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There are those cynical Canadian historians who claim that Sir Alexander Campbell's greatest claim to fame was that he was Sir John A. Macdonald's law partner.

He was Sir John's partner, but he also held - reasonably successfully - many of the highest posts in Canadian political life.

A doctor's son, Campbell had been born at Hedon, Yorkshire, on March 9, 1822, and was brought to Canada a year later. He was educated at St. Hyacynthe college and Kingston Grammar school and at the age of 21 was called to the bar of Upper Canada. Soon after he joined Sir John in the latter's Kingston law practice.

He first entered active politics by gaining a seat in the Legislative Council of Canada in 1858. He was speaker of the council briefly during 1863. In 1864 he was appointed commissioner of Crown lands in the coalition government that held office prior to the Confederation talks. When Confederation became a fact, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate and was a member of Sir John's first cabinet, holding the portfolio of postmaster-general. In 1873 he became the first minister of the new department of the interior and at various other times was receiver-general, minister of militia and of justice. In 1887 he left the Senate to become lieutenant-governor of Ontario and died in Toronto, May 24, 1892, and was buried in Kingston three days later.