“The Late Mr. James Cameron of Madagascar” (Excerpt)
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Our tribute to the memory of Mr. Cameron would not be complete if we failed to record the universal sympathy and sorrow called forth by the tidings of his death. On that Sabbath morning the sad news reached the different congregations in the capital just as they were assembling for worship, and preparing to partake of the memorials of the Lord's death. How different was our commemoration, from his, who was then "absent from the body," but "present with the Lord !" With us, a deep gloom and sadness overspread all ranks and classes. Every one seemed to be mourning the loss of a father or of a dear and venerated friend. The Queen and Prime Minister attired themselves in mourning, and their grief was deep and sincere. A kind letter of sympathy was at once dispatched by them to Miss Cameron, with the request that the Queen might be allowed to show her regard for her departed friend by bearing all the expenses of the funeral, and signifying her wish also to erect a suitable and lasting monument over his grave.
At the funeral, an immense concourse of people gathered together. All the Protestant missions in the capital were strongly represented, and the aged M. Laborde, the French Consul, also joined, by his presence on the occasion, in paying the last tribute of respect to his friend.
At the grave, one of the highest officers of the Court, as representative of the Queen, read in her name a proclamation, of which the following is, as nearly as possible, a literal translation :—
" Thus saith Ranavalonamanjaka, Queen of Madagascar, &c. Carry this my word to my subjects, and to Mary Cameron, and to the missionaries of the London Missionary Society.
" For, inasmuch as the decease of Mr. Cameron has befallen my
country and people, thus declares Ranavalonamanjaka, Queen of
Madagascar, that great indeed has been the good done by Mr.
0011 The Late Mr. James Cameron of Madagascar. 179 Cameron. He sought, and desired, and accomplished such things as benefit my kingdom and people. And he sought whatever would promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ here in my kingdom and among my people. And not only so, but from the very beginning, until now, he has endeavoured to prosper this kingdom, for he was not a fickle man, nor a man who ever opposed the interests of my kingdom, but he did what was becoming and right.
" Further, on account of the benefits conferred by Mr. Cameron, says Ranavalonamanjaka, Queen of Madagascar, and inasmuch as a subject of my friend Queen Victoria has done good here among my people, and has died here in my kingdom, we therefore send our representative to show our respect at his funeral. And although, in the present state of things, no cattle are slaughtered and no cannon are fired (to show him honour), nevertheless I account him as among the benefactors of my kingdom.
" And further, I proclaim to my subjects, and to his daughter, and to his friends, that whatsoever amount may be expended at the funeral of Mr. Cameron, be it done according as you desire ; for I will defray all the expenses, for he has done good to my people and my kingdom, and I do not forget :
" Queen of Madagascar."
And so, at the conclusion of the service in English and in Malagasy, we committed him to the tomb, where he sleeps by the side of his fellow labourers in the vineyard who entered into rest before him. The beautiful monument to their memory had been but lately completed by him, and its shadow falls upon his grave. His remains rest in the spot sacred to the memory of the labours begun by him for the welfare of Madagascar nearly fifty years ago. There he taught the 600 young men those useful arts and sciences which have changed the social life of the people and increased their comforts a hundredfold. There he set up the first printing-press and helped to strike off the first twenty-three verses of the First Malagasy Bible. There he joined in forming the first Christian church and helped to cheer and strengthen the early converts amid the dark forebodings of the storm of persecution that was soon to burst in fatal fury upon them. There on his return to Madagascar, he was welcomed by the acclaiming "voice of a great multitude" assembled for prayer and praise to God. There he aided in the erection of the first memorial church, built to commemorate the faith and patience of many who had been brought to Christ by his own instrumentality. And as long as that building stands, or the faith of which it is a visible symbol survives in the hearts of the people, the name of James Cameron will be treasured unforgotten, as one of Madagascar's earliest and greatest benefactors. "The righteous shall be in ever-lasting remembrance." Psalm cxii, 6.
Chas. Fredk. Moss.
Author(s) & contributor(s): Charles Frederick Arrowsmith Moss; Ranavalona II
Date(s): 1875; 1 March 1876
Form & transmission history: Funeral proclamation, as read by an anonymous representative and as transcribed, translated, and published as part of an obituary by a British writer in a British periodical.
Original publication details: Cape Monthly Magazine 12 (1 March 1876): 178-79
Digital edition & date: One More Voice, 2020
Critical editing & encoding: Heather F. Ball, Adrian S. Wisnicki
Rights: Critically-edited text copyright One More Voice. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Cite this digital edition (MLA): Moss, Charles Frederick Arrowsmith; Ranavalona II. “‘The Late Mr. James Cameron of Madagascar’ (Excerpt)” (1875; 1 March 1876). Heather F. Ball, Adrian S. Wisnicki, eds. One More Voice, site launch edition, 2020, https://onemorevoice.org/html/transcriptions/liv_020044_TEI.html.
Explore complete/original item: Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals, Part II: Empire
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