Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fraser, Archibald Campbell

FRASER, ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL (1736–1815), of Lovat, thirty-eighth Macshimi, colonel 1st Inverness local militia, son of Simon Fraser, twelfth lord Lovat [q. v.], by his second wife, was born 16 Aug. 1736. He was at school at Petty, and with some school companions was led by curiosity to the field of Culloden during the battle. Anderson (Account of the Family of Fraser) states that he afterwards acquired a sporting reputation under the name of FitzSimon. He was British consul at Tripoli at the time of the traveller Bruce's visit (Bruce, Travels, i. xxxviii). He was appointed consul at Algiers in 1766 (Cal. Home Office Papers, 1766-9, par. 60) and held that post until 1774. Numerous references to his consular services in Barbary appear in the printed 'Calendars of Home Office Papers' for that period. He inherited the restored family estates in 1782, on the death of his elder half-brother Lieutenant-general Simon Fraser [see Fraser, Simon, 1726-1782, Master of Lovat], whom he also succeeded as M.P. for Inverness-shire, which he represented in succeeding parliaments down to 1796. On the extension of the Local Militia Act to Scotland (48 Geo. Ill, c. 50) he was appointed colonel of the 1st Inverness-shire local militia, with headquarters at Inverness. Fraser, who is described as a typical gentleman of the old school, but very eccentric, some years before his death put up a monument to himself setting forth his public services—that, when on a mission to the Mahomedan states of Africa in 1764, he concluded a peace between these states, Denmark, and Venice; that during his ten years' consulate he ransomed imperialist, Spanish, and Portuguese subjects to the value of two millions sterling, and that not a single British subject during that time was sold into slavery; that he co-operated with the Duke of Montrose in procuring the restoration of the highland garb; that in 1785 he surveyed the fisheries of the western coast at his own cost, and petitioned for a repeal of the duties on coal and salt; that he encouraged the manufacture of wool, hemp, and flax; laboured to improve the soil; amended the breed of highland oxen; improved dairy practice; and, by providing employment for a hardy race of men returning from the wars, prevented emigration and preserved to the country their services, equally valuable in peace; that he put down insurrection on 10 Aug. 1792, and planned the system of placing arms in the hands of men of property, and, when invasion threatened, had the satisfaction of seeing its adoption and efficiency. These statements appear to require a good deal of qualification. Ninety years ago the old church at Kirkhill was pulled down and rebuilt on a site two hundred yards away; but the monument still survives on the wall of the Lovat mausoleum within the enclosure of the parish churchyard. The bombastic monument put up in his own glorification by Fraser's father, Lord Lovat (see Hill Burton, Life of Lord Lovat), is fixed in the same wall. Fraser was author of ‘Annals of … the Patriots of the Family of Fraser, Frizell, Simson, or FitzSimon’ (published 1795, reprinted 1805, 8vo). Several brochures relating to the Lovat estates are entered under his name in the ‘British Museum Catalogue of Printed Books.’ He died on 8 Dec. 1815.

Fraser married, in 1763, Jane, daughter of William Fraser and sister of Sir William Fraser, bart., of Leadclune. By her he had six sons, all of whom died before their father.

Simon Fraser (1765–1803), the eldest son, matriculated at Wadham College, Oxford, 4 July 1786; entered Lincoln's Inn 1789 and the Inner Temple 1793; was lieutenant-colonel of the Fraser Fencibles, a regiment raised in 1794 by James Fraser of Balladrum, a surviving officer of the old 78th Fraser highlanders, and disbanded in 1802; commanded the regiment in Ireland in 1798; sat in parliament for Inverness-shire from 1796 to 1802, and died, unmarried, at Lisbon on 6 April 1803.

[J. Anderson's Account of the Family of Frizell or Fraser (Edinburgh, 1825); J. Hill Burton's Life of Simon, Lord Lovat (London, 1845); Cal. of Home Office Papers, 1766–9, 1770–2; British Museum Cat. Printed Books; Official Lists of Members of Parliament; information from private sources. Fraser was one of the trustees of the Inverness bank according to a work entitled Observations on Objects interesting to the Highlands … By Invernessicus (Edinburgh, 1814, 8vo). A notice of the Fraser Fencibles will be found in General D. Stewart's Sketches of the Scottish Highlanders (Edinburgh, 1822), ii. 392–395, and a list of fencible and local militia regiments in Colburn's United Service Mag. December 1873.]

H. M. C.