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to the earth whenever it would wing its way to the skies ;
the domestic afflictions, tugging at his heart-strings even in
his hours of genial intercourse, and converting his very smiles
into spasms ; the anxious days and sleepless nights preying
upon his delicate organization, producing that morbid sensi-
tiveness and nervous irritabilitv which at times overlaid the
real sweetness and amenity of his nature, and obscured the
unbounded generosity of his heart.

The biography does more : it reveals the affectionate con-


siderateness of his conduct in all the domestic relations oflife.
The generosity with which he shared his narrow means with
all the members of his family, and tasked his precarious re-
sources to add to their relief; his deep-felt tenderness as a
husband and a father, the source of exquisite home-happiness
for a time, but ultimately of unmitigated wretchedness ; his
constant and devoted friendships, which in early life were al-
most romantic passions, and which remained unwithered by
age ; his sympathies with the distressed of every nation, class,
and condition ; his love of children, that infallible sign of a
gentle and amiable nature ; his sensibility to beauty of every
kind ; his cordial feeling toward his literary contemporaries,
so opposite to the narrow and despicable jealousy imputed to
him ; above all, the crowning romance of his life, his enthu-
siasm in the cause of suffering Poland, a devotion carried to
the height of his poetic temperament, and, in fact, exhausting
all that poetic vein which, properly applied, might have pro-
duced epics : these and many more traits set forth in his
biography bring forth his character in its true light ; dispel
those clouds which malice and detraction may at times have
cast over it ; and leave it in the full effulgence of its poetic

This is all, gentlemen, that the hurried nature of personal
occupations leaves me leisure to say on this subject. If these
brief remarks will be of any service in recommending the bi-
ography to the attention of the American public, you are
welcome to make such use of them as you may think proper ;
and I shall feel satisfaction in putting on record my own re-
cantation of the erroneous opinion I once entertained, and may
have occasionally expressed, of the private character of an il-
lustrious poet, whose moral worth is now shown to have been
fully equal to his exalted genius.

Your obedient servant,

Washington Irving.



Introductory Notice of the Campbells of Kirnan Genealogical His-
tory Archibald Campbell Robert Campbell Family Connections
Marriage of Alexander and Margaret Campbell The Poet's
Mother Her Character Anecdotes Alexander Campbell Sketch
of his Life The Poet's Father Anecdote Character Mary and
Isabella Campbell The Poet's elder Brothers Robert and James
Campbell Conclusion List of the Poet's Family Page 25-44


Infancy of Thomas Campbell School-days Taken into the Country
First Attempt at Rhyme School Versions First Poems at School
Punctuation Admiration of Homer Anecdotes Passion for Greek
Literature Anecdote Prize at School Strawberry Temptation
A Stone-battle, and its Consequences Poems Translation from the
Greek School-boy Adventures Anecdotes Misadventure Anec-
dote 45-65


College Days First Prize First Session Club Pons Asinorum
Second Session Prize Poem Verses Essay on Imitation.. 66-84


College Days Third Session Trial of Gerald and Muir Essay on the
Origin of Evil Prospects Hymn 85-104


College Days Third Session Correspondence Thomson Fourth
Session Family Affairs Letter to Mr. Thomson Three Prizes
Preparation for Departure Fife and Drum Last Spree at Col-
lege -"- 105-120


The Poet's Journey to Mull Arrival in the Island of Mull Letter to
Mr. Thomson from Mull Letter to Mr. Hamilton Paul" Elegy"


"Pleasures of Hope'' His Visit to Staffa, Iona, Icolmkill Scenery
and Residence in Mull Result Impression in Mull The Parrot
Heroine of the Poem Caroline Page 121-135


