Campbell's Ability and Character: 3 Assessments

By Robert A. McGeachy

(Against a background of vicious bloodletting and civil war in the South)"... contemporaries on both sides paid tribute to the humanity and restraint shown by Archibald Campbell of Inverneill. This is confirmed by Alexander Garden in his Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War in America with Sketches of Character (1822). Garden's account of Campbell of Inverneill has particular authority because he served on the Patriot side with "Lee's Partisan Legion" and as "aide-de-camp of Major General Greene". Garden referred to Campbell's humanity, to his concern for the civilian population and lack of bitterness towards his former captors. He also related how the Patriots feared Archibald Campbell as a commander of great ability:

Savannah 1778 "A conqueror at Savannah, his immediate care was to soften the asperities of war, and to reconcile to his equitable government, those who had submitted, in the first instance, to the superiority of his arms. Though but lately released from close and rigorous confinement, which he had suffered in consequence of indignities offered to General Charles Lee, a prisoner at New-York, he harboured no resentments, and considered his sufferings rather the effect of necessity, than wilful persecution. Oppression was foreign to his nature, and incompatible with his practice. He made proper allowance for an attachment to cherished principles, nor withheld his applause from those who bravely supported them. He used no threats to gain proselytes, no artifice to ensnare them. such of the inhabitants as voluntarily made a tender of service, were favourably received; but he was ever disinclined to invite them to take up arms in the British cause, lest in the fluctuating councils of his government, he should lead them to destruction. He had too frequently seen them lavish of professions of permanent support, leaving their deluded adherents to the mercy of the government, which, in an evil hour, they had abandoned. The friends of our Independence had everything to dread from his wisdom and humanity, but their alarm was of short duration. Lieutenant Colonel Campbell had too nice a sense of honour to be made instrument of injustice and oppression, and he was speedily called on to relinquish his command, to a superior, less scrupulous and better disposed to second the harsh measures of the Commander in Chief".

IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN JAMAICAN AFFAIRS CIRCA 1752 TO 1831. (excerpted from Cundall, Frank, Biographical Annals of Jamaica - a brief history of the colony arranged as a guide to the Jamaica Portrait Gallery... 1901.)

"General Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneil was appointed Governor of Jamaica in December 1782, at a time of great importance. The British forces in America were faring ill: the French had joined the insurgents and threatened the British West India Islands, of which they captured Tobago, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserat. But Campbell laid his plans so well, was so successful in raising black troops, and was so untiring in his vigilance that the French did not dare attack Jamaica without re-inforcements. At the same time, Campbell did what he could to assist the British troops in America, by sending them information, re-inforcements and supplies; and he, by lending some of his troops to serve as marines, materially aided Rodney in his great victory over de Grasse. This victory on the 12th April 1782, will ever be one of the brightest epochs in Jamaica's history: for, though the engagement took place off Dominica, the future of Jamaica was no less at stake than that of the smaller British West India colonies."

It was in these years - 1784 - that Campbell of Inverneill made a final addition to his Knapdale Estate: Ulva (Norse, for "Wolf"), lying between Danna and Taynish.

Lieut Col EWC Sandes, DSO, MC, RE (Ret)
MILITARY ENGINEERS IN INDIA. Chatham, Great Britain, Institution of Royal Engineers, 1933, 2 vols.

Campbell Official Madras Residence Madras was exhausted after the war against Mysore, and no serious military operations were undertaken until renewed hostilities against that state became inevitable at the end of 1789 ".... In Madras on April 6th, 1786, that famous military engineer, Major-General Sir Archibald Campbell, K. B., became Governor and Commander-in-Chief. Throughout his term of office, the country had a rest from the devastating wars... and so he devoted himself to the development of peaceful institutions. He founded a Military Board which absorbed the dutes of the Committee of Works; a Hospital Board, a Board of Revenue and a Board of Trade; he reorganized the Police, established an Exchange and a Bank; built an Astronomical Observatory and constituted an Orphan Asylum. In fact, there was hardly a department of the civil administration in which he did not labour to secure improvement and order; and Madras sustained a serious loss when, overcome by illness, he was forced to leave India in February 1789; only to die two years later at the early age of 52. It may be said of Campbell that he was the most brilliant of the engineers who served in India during the eighteenth century. " (vol 1, page 162)

The following page deals with Campbell of Inverneill's very successful marriage to Amelia Ramsay.