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CAMPBELL, J.—CAMPBELL, LORD

a complete treatise upon miracles, but with all deductions it was and still is a valuable contribution to theological literature. In 1771 Campbell was elected professor of theology at Marischal College, and resigned his city charge, although he still preached as minister of Greyfriars, a duty then attached to the chair. His Philosophy of Rhetoric, planned at Banchory Ternan years before, appeared in 1776, and at once took a high place among books on the subject. In 1778 his last and in some respects his greatest work appeared, A New Translation of the Gospels. The critical and explanatory notes which accompanied it gave the book a high value.

In 1795 he was compelled by increasing weakness to resign the offices he held in Marischal College, and on his retirement he received a pension of £300 from the king. He died on the 31st of March 1796.

His Lectures on Ecclesiastical History were published after his death with a biographical notice by G. S. Keith; there is a uniform edition of his works in 6 vols.


CAMPBELL, JOHN (1708–1775), Scottish author, was born at Edinburgh on the 8th of March 1708. Being designed for the legal profession, he was sent to Windsor, and apprenticed to an attorney; but his tastes soon led him to abandon the study of law and to devote himself entirely to literature. In 1736 he published the Military History of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough, and soon after contributed several important articles to the Ancient Universal History. In 1742 and 1744 appeared the Lives of the British Admirals, in 4 vols., a popular work which has been continued by other authors. Besides contributing to the Biographia Britannica and Dodsley’s Preceptor, he published a work on The Present State of Europe, consisting of a series of papers which had appeared in the Museum. He also wrote the histories of the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, French, Swedish, Danish and Ostend settlements in the East Indies, and the histories of Spain, Portugal, Algarve, Navarre and France, from the time of Clovis till 1656, for the Modern Universal History. At the request of Lord Bute, he published a vindication of the peace of Paris concluded in 1763, embodying in it a descriptive and historical account of the New Sugar Islands in the West Indies. By the king he was appointed agent for the provinces of Georgia in 1755. His last and most elaborate work, Political Survey of Britain, 2 vols. 4to, was published in 1744, and greatly increased the author’s reputation. Campbell died on the 28th of December 1775. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the university of Glasgow in 1745.


CAMPBELL, JOHN CAMPBELL, Baron (1779–1861), lord chancellor of England, the second son of the Rev. George Campbell, D.D., was born on the 17th of September 1779 at Cupar, Fife, where his father was for fifty years parish minister. For a few years Campbell studied at the United College, St Andrews. In 1800 he was entered as a student at Lincoln’s Inn, and, after a short connexion with the Morning Chronicle, was called to the bar in 1806, and at once began to report cases decided at nisi prius (i.e. on jury trial). Of these Reports he published altogether four volumes, with learned notes; they extend from Michaelmas 1807 to Hilary 1816. Campbell also devoted himself a good deal to criminal business, but in spite of his unceasing industry he failed to attract much attention behind the bar; he had changed his circuit from the home to the Oxford, but briefs came in slowly, and it was not till 1827 that he obtained a silk gown and found himself in that “front rank” who are permitted to have political aspirations. He unsuccessfully contested the borough of Stafford in 1826, but was elected for it in 1830 and again in 1831. In the House he showed an extraordinary, sometimes an excessive zeal for public business, speaking on all subjects with practical sense, but on none with eloquence or spirit. His main object, however, like that of Brougham, was the amelioration of the law, more by the abolition of cumbrous technicalities than by the assertion of new and striking principles.

Thus his name is associated with the Fines and Recoveries Abolition Act 1833; the Inheritance Act 1833; the Dower Act 1833; the Real Property Limitation Act 1833; the Wills Act 1837; one of the Copyhold Tenure Acts 1841; and the Judgments Act 1838. All these measures were important and were carefully drawn; but their merits cannot be explained in a biographical notice. The second was called for by the preference which the common law gave to a distant collateral over the brother of the half-blood of the first purchaser; the fourth conferred an indefeasible title on adverse possession for twenty years (a term shortened by Lord Cairns in 1875 to twelve years); the fifth reduced the number of witnesses required by law to attest wills, and removed the vexatious distinction which existed in this respect between freeholds and copyholds; the last freed an innocent debtor from imprisonment only before final judgment (or on what was termed mesne process), but the principle stated by Campbell that only fraudulent debtors should be imprisoned was ultimately given effect to for England and Wales in 1869.[1] In one of his most cherished objects, however, that of Land Registration (q.v.), which formed the theme of his maiden speech in parliament, Campbell was doomed to disappointment. His most important appearance as member for Stafford was in defence of Lord John Russell’s first Reform Bill (1831). In a temperate and learned speech, based on Fox’s declaration against constitution-mongering, he supported both the enfranchising and the disfranchising clauses, and easily disposed of the cries of “corporation robbery,” “nabob representation,” “opening for young men of talent,” &c. The following year (1832) found Campbell solicitor-general, a knight and member for Dudley, which he represented till 1834. In that year he became attorney-general and was returned by Edinburgh, for which he sat till 1841.[2]

His political creed declared upon the hustings there was that of a moderate Whig. He maintained the connexion of church and state, and opposed triennial parliaments and the ballot. In parliament he continued to lend the most effective help to the Liberal party. His speech in 1835 in support of the motion for inquiry into the Irish Church temporalities with a view to their partial appropriation for national purposes (for disestablishment was not then dreamed of as possible) contains much terse argument, and no doubt contributed to the fall of Peel and the formation of the Melbourne cabinet. The next year Campbell had a fierce encounter with Lord Stanley in the debate which followed the motion of T. Spring Rice (afterwards Lord Monteagle) on the repair and maintenance of parochial churches and chapels. The legal point in the dispute (which Campbell afterwards made the subject of a separate pamphlet) was whether the church-wardens of the parish, in the absence of the vestry, had any means of enforcing a rate except the antiquated interdict or ecclesiastical censure. It was not on legal technicalities, however, but on the broad principle of religious equality, that Campbell supported the abolition of church rates, in which he included the Edinburgh annuity-tax.

In the same year he spoke for Lord Melbourne, in the action (thought by some to be a political conspiracy[3]) which the Hon. G.C. Norton brought against the Whig premier for criminal conversation with his wife. At this time also he exerted himself for the reform of justice in the ecclesiastical courts, for the uniformity of the law of marriage (which he held should be a purely civil contract) and for giving prisoners charged with felony the benefit of counsel. His defence of The Times newspaper, which had accused Sir John Conroy, equerry to the duchess of Kent, of misappropriation of money (1838), is chiefly remarkable for the Confession—“I despair of any definition of libel which shall exclude no publications which ought to be suppressed, and include none which ought to be permitted.” His own definition of blasphemous libel was enforced in the

  1. Two of his later acts, allowing the defendant in an action for libel to prove veritas, and giving a right of action to the representatives of persons killed through negligence, also deserve mention.
  2. Greville in his Memoirs says that Campbell got this post on condition that he should not expect the ordinary promotion to the bench; a condition which, it if were so, he immediately violated by claiming the vice-chancellorship on the death of Sir John Leach. Pepys (Lord Cottenham) and Bickersteth (Lord Langdale) were both promoted to the bench in preference to Campbell.
  3. “There can be no doubt that old Wynton was at the bottom of it all, and persuaded Lord Grantley to urge it on for mere political purposes.”—Greville, iii. 351.