Glasgow Burghs


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Rutherglen (1715, '41), Glasgow (1722, '47), Lanarkshire; Dumbarton (1727); Renfrew (1734)

Number of voters:



16 Feb. 1715THOMAS SMITH
24 Feb. 1716DANIEL CAMPBELL vice Smith deceased
 Daniel Campbell
 CAMPBELL vice Blackwood, on petition, 28 Mar. 1728
26 Mar. 1744JOHN CAMPBELL vice Buchanan, deceased

Main Article

The chief interests in Glasgow Burghs were those of the Campbells, dukes of Argyll, and of the town council of Glasgow, then entering on a period of prosperity, based on the tobacco trade. The Members, who were expected to look after the city’s commercial interests, were either merchants, preferably with London connexions, or relations of the dukes of Argyll.

Under George I these interests united in returning Daniel Campbell, a wealthy Glasgow merchant, closely connected with the Argyll family. In 1727, having fallen out with the Glasgow corporation, he was defeated by John Blackwood, a London merchant, of Edinburgh origin, who was returned by the sheriff, though the returning officer had declared Campbell to be duly elected. On petition the Commons awarded the seat to Campbell, rejecting a motion that the merits of the election should be considered at the same time as those of the return, but giving Blackwood leave to petition on the former ground. The substance of Blackwood’s petition, presented but not dealt with in the 1728 session, together with similar petitions from three of the constituent burghs, was that at the election Campbell had received only one vote, that of one of two rival Dumbarton delegates, the other of whom, with the Glasgow and Rutherglen delegates had voted for Blackwood, Renfrew abstaining. Renewed in 1729, the petitions were referred by the Commons to the elections committee, who rejected those of the burghs on the ground that they differed in substance from the original ones.1 No decision was taken on Blackwood’s petition, though it was renewed in 1730 and 1731.

In 1734 Campbell was succeeded by William Campbell, the Duke of Argyll’s first cousin, who so neglected his constituents that in 1741 they replaced him by Neil Buchanan, a London merchant of Glasgow origin, also attached to Argyll.2 On Buchanan’s death in 1744, the burghs accepted the Duke of Argyll’s recommendation of another kinsman, Col. John Campbell, later 5th Duke of Argyll,3who took care to remind them ‘how much their interest depended on the Duke’s protection’, and to make them ‘sensible of the services he has already done them since my election’.4 He was re-elected unopposed in 1747, soon after which the 2nd Lord Egmont noted in his electoral survey that Glasgow was

in the Campbells. The only man that can beat ’em must be a Scotch merchant, recommended from the city.

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. CJ, xxi. 36, 104, 108, 128, 192-3, 207, 374-6; Case of the Return for the District of Dumbarton etc.
  • 2. Extracts from Glasgow Burgh Recs. vi. 93-94 and passim; G. Eyre-Todd, Hist. Glasgow, iii. 183-5.
  • 3. Caldwell Pprs. ii (i), 62.
  • 4. To Gen. John Campbell, 10 Aug. 1745, NLS mss 3733, 3.