His Return to College Fifth Session 111 Health Letter to Thomson
Reminiscences of the Poet Translation of a Chorus in Jepthes
Autobiographical Notes and Sketches Residence at Downie Caro-
line Inverary Napier of Milliken Monody Letter to Thomson
The Poet's Studies and Disappointments His Position and Pros-
pects Prospects in Edinburgh New Disappointments Thwarted
in his legal Prospects Highland Characteristics Mode of Life in
the Highlands Scenery Life and Scenery in the West Highlands
Family Circle at Downie Politics 136-163


Return to Glasgow Letters from the Poet's Sister His Title Per-
sonal Recollections of Campbell Hopes and Disappointments Edin-
burgh His Employment in Edinburgh Introduction to Dr. Robert
Anderson Leaves Edinburgh Returns to Glasgow Efforts to
establish a Magazine "Wounded Hussar" "Dirge of Wallace"
Original Copy Anecdotes of the Poet's Grandfather Glasgow Pro-
fessors Rural Hospitality His religious Impressions in Youth
Reminiscences of a Fellow-student 164-184


Preparing to Winter in Edinburgh Disappointed in the Study of Law
Visit to Cathcart Epistle to three Ladies Invitation to America
Preparations Voyage postponed New Arrangements Reasons
for his not emigrating Autobiography His Life in Edinburgh
Grahame, Brougham, Cockburn Visit to Glasgow Studies in Greek
Lines on revisiting Cathcart 185-201

" Pleasures of Hope" sold to Mundell Literary Disappointments Im
proved Views Brougham on Porisms Poem announced Dugald
Stewart, Alison, Moore, Fletcher, Grahame, Erskine, Brown, Leyden,
Sir Walter Scott, Somerville Recollections of Campbell Anecdotes
Original Introduction to the Poem Publication of the " Pleasures
of Hope" Dr. James Gregory Dines with Walter Scott Stephen
Kemble and the Poet Thomson Tell Swiss Freedom Style of
the Poem The Darwinian Criticism on " Medea" Angels' Visits


Merits of the Poem Anecdote of Author Gilderoy Queen of
the North Correspondence Laziness Traveling... Page 202-229

Preparing to Travel Correspondence Embarks for Germany
Farewell to Edinburgh Pilgrimage in Germany Hamburgh
Ratisbon The Seat of War How to Travel Anxieties Corre-
spondence 230-249

Pilgrimage in Germany continued The Danube French Army
Classic Scenes Altona New Prospects Traveling Plan Let-
ters from Altona Sketch of Tour in Hungary Letters from Al-
tona 250-273


Germany Altona Exile of Erin Beech-tree's Petition History of
the Beechen-tree Death of an only Son Hungarian War-son**
" Ye Mariners of England" Route in Saxony and Bavaria Anach-
ronisms corrected Judith of Altona" Soldier's Dream" War in
the North Hostilities commenced Sails for England Delayed at
Cuxhaven Voyage to Yarmouth Arrives in London Death of his
Father Letter from London Letter to Dr. Anderson Siddons
Literary Society Return to Edinburgh Autobiography State of
Family Affairs Reception in Edinburgh 274-303


The Queen of the North A Fragment His Friends and Residence in
Edinburgh Family Affairs Judaic Loan Prospects " The Mobi-
ade," an Epic Poem The late Lord Minto Liverpool Currie
Roscoe Society in London Siddons Kemble Residence in Lon-
don Political Creed Return to Scotland Letter to Walter Scott
Edinburgh Letter to Lord Minto " Lochiel" and " Hoheniinden"
Anecdote Correspondence Letters to Walter Scott Alison
Journey from Edinburgh Melrose Abbey Letters to Mr. Alison
Visit at Minto 304-329


Letter to Lord Minto True Popularity Letter to Lord Minto Lord
Minto to Campbell Poem of " Lochiel" Letter to Lord Minto
Historical Work Second Visit to Liverpool Correspondence Dr,
Currie's Hospitality " Hoheniinden" Anecdote Visits the Potter-


ie9 Returns to London Letter to Mr. Alison Carrie State of
Politics Excited Fears Correspondence Toussaint Life and
Study in London Contrasts Anecdote of the Poet by Dr. Irving
Quarto Edition of his Poems In love with Matilda Sinclair Char-
acter of his future Wife Preliminaries of his Marriage Mar-
riage celebrated in St. Margaret's Letter to Mr. George Thomson
Present Happiness Cheering Prospects Letters to Dr. Cur-
rie - Page 330-362



