1879-1905. Campbell was a member of a major Campbell family with distinguished military careers in India. According to the privately printed family history, this Colin had a brief unsuccessful time in the 91st Highlanders but was "written off" by his father, also Colin Campbell (1816-95) as being unstable and of no use as a soldier and so sent to New Zealand (via Australia) with an allowance of L200 a year. He tried farming, then a boarding house but was permanently in debt and had periods of mental illness. He mentions his mother's father in the 2nd letter as General Sir Archibald Galloway, chairman of E.I.C.S and first Governor of Hailsbury College. (Provenance: descendant's archive). Transcriptions of all three letters accompany them.
The first letter is addressed to his parents (presumably in Scotland) address from The Clarence Hotel, Melbourne, 27th July 1879, To Australia in 1879 - a stormy journey on the "Lusitania" (2700 words). He refers to a passenger Mr. Wreford who had managed to "acquire some 1500 square miles of land, 400 miles from Adelaide..." This might be Charles Henry Wreford, originally from Devon but more recently of Speculation Lake near Menindee NSW, who died 12 Sept 1902. The letter recounts a very rough passage, dwelling on the effects on the ship and passengers and comments on the news from the Zulu War, Cetawayo and the death of the Prince Imperial. Some of the passengers were Belgian commissioners bound for the Sydney Exhibition of 1879. 24pp, 5x8", missing a signature & possibly the last page.
The second letter is dated Feb 23rd, 1904, from "Awaroa" Blind Bay near Nelson, New Zealand. The bulk of this letter concerns his debt and disputes over a possible family inheritance (which he obtained in 1906). Jose, to whom the letter is addressed, appears to have been a cousin and a trustee for the creditors. Campbell is farming in 1904 and complains about the "dreaded blackberry". He states that the brambles choke up acre after acre - "with a pest next door to impossible to obliterate without spending more than it is worth...must have cost me L1000 in the 16 years, all this result of some old settler some 40 years ago... obtaining 3 or 4 blackberry plants as a favor!!" Signed "Your affectionate cousin Colin Campbell". 5pp, 8x10".
The third letter is dated Nov. 29th 1905, sent from "The Beacons", Port Nelson, N.Zd. Again addressed to Jose, this is a rambling account of some of the Scottish settlers in his area. Most interestingly, he refers to a "fine old Highlander Hector McNeill Campbell of the Isle of Islay & of Argyll Campbells"... "He was 2nd in command of the Expedition to rescue the Australian Explorers Burke & Wills, and went on foot & horseback from Gulf of Carpentaria- after going by sailing vessel to start from G. of Carpentaria as base of land work. They failed to rescue Burke & Wills who died of thirst. He says it was mismanaged and had he had charge of the rescue Expedition they wd. have found them. Let me know if you have read of the above Explorers in Australia & their fate." He goes on at length about other Scottish settlers, especially those with a military connection., saying there is a "sprinkling of the Highland Element here - but of predomination in Otago Province and its capital Dunedin." 6 pp, 8x10".
An interesting and chatty view of immigration to New Zealand by Scottish settlers. Very good overall. Item #24864