Archibald Campbell

(1691—1756) Church of Scotland minister and theologian

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Archibald Campbell was born in Edinburgh on 24 July 1691 into a family of merchants, and died on 24 April 1756. He studied in Edinburgh and Glasgow, obtained a licence to preach in 1718 and was ordained minister of the parishes of Larbert and Dunipace in Stirlingshire. He married into another merchant family, his wife being Christian Dawson, the daughter of a respectable Edinburgh merchant. Expecting better prospects in London, he ventured south in 1726: Samuel Johnson's famous dictum was an empirical reality for many Scotsmen of Campbell's generation. He had written a book on ‘moral virtue’ which he consigned to a friend, Alexander Innes, who promptly published the book under his own name in 1728, in a spectacular piece of literary thievery. To make matters worse, Innes impudently inserted marginal notes explaining the text and frequently misinterpreted Campbell's views. Campbell drew attention to this piracy in his Discourse Proving that the Apostles were no Enthusiasts (1730), with a dignified, but pointed note on the verso of the title-page saying that he would soon be publishing an edition of the work ‘with considerable Additions and Amendments, leaving out the Doctor's Introduction’. Campbell's Christian charity was almost as spectacular as Innes' impertinence, since he generously claimed in the Preface, when the book was published in 1733, that ‘tis of no Consequence to the Publick, by whose Labour the following Sheets were compos'd. If they are capable of serving any good End, this is all that can be judg'd valuable in the Performances.’


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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