Captain Grahame Moore General [Sir John] Moore Mr. Roscoe
Mackintosh Knights of Literature Telford Hodgson Chamber-
lain Lord Minto His Character Melrose Alison D'Aguilar
Miss Mackintosh Stevenson Potteries James Grahame John
Richardson Alison Matilda Sinclair T. Wedgewood Metemp-
sychosis His Household Ministry Addington Walpole Con-
solation Miller Burns Erskine Picture of his Child New Resi-
dence Sydenham Roscoe Loan Gregory Watt's Legacy Baths
Illness of Dr. Currie Ballad " Battle of Copenhagen" Mohawk
Opera . 363-38G


Married Life Correspondence Grahame A Volunteer Expensive
Outfit Bensley Professorship at Wilna Polish Politics Wilna
Interview with the Minister Domestic Anecdotes Letter from Dr.
Currie to the Poet Birth of a Son Poets born to Trouble Letter
to a Friend Impaired Health Domestic Affairs, Health, and Pros-
pects Domestic Happiness Cheering Prospects 387-403


His new Residence at Sydenham Life at Sydenham Autobiographical
Reminiscences Literary Employment Hopes from Patrons Cor-
respondence with Scott The "Lay" Letter to Scott Alarming
Adventures Letter to his Sister Friends and Patrons Attached
Friends Letter to Mr. Richardson Scheme of the Poet's " Battle
of the Baltic" Original Sketch of the " Battle of the Baltic" Letter
to Sir Walter Scott" British Poets" Temporary Accommodation
from Scott Stimulus to Industry Mohawk Indians Authors and
Publishers Negotiations Letters to Alison and Scott Projected
Edition of the "British Poets" Letter from the Mersey Infant
Portraits 404-429


State of Health-Melancholy Prognostics Irish Melodies Music by
Thomson-Letter to Scott-Defeated in his Scheme-Pension grant-
edNew Poems Horner Letter to Mr. Alison Dr. Baillie
Dr. Brown Extracts from Letters To his Sister State of Health
Pension Pitt Lady E. Foster New Salary Page 430-442

Letter to Miss Mayow Literary Subjects Keddie Old Friendship-
Pleasing Incidents Dines at Holland House Fox and Virgil
Dressed in borrowed Plumes Social Habits Hopes from Govern-
ment A deserted Swan" British Poets' '-Letters to Walter Scott
-First Idea of " Gertrude"-Tranquil Hours-Correspondence with
Miss Mayow The Chatty Man- Albert of Wyoming The Original
Slays the Python Caricatures the Victory Visit to the Isle of
Wight Letters 443-469

Letter from the Nursery-His Children-Men-Books-Arbuthnot-
Maurus Campbell's Dream Difficult Writing Watch-nights
Correspondence His new Heroine Opinion of a Friend The
Comet Letter of an invalid Friend Correspondence Extracts
His Household Colds and Comforts Correspondence Vexations
p of Life-Dines at Holland House-Sydney Smith-Home Incidents
Becoming Miser Review Extempore Verses Affecting Inci-
dentDeath of a poor Sweep in the Snow 470-490

" Gertrude" Sydenham Nightingales Extracts from Letters Luxury
of Sleep Adventures Nobles and Prelates of Spain National Char-
acterPartialitiesExpectations of another new Poem Process
of "Gertrude"- Greek Ode-Letter to Lord Cockburn British
Poets" Moore Lawrence Spectre Drummer" Selections from
the British Poets"-Sir John Moore-Character-Death-Disasters
m Spam Corunna Antiquarian and Classical Research. . . 491-512


