CAMPBELL (formerly LIVINGSTONE), James (?1719-88), of Ardkinglass, Argyll, and Glentirran, Stirling.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1747 - 1768

Family and Education

b. ?1719, 1st surv. s. of Sir James Livingstone, 2nd Bt. of Glentirran, by Helen, da. and h. of Sir James Campbell, M.P., 2nd Bt. of Ardkinglass; bro. of Adam Livingstone. educ. Edinburgh. m. 18 June 1752, Catherine, da. and coh. of Walter Campbell, receiver-gen. of Scottish customs, and cos. of Daniel Campbell of Shawfield, 1s. 1 da. suc. maternal gd.-fa.5 July 1752, and fa. 30 Apr. 1771.

Offices Held

Ensign 25 Ft. 1733, lt. 1740, capt. 1745, ret. 1754; Gov. Stirling castle 1763- d.


James Livingstone succeeded his brother Alexander as his grandfather’s heir in December 1745, and, under the terms of the entail, took the name of Campbell. He entered the army, fought at Fontenoy, and under Cumberland at Culloden. As captain on guard he witnessed the Duke’s cold reception of Duncan Forbes’s ‘well meant wishes for clemency’,1and subsequently developed a strong aversion to Cumberland and Fox. He returned to Flanders, served at Laeffeld in June 1747,2 and in July was returned unopposed for Stirlingshire.

At the 1754 election he was strongly opposed by Robert Haldane, supported by Lawrence Dundas and the Duke of Montrose,3 but after a close contest was returned. He was listed ‘for’ by Dupplin among the personal adherents of the Duke of Argyll, who at the opening of the new Parliament sent him to Newcastle with a letter recommending him to his protection in the petition proceedings brought by the Haldanes.4 Newcastle, then intriguing against Argyll, made no final decision until the autumn of 1755 when, forced to admit Fox to the Administration, he became anxious to placate Fox’s ally Argyll. Argyll wrote to Newcastle, October 1755:5

I am much obliged to your Grace for your declaring for Captain Campbell ... that will heal a sore place I have felt for some time, and which, while Mr. Pelham lived, did not want a cure.

Meanwhile Campbell had shown himself willing to placate Newcastle by abstaining from voting on the Mitchell election. Admiral Boscawen wrote to Newcastle, 3 Mar. 1755:6

I have now with me a Scotsman who tells me, if your Grace will speak plain to his countrymen that dine with you to-day, many of them will not attend the committee to-night and in particular Sir Ludovick Grant, Captain Campbell and Mr. Mure who have agreed to go out of town to-morrow.

In politics Campbell was divided between his loyalty to Argyll and his dislike of Fox and Cumberland. When during the negotiations of March 1757 Fox proposed that ‘the Duke of Newcastle should be minister for England ... the Duke of Argyll for Scotland, professedly and independently’,7 Newcastle objected, and prepared a paper showing how the affiliations of Scots Members might be affected if Argyll were in or out of power.8 He listed Campbell under those attached to Argyll ‘while in power’ but ‘doubted if he will join Mr. Fox’. In the division of 2 May 1757 Campbell voted against Newcastle and Fox on the Minorca inquiry.9

In the ‘Notes of the elections in Scotland’ prepared for Newcastle in April 1760, the Stirlingshire situation was thus described:10

The present Member, Mr. Campbell, thinks himself sure of being re-elected, but there are some turbulent spirits in that county, and Mr. Campbell would find difficulty if the Duke of Argyll opposed him.

The evidence suggests that Campbell was about to transfer his allegiance to Bute. At the general election he was returned unopposed by agreement with Lawrence Dundas, and also took an active part in the Stirling Burghs election in support of Robert Haldane, against Argyll’s candidate Admiral Holburne.11

In Parliament he remained an obscure Member. Although not listed by Fox among those favourable to the peace preliminaries in December 1762, he did not vote against them. Over-confident of Bute’s support, he had by the summer of 1763 antagonized Dundas. Sir Harry Erskine wrote to Bute, 19 July 1763:12

Sir Lawrence ... complains much of Mr. Campbell’s conduct towards him. He says Mr. Campbell has boasted that he is master of the county in spite of Sir Lawrence and his friends, as sure as if he had it by burgage tenure ... Sir Lawrence says that as he has £3,000 per annum in that county and Mr. Campbell but £300, and as a majority of the county has offered him the county in case of a vacancy it would be strange in him not to accept ... That Mr. Campbell’s boasting of his interest ... has piqued him to convince him of his error. But that if Mr. Campbell should vacate his seat by the acceptance of an employment, if your Lordship desire him he will re-choose Mr. Campbell for the county for this Parliament. That your Lordship, he presumes, does not wish him to say that Mr. Campbell should represent that county as long as he lives. But if your Lordship shall desire it he will bring in Mr. Campbell for the borough of Richmond. That he flatters himself your Lordship can depend on him at least as much as on Mr. Campbell ... Sir Lawrence informs me besides that Mr. Campbell’s nearest relations and connexions all wish him to have an employment and to quit Parliament.

After the division of 15 Nov. 1763 on Wilkes, James Stuart Mackenzie commented:13 ‘Ardkinglass has not yet made his appearance; I am sorry for it.’ Nonetheless when Isaac Barré was dismissed from the government of Stirling castle, Grenville gave the employment to Campbell ‘to whom it was promised before’.14 Naturally Campbell continued to support Grenville until his dismissal. Listed ‘doubtful’ by Rockingham in the summer of 1765, he voted against the Government on the repeal of the Stamp Act, 22 Feb. 1766. He was listed by Rockingham in November 1766 among the Bute connexion; and voted with Government on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, but not on nullum tempus in February 1768.

Although Dundas had apparently acquiesced in Campbell’s re-election in 1763, the rivalry between the two interests in Stirlingshire had markedly increased, and at the 1768 general election the Dundases succeeded in wresting the county from Campbell.

In 1774 Campbell again opposed Thomas Dundas but was defeated;15 he was also active in the Stirling Burghs election against the Dundas candidate.16 Thereafter he seems to have abandoned political ambitions; throughout his parliamentary career of 20 years he is not recorded as having spoken in the House.

He died 21 Nov. 1788.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. Ramsay of Ochtertyre, i. 53-54.
  • 2. Mems. Sir James (Callander) Campbell (Livingstone, Campbell’s nephew) 27, 71.
  • 3. Argyll to Pelham, 5 Nov. 1753, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.
  • 4. Add. 32737, f. 340.
  • 5. Add. 32860, f. 262.
  • 6. Add. 32853, f. 44.
  • 7. Fox to Ilchester, 4 Mar. 1757, Ilchester, Henry Fox, ii. 36.
  • 8. Add .32995, f. 383.
  • 9. Add. 33034, f. 232.
  • 10. Add. 33049, f. 307.
  • 11. Sir Harry Erskine to Bute, 30 Mar., 18 Apr. 1761, Bute mss.
  • 12. Bute mss.
  • 13. Mackenzie to W. Mure, 17 Nov. 1763. Caldwell Pprs. ii(2), p. 199.
  • 14. Horace Walpole to Lord Hertford, 9 Dec. 1763.
  • 15. Laprade, 7, 19.
  • 16. Boswell, Private Pprs. x. 39-40, 46-47.