta, second daughter of Sir Edward Villiers, knight, sister of the first earl of Jersey, and Elizabeth, countess of Orkney, mistress of King William III. He was born in 1696, and educated at Christ Church, Oxford, where he manifested considerable talents and zeal for study. In 1718 he was appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the court of Denmark. He was invested with the order of the Bath at its revival in 1725. In December 1731 he was appointed ambassador to Russia. In 1727 and 1734 he was chosen to represent the borough of Saltash in parliament, and in 1741 he became member for Orford. He gave his support to Sir Robert Walpole's administration, and in May 1741 his abilities were recognised by his appointment to be one of the lords of the admiralty, an office which he held till the dissolution of Walpole's administration, 19 March 1742. In 1745 he was nominated master of his majesty's jewel office. Having in January 1752 succeeded his father as earl of Breadalbane, he was in the following July chosen a representative peer for Scotland, and sat 1752-68 and again 1774-1780. On 29 Jan. 1756 he was created Doctor of Civil Laws of Oxford. In 1756 he was appointed lord chief justice in eyre of royal forests south of the Trent, and he held that office till October 1765. He was appointed vice-admiral of Scotland 26 Oct. 1776. He died at Holyrood House 26 Jan. 1782. He married, first, in 1721, Lady Arabella Grey, eldest daughter and coheiress of Henry, duke of Kent, K
G., by whom he had a son, Henry, who died in infancy, and a daughter, Jemima, who married Philip, second earl of Hardwicke. His first wife dying in 1727, Breadalbane married, 23 Jan. 1730, Arabella, third daughter and heiress of John Pershall, by whom he had two sons, George, who died in his twelfth year, and John, lord Glenurchy, who married Willielma, second and posthumous daughter and coheiress of William Maxwell of Preston [see Campbell, Willielma], and had a son who died in infancy. Lord Glenurchy died in the lifetime of his father in 1771, and the male line having thus become extinct, the peerage and estates passed to the Campbells of Carwhin.
Douglas's Peerage, i. 240.
Contributor: T. F. H. [Thomas Finlayson Henderson]