Criticism on Gertrude" Telford - Character of the new Poem
Meeting of the Highland Society Verses Morning Scenes Re-
flections Anecdotes Minor Poems Wyoming Close of the Re-
viewApology to Brandt, the Indian Chief 513-524


. PWU" Teaching tne Graces-Visit to Siddons-Anec


His Portrait by Lawrence bngra\ing o>u

vLits-Buonaparte-Slave Trade - Lectors,- D-** "^

Mother _ Le el . to *, ^-f -:v^:rrr S-

Incidents during Lecture A new neiu

Lady Charlotte-New i^ - *r**^^
"Sabbath"- Anecdotes-Letter from Madame do Stael-Leeture
-Public News -Mutual Friends- Captatn Moms- Manners
D^-Languages-New Eecrttits for the Army- -Page 525-556






The paternal ancestors of Thomas Campbell appear to have
been long settled in that part of the Argyll frontier, which lies
between Lochawe and Lochfyne, bordered by the ducal territory
of Inverary. The Poet himself had little or no taste for gene-
alogy ; but his uncle, Robert Campbell of Kirnan, who wrote
the " Life of John, Duke of Argyll and Greenwich," was deeply
read in the ancient history of his clan, and traced the origin of
his own branch of the family to Iver of Kirnan. The descent
may be stated in a few words. Archibald, lord and knight of
Lochawe, was grandson of Sir Neil, chief of the clan, and a
celebrated contemporary of king Robert Bruce. This Archibald
died a.d. 1360, leaving issue three sons, Colin, who succeeded
to the family honors ; Tavis, ancestor of Dunardrie ; and Tver,

* On the genealogical history, to which the first Chapter is devoted, it
may seem that I have dwelt too long ; but, in explanation, it may be
stated that, since Mr. Campbell's death, circumstances have occurred to
render it very desirable that, in his biography, the subject should be treated
with some degree of minuteness. Many errors and mis-statements, re-
specting the Poet and his family, have already gone abroad ; and to rectify
these effectually, the only course left was to investigate the family papers.
This was duly accomplished ; and the facts resulting from the investigation,
form the ground-work of the introductory Chapter. The accuracy of the
details has been confirmed by the testimony of surviving branches of the
Poet's family ; and the particulars now brought out for the first time, will
sufficiently contradict the mis-statements to which I have referred.
Vol. i. 2


from whom sprang the Campbells of Kirnan the distinctive
name of Iver's descendants, who, during the lapse of many-
generations, became identified with the place, as lairds and
heritors of Kirnan.

The vale of Glassary, in which the old family estate was
situated, runs transversely through the parish of that name.
Like all the surrounding country, it is of a pastoral character ;
watered by a rapid brook called the Ad, bounded on either side
by picturesque and partly wooded acclivities, and ornamented
by Lochan Leamhan, a small lake near its centre. The whole
parish, which is of great extent, presents the appearance of a
vast congeries of hills, steep and rugged in many places, though
not lofty ; abounding in excellent pasture, but possessing little
that can be applied successfully to the higher purposes of agri-
culture. The uplands are diversified by numerous small lakes ;
the height of the valley above the level of the sea, varies from
two hundred to six hundred feet ; the soil is fertile, in many
places well cultivated, but much exposed after heavy rains to
inundations from the river.*

In the parish of Glassary, which forms part of the southern
frontier of the West Highlands, Campbell of Achnabreck and
Campbell of Ederline, two powerful families of the olden time,
had long their fixed residence ; but, like that of the poet's an-
cestors, the house that once knew them so familiarly, knows
them no more. The number of landed proprietors in the parish
is now reduced to four, the chief of whom is Sir John Powlett
Orde, of Kilmory, Bart. Among the oldest heritors of the
parish, as already stated, were the Campbells of Kirnan, who
appear by the records of the presbytery of Inverary, to have
been from one generation after another, supporters of the Re-
formation and Elders in the Church. Their valued rental in
those primitive times, was thirty-seven pounds one shilling
sterling, or nearly one-nineteenth of the whole parish.

