Adamson, Reverend Dr James (1797 - 1875)

Born: Scotland (Fife)

Presbyterian minister of St Andrew's (1827-1841)

Career Highlights

Born Fife 1797, eldest son of Dr. Lawrence Adamson, minister of Cupar. Reverend James Adamson is considered the founder of the Presbyterian Church in South Africa as minister of St Andrew's (1827-1841). Regarded as "the most versatile churchman of his generation" (Quinn and Cuthbertson, Presbyterianism in Cape Town, p.23), he was also a noted scholarly theologian and mathematician who was instrumental in the establishment of the Cape Town Library and the South African College (later the University of Cape Town) where he lectured for 21 years in mathematics, English, the classics and physics, using his salary for mission work among freed slaves. Adamson established the St. Andrew's Mission for the Hottehtots and emancipated slaves in Cape Town, and was involved in various philanthropical and religious institutions, including the Cape Town `Infants School' and `School of Industry', visited by Reverend William Watson on his way to NSW in 1832. In America between 1850-1860, Adamson was involved in the establishment of a training college for missionaries at Oxford, Pennsylvania. He died in the Green Point district of Cape Town in July, 1875, "leaving behind him the reputation of a man in whom great natural genius was associated with ardent missionary zeal and simple faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ" (St. Andrew's, Cape Town, p.57)