John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll

John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll
For other persons of the same name, see John Campbell (disambiguation) or Duke of Argyll.
Coronet of a British Duke.svg
His Grace
The Duke of Argyll
Crest of the Governor-General of Canada.svg
4th Governor General of Canada
In office
25 November 1878 – 23 October 1883
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister John A. Macdonald
Preceded by The Earl of Dufferin
Succeeded by The Marquess of Lansdowne
Personal details
Born 6 August 1845 (2011-11-10T17:43:13)
London, United Kingdom
Died 2 May 1914(1914-05-02) (aged 68)
Cowes, Isle of Wight
United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party
Spouse(s) Princess Louise of the United Kingdom
Alma mater

John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll KG, KT, GCMG, GCVO, VD,[1] PC (6 August 1845 – 2 May 1914), usually better known by the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, by which he was known between 1847 and 1900, was a British nobleman and was the fourth Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. He is now remembered primarily for the place names bestowed on Canadian geography in honour of his wife and for his metrical paraphrase of Psalm 121, "Unto the hills around do I lift up".


Background and career

He was born in London, the eldest son of George, Marquess of Lorne and the former Lady Elizabeth Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland, and was styled Earl of Campbell from birth. In 1847, when he was 21 months old, his father succeeded as 8th Duke of Argyll and he assumed the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, which he bore until he was 54. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Eton, St Andrews and at Trinity College, Cambridge,[2] as well as at the National Art Training School.[3]

For ten years before coming to Canada, Campbell travelled throughout North and Central America, writing travel literature and poetry.[3] In the UK, he represented, since 1868, the constituency of Argyllshire as a Liberal Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. He made little impression there, however; the London World referred to Campbell as "a non-entity in the House of Commons, and a non-entity without."[3]

Campbell married Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise, on 21 March 1871. This was the first time a Princess had married a commoner since 1515. The pair shared a common love of the arts, but tended to live apart and never had children. Further, Campbell formed close friendships with men who were rumoured to be homosexually inclined, which raised questions about Campbell's marriage and fuelled rumours around London that Campbell was bisexual,[3] if not largely homosexual in predisposition.[4]

Governor General of Canada

Princess Louise and Lorne engagement

When Lord Lorne's appointment was announced, there was great excitement throughout Canada. For the first time, Rideau Hall would have a royal resident. The Canadian Prime Minister relaxed his busy campaign schedule to prepare for her arrival and to organise a special carriage and corps of guards to protect the Princess. An author wrote in 1880 that "the appointment was hailed with satisfaction in all parts of the Dominion, and the new Governor General entered upon his term of office with the hearts of the people strongly prepossessed [sic] in his favour."[5] However, Campbell and his wife were initially not received well by the Canadian press, which complained about the imposition of royalty on the country's hitherto un-regal society, a position that was only exasperated by mishaps and misunderstandings.[6] The worries of a rigid court at the Queen's Canadian residence turned out to be unfounded;[6] the royal couple were found to be more relaxed than their predecessors, as demonstrated at the many ice skating and tobogganing parties, balls, dinners, and other state occasions hosted by the Marquess and Marchioness.[7]

During Lorne's term of office, the recession plaguing the Canadian economy ended and Sir John A. Macdonald returned as Prime Minister. Canada was experiencing a renewal of optimism and an upswing of nationalism.

At age 33, Lord Lorne was Canada's youngest Governor General, but he was not too young to handle the marginal demands of his post. He and Princess Louise made many lasting contributions to Canadian society especially in the arts and sciences. They encouraged the establishment of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the National Gallery of Canada, even selecting some of its first paintings. Campbell was also involved in the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway and other projects, such as a hospital for British Columbia.[3] In addition to acting as a patron of arts and letters in Canada, Lorne was the author of many books of prose and poetry. His writings show a deep appreciation of Canada's physical beauty.

Throughout his term of office, Lorne was intensely interested in Canada and Canadians. He travelled throughout the country encouraging the establishment of numerous institutions, and met with members of Canada's First Nations and with other Canadians from all walks of life. At Rideau Hall, he and Princess Louise hosted many social functions, including numerous ice skating and tobogganing parties as well as balls, dinners and State occasions.

After Canada

Lorne in early middle age

Princess Louise returned to England in 1881 and Lord Lorne followed two years later in 1883. Lorne was Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle from 1892 to 1914, and he sat as MP for Manchester South from 1895 until the death of his father on 24 April 1900, when he succeeded as 9th and 2nd Duke of Argyll (his father had been created Duke of Argyll in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1892). He and Princess Louise lived at Kensington Palace until his death from pneumonia in 1914.

One of his close friends was Frank Shackleton (brother of the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton), who was a key suspect in the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels. There is clear evidence that official investigation of the theft of the Crown Jewels was suppressed.[citation needed] It has been suggested by John Cafferky and Kevin Hannafin, that this is because authorities became aware of the Lorne connection to Shackleton.[8][page needed]



  1. ^ London Gazette, 13 December 1892.
  2. ^ Campbell, John Douglas Sutherland, Marquess of Lorne in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  3. ^ a b c d e Sandwell 2006, p. 47.
  4. ^ Rowse 1977, p. 157.
  5. ^ Sandwell 2006, p. 48.
  6. ^ a b Longford 1991, p. 45.
  7. ^ Hubbard 1977, p. 125.
  8. ^ Cafferky & Hannafin 2003.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alexander Finlay
Member of Parliament for Argyllshire
Succeeded by
Lord Colin Campbell
Preceded by
Sir Henry Roscoe
Member of Parliament for Manchester South
Succeeded by
Hon. William Peel
Government offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Dufferin
Governor General of Canada
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lansdowne
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Governor of Windsor Castle
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Cambridge
Preceded by
The Duke of Argyll
Lord Lieutenant of Argyllshire
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Breadalbane
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
George Campbell
Duke of Argyll
Succeeded by
Niall Campbell
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Campbell
Duke of Argyll
Succeeded by
Niall Campbell

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