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Ayr (1790, 1812), Irvine (1796, 1818), Ayrshire; Rothesay, Buteshire (1802); Inveraray (1806), Campbeltown (1807), Argyllshire
|12 July 1790||HON. CHARLES STUART|
|12 June 1794||JOHN CAMPBELL II vice Stuart, vacated his seat|
|20 June 1796||JOHN CAMPBELL II|
|30 July 1802||JOHN CAMPBELL II|
|24 Nov. 1806||JOHN CAMPBELL II|
|30 May 1807||JOHN CAMPBELL III|
|11 May 1809||DUNCAN CAMPBELL vice Campbell, deceased|
|30 Oct. 1812||DUNCAN CAMPBELL|
|11 July 1818||THOMAS FRANCIS KENNEDY|
Inveraray and Campbeltown were in the interest of the Duke of Argyll, Rothesay in that of the Earl (from 1796 Marquess) of Bute, and Irvine in that of the Earl of Eglintoun. Ayr was more independent than the other burghs, but there Eglintoun and Sir Adam Fergusson* of Kilkerran were influential. Argyll and Bute combined throughout the period to return the Member and Eglintoun normally endorsed their choice. It was not until 1820 that the agreement ceased, so that all the elections were uncontested.1 In this period, the 5th and 6th Dukes of Argyll returned three Members, all Campbells, and Lord Bute his son Charles. Kennedy, returned in 1818, was related to Bute and politically acceptable to the duke so that, as William Adam who promoted Kennedy’s candidature put it, he would ‘knit the connection’ between Argyll and Bute.2
Attempts by Whig party leaders from 1806 to persuade the 6th Duke of Argyll to serve them by returning friends without a seat were politely received, but unavailing. In October 1806 William Adam believed that John Campbell II, whose support of ministers was in doubt, would, if again returned, probably attach himself to his friend Lord Eldon. The Earl of Lauderdale had a friend (evidently Henry Erskine*) to propose, but the duke maintained that he was already engaged to Campbell and that ‘to attempt now to bring in another person or ... to divide the session, would in the first place probably displease Campbell, and in the next possibly lose me that command of the boroughs which I now possess’.3 In May 1807 Lauderdale hoped for the seat for Lord Howick, in vain.4 Yet in April 1808 the lord advocate conceded that the duke’s hold was such that patronage in the district might as well be left in his hands.5 On the vacancy of 1809 Lauderdale, believing that the duke had ‘no connection of his own he wished to bring in’, thought Sir William Augustus Cunynghame, 4th Bt.†, of Milncraig, would be a candidate acceptable to both the Whig party and the duke, owing to his connexion with Bute and Eglintoun: especially as Cunynghame was prepared to bear the whole expense of a contest and to vacate his seat when restored to his former office of receiver-general for Scotland.6 The duke, however, preferred a friend of his own who could equally be relied on to vote with the Whigs. In 1818, on the other hand, he yielded to the Whig leaders in accepting their recommendation of Kennedy.7
Authors: D. G. Henry / R. G. Thorne
- 1. NLS mss 11, f. 14.
- 2. Add. 51595, Adam to Holland, 22 June 1817.
- 3. Blair Adam mss, Adam to Gibson, 1 Oct., Gibson to Adam, 8 Oct., Argyll to same, Sunday [Oct.]; Argyll mss, Argyll to Lauderdale, 23 Oct. 1806.
- 4. Fortescue mss, Lauderdale to Grenville, Fri. [May]; Blair Adam mss, Maxwell of Carriden to Adam, Sunday night [? May 1807].
- 5. SRO GD 51/5/364/15.
- 6. Grey mss, Lauderdale to Grey, Fri. evening [?10 Mar.]; Fortescue mss, Lauderdale to Grenville, Fri. [?10 Mar. 1809].
- 7. Add. 51595, Adam to Holland, 22 June 1817.