Correspondence of James Cameron

Scope and Content

Photocopies of letters from James Cameron to his mother and sister (1822-1832).

Administrative / Biographical History

James Cameron was born on 6 January 1800 at Little Dunkeld in Perthshire. In May 1826 he sailed to Madagascar with the London Missionary Society. Once in Madagascar he helped to set up cotton machinery at Amparibe, in getting the printing press into action, and in other public work. The continuation of the mission from 1829 to 1835 was largely due to the desire of the government to retain the services of Mr. Cameron and other artisans. He taught the Malagasy how to make soap, a circumstance that had an important influence in prolonging missionary work in Madagascar. In consequence of the edict against Christianity, he left the capital in June 1835, and proceeded to Cape Town with his wife. There he established himself in business and became Surveyor to the Corporation of Cape Town. In 1853 he was appointed by the Chamber of Commerce in Mauritius to negotiate with the Malagasy Government for the renewal of trade. In 1863 he returned to Madagascar to superintend the erection of the Memorial Churches. Arriving at Antananarivo, he aided in the erection of the Memorial Church at Ambatonakanga, and built the Children's Church at Faravohitra, and up to the time of his death was engaged in building work both for the mission and for the Government. He died on 3 October 1875.


The letters are arranged in chronological order.

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1998.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Related Material

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the London Missionary Society (Ref: CWM/LMS) and papers of James Trenchard Hardyman relating to missionary work in Madagascar (Ref: PP MS 63).