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THOMAS CAMPBELL (1777—1844)

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 133 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THOMAS CAMPBELL (1777—1844), Scottish poet, eighth son of Alexander Campbell, was born at Glasgow on the 27th of July 1777. His father, who was a cadet of the family of Campbell and in the same year made another tour in Germany. Four of Kirnan, Argyllshire, belonged to a Glasgow firm trading in years later appeared his " Theodric," a not very successful poem Virginia, and lost his money in consequence of the American war. Campbell was educated at the grammar school and university of his native town. He won prizes for classics and for verse-writing, and the vacations he spent as a tutor in the western Highlands. His poem " Glenara " and the ballad of " Lord Ullin's Daughter " owe their origin to a visit to Mull. In May 1797 he went to Edinburgh to attend lectures on law. He supported himself by private teaching and by writing, towards which he was helped by Dr Robert Anderson, the editor of the British Poets. Among his contemporaries in Edinburgh were Sir Walter Scott, Henry Brougham, Francis Jeffrey, Dr Thomas Brown, John Leyden and James Grahame. To these early days in Edinburgh may be referred " The Wounded Hussar," " The Dirge of Wallace " and the " Epistle to Three Ladies." In 1799, six months after the publication of the Lyrical Ballads of Wordsworth and Coleridge, The Pleasures of Hope was published. It is a rhetorical and didactic poem in the taste of his time, and owed much to the fact that it dealt with topics near to men's hearts, with the French Revolution, the partition of Poland and with negro slavery. Its success was instantaneous, but Campbell was deficient in energy and perseverance and did not follow it up. He went abroad in June 1800 without any very definite aim, visited Klopstock at Hamburg, and made his way to Regensburg, which was taken by the French three days after his arrival. He found refuge in a Scottish monastery. Some of his best lyrics, " Hohenlinden," " Ye Mariners of England " and " The Soldier's Dream," belong to his German tour. He spent the winter in Altona, where he met an Irish exile, Anthony McCann, whose history suggested "The Exile of Erin."' He had at that time the intention of writing an epic on Edinburgh to be entitled " The Queen of the North." On the outbreak of war between Denmark and England he hurried home, the " Battle of the Baltic " being drafted soon after. At Edinburgh he was introduced to the first Lord Minto, who took him in the next year to London as occasional secretary. In June 1803 appeared a new edition of the Pleasures of Hope, to which some lyrics were added. In 1803 Campbell married his second cousin, Matilda Sinclair, and settled in London. He was well received in Whig society, especially at Holland House. His prospects, however, were slight when in 1805 he received a government pension of £200. In that year the Campbells removed to Sydenham. Campbell was at this time regularly employed on the Star newspaper, for which he translated the foreign news. In 18o9 he published a narrative poem in the Spenserian stanza," Gertrude of Wyoming," with which were printed some of his best lyrics. He was slow and fastidious in composition, and the poem suffered from over-elaboration. Francis Jeffrey wrote to the author: " Your timidity or fastidiousness, or some other knavish quality, will not let you give your conceptions glowing, and bold, and powerful, as they present themselves; but you must chasten, and refine, and soften them, forsooth, till half their nature and grandeur is chiselled away from them. Believe me, the world will never know how truly you are a great and original poet till you venture to cast before it some of the rough pearls of your fancy." In 1812 he delivered a series of lectures on poetry in London at the Royal Institution; and he was urged by Sir Walter Scott to become a candidate for the chair of literature at Edinburgh University. In 1814 he went to Paris, making there the acquaintance of the elder Schlegel, of Baron Cuvier and others. His pecuniary anxieties were relieved in 1815 by a legacy of f4000. He continued to occupy himself with his Specimens of the British Poets, the design of which had been projected years before. The work was published in 1819. It contains on the whole an admirable selection with short lives of the poets, and prefixed to it an essay on poetry containing much valuable criticism. In 1820 he accepted the editorship of the New Monthly Magazine, 'The original authorship of this poem was by many people assigned to G. Nugent Reynolds. Campbell's claim is established in Literary Remains of the United Irishmen, by R. R. Madden (1887). of domestic life. He took an active share in the foundation of the university of London, visiting Berlin to inquire into the German system of education, and making recommendations which were adopted by Lord Brougham. He was elected