Last updated March 2015. Click to return to John Higgins's home page.

David Cargill

I occasionally take an interest in my great-great-grandfather David Cargill (1809-1843), the missionary who developed Fijian spelling and stumbled on the phonemic principle 50 years before it was re-discovered and named in Europe. A fine scholar but, on the evidence of this picture and of his writing, one without a sense of humour.

I have now made available the full text of his "Memoirs of Margaret Cargill" (in effect his reports on seven years of mission work in Tonga and Fiji) as a paperback from, as well as the only other of his works published in his lifetime, the REFUTATION OF CHEVALIER DILLON’S SLANDEROUS ATTACKS ON THE WESLEYAN MISSIONARIES IN THE FRIENDLY ISLANDS, into which I have incorporated some extracts from a biography of Dillon and his original letters to provide the context.



Bulloch, J Malcolm (1921). "An Aberdeen graduate as pioneer in Fiji." Aberdeen University Review, June 1921
Cargill, David (1841). Memoirs of Margaret Cargill. London, John Mason. 350 pp.
Cargill, David (1842). A refutation of Chevalier Dillon’s slanderous attacks on the Wesleyan Missionaries in the Friendly Islands. London, John Mason.
Dickson, Mora (1976). The Inseparable Grief; Margaret Cargill of Fiji. London, Dennis Dobson. 174 pp. ISBN 0234 72015 8.
Douglas, Norman and Ngaire (1989). Tonga: a guide. Alstonville, NSW, Australia, Pacific Profiles. Pages 107 - 110.
Higgins, Mrs W.A. (1977). A Family Record. Now published on at 12.00 (hardback) or 2.50 (download).
Schutz. Albert (1977). The Diaries and correspondence of David Cargill, 1832 to 1843. Australian National University Press.


Margaret Cargill nee Smith, Cargill's first wife who died in Fiji.
Mission station at Viwa, Fiji.
Chapel at Viwa.
Margaret Jane Smith, Cargill's mother-in-law.
Jane Smith, Cargill's sister-in-law.
Mary Cargill, his fourth daughter, born in Fiji, and later married to W.E.Wilkie Brown.
William Elmslie Wilkie Brown, Cargill's son-in-law and minister of Bannockburn.
Margaret Brown, Cargill's granddaughter, later Lady Margaret Hamilton of Balmacara, photographed wearing court dress for a royal occasion.
Sir Daniel Hamilton of Balmacara.

The last two pictures have been loaned to the National Trust for Scotland and are used in the 2002 edition of their guidebook to the Balmacara Estate.