John Campbell senior of Morriston

???? - 1807


Biography

Founder of John Campbell senior & Co., of Glasgow.

  1. John Campbell, Alexander Campbell the elder and Alexander Campbell the younger of Glasgow borrowed £40,000 under the Grenada and St Vincent loan scheme in 1795 which (after a two year extension) they repaid in 1799 in three instalments.

  2. 'The Campbells of Possil, or rather of John Campbell sen. & Co., deserve more than a passing notice. They were a representative family of those West India magnates, who came after the Virginia Dons, and came in for much of their social and commercial supremacy. The refinery of sugar, after flourishing here for over two centuries, has lately died out in Glasgow. But, from some cause or other, it has struck deep root in Greenock. Thanks to this accident the Clyde is still a great sugar port. But sugar is now-a-days almost lost in the crowd of new industries, and a modern frequenter of the Exchange could hardly realize how important the sugar trade, then exclusively a West Indian one, was reckoned within the memory of many living, nor how high the West India magnates held their heads. Its palmy days were from the troubles with the American Colonies to the Abolition of Slavery, or say the last third of last, and the first third of this, century. It probably was never entitled to the consideration it got. Being in few hands, it yielded fortunes that bulked in the public eye, and less showy trades may have been of more real importance. Yet it must have been very lucrative. It left behind it no single fortune equal to the largest fortunes left by the tobacco trade. But, if John Campbell sen. & Co., had only had one establishment to keep up, or if its partners had been close-fisted, it might easily have eclipsed Elderslie or Drumpellier. But there were enough of these Campbells, all living off the big house and all living at a bountiful old rate, to have horsed and mounted a troop of cavalry from their own stables....They are not one of our old families; they were here just three generations, coming with the West India trade, and, when it went, vanishing. They hail from Doune.'

  3. The great-great grandson of John Campbell senior was John 'Jock' Middleton Campbell, Baron Campbell of Eskan (1912-1994), the shaper of Booker Brothers McConnell between the late 1940s and 1960s.

Sources

Stephen Mullen, 'The Great Glasgow West India House of John Campbell, senior, & Co.' in T.M. Devine, Recovering Scotland's Slavery Past

  1. Museum of London in Docklands Archives, BA2183 680.

  2. The old country houses of the old Glasgow gentry LXXXIII Possil.

  3. Taylor, J. (2004-09-23). Campbell, John Middleton [Jock], Baron Campbell of Eskan (1912–1994), businessman. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 30 May. 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-54790.


Further Information

Absentee?
British/Irish
Spouse
Married but no further details
Children
Colin
Wealth at death
£53,548

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Founding Partner
John Campbell sen.
West India merchant  
 

Cultural (1)

Paintings
John Campbell of Morriston, portrait by Henry Raeburn. One of 21 Campbell family portraits left to the city of Glasgow in 1917 by Isabella... 
notes →
This portrait, depicting John Campbell Senior of Morriston (around 1735–1808), was painted by Henry Raeburn, the prominent Edinburgh-based portraitist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He...

Relationships (3)

Father → Son
Business partners
Notes →
Cousins and business...
Father → Son