lord rector of Glasgow University three times (1826-1829). In the last election he had Sir Walter Scott for a rival. Campbell retired from the editorship of the New Monthly Magazine in 1830, and a year later made an unsuccessful venture with the Metropolitan Magazine. He had championed the cause of the Poles in The Pleasures of Hope, and the news of the capture of Warsaw by the Russians in 1831 affected him as if it had been the deepest of personal calamities. " Poland preys on my heart night and day," he wrote in one of his letters, and his sympathy found a pfactical expression in the foundation in London of the Association of the Friends of Poland. In 1834 he travelled to Paris and Algiers, where he wrote his Letters from the South (printed 1837). The small production of Campbell may be partly explained by his domestic calamities. His wife died in 1828. Of his two sons, one died in infancy and the other became insane. His own health suffered, and he gradually withdrew from public life. He died at Boulogne on the 15th of June 1844, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Campbell's other works include a Life of Mrs Siddons (1842), and a narrative poem, " The Pilgrim of Glencoe " (1842). See The Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell (3 vols., 1849), edited by William Beattie, M.D. ; Literary Reminiscences and Memoirs of Thomas Camp-bell (1860)'by Cyrus Redding; ThePoetical Works of Thomas Campbell (1875), in the Aldine Edition of the British Poets, edited by the Rev. W. Alfred Bill, with a sketch of the poet's life by William Allingham; and the " Oxford Edition " of the Complete Works of Thomas Campbell (1908), edited by J. Logie Robertson. See also Thomas Campbell in the Famous Scots Series, by J. C. Hadden, and a selection by Lewis Campbell (1904) for the Golden Treasury Series. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, SIR HENRY (1836-1908), English prime minister, was born on the 7th of September 1836, being the second son of Sir James Campbell, Bart., of Stracathro, Forfar-shire, lord provost of Glasgow. His elder brother James, who just outlived him, was Conservative M.P. for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities from 188o to 1906.. Both his father and his uncle William Campbell, who had together founded an important drapery business in Glasgow, left him considerable fortunes; and he assumed the name of Bannerman in 1872, in compliance with the provisions of the will of his maternal uncle, Henry Bannerman, from whom he inherited a large property in Kent. He was educated at Glasgow University and at Trinity College, Cambridge (senior optime, and classical honours) ; was returned to parliament for Stirling as a Liberal in 1868 (after an unsuccessful attempt at a by-election); and became financial secretary at the war office (1871–1874; 188o-1882), secretary to the admiralty (1882–1884), and chief secretary for Ireland (1884-1885). When Mr Gladstone suddenly adopted the cause of Home Rule for Ireland, he " found salvation," to use his own phrase, and followed his leader. In Mr Gladstone's 1886 ministry he was secretary for war, and filled the same office in the Liberal ministry of 1892-1895. In the latter year he was knighted (G.C.B.). It fell to his lot as war minister to obtain the duke of Cambridge's resignation of the office of commander-in-chief; but his intended appointment of a chief of the staff in substitution for that office was frustrated by the resignation of the ministry. It was an imputed omission on the part of the war office, and therefore of the war minister, to provide a sufficient supply of small-arms ammunition for the army which on the 21st of June 1895 led to the defeat of the Rosebery government. Wealthy, popular and possessed of a vein of oratorical humour (Mr T. Healy had said that he tried to govern Ireland with Scottish jokes), Sir Henry had already earned the general respect of all parties, and in April 1895, when Mr Speaker Peel retired, his claims for the vacant post were prominently canvassed; but his colleagues were averse from his retirement from active politics and Mr Gully was selected. Though a prominent member of the inner Liberal circle and a stanch party man, it was not supposed by the public at this time that any ambition for the highest place could be associated with Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman; but the divisions among the Liberals, and the rivalry between Lord Rosebery and Sir William Harcourt, made the political situation an anomalous one. The very fact that he was apparently unambitious of personal supremacy combined with his honourable record and experience to make him a safe man; and in December 1898, on Sir W. Harcourt's formal resignation of the leadership of the Opposition, he was elected to fill the position in the House of Commons with the general assent of the party. In view of its parliamentary impotence, and its legacy of an unpopular Home Rule programme, Sir Henry had a difficult task to perform, but