Always the Great Man

Portrait of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich (1678-1743) by William Aikman (died 1731), ca. 1720-1725, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Joannes Argatheliæ et Greenovici Dux, Marchio de Kintyre et Lorn, Comes de Campbell, Cowall et Greenwich, Vicecomes de Lochow et Glenyla, Dominus de Inveraray, Mull, Morvern et Tirij, Baro de Chatham, Hæreditarius Justiciarius Generalis, Vicecomitatus Argatheliæ, Insularum aliorumque ejusdem Vicecomitatus Locumtenens et Præfectus Juridicus Hæreditarius, Magnus apud Scotos Hospitii Magister ibidem Haereditarius, copiarum Britanicarum Mariscallus, tormentorum bellicorum Magnæ Britaniæ Praefectus, inter fines Commitatus Argatheliæ Insularumque Scotiæ occidentalium Admiralis, S. D. N. Regis a Sanctiaribus Concilijs ac nobilissimi ordinis auratæ periscelidis Eques.

Latin style of John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, c. 1740.

In Lustre of Race equal to the first Subjects;
In Talents and Accomplishments superior to most:
Distinguish’d from his Youth with the highest publick Trusts;
All discharged with signal Honour:
An upright Statesman, a human Hero:
His Address, like his Person pleasing:
A steady Friend; too sincere to feign Affection:
A fair Enemy; too brave to dissemble Resentment:
Never making small Foes, never courting great ones:
A powerful Orator,
Persuasive, by being himself persuaded;
Of wonderful Ability to shake or calm the human Soul:
In Office, the Man of Dignity; out of it, the easy Companion;
Always the Great Man:
For the rest I refer to Records, in the Annals of Europe,
Concerning the illustrious
JOHN, Duke of ARGYLE and GREENWICH.

— Inscription by —— Gordon, Esq, intended for the monument to John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, in Westminster Abbey, by Mr. Roubillac, of St. Martin’s Lane, from The Scots Magazine, February, 1749.

Argyle Is My Name

Bronze medal of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, by Jacques Antoine Dassier, 1743; 2 1/8" diameter; NPG 6232.
Bronze medal of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, by Jacques Antoine Dassier, 1743; 2 1/8″ diameter; NPG 6232.

ARGYLE IS MY NAME. 

SAID TO BE BY JOHN DUKE OF ARGYLE AND
GREENWICH [BORN 1678 DIED 1743.]

Tune—Bannocks o’ Barley Meal.

Argyle is my name, and you may think it strange,
To live at a court, yet never to change;
A’ falsehood and flattery I do disdain,
In my secret thoughts nae guile does remain.
My king and my country’s foes I have faced,
In city or battle I ne’er was disgraced;
I do every thing for my country’s weal,
And feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

I will quickly lay down my sword and my gun,
And put my blue bonnet and my plaidie on;
With my silk tartan hose, and leather-heel’d shoon,
And then I will look like a sprightly loon.
And when I’m sae dress’d frae tap to tae,
To meet my dear Maggie I vow I will gae,
Wi’ target and hanger hung down to my heel;
And I’ll feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

I’ll buy a rich garment to gie to my dear,
A ribbon o’ green for Maggie to wear;
And mony thing brawer than that, I declare,
Gin she will gang wi’ me to Paisley fair.
And when we are married, I’ll keep her a cow,
And Maggie will milk when I gae to plow;
We’ll live a’ the winter on beef and lang kail,
And feast upon bannocks o’ barley meal.

Gin Maggie should chance to bring me a son,
He’ll fight for his king, as his daddy has done;
He’ll hie him to Flanders, some breeding to learn,
And then hame to Scotland, and get him a farm.
And there we will live by our industry,
And wha’ll be sae happy as Maggie and me?
We’ll a’ grow as fat as a Norway seal,
Wi’ our feasting on bannocks o’ barley meal.

