Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cameron, Charles Hay

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CAMERON, CHARLES HAY (1795–1880), jurist, was born on 11 Feb. 1795. He was the son of Charles Cameron, governor of the Bahama Islands, by Lady Margaret Hay, daughter of the fourteenth Earl of Erroll His grandfather, Donald Cameron, was the younger son of Dr. Archibald Cameron [q. v.] Charles Hay Cameron erected a monument to his great-grandfather in the Savoy Chapel. It was injured by a fire in 1864, when Mr. C L. Norman, Cameron's son-in-law, replaced it by a painted window. Cameron was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1830. He was a disciple, and ultimately perhaps the last surviving disciple, of Jeremy Bentham. He was employed upon various commissions. His report upon 'judicial establishments and procedure in Ceylon,' the result of a mission with Colonel Colebrooke, is dated 31 Jan. 1832. He was also a commissioner for inquiring into charities, and prepared a report upon the operation of the poor laws in April 1833. By the act of 1833 a fourth member was added to the Supreme Council of India (previously the Council of Bengal), and a law commission was constituted, one member of which was to be appointed from England. Cameron was the first member so appointed, and went to India in the beginning of 1835. In 1843 he was appointed fourth member of council, and became president of the Council of Education for Bengal, of which he had been a member from his arrival in India. Cameron took an important part in the work of codification begun by Macaulay, and was Macaulay's chief adviser and co-operator in the preparation of the penal code (Trevelyan, Macaulay, i. 427. 443, 463). He took a great interest in the introduction of English education among the natives of India. A public meeting of natives was held at Calcutta on 22 Feb. 1848, upon his departure for England, to thank him for his exertions, and request him to sit for his portrait. His views are explained in an 'Address to Parliament on the duties of Great Britain to India in respect of the education of the natives and their official employment, by C. H. Cameron' (1863), in which he advocates a more liberal treatment of the Hindoo population.

Cameron took no further part in active life after his return to England. He lived successively in London, Putney, and at Freshwater in the Isle of Wight. In 1875 he went to Ceylon, where his sons were established. After a visit to England in 1878, be died in Ceylon on 8 May 1880.

Cameron was a man of cultivated intellect, well read in classical and modern literature, and intimate with many distinguished men of his day, especially Sir Henry Taylor, Lord Tennyson, and H. T. Prinsep. He married, in 1838, Julia Margaret Pattle [see Cameron, Julia Margaret], by whom he had five sons and a daughter, Julia (d. 1873), married to Charles Lloyd Norman.

[Academy, 26 June 1880; Sir H. Taylor's Autobiography, ii. 48-55, 184; Mackenzie's History of the Camerons, 1884; information from the family.]

L. S.