Letters of George Douglas Campbell (1823-1900), 8th Duke of Argyll

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-820
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      c. 30 letters. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location
      Dc.2.76/14, f.2; Dc.4.101-103; Dk.2.13, pp.11-12; Dk.2.14, pp.33-35; Dk.7.53/229; Dk.8.4/3; Gen. 784/1/2-3; Gen. 1733/113; Gen. 1968/1-2; Gen. 1981/13; Gen. 2039/24-33

Scope and Content

The material is composed of: letters to John Phillips about the British Association, at Gen. 784/1/2, and about a specimen of granite, Gen. 784/1/3; letter to J. Campbell of Melfort, at Dk.7.53/229; letters (3), one to 'My dear Sabina', the others to unnamed, at Dk.8.4/3; letter to Mr. Hansard about his speech on the Ecclesiastical Tithes Bill, at Gen. 1981/13; letter to the family of Professor Sir J. Y. Simpson on behalf of the Queen, 1870, at Dc.4.101-103; letter to H. D. MacLeod, a candidate for the Chair of Political Economy, Edinburgh University, at Dc.4.101-103; letters (7) to Sir W. Muir, 1874-1881, at Dk.2.14, pp.33-35, and at Dk.2.13, pp.11-12; letter to J. S. Blackie, 1888, at Dc.2.76/14, f.2; letter to Sir John Evans, 1876, at Gen. 1733/113; letters (2), one undated informing about a will of a Mr. Campbell, and another (1879) that accompanied a cheque, at Gen. 1968/1-2; and, letters (7) between 1850 and 1898 at Gen. 2039 as well as letters (2) from Elizabeth, Duchess of Argyll to Lord Murray, and to Mrs. Gladstone.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Whig politician George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, was born on 30 April 1823. He was educated privately. He succeeded his brother as Marquis of Lorne in 1837 and succeeded the 7th Duke of Argyll, his father John Douglas Edward Henry (1777-1847), in 1847. He was Lord Privy Seal, 1853-1855, 1859-1866, 1880-1881, Postmaster-General 1855-1858, and 1860, and Secretary of State for India, 1868-1874. As Secretary of State he adopted a foreign policy of friendship to neighbouring states, and a financial policy of decentralisation. Between 1877-1880, he opposed Tory government policy in the Eastern Question and in Afghanistan. He also opposed Home Rule. The 8th Duke published works on science, religion, and politics, and he was in disagreement with evolutional school in geology. His published work included Presbytery examined (1848), Primeval man (1869), The eastern question (1879), Scotland as it was and as it is (1887), Irish nationalism (1893), What is science? (1898). The 8th Duke of Argyll was made a Knight of the Thistle in 1856, and a Knight of the Garter in 1883. He was Chancellor of the University of St. Andrews, and a Trustee of the British Museum. The hereditary home of the Dukes of Argyll is Inveraray Castle, Argyllshire, and the Duke also resided at Argyll Lodge, Kensington, London. George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, died on 24 April 1900. He was succeeded by his son John Douglas Sutherland (1845-1914), 9th Duke of Argyll.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Letter to the family of Simpson, acquired 1963, Accession no. E63.32. Letters to Phillips, part of a lot purchased at Christies, December 1964, Accession no. E.64.64


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) The dictionary of national biography. The concise dictionary. Part 1. From the beginnings to 1900. 2nd edition, Reprinted. London: OUP, Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1953. (2) Who was who - 1897-1916. London: A. and C. Black, 1920. (3) Burke, Sir Bernard. and Burke Ashworth P. A genealogical and heraldic history of the peerage and baronetage, the Privy Council, and knightage. 87th edition. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd., 1929.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to material related to George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll (check the Indexes for more details): letters (25) to Sir C. Lyell, 1850-1874, at Gen. 108 onwards; letters declining invitations to dine with the Lord Mayor Elect of London, 1854 and 1860, at Gen. 886 (asterisk)/10, nos.11-12; letters (57) to Sir A. Geikie, 1888-1893, at Gen. 524; letters (6) to Sir C. J. Pearson, 1889-1892, at Gen. 756, nos.6-11; letters (4) to P. G. Tait, 1889-1898, at Gen. 2169/6-9; letter about the Irish question, 1893, at Gen. 886(asterisk)/8, no.26; letter to Argyll from the Earl of Selborne enclosed in a letter from Argyll to Sir C. J. Pearson, at Gen. 756, no.10; and, mention of the Duke in a letter of Dugald Bell to Sir A. Giekie, 1893, at Gen. 1425/23

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of material related to George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll.

Also within the ArchivesHub there is a description of the Letters of Lord Archibald Campbell (1846-1913) held at Gen. 2039/87-89, Edinburgh University Library.