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  John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell (1845–1914), by George Washington Wilson John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell (1845–1914), by George Washington Wilson
Campbell, John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland, marquess of Lorne and ninth duke of Argyll (1845–1914), governor-general of Canada, was born on 6 August 1845 at Stafford House, London, the eldest son of , and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Georgiana Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (d. 1878), the daughter of the second duke of Sutherland. Young Campbell, known in his family as Ian, assumed the courtesy title of marquess of Lorne in 1847 at the succession of his father as eighth duke of Argyll. He went to Eton College, and briefly to St Andrews University, where he supported the admission of women to lectures. After a year's tutoring in classics he proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, though his intellectual interests were more in science, history, and modern languages. He visited Jamaica in 1866, and spent a season at the University of Berlin, then another in Italy, all with the approval of his father, who felt Lorne's education was better served by travel than by Cambridge. His first book, A Trip to the Tropics and Home through America, was published in 1867.

Lorne represented Argyll in the House of Commons as a Liberal from 1868 to 1878. He made little mark in the house, and was chiefly occupied as private secretary to his father, whom W. E. Gladstone had appointed as secretary of state for India. Lorne had a flirtation with Gladstone's daughter Mary, but in 1870 events took a different turn. Not since 1515 had an English princess married within Great Britain; Queen Victoria now had a British husband in mind for her fourth and most attractive daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939) [see ]. In September 1870 five young British aristocrats were successively invited to Balmoral, with Lorne among them. The queen apparently liked everything about him except his nasal voice, a result of his having taken a cricket ball in the face while at Eton (he was, according to Vicary Gibbs's admirably concise physical description in the Complete Peerage, ‘short, stout, with yellow hair, regular features, good complexion’), and he and Louise were married on 21 March 1871 at St George's Chapel, Windsor. Lorne refused a dukedom, and they went to live in Kensington Palace, with a country retreat near Tunbridge Wells, Kent. They had no children; after a few years this state of affairs gave rise to rumours that Lorne had homosexual inclinations. This is a view that some modern historians have been inclined to support, though it may simply have been that Louise was unable to have children. Their marriage endured, and Louise was devastated at his death, but it appears that she sought a separation in the mid-1880s, and the couple spent long periods apart, celebrating their silver wedding separately.

In 1878 Lorne was appointed governor-general of Canada by Disraeli. He was a good choice; flexible, perspicacious, and sensitive, he became perhaps the most Canadian of all the British governor-generals, enjoying the climate of the new world, if not always the vagaries of its politics. In 1879 he was involved in controversy over Luc Letellier, the lieutenant-governor of Quebec, the dismissal of whom was desired by the Conservative federal government led by Sir John A. Macdonald. Lorne had opposed this, but, under instruction from the Colonial Office, acquiesced. This incident did not prevent Macdonald from describing the governor-general as ‘a right good fellow, and a good Canadian’ (DNB). In correspondence, Lorne put the word ‘home’ in quotation marks—an indication perhaps of his preference for Canada over Britain, but Princess Louise found life there less congenial. She was injured in a sleigh accident in February 1880 and returned to England. Lorne joined Louise for the winter of 1881–2, which he found dank and unhealthy compared with the Canadian winter, with its ‘bright light and the dry and beautiful snow with its sapphire coloured shadows’ (Lorne to Emma MacNeill, 29 Dec 1881, Lorne papers, National Archives of Canada).

Lorne was largely responsible for the creation in 1880 of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, which was followed in 1882 by the establishment of the Royal Society of Canada, which encompassed the English and French literary and scientific traditions. In 1881 he made a two-month expedition across the western Canadian prairies, at a time when the Canadian Pacific Railway was just being built. The expedition—of some seventy-seven men and ninety-six horses—left the railhead at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, on 6 August. Lorne was tremendously impressed with the agricultural potential of the whole region, and overwhelmed with its beauty—especially at Fort Calgary, where mountains glittering with snow suddenly block the whole western horizon. His Canadian Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil (1884–5) was inspired by the trip, a good example of his artistic talent and flair for publicity.

In September 1882 Lorne took Louise to British Columbia, where both enjoyed the scenery and the climate; a mixture, as Lorne put it, of ‘Scotland and Heaven’ (Campbell, 56). The political consequences of their residence among the British Columbians were much improved relations between Victoria and the federal government in Ottawa. They returned east via the southern United States, with Louise wintering in Bermuda. She returned to Canada in April 1883, by which time Lorne had concluded that he should resign the post; he did so reluctantly, telling Macdonald that, for his own part, he would ‘like to stay here all my days’ (letter, 10 April 1883, John A. Macdonald papers, vol. 83, National Archives of Canada).

