Campbell, Hugh, third Earl of Loudoun d. 1731, was grandson of John, first earl of Loudoun [qv.], and eldest son of James, second earl, by his wife, Lady Margaret Montgomery, second daughter of Hugh, seventh earl of Eglintoun. In 1684 he succeeded his father, who died at Leyden, where he had retired in consequence of his disapproval of the government of Charles II. The third earl took his seat in parliament on 8 Sept. 1696, and was sworn a privy councillor in April 1697. Through the influence of Archibald, tenth earl, afterwards first duke of Argyll [qv.], Loudoun was appointed extraordinary lord of session, and took his seat on 7 Feb. 1699. Argyll, in a letter to Secretary Carstares, dated Edinburgh, 27 Sept. 1698, thus recommended Loudoun: Pray, let not E. Melvill's unreasonable pretending to the vacant gown make you slack as to E. Loudon, who, though a younger man, is an older and more noted presbyterian than he. Loudon has it in his blood, and it is a mettled young fellow, that those who recommend him will gain honour by him. He has a deal of natural parts and sharpness, a good stock of clergy, and by being in business he will daily improve (Carstares State Papers, 1774, p. 451). He retained this office until his death, in which post, says Lockhart (Memoirs of Scotland, 1714, p. 99), he behaved to all men's satisfaction, studying to understand the laws and constitution of the kingdom, and determine accordingly. After the accession of Queen Anne, he was again sworn a member of the Scotch privy council, and from 1702-4 served as one of the commissioners of the Scotch treasury. In 1704 he was appointed joint-secretary of state with William, third marquis of Annandale, and afterwards with John, sixth earl of Mar. In March 1706 he was made one of the Scotch commissioners for the union, and on 10 Aug. of the same year was invested at Windsor with the order of the Thistle. On 7 Feb. 1707 Loudoun resigned his titles into the hands of the queen, which, on the following day, were regranted to him and the heirs male of his body, with other remainders over in default. The office of secretary for state for Scotland being temporarily suspended (it was not abolished until 1746), he was appointed keeper of the great seal of Scotland during the queen's pleasure on 25 May 1708, and in the same year was sworn a member of the English privy council. The office of keeper of the great seal had been created on the abolition of the post of lord chancellor, there being no further use for the judicial part of that office after the union. In addition to his salary of 3,000l. the queen granted him a pension of 2,000l. a year. In 1713 he was deprived of this office for refusing to comply with some of the measures of the tory administration. On the accession of George I in the following year he was again sworn a privy councillor, and in 1715 appointed lord-lieutenant of Ayrshire. He served as a volunteer under John, second duke of Argyll [qv.], at the battle of Sheriffmuir, where he behaved with great gallantry. In 1722, 1725, 1726, 1728, 1730, and 1731, he acted as lord high commissioner to the general assembly of the kirk of Scotland. In 1727 he obtained a pension of 2,000l. a year for his life. At the union he was elected by the Scotch parliament as one of the sixteen Scotch representative peers, and was re-elected at six following general elections. He died on 20 Nov. 1731. The earl married, on 6 April 1700, Lady Margaret Dalrymple, only daughter of John, first earl of Stair, by whom he had one son, John (1705-1782) [qv.], who succeeded to the title, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. The countess, who was a highly accomplished woman, survived her husband for many years. She resided at Sorn Castle in Ayrshire, where she interested herself in agricultural pursuits, particularly in the planting of trees. After an illness of a few days she died, on 3 April 1777, at a very advanced age.
Sir R. Douglas's Peerage of Scotland (1813), ii. 149, 150
Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice (1832), pp. 468-9
Sir H. Nicolas's Orders of Knighthood, 1842, iii., T. p. 32
Haydn's Book of Dignities.
Contributor: G. F. R. B. [George Fisher Russell Barker]