Campbell, Lord William

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Campbell, Lord William

CAMPBELL, LORD WILLIAM. (?–1778). Naval officer and last royal governor of South Carolina. The fourth son of the fourth duke of Argyll, William entered the navy, rising to post captain by 1762. In command of the Nightingale in 1763, he visited South Carolina and there married Sarah Izard, daughter of the wealthy Ralph Izard. The marriage, in a colony where Scots were already resented as condescending imperial agents and interlopers and which was preceded by Sarah's rejection of a local suitor, offended an already touchy colonial elite. Elected to Parliament in 1764, Campbell resigned in 1766 to accept the governorship of Nova Scotia. In 1773 he became governor of South Carolina, taking over the government from the long-serving lieutenant governor, William Bull, arriving in Charleston on 17 June 1775. Here he found royal authority in a state of collapse and attempted to enlist the help of frontier settlers and the Cherokee and Catawba nations. This policy was understandable but had to overcome conflicting grievances: the dissatisfaction of the settlers was based upon the virtual exclusion of the backcountry from local politics, while the Indians' dissatisfaction was based on their resentment of the expansion of frontier settlements. John Stuart, whom Campbell asked to conduct his Indian negotiations, saw the problem at once and offered to promote Native cooperation with Loyalists and to discourage indiscriminate Indian attacks.

When Campbell's plans were discovered, only the restraining hand of the moderates prevented the Charleston radicals from seizing him, and he was able to take refuge in HMS Tamar on 15 September 1775. He refused an invitation to return and threatened Charleston with the Tamar's guns until the battery at Fort Johnson forced the ship to leave. He retired to Jamaica before joining Sir Henry Clinton's expedition against Charleston in June 1776, where he was wounded while commanding the lower gun deck in the Bristol during the bombardment of Sullivan's Island. He returned to Britain and died in Southampton, apparently of the long-term effects of his injury on 5 September 1778.

SEE ALSO Bull, William II; Stuart, John.


Snapp, J. Russell. John Stuart and the Struggle for the Southern Colonial Frontier. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.

Van Doren, Carl. Secret History of the American Revolution: An Account of the Conspiracies of Benedict Arnold and Numerous Others. New York: Viking, 1941.

                                        revised by John Oliphant

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Campbell, Lord William

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