Born in Scotland, Campbell was one of the many army officers who fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. As many of these officers did subsequent to the war, Campbell received a colonial appointment in his case the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.
He "was a very gallant soldier of unstained honour and kingly disposition, a personal friend of the Duke of Wellington, under whom he had provided his valour in India and in the Peninsula."1 Campbell was from the old school and protective of the Crown's prerogatives. Unfortunately for Campbell, the times were changing; he was obliged to buck the populist movement which was then in full swing in Nova Scotia. The legislative assembly asserted its rights. The result was conflict. On April 12th, 1838, the Assembly "voted to send its own delegates to meet with Lord Durham after his arrival. Campbell described the assembly's resolutions as 'insulting' and in his speech closing the session on the 17th repeated his determination to 'resist any attempt to encroach upon Her Majesty's prerogative."2 One of his principal political enemies was Joseph Howe, who carried a motion for Campbell's recall.3
In 1840, Campbell was "promoted" to the governorship of Ceylon. Viscount Falkland was then appointed as the Lieutenant-governor.
1 Grant, The Tribune of Nova Scotia, p. 61.
3 Lord Durham's Report; Reprint of 1912 edition, Oxford University Press; (New York: Kelley, 1970)Vol. #2, fn at p. 197.