National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Thomas Campbell (1777-1844)

Thomas Campbell (1777-1844)


Thomas Campbell studied at Glasgow University before settling in Edinburgh. In 1799 his book of poems, 'The Pleasures of Hope', was well received. He married Matilda Sinclair on 10 October 1803. By now he was acquainted with leading figures such as Dugald Stewart, Francis Jeffrey, Archibald Constable and Walter Scott. One of his sons was named after Thomas Telford. He gave public lectures, was appointed editor of the new 'Monthly Magazine' and was involved with the Association of Friends of Poland. In 1825 he published a proposal for the establishment of a university in London inspired by his experience in Glasgow. It led to the founding of University College. Thomas Campbell was given the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh and re-elected twice as Rector of Glasgow University. As a result of ill health he moved to France where he died on 15 June 1844 at Boulogne. He was buried on 3 July 1844 in Westminster Abbey.

Birth in 1777

Thomas Campbell was born on 27 July 1777, the son of Alexander Campbell, merchant, and Margaret Campbell. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Glasgow gives the date of baptism as 4 August and the witnesses as Daniel and Lawrence Campbell.

Birth and baptism entry for Thomas Campbell

Birth and baptism entry for Thomas Campbell (30 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 644-1/16, page 331