From this honorable stock the Campbells of Kirnan, who
could trace their origin to Gilespic-le-Camile, first Norman lord
of Lochawe the poet is lineally descended. To the fortuitous
circumstances of birth or. family connexion he rarely alluded,
and never attached any importance ; but he has feelingly ad-
verted to the old feudal tradition, and to his own personal for-
tunes in the following lines, "On receiving a Seal with the
Campbell Crest" :

* Rev. Colin Smith, Stat. Ace. of "Glassarv," 1844.


" So speed my song, marked with the crest

That erst the adventurous Norman wore,
Who won the Lady of the West,

The Daughter of Macaillan Mor.
Crest of my Sires ! whose blood it sealed

With glory, in the strife of swords,
Ne'er may the scroll that bears it yield

Degenerate thoughts, or faithless words !
Yet, little might I prize the stone

If it but typed the Feudal-tree
From whence, a scattered leaf, Fm blown.

In Fortune's mutability /"

In reference to this subject, and the remote connexion between
the Poet and the great " Macallumore," I find the following
lines addressed to him by a lady, distinguished by her high birth,
and cultivated mind the Lady Charlotte Campbell, daughter
of John, Duke of Argyll :

" Bard of my country clansman of my race !
How proudly do I call thee one of mine !
Perchance thou wilt not deem it a disgrace
That with my verse thy name I should entwine.
It is not writ in borrowed wreath to shine
Or catch reflected ray from light of fame ;
But a strong feeling, I may not define,
Of honest pride, in friendship's sacred flame,
Within my bosom glows while writing Campbell's name !"

In the vale of Glassary, and about a mile and a half from the
old manse of Kilmichael, stand the house and garden of Kirnan,
long ruinous and deserted, but on which the genius of the Poet
has conferred a classic immortality. It was after a melancholy
survey of this ancestral mansion, and in a room of the manse,
or parsonage-house, where he spent the following night, that
the Poet gave utterance to bis feelings in these well-known
" Lines on visiting a Scene in Argyllshire" :

" At the silence of Twilighf s contemplative hour
I have mused, in a sorrowful mood,
On the wind-shaken weeds that embosom the bower
Where the home of my forefathers stood !
All ruined and wild is their roofless abode ;
And lonely the dark raven's sheltering tree ;
And travelled by few is the grass-covered road,
Where the hunter of deer and the warrior trode
To his hills, that encircle the sea.

" Yet wandering, I found on my ruinous walk,
By the dial-stone aged and green,
One rose of the wilderness left on its stalk,
To mark where a garden had been
Like a brotherless hermit, the last of its race,


All wild, in the silence of Nature, it drew
From each wandering sunbeam a lonely embrace ;
For the night-weed and thom over-shadowed the place
Where the rose of my forefathers grew."

The last of his race, who resided on the family estate of Kir-
nan, was Archibald Campbell, the Poet's grandfather. He was
brought up to the law, and exemplified in his character much
public spirit and private worth. At an advanced period of life he
married Margaret Stuart, daughter of Stuart of Ascog in the
island of Bute. She was widow of John MacArthur of Milton,
and lived near his own estate of Kirnan. By this marriage he
had three sons : Robert, Archibald, and Alexander. At the
death of their father, which took place in the Canongate of
Edinburgh, Robert, the eldest, appears to have taken possession
of the hereditary house and lands of Kirnan. But owing to
mismanagement or misfortune, the exact nature of which has
not been explained, the property was annexed to the estate of
Milton, the proprietor of which was John MacArthur, his half-
brother, son of Mrs. Campbell by her first marriage, to whom
it was probably sold to discharge the debts which Robert, it is
said, had incurred by living too freely among the more wealthy
retainers, who then frequented the Ducal Court at Inverary. He
was not bred to any profession, save that which was indispensa-
ble to every Highland gentleman the profession of arms ; but
having received a liberal education, and possessing much natural
talent, quickened by a spirit of enterprise, he sought a wider
field of exertion.

