CAMPBELL, Lord Frederick (1729-1816), of Coombe Bank, Sevenoaks, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1761 - 1780
1781 - July 1799

Family and Education

b. 20 June 1729,1 2nd surv. s. of John Campbell, 4th Duke of Argyll [S], by Hon. Mary Bellenden, da. of John, 2nd Lord Bellenden [S]. educ. St. Paul’s; Westminster 1743-6; Christ Church, Oxf. 1747; M. Temple 1751, called 1754. m. 28 Mar. 1769, Mary, da. of Amos Meredith of Henbury, Cheshire, wid. of Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, 2da. suc. fa. to Coombe Bank 1770.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1767-76.

Ld. privy seal [S] May-July 1765; PC 29 May 1765; chief sec. to ld. lt. [I] Aug. 1767-Dec. 1768; PC [I] 14 Oct. 1767; ld. clerk register [S] 1768-d.; member cttee. of Privy Council for trade and plantations 1784-6, Board of Trade 1786-1801; vice-treasurer [I] 1787-93; commr. Board of Control Mar. 1790-June 1793.

Bencher, M. Temple 1789, reader 1796, treasurer 1803.

Col. Argyll fencibles 1778; lt.-col. Sevenoaks vol. inf. 1803.

Rector, Glasgow Univ. 1772-3.


Campbell continued to sit for Argyllshire on the family interest until his retirement. His most active days were behind him, but he remained loyal to Pitt, with whom he was ‘on very intimate terms’,2 voting predictably against the relief of Scotsmen from the Test Act, 10 May 1791, and for the assessed taxes augmentation bill, 4 Jan. 1798. He chaired a committee of the whole House on relief for Scottish Catholics, 23 Apr. 1793, proposed Addington’s reelection as Speaker, 27 Nov. 1796, and condemned Fox’s motion for inquiry into the state of Ireland, 23 Mar. 1797, as ‘most dangerous’. In January 1791 Pitt planned to transfer him from the Irish vice-treasurership to the joint-paymastership, but the arrangement was not effected.3 He invested £3,000 in the 1797 loyalty loan.

Campbell, ‘still elegant and distinguished even in decay’, enjoyed a dignified old age and his longevity frustrated a number of aspirants to his office of lord clerk register, worth £1,200 a year. He did much to organize and preserve the records of Scotland. In 1807 his wife died in a fire at Coombe Bank, which he sold in 1813 for £40,000. When Farington, noting his reputation as ‘a sensible man’ whose ‘understanding and agreeable manners have made him much in request in society’, dined with Campbell in 1811, he found him still partial to rich food and, ‘excepting much deafness’, to have ‘nothing to complain of but the natural effects of old age’. After his death, 8 June 1816, Speaker Abbot spoke of him as the possessor of ‘a mind to the latest hour endowed with the highest vigour; manners noble, gracious, and of never failing gaiety: and a heart most affectionate towards all for whom he entertained any value’.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: D. G. Henry


  • 1. According to Abbot diary, 8 June 1816 (PRO 30/9/35).
  • 2. HMC Lonsdale, 179.
  • 3. Geo. III Corresp. i. 651.
  • 4. Wraxall Mems. ed. Wheatley, iv. 78; Farington, vii. 49-50, 210; Colchester, i. 195.