WHICH DAY ARCHIBALD, LORD OF LORNE, IS MADE A BURGESS AND BROTHER
OF THE GUILD, FOR HIS PUBLIC SERVICES TO THE COMMONWEAL.
ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL, LORD OF LORNE, and afterwards eighth EARL and first MARQUESS OF ARGYLL, Was the son of ARCHIBALD, seventh EARL, and of LADY ANN DOUGLAS, daughter of WILLIAM, EARL OF MORTON. From the time of his accession to the Earldom in 1638 until his career was terminated on the scaffold in 1661, he was the most prominent man of the time both in politics and in warfare. It would not be possible in this place to give any adequate idea of his changeful and romantic career, nor is this necessary, since it may be found in every history of the period. The following brief sketch, therefore, is intended to afford documentary evidence, some of which has not hitherto been utilised, rather than to supply a biography of this eminent man.
Much controversy has arisen amongst historians regarding the character of the MARQUESS OF ARGYLL, principally caused by his own secretiveness and unwillingness to declare plainly what his intentions were when decision was necessary. Consequently, the main points in his career are more subjects of conjecture than of opinion. His attitude towards the Covenanters, with whom he was closely allied, brought him into a strange relationship with CHARLES I.; and, though in the early years of that Monarch's reign he was on intimate terms with him, it is asserted that he was the principal agent in the surrender of the KING to the Parliamentary army. Whilst CHARLES was wavering betwixt his duty to the Covenant and his zeal for Episcopacy, he found it expedient to court an alliance with ARGYLL, and, accordingly, he advanced him to the Marquessate of Argyll, by Royal letters patent, dated 15th November, 1641. This mark of favour, however, did not succeed in detatching ARGYLL from the Constitutional cause. When the MARQUESS OF MONTROSE, having abandoned the Covenanters, made a strong diversion in support of the KING in Scotland, ARGYLL, as Commander in Chief of the Covenanting army, was met and defeated by MONTROSE at Inverlochy and at Kilsyth.
The execution Of CHARLES I. had never been contemplated or anticipated by the Covenanters, and when that sad event took place, ARGYLL declared himself against the Cromwellian Republicans. So decided was his action in this matter that he officiated at the Corona¬tion of CHARLES II. at Scone, and with his own hands placed the Crown upon the head of the KING. Along with the other leaders of the Covenant, he submitted to the de facto government of the great Protector, and a few years afterwards he was present and assisted at the ceremony of proclaiming his successor, RiCHARD CROMWELL, Signing the engagement to support From letters preserved in several of the Charter and defend the usurper in his government rooms in Scotland, it is made clear that at the time when, with the rest of his country, he was thus submitting to the usurpation of CROMWELL, he corresponded with the fugitive King, CHARLES II., and was prepared at the first turn of fortune to restore the Monarchy under constitutional guarantees.
The KING himself undoubtedly regarded him as the nobleman upon whom the fate of Scotland depended, and he frequently made overtures to him, for the purpose of inducing him to declare his sentiments openly. The following letter, written by CHARLES to him whilst that Monarch was in serious difficulties, shows the personal inducements to which the KING resorted. The original is not now in existence, but a copy of it, in the handwriting of the MARQUESS, was recently discovered by Dr WILLIAM FRASER in the Charter room at Castle Forbes:
"Having taken into my consideration the faithful endeavours of the MARQUESS OF ARGYLL for restoring me to my just rights, and the happie settling of my dominions, I am desyrous to let the world see how sensible I am, of his reall respect to me by some particular mark of my favour to him, by which they may see the, trust and confidence I repose in him ; and. particularly I doe promis that I will mak him Duk of Argyll and Knight of the Garter, and on of the gentlemen of my bed chamber, and this to be performed when he shall think it fitt.
" Whensoever it shall pleas God to restor me to my just rights in England, I shall see him payed the 40,000 pounds sterling which is due to him, all which I do promis to mak good upon the word of a King. St Jhonstown, September 24, 1650.
