John, fifth Duke of Argyll, born in 1723, eldest son of the fourth duke, was also in the army, and attained the rank of general in March 1778, and field-marshall in 1796. He was created a British peer, in the lifetime of his father, as Baron Sundridge of Coomb-bank in Kent, 19th December 1766, with remainder to his heirs male, and failing them to his brothers, Frederick and William, and their heirs male successively. He was chosen the first president of the Highland Society of Scotland, to which society, in 1806m he made a munificent gift of one thousand pounds, as the beginning of a fund for educating young men of the West Highlands for the navy. He died 24th May 1806, in the 83rd year of his age. He married in 1759, Elizabeth, widow of James, sixth Duke of Hamilton, the second of three beautiful Miss Gunnings, daughters of John Gunning, Esq of Castle Coote, county Roscommon, Ireland. By this lady the duke had three sons and two daughters.
James Boswell, The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D. James Boswell was born in Edinburgh in 1740, the son of an Ayrshire laird and lawyer. His father wanted him to follow him into the law, and he attended Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. However, he preferred a literary career and ran off briefly to London in 1760. On a later visit in 1763, he met the key figure in his life, and replacement father figure, Samuel Johnson. He studied law in the Netherlands, and travelled extensively on the continent. He married in 1769 and had six children, settling in London. He toured Scotland with Johnson in 1773 but his account of the tour was not published until 1784. His best known publication is his Life of Samuel Johnson, maybe the greatest biography ever written in English. He died in 1795.
When I returned to the inn, I informed Dr Johnson of the Duke of Argyle's invitation, with which he was much pleased, and readily accepted of it. We talked of a violent contest which was then carrying on, with a view to the next general election for Ayrshire; where one of the candidates, in order to undermine the old and established interest, had artfully held himself out as a champion for the independency of the county against aristocratick influence, and had persuaded several gentlemen into a resolution to oppose every candidate who was supported by peers. 'Foolish fellows!' said Dr Johnson. 'Didn't they see that they are as much dependent upon the peers one way as the other. The peers have but to OPPOSE a candidate, to ensure him success. It is said, the only way to make a pig go forward, is to pull him back by the tail. These people must be treated like pigs.' I told Dr Johnson I was in some difficulty how to act at Inveraray. I had reason to think that the Duchess of Argyle disliked me, on account of my zeal in the Douglas cause; but the Duke of Argyle had always been pleased to treat me with great civility. They were now at the castle, which is a very short walk from our inn; and the question was, whether I should go and pay my respects there. Dr Johnson, to whom I had stated the case, was clear that I ought; but, in his usual way, he was very shy of discovering a desire to be invited there himself. Though from a conviction of the benefit of subordination to society, he has always shewn great respect to persons of high rank, when he happened to be in their company, yet his pride of character has ever made him guard against any appearance of courting the great. Besides, he was impatient to go to Glasgow , where he expected letters. At the same time he was, I believe, secretly not unwilling to have attention paid him by so great a chieftain, and so exalted a nobleman. He insisted that I should not go to the castle this day before dinner, as it would look like seeking an invitation. 'But,' said I, 'if the duke invites us to dine with him to-morrow, shall we accept?' 'Yes, sir,' I think he said, 'to be sure.' But, he added, 'He won't ask us!' I mentioned, that I was afraid my company might be disagreeable to the duchess. He treated this objection with a manly disdain: 'THAT, sir, he must settle with his wife.' We dined well. I went to the castle just about the time when I supposed the ladies would be retired from dinner. I sent in my name; and, being shewn in, found the amiable duke sitting at the head of his table with several gentlemen. I was most politely received, and gave his grace some particulars of the curious journey which I had been making with Dr Johnson. When we rose from table, the duke said to me, 'I hope you and Dr Johnson will dine with us to-morrow.' I thanked his grace; but told him, my friend was in a great hurry to get back to London. The duke, with a kind complacency, said, 'He will stay one day; and I will take care he shall see this place to advantage.' I said, I should be sure to let him know his grace's invitation. As I was going away, the duke said, 'Mr Boswell, won't you have some tea?' I thought it best to get over the meeting with the duchess this night; so respectfully agreed. I was conducted to the drawing-room by the duke, who announced my name; but the duchess, who was sitting with her daughter, Lady Betty Hamilton, and some other ladies, took not the least notice of me. I should have been mortified at being thus coldly received by a lady of whom I, with the rest of the world, have always entertained a very high admiration, had I not been consoled by the obliging attention of the duke.