he prudently interpreted his duty as chiefly consisting in the effort to keep the Radical party together in the midst of its pronounced differences. In this he was successful, although the advent of the Boer War of 1899-1902 created new difficulties with the Liberal Imperialists. The leader of the Opposition from the first denounced the diplomatic steps taken by Lord Milner and Mr Chamberlain, and objected to all armed intervention or even preparation for hostilities. Sir Henry's own tendency to favour the anti-war section, his refusal to support the government in any way, and his allusion to " methods of barbarism " in connexion with the conduct of the British army (June 14, 1901), accentuated the crisis within the party; and in 1901 the Liberal Imperialists, who looked to Lord Rosebery (q.v.) and Mr Asquith (q.v.) for their political inspiration, showed pronounced signs of restiveness. But a party meeting was called on the 9th of July, and Sir Henry was unanimously confirmed in the leadership. The end of the war in 1902 showed the value of his persistency throughout the years of Liberal unpopularity and disunion. The political conflict once more resumed its normal condition, for the first time since 1892. The blunders of the government were open to a united attack, andMr Chamberlain's tariff-reform movement in 1903 provided a new rallying point in defence of the existing fiscal system. In the Liberal campaign on behalf of free trade the real leader, however, was Mr Asquith. Sir Henry's own principal contribution to the discussion was rather unfortunate, for while insisting on the blessings derived by England from its free-trade policy, he coupled this with the rhetorical admission (at Bolton in 1903) that " 12,000,000 British citizens were under-fed and on the verge of hunger." But Lord Salisbury's retirement, Unionist divisions, the staleness of the ministry, and the accumulating opposition in the country to the Education Act of 1902 and to the continued weight of taxation, together with the growth of the Labour movement, and the antagonism to the introduction of Chinese coolies (1904) into South Africa under conditions represented by Radical spokesmen as those of " slavery," made the political pendulum swing back. A Liberal majority at the dissolution was promised by all the signs at by-elections. The government held on, but collapse was only a question of time (see the articles on BALFOUR, A. J., and CHAMBERLAIN, J.). On the 4th of December 1905 the Unionist government resigned, and the king sent for Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who in a few days formed his cabinet. Lord Rosebery, who until a short time before had seemed likely to co-operate, alone held aloof. In a speech at Stirling on the 23rd of November, Sir Henry appeared to him to have deliberately flouted his well-known susceptibilities by once more writing Home Rule in large letters on the party programme, and he declared at Bodmin that he would " never serve under that banner." Sir Henry's actual words,which undoubtedly influenced the Irish vote, were that he " desired to see the effective management of Irish affairs in the hands of a representative Irish assembly. If an instalment of representative control was offered to Ireland, or any administrative improvement, he would advise the Nationalists to accept it, provided it was consistent and led up to their larger policy." But if Lord Rosebery once more separated himself from the official Liberals, his principal henchmen in the Liberal League were included in the cabinet, Mr Asquith becoming chancellor of the exchequer, Sir Edward Grey foreign secretary, and Mr Haldane war minister. Other sections of the party were strongly represented by Mr John Morley assecretary for India, Mr Bryce (afterwards ambassador at Washington) as chief secretary for Ireland, Sir R. T. Reid (Lord Loreburn) as lord chancellor, Mr Augustine Birrell as education minister (afterwards Irish secretary), Mr Lloyd-George as president of the Board of Trade, Mr Herbert Gladstone as home secretary, and Mr John Burns—a notable rise for a Labour leader—as president of the Local Government Board. Lord Ripon became leader in the House of Lords; and Lord Elgin (colonial secretary), Lord Carrington(agriculture) , Lord Aberdeen (lord lieutenant of Ireland), Sir Henry Fowler (chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster), Mr Sidney Buxton (postmaster-general), Mr L. V. Harcourt (first commissioner of works), and Captain John Sinclair (secretary for Scotland) completed the ministry, a place of prominence outside the cabinet being found for Mr Winston Churchill as under-secretary for the colonies. In 1907 Mr R. McKenna was brought into the cabinet as education minister. There had been some question as• to whether Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman should go to the House of Lords, but there was a decided unwillingness in the party, and he determined to keep his seat in the Commons. At the general election in January 1906 