The MARQUESS OF ARGYLL, depending upon the repeated promises of CHARLES that he would respect the Constitution, was one of the first of the Scottish nobility to meet the KING in London on the occasion of his Restoration, but he found that his loyalty to the Covenant, and to the cause of constitutional government during the period which intervened betwixt 1651 and 1660, had served to obliterate all memory of his loyalty to the Monarchy. The KING not only refused to see him, but ordered him to be imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he was kept in close confinement for the ensuing six months. He was transmitted by sea to Scotland in December, and after narrowly escaping shipwreck on the voyage, he reached his native country, and was confined in the Castle of Edinburgh. Elaborate preparations were made for his trial. He was charged with no less than fourteen different criminal acts, the most important being that of conspiring to cause the death of CHARLES I.
This charge was indignantly denied by the MARQUESS, and Dr FRASER suggests that it is unlikely that CHARLES II. and the QUEEN MOTHER would have written to ARGYLL in the affectionate terms which they did had he been really suspected even by the ROYAL FAMILY Of this treason. It is certain that the MARQUESS himself maintained his innocence to the very last, but he was convicted of high treason on other grounds than this, and condemned to death on 25th May, 1661. Two days afterwards he was executed at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, protesting that he died a guiltless man. The following letter, which was written by him to his second son, LORD NEIL CAMPBELL, Whilst his trial was proceeding, is preserved in the Charter room at Castle Menzies, and has not hitherto been used in any biography of him:
"EDINBURGH, 11 May 1661,
Loving sonne, Theis papers which I signed at pairting are to be mad use of by your brother's advyce, who doubtles will know what may be most efectuall, and whairin the preffidice of words or mater may ly.
"It is fit you remember what I have often spoken in Parliament, that ther needed no probation for maters of fact. I was ever willing to declair all things realy as they wer circumstantiat, and to remit the consideration of all with myself and what concerned me to his gratious maiestie; but it is endeivored that the maters of fact may be known without the circumstances, though it was never refoosed to a subiect in my condition to lead to probation for cliering his innocencie, which was ather doune by way of precognition befor tryell, or exculpation in the tym of it.
" Though I doe not deny my declairing and swearing in Parliament that I nether had knowledg of nor accession to his leat ROYALL MAIESTIE'S murder, yit I may say that ather CROMWEL'S or IRTON's declairing the contrir was but fals calumnies, for doubtles it is known to all the Englische armie that IRTON Was not at all in Scotland. I shall wret more at some other occasion, so at present with my blessing I rest.
Your loving father,
"A. M. ARGYLL."
During the course of his trial it was found that the evidence against the MARQUESS, so far as it related to his betrayal of CHARLES I, was so imperfect that it was not insisted upon, and his
conviction, therefore, was founded rather upon his support of, or his submission to, CROMWELL than upon any more discreditable accusation. His confidence in his innocence supported him to the last, and it serves to throw additional doubt upon the justice of his sentence. The following letter to his son, LORD NEIL CAMPBELL, is especially interesting, as it was written the day before his execution, and in the immediate prospect of death. It is also preserved among the documents at Castle Menzies:
"EDINBURGH, 26 May 1661.
Loving and dear sonne : The blessing of the Lord maketh riche and he addeth no troubll therwith, thairfor I send you my blissing with it which I houpe the Lord will bliss unto you, both for your spirituall and temporall advantage. I shall say no mor but intreat you to entertain amitie and wnitie with your brother and sisters, and dwtie to your dear mother, so I rest
Your loving father,
A. M. ARGYLL.
For LORD NEILL CAMPBELL."
The MARQUESS had taken an active part in the trial and conviction of his great rival, MONTROSE, and tradition asserts that when that unfortunate nobleman was on his way to prison after his capture, ARGYLL seated himself at a window of Moray House, in the Canongate, that he might deride MONTROSE during his progress. But that tradition is not supported by contemporary evidence. By the irony of fate, it so happened that the head of ARGYLL, after his execution, was placed upon the same spike over the Old Tolbooth from which the head of MONTROSE had been recently removed and buried with honour and solemnity. For three years it was suffered to remain here, and from a letter now in the possession of the DUKE OF ARGYLL, it appears that it was taken down on the morning of the 8th of June, 1664, by some of his nearest relatives, and interred in the family burying place.
The MARQUESS OF ARGYLL was married to his cousin, MARGARET DOUGLAS, daughter of WILLIAM, EARL OF MORTON. His eldest son, ARCRIBALD, was restored to the Earldom of ARGYLL in 1663, and he was the ninth EARL. But the Marquessate was not restored.