Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Charles Cameron R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy 16 September 1816

Charles Cameron was employed as surgeon-superintendent on four convict ship voyages to Australia:

Midas in 1825. Bringing female convicts to NSW. He kept a Medical Journal from 3rd June 1825 to 23 December 1825. [5]. He returned to England with the best wishes of the women after his kind attention to them on the Midas.

Princess Charlotte Just a year later he was appointed to the Princess Charlotte and embarked on another voyage to the colonies with female prisoners. He kept a Medical Journal from 9th February to 24th August 1827 [6]

Ferguson in 1829.....Male prisoners to New South Wales Medical Journal from 23 September to 8 April 1829.

David Lyon in 1830 Male prisoners to Van Diemen's Land. Medical journal from 3 April to 4 September 1830.

A Kind Surgeon

The female prisoners of the Midas were very grateful for the kind treatment they received from him. Select here to read the letter they composed when they reached Sydney.

Charles Cameron also wrote to his friend on arrival in Sydney -

'After we left the River in the Midas, with the exception of having a good deal of sickness on board, everything, as far as the convicts were concerned, went on in such a pleasant manner that I am now almost astonished when I reflect upon it. Even the very worst of them, and those who behaved very ill, when they first came on board, afterwards conducted themselves in the very best manner. Whatever the opinion of the world may be, and however depraved those unfortunate women may be considered, the seed of virtue is not altogether dead in them, neither are they wholly insensible to kindness. They are more highly sensible of, and more grateful for, any act of kindness than mankind generally suppose, and particularly more so than many who are placed in more fortunate circumstances.

I am also convinced, that if they were treated less harshly by those who have got authority over them, than they generally are, many more of them would return to the paths of virtue, and become good members of society. They were treated by every person on board the Midas with the utmost kindness and attention to their comforts, and they repaid that attention by their grateful demeanour and general good conduct; not one disagreeable circumstance occurred during the whole passage, as far as the female convicts were concerned, and they were landed at New South Wales with the very best characters. I must acknowledge that I had every assistance from Captain Baigrie.

With respect to the board's letter, granting gratuity to the mates in case of good conduct, I consider it to be a measure of great importance, and that it will frequently, if continued, be attended with the best effects, because it shews them the determination of the Navy Board to put a stop to all irregularity on board these ships. The conduct of the female convicts was highly praiseworthy.

It was my intention to write to Mrs. Pryor, but I find my time will not permit me. I shall there fore take the liberty of enclosing a letter from the prisoners, which they begged of me to take home to her, which I trust you will be good enough to forward.

I know they were highly grateful to her and all the Ladies for their kindness, and I think it is expressive of their sentiments'

Second Extract. 'To the good and orderly conduct, as well as cleanly and decent appearance of the prisoners on this voyage out, many things perhaps contributed, but probably none individually more than the exertions of the Ladies' committee; of this I had daily proof on the voyage.' [1]


In 1830 Charles Cameron published the success of his treatment scurvy on the Ferguson [2]

In 1832 he published New Theory of the influence of Variety in Diet in Health and Disease etc. [3]


Charles Cameron died at Haslar Hospital in February 1837 [4]


[1] The Morning Post 16 October 1826

[2] The Medico-chirurgical Review

[3] London Medical and Surgical Journal

[4] United Services Journal

[5] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Medical Journal of Charles Cameron on the voyage of the Midas in 1825. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[6] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Medical Journal of Charles Cameron on the voyage of the Princess Charlotte in 1827. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.