an overwhelming Liberal majority was returned, irrespective of the Labour and Nationalist vote, and Sir Henry himself was again elected for Stirling. The Liberals numbered 379, the Labour members 51, the Nationalists 83, and the Unionists only 157. His premiership was the reward of undoubted services rendered to his party; it may be said, however, that, in contradistinction to the prime ministers for some time previous; he represented the party, rather than that the party represented him. It was not his ideas or his commanding personality, nor any positive programme, that brought the Liberals back to power, but the country's weariness of their predecessors and the successful employment at the elections of a number of miscellaneous issues. But as the man who had doggedly, yet unpretentiously, filled the gap in the days: of difficulty, and been somewhat contemptuously criticized by the Unionist press for his pains, Sir Henry was clearly marked out for the post of prime minister when his party got its chance; and, as the head of a strongly composed cabinet, he satisfied the demands of the situation and was accepted as leader by all sections. Once prime minister, his personal popularity proved to be a powerful unifying influence in a somewhat heterogeneous party; and though the illness and death (August 30, 1go6) of his wife (daughter of General Sir Charles Bruce) ,whom he had married in r86o, made his constant attendance in the House of Commons impossible, his domestic sorrow excited widespread sympathy and appealed afresh to the affection of his political followers. This became all the more apparent as his own health failed during 1907 ; for, though he was obliged to leave much of the leadership in the Commons to Mr Asquith, his possible resignation of the premiership was strongly deprecated; and even after November, when it became clear that his health was not equal to active work, four or five months elapsed before the necessary change became a fait accompli. Personal affection and political devotion had in these two years made him appear indispensable to the party, although nobody ever regarded him as in the front line of English statesmen so far as originality of ideas or brilliance of debating power were concerned. It is not the fortune of many more brilliant statesmen to earn this testimonial to character. From the beginning of the session of 1908 it was evident, however, that Mr Asquith, who was acting as deputy prime minister, would before long succeed to the Liberal leadership; and on the 5th of April Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman'sresignation was formally announced. He died on the 22nd of the same month. He had spoken in the House of Commons on the 13th of February, but since then had been prostrated and unable to transact business, his illness dating really from a. serious heart attack in the night of the 13th of November at Bristol, after a speech at the Colston banquet. From a party-political point of view the period of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's premiership was chiefly marked by the e:ontinued controversies remaining from the general election of 1906,—tariff reform and free trade, the South African question and the allied Liberal policy for abolishing Chinese labour, the administration of Ireland, and the, amendment of the Education Act of 1902 so as to remove its supposed denominational character, In his speech at the Albert Hall on the 21st of December 1905 it was noticeable that, before the elections, the prime minister laid stress on only one subject which could be regarded as part of a constructive programme—the necessity of doing something for canals, which was soon shelved to a royal commission. But in spite of the fiasco of the Irish Councils Bill (1907), the struggles over education (Mr Birrell's bill of 1906 being dropped on account of the Lords' amendments), the. rejection by the peers of the Plural Voting Abolition Bill (1906), and the failure (again due to the Lords) of the Scottish Small Holdings Bill and Valuation Bill (1907), which at the time made his premiership appear to be a period of bitter and unproductive debate, a good many reforming measures of some moment were carried. A new Small Holdings Act (1907) for England was passed; the Trades Disputes Act (1906) removed the position of trades unions from the controversy excited over the Taff Vale decision; Mr Lloyd-George's Patents Act (1907) and Merchant Shipping Act (1906) were welcomed by the tariff reformers as embodying their own policy; a long-standing debate was closed by the passing of the Deceased Wife's Sister Act (1907); and acts for establishing a public trustee, a court of criminal appeal, a system of probation for juvenile offenders, and a census of production, were passed in 1907. Meanwhile, though the Colonial Conference (re-named Imperial) of 1907 showed that there was a wide difference of opinion on the tariff question between the free-trade government and the colonial premiers, in one part of