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Pieter Laurentz Campbell

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Pieter Laurentz Campbell (1809-c1848)

1849 Obituary [1]

Mr. Pieter Laurentz Campbell was born at the Cape of Good Hope, in the year 1809.

He was the son of a distinguished officer, whose services, whilst in command of the 72nd Highlanders, are recorded by the War Office in a recent publication.

He was entered at the age of thirteen as a cadet at Sandhurst, whence he returned to the Cape of Good Hope, and served on the personal staff of Sir Richard Rourke, as his Private Secretary, in which position he exhibited the germ of that aptitude for official duties, for which he subsequently became so remarkable.

His predilection for the service was, however, so great, that in 1830 he entered the army as an Ensign in the 55th Regiment, and accompanied it to India, but soon exchanged into the 89th, and returned to England, in consequence of the climate being uncongenial to his health.

When Sir Richard Bourke became Governor of New South Wales, he suggested Mr. Campbell’s exchanging into the 21st Fusiliers, then embarking for the Australian colonies, and again placed him upon the staff, until an active police magistrate being required for the large and, at that time, disturbed district of Maitland, Mr. Campbell received the appointment, which he filled with such credit to himself and benefit to the country, that he was soon advanced to the post of Police Magistrate of Paramatta.

He was then appointed Acting Treasurer for the colony, and retained these positions until the year 1840, when, on his health failing, he returned to England with his family, and in a short time obtained a position in the Board of Trade, where he soon established such a reputation, that on his accepting the post of Secretary to the [[Manchester and Leeds Railway]], the Earl of Dalhousie, then President of the Board of Trade, was pleased to express himself to this effect:- 'I feel very sensible regret in losing your assistance in this department; your proceedings whilst serving with us, having led me to anticipate great advantage to the office from your cooperation, and I am truly sorry to be deprived of it so soon.'

The qualities exhibited by Mr. Campbell, in his new position, attracted the attention of the South-Western Railway Company, whose extensive operations demanded the services of a gentleman of first-rate ability, to advise and assist the Board in their negotiations, and in the numerous Parliamentary contests in which they were then engaged. He was accordingly appointed Secretary in 1846, and his unwearied exertions, which there can be no doubt hastened his death, materially contributed to the success of the Company, in their struggles to obtain the Bills for their western extensions.

The excellence of Mr. Campbell’s private character, and his moral worth, are fully attested by the confidence he inspired in all with whom he became connected; and in his public career he was equally distinguished for his talents, his indomitable energy and devotion to the duties of his office, as for his courtesy and kindness of demeanour to all with whom he came in contact, during his brief but useful career, and he will be long and deservedly regretted.

He was elected an Associate in 1846, but up to the period of his lamented decease, his time was too much occupied with the affairs of the Company, he so ably represented, to be able to devote himself to the Institution as, with his usual energy, he would otherwise have done.

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