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Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
Sir Ilay Campbell, Bart., Lord President of the Court of Session

Mr. Ilay Campbell was the eldest son of Archibald Campbell, Esq. of iSuccoth, W.S.; his mother, Helen Wallace, was the daughter and representative of Wallace of Ellerslie. He was born at Edinburgh in 1734, and admitted to the bar in 1757. He early acquired extensive practice, and was one of the counsel for the defender in the great Douglas Cause. He entered warmly into the spirit of this important contest, which for a time engrossed the whole of public attention. As an instance of his enthusiasm, it may be mentioned, that immediately after the decision in the House of Lords, he posted without delay to Edinburgh, where, arriving before the despatch, he was the first to announce the intelligence to the assembled crowds on the streets. At the Cross, the young lawyer took off his hat, and waving it in the air, exclaimed—" Douglas for ever !" He was responded to by a joyous shout from the assembled multitude, who, unyoking the horses from his carriage, drew him in triumph to his house in James's Court.

During the long period Mr. Campbell remained at the bar, he enjoyed a continued increase of business; and there was almost no case of any importance in which he was not engaged or consulted. His written pleadings are remarkable for their excellence; "many of them are perfect models of perspicuity, force, and elegance."

In 1783 be was appointed Solicitor-General; in 1784, Lord Advocate ; and the same year was returned Member of Parliament for the Glasgow district of burghs. The University of that city at the same time conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws. He also held for some time the office of Lord Rector. In politics he was warmly attached to the administration of Pitt, and proved himself an active and efficient representative.

On the death of Sir Thomas Miller he was promoted to the Presidentship of the Court of Session; and placed, in 1794, at the head of the commission of Oyer and Terminer, issued for the trial of those accused of high treason. In these responsible departments he acquitted himself in a manner which commanded the respect of all parties; and the soundness of his recorded opinions on the bench is attested by the fact that they are still held in high estimation among the profession.

While yet in the possession of all his faculties, he resigned the presidency in 1808, apparently from a conscientious desire to abandon public life before bis mind should be impaired by the infirmities of age, aud was succeeded by the late President Blair. Upon the 17th September following he had the honour of a baronetcy conferred upon him. Although pretty far advanced in years, he was still in possession of all his mental faculties; and was afterwards chosen to preside over two different commissions appointed to inquire into the state ot the Courts of Law in Scotland, which he conducted with his accustomed industry and talent.

After his retirement from the bench, Sir Hay resided chiefly on his paternal estate of Garscube, where he lived for many years. "Until within a few weeks of his death" (which occurred on the 28th of March, 1823, in the eighty-ninth year of his age) " he was constantly occupied with pursuits of various kinds. He took a principal share in the business of the county of Dumbarton, and was much consulted by the magistracy of the neighbourhood, particularly in the late perilous times [1817-19]. He spent much of bis time in reading, and in the study of general literature ; amused himself with agriculture ; and received the visits of those numerous persons in England and Scotland with whom he had been connected in public and private life.

"In these occupations, and in the exercise of that benevolence which was a remarkable trait of bis character; possessing, until his last short illness, perfect good health, and a mind as acute as it had been in the vigour of his manhood; loved and respected by every one, and surrounded by his numerous descendants, whom he delighted to assemble under his patriarchal roof, he enjoyed a period of retirement from public life, which, in point of happiness and length of duration, seldom Jails to the lot of public characters, and which was the deserved reward of those laborious services that will be recollected as long as the law of Scotland exists."

Sir Hay Campbell was married to Susan-Mary, daughter of Archibald Murray of Cringletie, Esq., one of the Commissaries of Edinburgh, by whom he had six daughters and two sons, one of whom only survives, viz.—the present Sir Archibald Campbell of Succoth, Bart., who, since he retired from the bench, resides chiefly at Garscube. The eldest daughter was married to John Macneil of Oakfield ; the second to Sir John Connell; the third to Francis Sitwell of Barmoor Castle; the fourth to Crawford Tait, Esq., W.S.; and the youngest to Walter Dalziel Colquhoun of Garscadden.

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