Daniel Campbell of Shawfield

(Great Daniel)

1671 - 1753

Merchant, politician and landowner. The second son of Walter Campbell of Skipness (Kintyre), a ship's captain, Campbell began as an apprentice to a merchant in Glasgow. He sailed to New England in 1692, trading there and as far south as the Caribbean. Despite the colonies being the exclusive territory of England (Scotland did not gain access to them until the Union of 1707), Campbell seems to have done well and returned home two years later to continue trading with the Americas and Sweden, in tobacco, iron ore and possibly slaves. He lent money to Scottish landowners, including Archibald Campbell (1st Duke of Argyll, 1658 - 1703) and amassed a fortune with which he was able to buy the Shawfield Estate, Rutherglen, in 1706 and build a fine mansion, one of the first Palladian buildings in Scotland.

With the Duke of Argyll as his political sponsor, Campbell sat in the Scottish Parliament (1702-07), was one of the Commissioners who negotiated and signed the Treaty of Union, and then sat in the British Parliament (1707-08 and 1716-34). In 1725, he supported an unpopular malt tax and a mob marched to his house, destroying the interior, the so-called Shawfield Riot. Campbell received £9000 compensation but sold Shawfield, preferring his other house of Woodhall, and used the money to buy the island of Islay.

He owned another property, Woodhall in North Lanarkshire, where he died. One of the richest and most influential men is Scotland of his time, he became known as "Great Daniel", a term which also reflected his girth. He was an ardent anti-Jacobite, and lived through the Risings of 1715 and 1719, raising a militia at his own expenses in 1745 to support the government. He was succeeded by his grandson, Daniel Campbell of Shawfield and Islay (1737-77), who was just sixteen.

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