CHALMERS, JAMES (1841–1901), Scottish missionary to New Guinea, was born at Ardrishaig in Argyll. After serving in the Glasgow City Mission he passed through Cheshunt College, and, being accepted by the London Missionary Society, was appointed to Rarotonga in the South Pacific in 1866. Here the natives gave him the well-known name “Tamate.” After ten years’ service, especially in training native evangelists, he was transferred to New Guinea. In addition to his enthusiastic but sane missionary work, Chalmers did much to open up the island, and, with his colleague W.G. Lawes, gave valuable aid in the British annexation of the south-east coast of the island. On the 8th of April 1901, in company with a brother missionary, Oliver Tomkins, he was killed by cannibals at Goaribari Island. R.L. Stevenson has left on record his high appreciation of Chalmers’s character and work.
Chalmers’s Autobiography and Letters were edited by Richard Lovett in 1902, who also wrote a popular life called Tamate.