CAMPBELL, ARCHIBALD, notary and seigneur; b. 29 June 1790 at Quebec, son of Archibald Campbell, a businessman, and Charlotte Saxton; d. 16 July 1862 at Bic, Lower Canada.
Archibald Campbell’s father was a loyalist who came to Quebec soon after the American revolution and grew rich in the timber trade. Archibald Jr studied law under Jacques Voyer, and was authorized to practise on 6 June 1812. He volunteered for service in the War of 1812. On 18 May 1821 he was appointed king’s notary at Quebec. This title, granted to only five notaries between 1821 and 1838, was largely honorific, but certain financial advantages were attached to it, since the holder had exclusive right to receive contracts in which the king had an interest. Lord Dalhousie [Ramsay*] is thought to have granted this privilege to Campbell for exceptional services rendered to the imperial authorities.
For 50 years Campbell practised in the city of Quebec. François-Xavier Garneau trained in law with him, and Campbell became his friend and protector. A patron of the arts, Campbell also helped the painter Antoine-Sébastien Falardeau* to spend some time in Italy, and encouraged the endeavours of the dramatist and poet Pierre Petitclair*, who transcribed documents in his office. He was a music lover and belonged to all the musical societies in the city of Quebec. Thanks to his efforts the Quebec Music Hall, the finest of the period in Canada, was constructed. With his brother-in-law William Sheppard, Campbell appeared among the founders of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec on its royal charter (1831).
On 18 Oct. 1822 he purchased the seigneury of Bic in exchange for land he owned at Quebec. The Protestant seigneur was able to secure the goodwill of his Catholic censitaires. At Quebec, Campbell was active in commercial and philanthropic societies such as the Quebec Charitable Firewood Society (1844), the Society for the Erection of an Hotel in the City of Quebec (1852), the Quebec and Trois-Pistoles Navigation Company (1852), the corresponding committee at Montreal of the Colonial Church and School Society (1855), and the Stadacona Club of Quebec (1861). Contemporaries praised his generosity, which he displayed for example at the time of the fire in the Montcalm district of Quebec on 7 June 1862, when more than 100 houses were razed by the flames. He carried out his duties as a member of the commission responsible for assisting needy seamen to the satisfaction of all.
Archibald Campbell died on his seigneury at Bic on 16 July 1862. A large number of those prominent in the city of Quebec, including members of the professions, the magistrature, and the Board of Trade, attended the imposing funeral service. The newspapers praised the loyalty and generosity of the king’s notary.
DCB, Dossier André Garon. Morning Chronicle (Quebec), 18, 26 July 1862. Quebec Gazette, 18 July 1862. Quebec Mercury, 19 July 1862. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, III, 153, 156. George Gale, Historic tales of old Quebec (Quebec, 1923), 256–57. J.-D. Michaud, Le Bic, les étapes d’une paroisse (2v., Québec; 1925–26). J.-E. Roy, Hist. du notariat, II, 412–14. P.-B. Casgrain, “La maison Montcalm sur les remparts, à Québec,” BRH, VIII (1902), 256–67. P.-G. Roy, “Le notaire du roi, Archibald Campbell,” BRH, XXXII (1926), 736–39.