Then fare ye weel, citizens, noisy men,
Wha jolt in your coaches to Drury Lane;
Ye bucks o’ Bear-garden, I bid ye adieu;
For drinking and swearing, I leave it to you.
I’m fairly resolved for a country life,
And nae langer will live in hurry and strife;
I’ll aff to the Highlands as hard’s I can reel,
And whang at the bannocks o’ barley meal.*

* From Herd’s Collection, 1776. Another conjecture or tradition gives the song to James Boswell.

— Robert Chambers, The Scottish Songs, Vol. 1, 1829.

Conflation: Gàidhealtachd & Jacobitism

The simple question “who were the Gaidheil (Gaels)”? Might seem like a surprising point of departure. When the Comunn Oiseanach (Ossianic Society) started meeting at the University of Glasgow some eighty years later, from 1831, one of their primary functions was as a debating society. They discussed, in Gaelic, a wide range of topics but one which proved especially popular and to which they returned again and again was the Jacobite rising of 1745-46. Was it right, they asked, again and again, that the ‘Gael’ should have risen in support of Prince Charles Edward Stuart?

The popularity of the topic was shared by Iain MacChoinnich (1806-48), a native of Gairloch, who worked at the printer’s office at the University of Glasgow and was admitted as an honorary member of An Comunn Oiseanach in 1834. Iain gifted An Comunn a copy of An Nuadh Oranaiche Gaelach (or ‘Ais-èiridh na Sean Chánoin Albannaich’), the volume published by Alasdair mac Mhaighistir Alasdair (1751). This Iain MacChoinnich (John Mackenzie) was the editor of the widely known collection of Gaelic poetry, Sàr Obair nam Bàrd Gaidhealach (1841), and also a history of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 entitled Eachdraidh a’ Phrionnsa (1844). The author referred to his honorary membership of An Comunn Oiseanach on the frontspiece of the latter book. This work, Eachdraidh a’ Phrionnsa, refers, as do members of An Comunn Oiseanach in their minute books, to the ‘Gaeil’ as being synonymous with support for the Prince.

The insistence shown by MacChoinnich in labelling Jacobite supporters as Gaels throughout his book seems all the more surprising given his awareness that the leader of the Whig opposition was the chief of a Highland clan. Iain Ruadh nan Cath (John, 2nd Duke of Argyll), the Campbell clan chief, followed by a considerable number of Gaelic speakers, commanded the Hanoverian forces arrayed against the ‘Gaels’ (Jacobites) in 1715. This identification of Jacobitism with Gaels must reflect to some extent, views held not only by An Comunn Oiseanach but also of the way in which contemporary Highland and Scottish society in the nineteenth century perceived events of the previous century.

Later generations can, perhaps, be forgiven for conflating the Gaidhealtachd with Jacobitism given that their predecessors in the 1740s were similarly imprecise. People in the 1740s, particularly people from the Lowlands habitually referred to Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s army as the ‘Highlanders’. Gaelic speakers who supported the Hanoverian regime, on the other hand were often given more specific identities. The Whig supporters tended to be not identified as Gaels or Highlanders, but instead as ‘Argyllshire men’, as ‘Munros’, or ‘Grants.’ Part of the reason for this is that Jacobites, irrespective of whether they were Lowland or Highland, and even the Prince himself, identified themselves as ‘Highlanders’ and adopted tartan dress. The Jacobites were highlanders – in a visual if not always in a linguistic sense.

— excerpted from “Jacobites & Whigs,” The Gaelic Story web site, University of Glasgow.

Iain Ruaidh nan Cath

Portrait of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich (1678-1743) by William Aikman (died 1731), ca. 1720-1725, National Portrait Gallery, London.
Portrait of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich (1678-1743) by William Aikman (died 1731), ca. 1720-1725, National Portrait Gallery, London.

ARGYLE the State’s whole Thunder born to wield,
And shake alike the Senate and the Field Alexander Pope, Epilogue to the Satires (TE 4: 318).