A MARRIAGE WITH CONNECTIONS
7 July 1779
When he returned to Britain in 1779, Sir Archibald was a hero: he led the British campaign in Georgia, and he won it! He was, in fact the only British general whose reputation had been enhanced during the American Revolution. (Note the FOUR British ships lost to the Americans because of sloppy communication among British commanders!)
He was a successful engineer and general, he was the hero of Georgia, he was wealthy, he was 40 years old... and now, he looked around for a bride. He found her in Amelia Ramsay, daughter of Scotland's foremost painter, Allan Ramsay; and grand daughter of Scotland's famous poet, Allan Ramsay. Both these men were major figures of the Scottish Enlightenment.
Aside from the Allan Ramsay sketch seen in the above 'banner', here is (probably) another one of Amelia:
Allan Ramsay was a painter at the Court of George III, and - moreover - he too, was a wealthy man. Amelia's dowry was £ 4,000; or, £ 251,400.00 today It should not be surprising, however, (even to our own 21st century ears) that Campbell was more interested in the ARISTOCRATIC 'connexions' to be made with this marriage .
Keep in mind that Archibald Campbell, second son to a distant cousin of the Duke of Argyll, was really, in our modern terms, a 'man on the make.' Status, as measured in land and wealth, and CONNEXIONS, were something of real value in his world. Aside from the Duke of Argyll, he had an extremely important mentor in Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville.
But remember: The Duke and the Viscount gave aid and support to many young Scottish gentry. It was Archibald Campbell's own intelligence, personality and energy that earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues, and later, his biographers. He had come a long way from Dunderave. Like a good clansman, he would bring his Campbell family with him.
Hence, in letters to his brothers James and Duncan (quoted in Alistair Smart's book, p. 259):
"You must not be surprised to hear that I am likely to form a valuable connexion for our family. A lady of Harley Street, the daughter of the famous Allan Ramsay, connected and in high regard with Lord and Lady Mansfield and Neice (sic) to Lord Stormont, Sir John and Sir David Lindsay Gentn of high repute and distinguished interest at present They have all received me warmly and in the Course of a fourthnight I am in hopes to be in possession of one of the Most Amiable, well disposed Ladies of this Metropolis, easy and free from Pride and in short all I could desire or wish."
"The Daughter of Allan Ramsay Esq, of whom you have heard so much, as a Painter to the King, would perhaps be of little consequence to me in Point of Connexion, had she not been also the Neice (sic) of Sir John Lindsay Knight of the Bath; Sir David Lindsay, Lieut. Gen. in the Army; and Grandneice to Lord Mansfield... Exclusive of the importance of such a connexion in England, it affords me serious weight and consequence in Scotland, and in the end may prove so to all our family on either side of the world."
After his marriage (a happy one, by the way), he was Lieut Governor and then Governor of Jamaica, where he successfully fended off the French navy. In return, the King awarded him "Knight of the Order of the Bath." (which was very probably the occasion for the Romney painting reproduced above .) In the summer of 1780, Amelia and her sister joined Campbell in Jamaica. The crossing was perilous: their convoy came under fire from a joint French and Spanish fleet, and their ship was the only one to get through. (Smart, p 260)
In 1786, he became Governor of Madras, where he proved to be an excellent ruler. Political problems ensued with the British East India Company, however, and this did not end happily for Campbell.
He resigned and returned to Britain in 1790. He caught a chill, and died, at the age of 52. He is buried in Westminster Abbey; and commemorated within his considerable family, at the Campbell Mausoleum at Inverneill, Argyll.
The next page in this story covers the Knight of the Bath honour awarded to Campbell