With the hope, therefore, of repairing his ruined fortunes,
he left the Highlands, and following in the train of his feudal
Chief, settled in London. Here he commenced his laborious
career as a political writer, under the auspices of the Walpole
administration ; and, although eclipsed for a time by more ex-
perienced rivals, he succeeded at last in establishing his reputa-
tion with the government, as one of the most able and zealous
of its literary partisans. His principal work was a " Life of the
most illustrious Prince John, Duke of Argyll and Greenwich."
As a genealogical and historical work it is creditable to the
author; but after the retirement of Walpole in 1*742, and the
death of his " far-awa' cousin," the Duke, in the year following,
Robert Campbell found that his occupation was gone. After
lingering two years in the fruitless hope of obtaining employ-
ment, he was seized with a fatal illness in London, and there
closed his checkered career, in very reduced circumstances.


Archibald, the second son, having* taken the degree of D.D.
at the Edinburgh University, went out to Jamaica, as a Presby-
terian minister. There he remained several years ; but other and
more inviting prospects having opened upon him, he proceeded
to Virginia, in the United States of America, where he fixed
his abode. By his exemplary life and conversation he secured
the respect and confidence of all who knew him ; and there he
resided until his death, which took place at an advanced age.
" His family," says "Washington Irving, " has uniformly main-
tained a highly respectable character. One of his sons was dis-
trict attorney under the administration of Washington, and died
in 1795. He is still remembered and extolled by the Vir-
ginians, as a man of talent and uncommon eloquence." To the
landed property which he had acquired in Virginia, he gave
the endearing name of " Kirnan" thus perpetuating the asso-
ciation with the old family mansion in Argyllshire. Many years
afterwards, when all the intermediate heirs had died off, his
grandson, " Frederick Campbell of Kirnan, in the county of
Westmoreland, and state of Virginia," succeeded, under an en-
tail executed in 1763, to the estates of Whitebarony in Peebles-
shire, Ascog in Bute, and Kilfinnan and Kirnan in Argyllshire.
This Frederick Campbell was grandson of the Poet's uncle, the
Rev. Dr. Campbell ; and on taking possession of these estates,
in 1815, added Stuart to his name. At the same time, as will
hereafter appear, the Poet himself became entitled to a consid-
erable legacy, which is now enjoyed by his son, Thomas Telford

Alexander, the youngest of the three sons of Archibald Camp-
bell, and father of the Poet, was born in 1710. He was edu-
cated with a view to mercantile pursuits ; and early in life went
to America, where he entered into business, and resided many
years at Falmouth, in Virginia. There he had the pleasure of
receiving his brother Archibald, on his first quitting Jamaica to
settle in the United States : and there also, some ten years after-
wards, while he was making his way in business very satisfac-
torily, he formed an intimate acquaintance with Daniel Camp-
bell, a clansman, but no blood relation of the " Campbells of
Kirnan." He was the son of John Campbell, and his wife Mary,
daughter of Robert Simpson. John Campbell was a merchant
in Glasgow, nearly related to the Campbells of Craignish, an
old Argyllshire family. The Simpsons had been for many gen-
erations residents in the city, or immediate neighborhood of
Glasgow, where they possessed several small estates. An old


tradition, still current among the collateral descendants for
Robert Simpson died without male issue states, that the pro-
genitor of the Simpsons was a " celebrated royal armorer" to
the King of Scotland. In that capacity, it is said, he fashioned
two broad-swords, of exquisite temper and workmanship ; one
of which he presented, on the first centenary anniversary of the

Online LibraryWilliam BeattieLife and letters of Thomas Campbell (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 55)