Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Charles Cameron Letterbook, 1805-1807

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, September 2009

Summary Information
Title: Charles Cameron letterbook
Creator: Cameron, Charles, 1766-1820
Inclusive dates: 1805-1807
Extent: 1 volume
This volume contains copies of letters sent from Charles Cameron, British officer and governor of the Bahamas. The letters concern dealings with prisoners, interacting with officers, courts martial, colonial law and the state of the colony, crops on the islands, small pox and other sicknesses, and preparing ships for service.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1991. M-2735.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Charles Cameron Letterbook, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


British Governor of the Bahamas, Charles Cameron, was born in 1766 to Donald Cameron and Mary Guy. He married Lady Margaret Hay in 1789, and they had three children: Isabella, Mary, and Charles. Charles Cameron was Civil Commissioner of Malta in 1801. He was a partner of Harley, Cameron & Company, which supported shipping ventures in the East Indies. He held the office of governor of Bahamas from 1804 until his death, in 1820.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Charles Cameron letterbook (359 pages) contains copies of letters sent from his governorship in the Bahamas spanning from 1805 to 1807. The volume has an index of recipients, organized alphabetically by last name. Most letters are written by Cameron (signed C.C.) though some are from R. Roberts, possibly Cameron's assistant. Topics include descriptions of dealing with prisoners, interactions with officers, courts martial, orders from governors, colonial law and the state of the colony, crops on the islands, small pox and other illnesses, and the preparation of ships for service. The volume also contains many examples of Cameron's written orders to various naval officers. Several letters are to Major Charles Henry Darling, lieutenant-governor of Tobago, who married his eldest daughter Isabella. Many items are copies of "cover letters," created to accompany documents not present in the letterbook. Of note is mention of a mulatto prisoner named Tannis (September 23, 1805), and discussion of legal issues concerning transporting a group of slaves from Turks Island (August 2, 1806).

Locations mentioned include Jamaica, Crooked Island, Turks Island, Harbor Island, Eleuthera, Santo Domingo, Nassau, Ragged Island, New Providence Island, Andros Island, Cuba, Liverpool, New York, Philadelphia, Spain, and France. Ships mentioned include:

  • Nassau, Felucca John Bull, Packet (page 260)
  • Cartel (page 274)
  • Havana (275)
  • Vesuvius , Viper (page 284)
  • Mars (page 304)
  • Pitt (page 308)
  • RedBridge (page 310)
  • Patent (page 311)
  • Favorite (324)
  • Pike (page 326)
  • Jamaica Mail (page 333)
  • Atlanta (page 341)
  • Swedish Schooner Ulrica (page 353)

Many letters note, in light purple writing, the date they were sent from the Bahamas and the name of the ship.

Subject Terms

    • Andros Island (Bahamas)
    • Atlanta (Ship)
    • Bahamas--Description and travel.
    • Bahamas--History.
    • Crooked Island (Bahamas)
    • Cuba.
    • Darling, Charles Henry, Sir, 1809-1870.
    • Eleuthera Island (Bahamas)
    • Felucca John Bull (Ship)
    • Great Britain--Foreign relations--Caribbean Area--Sources.
    • Harbour Island (Bahamas)
    • Havana (Ship)
    • Jamaica.
    • Jamaica Mail (Ship)
    • Liverpool (England)
    • Mars (Ship)
    • Nassau (Bahamas)
    • Nassau (Schooner)
    • New Providence Island (Bahamas)
    • New York (N.Y.)
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)
    • Pike (Ship)
    • Pitt (Ship)
    • Ragged Island Range (Bahamas)
    • RedBridge (Ship)
    • Santo Domingo (Antioquia, Colombia)
    • Slave trade--Caribbean Area.
    • Smallpox.
    • Turks Island Passage (Turks and Caicos Islands)
    • Ulrica (Ship)
    • Vesuvius (Ship)
    • Viper (Ship)
    • West Indies, British--History--19th century.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letterbooks.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Charles Cameron letterbook,  1805-1807 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library's Eyre Coote papers contain three letters from Cameron to Coote (November 3, 5, and December 13, 1806)