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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

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John Campbell Macdougall (1805–1848)

A painful duty dissolves upon us, in the making known to the supporters of this journal the almost sudden death of its late proprietor, Mr John Campbell MacDougall.

Almost a week previously, that gentleman had been confined to his dwelling through indisposition, and on Friday last had, to all appearances, so far recovered as to be enabled to attend to the publication of the last number of his journal. Indeed he considered himself fast recovering, and was giving directions for the business of the present week, when the hand of death struck the fatal blow, and he expired, seated as he was on his chair, without apparently suffering the slightest pain. To detail the events of this gentleman’s career during his long residence in these colonies is unnecessary, for from the time of his arrival to the day of his death (with the exception of a few years) he was connected with the Press, and as such became a public character, and his conduct and actions liable to the censure of approbation of everyone. His morality was unimpeachable, and if in his public capacity he made enemies, they were but few, and their enmity was caused by his performing that which he considered a public duty. The support this journal receives is the best proof that can possibly be given as to the manner in which Mr MacDougall was respected in his public character. As a private individual he was much esteemed, and his company courted by a very large portion of fellow colonists, and on his departing from this life of tribulation, he was at peace with every fellow-creature.

Sudden death affords an awful lesson. It proves to us beyond doubt, that ‘in the midst of life we are in death’–that ‘we know not what shall be on the morrow—for what is our life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.’ Beautifully expressive is the psalmist, when he pictures the life of man as a flower in the field and that it so flourishes, but the wind passeth over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof knoweth it no more.

The shaft of death brings peace, to the victim struck down—with him there remains no rankling wounds to convulse the mortal frame; but alas! It is those around that suffer. It is the wife, bereft of the loved partner of her life, that is overwhelmed with anguish—it is the fatherless children that feel the loss of their guide and protector. And such is the situation of the proprietress of this journal, who is suddenly compelled to plunge into the management of a business full of difficulties, in order to support her numerous children.

We feel satisfied that the widow will succeed in her exertions—that the support received by her husband will be continued to her. The colonists never hold a deaf-ear to the deserving supplicant, they will come forward and assist her in her laudable undertaking.

There is one consolation which soothes the mind—it is the host of formerly unknown friends, who sprang forward to the widow’s assistance directly the demise of her husband became known, and to those it is her desire that her thanks for their kindness should thus be given.

The Funeral will take place at three o’clock tomorrow, and the friends of the deceased are respectfully invited to attend.

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Citation details

'Macdougall, John Campbell (1805–1848)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 February 2024.

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