CAMPBELL, Alexander Glynn (1796-1836), of Gatcombe, I.o.W.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



5 Mar. 1819 - 1820

Family and Education

b. 10 Aug. 1796, o.s. of Lt.-Col. Alexander Campbell of Ardchattan Priory, Argyll by Jane, da. and coh. of Edward Meux Worsley of Gatcombe. educ. Eton 1806-13; Christ Church, Oxf. 1817. unm.

Offices Held

Capt. I.o.W. vol. cav. 1819.


Campbell was the puppet of his father’s vain hopes and ambitions. The latter, by turns army officer, commissioner of excise and partner in a London bank, aspired to a diplomatic post and, on the strength of his wife’s mother’s second marriage to Sir Leonard Worsley Holmes, pressed the Grenville ministry to give one to him early in 1807. He claimed that ‘had it not been for my exertions government would not have had three of the Isle of Wight boroughs, and most certainly would have lost the Hampshire election had it not been for the 340 voters which I procured for them’. He had backed the wrong horse and, although he subsequently became a commissioner of excise, obtained no more than a vague promise from Perceval in the diplomatic line. In 1812 he brought about an arrangement for the Isle of Wight boroughs between Lord Wellesley and Worsley Holmes, but this too proved politically null. In 1814 and 1817 he was still hoping for a post abroad.1

Campbell, who had a Cornish connexion in his uncle Edmund John Glynn of Glynn, was put up by his father’s arrangement at Fowey in 1818, when he stood on the interest of Joseph Austen, together with Viscount Valletort. He had little to say for himself on nomination, but on Valletort’s death soon after their defeat, pursued their petition against the return, which succeeded. Campbell’s father had evidently purchased the seat for him from Austen, on the understanding that the latter paid the election expenses; according to a draft agreement of May 1819, the Campbells offered Austen £4,0000 for five years’ tenure or, if it lasted longer, for the remainder of that Parliament. This proposal being refused by Austen, Campbell’s parliamentary future was uncertain.2

While in the House he gave a silent support to ministers, voting with them on Wyndham Quin’s* question, 29 Mar. 1819, if not also against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill on 10 June. (‘A. Campbell’ might have been Archibald.) Castlereagh certainly circularized him for attendance, 19 May and 18 Dec. 1819. Campbell was not wished by Castlereagh to remain Member for Fowey, because of the latter’s connexion with the former patron Lord Mount Edgcumbe, and in 1820 he was shut out of the borough by a compromise reached there. His father hoped to keep up his prospects by procuring places for Fowey men in the preventive service, and in 1821 tried to get an appointment for his son in Lord Wellesley’s viceregal household.

Campbell, who had meanwhile gone to the Continent, tried again in 1826, but failed. His father was by then in financial straits and advised him to give up Fowey and either look to his grandmother Lady Holmes for a seat, or seek diplomatic employ from Canning. In 1827 his father tried to procure his succession to himself in his excise place. In 1831 Campbell addressed the Isle of Wight electors, but got nowhere. For this Lord Yarborough was blamed, having refused to allow a marriage between his daughter Charlotte and Campbell. Another projected marriage with Lord Breadalbane’s daughter Elizabeth likewise collapsed. His father went bankrupt, failed to obtain a baronetcy on his retirement from the excise and sold up. By 1834 father and son were obliged to live on the Continent.3 Campbell died at Florence, v.p. in 1836.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Fortescue mss, Campbell to Courtenay, 21 Mar., Courtenay to Grenville, 24 Mar. 1807; Campbell mss at Ardchattan (NRA(S)834).
  • 2. The Late Elections (1818), 120; Treffry mss.
  • 3. Campbell mss.