the empire the ministry took a decided step—in the establishment of a self-governing constitution for the Transvaal and Orange River colonies—which, for good or ill, would make the period memorable. Mr Haldane's new army scheme was no less epoch-making in Great Britain. In foreign affairs, the conclusion of a treaty with Russia for delimiting the British and Russian spheres of influence in the Middle East laid the foundations of entirely new relations between the British and Russian governments. On the other hand, so far as concerned the ultimate fortunes of the Liberal party, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's premiership can only be regarded as a period of marking time. He had become its leader as a conciliator of the various sections, and it was as a conciliator, ready to sympathize with the strong views of all sections of his following, that he kept the party together, while his colleagues went their own ways in their own departments. His own special " leads were few, owing to the personal reasons given above; his declaration at the Queen's Hall, London, early in 1907, in favour of drastic land reform, served only to encourage a number of extremists; and the Liberal enthusiasm against the House of Lords, violently excited in 1906 by the fate of the Education Bill and Plural Voting Bill, was rather damped than otherwise, when his method of procedure by resolution of the House of Commons was disclosed in 1907. The House passed by an enormous majority a resolution (introduced on June 25) " that in order to give effect to the will of the people, as expressed by their representatives, it is necessary that the power of the other House to alter or reject bills passed by this House should be so restricted by law as to secure that within the limits of a single parliament the final decision of the Commons shall prevail "; but the prime minister's explanation that statutory provision should be made for two or three successive private conferences between the two Houses as to any bill in dispute at intervals of about six months, and that, only after that, the bill in question should be finally sent up by the Commons with the intimation that unless passed in that form it would become law over their heads, was obviously not what was wanted by enthusiastic opponents of the second chamber. The problem still remained, how to get the House of Lords to pass a " law " to restrict their own powers. After the passing of this resolution the cry against the House of Lords rapidly weakened, since it became clear at the by-elections (culminating at Peckham in March 1908) that the " will of the people was by no means unanimously on the side of the bills which had failed to pass. The result of the two years was undoubtedly to revive theconfidence of the Opposition, who found that they had outlived the criticisms of the general election, and both on the question of tariff reform and on matters of general politics were again holding their own. The failure of the government in Ireland (where the only success was Mr Birrell's introduction of the Universities Bill in April 1908), their internal divisions as regards socialistic legislation, their variance from the views of the self-governing colonies on Imperial administration, the admission after the general election that the alleged " slavery " of the Chinese in the Transvaal was, in Mr Winston Churchill's phrase, terminological inexactitude," and the introduction of extreme measures such as the Licensing Bill of 1908, offered excellent opportunities of electioneering attack. Moreover, the Liberal promises of economy had been largely falsified, the reductions in the navy estimates being dangerous in themselves, while the income tax still remained at practically the war level. For much of all this the prime minister's colleagues were primarily responsible; but he himself had given a lead to the anti-militarist section by prominently advocating international disarmament, and the marked rebuff to the British proposals at the Hague conference of 1907 exposed alike the futility of this Radical ideal and the general inadequacy of the prime minister's policy of pacificism. Sir Henry's rather petulant intolerance of Unionist opposition, shown at the opening of the 1906 session in his dismissal of a speech by Mr Balfour with the words " Enough of this foolery!" gradually gave way before the signs of Unionist reintegration. His resignation took place at a moment when the Liberal, Irish and Labour parties were growing restive under their obligations, government policy stood in need of concentration against an Opposition no longer divided and making marked headway in the country, and the ministry had to be reconstituted under a successor, Mr Asquith, towards whom, so far, there was no such feeling of personal devotion as had been the chief factor in Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's leadership. (H. Cm)
End of Article: THOMAS CAMPBELL (1777—1844)
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