The furtherance of Lorne's career as an imperial administrator was stymied by Queen Victoria's desire to have Louise close by her: in 1900 he refused the governor-generalship of Australia. He immersed himself instead in the management of his Scottish estates and in authorship; his prolific output included a biography of Palmerston (1892), a pamphlet advocating imperial federation, and many travelogues and memoirs inspired by his stint in Canada, including Yesterday and Today in Canada (1910). In 1901 he published V.R.I.: Her Life and Empire, a lively and popular biography of Queen Victoria, and in 1907 his two-volume autobiography, Passages from the Past. He tried unsuccessfully for re-election to the House of Commons in 1885 (for Hampstead, as a Liberal) and 1892 (for Bradford Central, as a Liberal Unionist). He was eventually successful in 1895 as a Liberal Unionist for Manchester South; his estrangement from the Gladstonian Liberal Party was another point of difference with his wife, who was a supporter of Irish home rule. He became ninth duke of Argyll on the death of his father on 24 April 1900 but continued to be widely known by his courtesy title.

By this time Louise's enthusiasm for physical fitness had begun to show to her benefit; Lorne, by contrast, was content with a sedentary existence and was showing signs of eccentricity. Once, to his private amusement, he accepted the award of an order of the Black Eagle from the visiting German Kaiser while wearing his dressing gown. In 1906 the couple travelled to Egypt, which Lorne disliked; his sister Frances observed that ‘his heart is always in Canada’ (Balfour, 2.414). After 1910 Lorne's health declined; he suffered from senility, and when visiting the Isle of Wight in April 1914 was struck with pneumonia. He died from this illness at Kent House, Cowes, on 2 May. After a memorial service in Westminster Abbey on 8 May, he was buried in the ancient family burial-ground at Kilmun, Argyll, on 15 May. He was succeeded in his titles by his nephew; his wife died on 3 December 1939.

Lorne was primarily a traveller and dilettante, whose greatest pleasures were literature and the great outdoors. It might be argued that his talents lacked focus; certainly the volume of his publications was not conducive to their overall quality or longevity. As governor-general of Canada, for which he is now best remembered, he was, however, generally regarded as a success.

P. B. Waite


NA Canada, Lord Lorne MSS · NA Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald collection, political papers, MG26-A, vols. 80–83 · W. S. MacNutt, Days of Lorne (1955) · R. M. Stamp, Royal rebels: Princess Louise and the marquis of Lorne (1988) · D. G. Creighton, John A. Macdonald: the old chieftain (1955) · F. Balfour, Ne obliviscaris: dinna forget, 2 vols. (1930) · P. B. Waite, Arduous destiny: Canada, 1874–1896 (1971) · J. Campbell, Yesterday and today in Canada (1910) · D. Duff, The life story of H. R. H. Princess Louise, duchess of Argyll (1940) · E. Longford, Darling Loosey (1991) · P. B. Waite, ‘Campbell, John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland, marquess of Lorne and 9th duke of Argyll’, DCB, vol. 14 · GEC, Peerage


NA Canada, corresp. and papers · NRA, priv. coll., corresp. and papers |  Berks. RO, corresp. with R. G. C. Glyn · BL, corresp. with W. E. Gladstone, Add. MSS 44416–44515, passim · BL, corresp. with Macmillans, Add. MS 55007 · Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with Sir William Harcourt · CUL, letters to H. A. Doubleday · Glos. RO, corresp. with Sir Michael Hicks Beach · Harrowby Manuscript Trust, Sandon Hall, Staffordshire, corresp. with earl of Harrowby · LPL, letters to A. C. Tait · NA Canada, Macdonald MSS · NL Scot., corresp. incl. with Lord Rosebery · NRA, priv. coll., corresp. with Sir John Ewart · Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto, corresp. with William Kirby


W. H. Mate, stipple and line engraving, pubd 1855 (after W. S. Hernick), NPG · Ape [C. Pellegrini], watercolour caricature, 1870, NPG; repro. in VF (19 Nov 1870) · Count Gleichen, marble bust, exh. RA 1871, Inveraray Castle, Argyll and Bute · J. M. Barclay, oils, c.1872, Inveraray Castle, Argyll and Bute · H. von Angeli, oils, 1875, Royal Collection · photograph, c.1879, NA Canada, C-13227 · photograph, c.1881, NA Canada, C-5650 · J. E. Millais, oils, c.1884, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa · B. Stone, photograph, 1898, NPG · S. P. Hale, oils, 1910, Inveraray Castle, Argyll and Bute · W. & D. Downey, carte-de-visite, NPG · Elliott & Fry, carte-de-visite, NPG; related photograph, NPG · Count Gleichen, pencil study, Royal Collection · S. P. Hale, group portrait, oils (Marriage of Princess Louise and the marquess of Lorne, 1871), Royal Collection · London Stereoscopic Co., carte-de-visite, NPG · London Stereoscopic Co., photograph, NPG · T. Rodger, carte-de-visite, NPG · Stuart of Glasgow, carte-de-visite (as young man), NPG · G. W. Wilson, carte-de-visite, NPG [see illus.] · pen-and-ink drawing, NPG · photograph, Royal Collection; repro. in Longford, Darling Loosey, 119

Wealth at death  

no information: R. M. Stamp, Royal rebels: Princess Louise and the marquis of Lorne (1988); CGPLA Eng. & Wales (1914) [no value given]