Diary of the Rev. David Cargill, on his second missionary journey to Tonga, 1 May 1842 - 29 Mar 1843.

Scope and Content

Typed transcript of David Cargill's diary, written during his second missionary journey from England to Fiji, 1 May 1842 - 29 Mar 1843. The entries record life on the voyage from England and the pastoral work engaged in, with brief accounts of sermons preached and the reactions of the passengers; a stopover in Tasmania; and their activities in Tonga and Fiji until a few days before his death. The record also contains biographical notes, compiled by J.M. Bulloch, about Cargill and his descendants, many of whom forged successful careers and held notable positions in the British Colonies.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Cargill was born in Brechin, Forfarshire, Scotland on 20 June 1809, the second son of James Cargill, a banker, and Grace Mary Cameron Cargill. He graduated MA from King's College, Aberdeen in 1830. Whilst studying in Aberdeen he joined the Aberdeen Methodist Circuit, and in 1831 was admitted to the church as a preacher. In 1832 he received his first missionary appointment to Tonga, in the South Pacific. He married Margaret Smith, of Aberdeen on 6 Sept 1832 in Old Machar parish, Aberdeen; and left the country with his wife in October that year. They worked together on Tonga with another missionary for three years, and then moved with their young family to the Fiji Islands. Margaret died there on 2 June 1840, and David Cargill returned to Britain for a short while with their four daughters. He re-married on 27 Nov 1841, and shortly afterwards was re-appointed to a training Mission on Tonga. He lived there until his death on 25 Apr 1843.

He is credited with his co-worker, William Cross, with establishing the Wesleyan Church in Fiji. However, as a trained linguist he also wrote the first grammar and dictionary for a Fijian language and supervised the translation of parts of the Bible into Fijian.

Biographical notes about David Cargill and his descendants are contained in the record itself and an obituary was published in the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine, 1844. See also John Malcom Bulloch, An Aberdeen Graduate as a Pioneer in Fiji in Aberdeen University Review , 8, (1920 - 21), 232 - 237. For further biographical details, see Publication Note, below.

John Malcom Bulloch was born in 1867 and graduated MA from the University of Aberdeen, in 1888. His father, John, was editor of the Aberdeen magazine, Scottish Notes and Queries . He followed his father into journalism, beginning his career with the Aberdeen Free Press , but later moving to London, where he worked on various illustrated papers, including The Sketch , The Illustrated London News and The Graphic (of which he was editor). From 1924, he was chief literary critic of Allied Newspapers and a well-known theatre critic. Despite living and working in London, he retained a deep commitment to his roots in Aberdeen, and published several historical articles in The Aberdeen University Review . He died on 6 March 1938, after a short illness.

John Malcom Bulloch appears to have no relation to the Cargill family, his interest in David Cargill's diary being aroused by a chance meeting with on old Fiji merchant in London, around 1919, and his keen interest in the history of his home town. For further information about his life and career see obituaries in The Aberdeen University Review , vol 25, (1937 - 38) pp.195 - 199.


Single item

Access Information

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

Deposited in the University Library c.1938 , by John Malcom Bulloch

Other Finding Aids

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online http://www.abdn.ac.uk/diss/library/

Alternative Form Available

No further copies known

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives ( speclib@abdn.ac.uk ) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures


No accruals expected

Related Material

Portraits of David Cargill and his second wife, Augusta are deposited in the University, under the care of Marischal Museum. Further deatils are available from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives ( speclib@abdn.ac.uk )

Related correspondence, diary and A grammar of the Fijian language (Lakemba, 1839) are held by the Mitchell Library, Sydney, Australia.

Some correspondence from David Cargill, written to the Wesleyan Missionary Society during his mission in Tonga, is held by the Wesleyan Mission Society, London, England.

Full reference details for all of these items are given in The Diaries and Correspondence of David Cargill, 1832 - 1843 , ed. by Albert J. Schutz, in Pacific History Series , 16 (Canberra: Australia National University Press, 1977).

Correspondence relating to David Cargill and his family, 1826 - 1881 is held in this repository (GB 231 MS 2566).


J.M. Bulloch, An Aberdeen Graduate as a Pioneer in Fiji in Aberdeen University Review, vol 8 (1920 - 21) pp. 232 - 237.

The Diaries and Correspondence of David Cargill, 1832 - 1843 , ed. by Albert J. Schutz, in Pacific History Series , 16 (Canberra: Australia National University Press, 1977). This volume contains biographical notes and a comprehensive bibliography of manuscript and printed references.

Mora Dickson, The Inseparable Grief; Margaret Cargill of Fiji (London: Epworth Press, 1976). This book describes Cargill's first missionary journey, and the role which his wife, Margaret played in his work.

Additional Information

It is believed that the original diary is deposited in Fiji Museum, Suva

Geographical Names