Monday 25 Oct 1773 When we came in, before dinner, we found the duke and some gentlemen in the hall. Dr Johnson took much notice of the large collection of arms, which are excellently disposed there. I told what he had said to Sir Alexander McDonald, of his ancestors not suffering their arms to rust. 'Well,' said the doctor, 'but let us be glad we live in times when arms MAY rust. We can sit to-day at his grace's table, without any risk of being attacked, and perhaps sitting down again wounded or maimed.' The duke placed Dr Johnson next himself at table. I was in fine spirits; and though sensible that I had the misfortune of not being in favour with the duchess, I was not in the least disconcerted, and offered her grace some of the dish that was before me. It must be owned that I was in the right to be quite unconcerned, if I could. I was the Duke of Argyle's guest; and I had no reason to suppose that he adopted the prejudices and resentments of the Duchess of Hamilton.
I knew it was the rule of modern high life not to drink to any body; but, that I might have the satisfaction for once to look the duchess in the face, with a glass in my hand, I with a respectful air addressed her, 'My Lady Duchess, I have the honour to drink your grace's good health.' I repeated the words audibly, and with a steady countenance. This was, perhaps, rather too much; but some allowance must be made for human feelings.
The duchess was very attentive to Dr Johnson. I know not how a middle state came to be mentioned. Her grace wished to hear him on that point. 'Madam,' said he, 'your own relation, Mr Archibald Campbell, can tell you better about it than I can. He was a bishop of the nonjuring communion, and wrote a book upon the subject.'4 He engaged to get it for her grace. He afterwards gave a full history of Mr Archibald Campbell, which I am sorry I do not recollect particularly. He said, Mr Campbell had been bred a violent Whig, but afterwards 'kept BETTER COMPANY, and became a Tory'. He said this with a smile, in pleasant allusion, as I thought, to the opposition between his own political principles and those of the duke's clan. He added that Mr Campbell, after the Revolution, was thrown in gaol on account of his tenets; but, on application by letter to the old Lord Townshend, was released: that he always spoke of his Lordship with great gratitude, saying, 'though a WHIG, he had humanity'.
Dr Johnson and I passed some time together, in June 1784, at Pembroke College, Oxford , with the Reverend Dr Adams, the master, and I having expressed a regret that my note relative to Mr Archibald Campbell was imperfect, he was then so good as to write with his own hand, on the blank page of my Journal, opposite to that which contains what I have now mentioned, the following paragraph; which, however, is not quite so full as the narrative he gave at Inveraray :
The Honourable Archibald Campbell was, I believe, the nephew of the Marquis of Argyle. He began life by engaging in Monmouth's rebellion, and, to escape the law, lived some time in Surinam. When he returned, he became zealous for episcopacy and monarchy; and at the Revolution adhered not only to the Nonjurors, but to those who refused to communicate with the Church of England, or to be present at any worship where the usurper was mentioned as king. He was, I believe, more than once apprehended in the reign of King William, and once at the accession of George. He was the familiar friend of Hicks and Nelson; a man of letters, but injudicious; and very curious and inquisitive, but credulous. He lived in 1743, or 44, about 75 years old.
Her grace made Dr Johnson come and sit by her, and asked him why he made his journey so late in the year. 'Why, madam,' said he, 'you know Mr Boswell must attend the Court of Session, and it does not rise till the twelfth of August.' She said, with some sharpness, 'I KNOW NOTHING of Mr Boswell.' Poor Lady Lucy Douglas, to whom I mentioned this, observed, 'She knew TOO MUCH of Mr Boswell.' I shall make no remark on her grace's speech. I indeed felt it as rather too severe; but when I recollected that my punishment was inflicted by so dignified a beauty, I had that kind of consolation which a man would feel who is strangled by a SILKEN CORD. Dr Johnson was all attention to her grace. He used afterwards a droll expression, upon her enjoying the three titles of Hamilton, Brandon, and Argyle. Borrowing an image from the Turkish empire, he called her a 'Duchess with three tails'.
As this book is now become very scarce, I shall subjoin the title, which is curious: 'The Doctrines of a Middle State between Death and the Resurrection: Of Prayers for the Dead: And the Necessity of Purification: plainly proved from the holy Scriptures, and the Writings of the Fathers of the Primitive Church: And acknowledged by several learned Fathers and great Divines of the Church of England and others since the Reformation. To which is added, an Appendix concerning the Descent of the Soul of Christ into Hell, while his Body lay in the Grave. Together with the Judgment of the Reverend Dr Hickes concerning this Book, so far as relates to a Middle State, particular Judgment, and Prayers for the Dead as it appeared in the first Edition. And a Manuscript of the Right Reverend Bishop Overall upon the Subject of a Middle State, and never before printed. Also, a Preservative against several of the Errors of the Roman Church, in six small Treatises. By the Honourable Archibald Campbell.' Folio, 1721.