|Birth: ||Jan. 17, 1817|
|Death: ||Mar. 26, 1890|
Ottery St Mary
OBITUARY: THE RT. REV. HENRY CALLAWAY, D.D.Oxon., M.D., M.R.C.P.
From: The British Medical Journal, April 12, 1890, pp. 868-869
For the following very full and accurate account of the life and career of Bishop Callaway we are indebted to the kindness of an old pupil of his. The Right Reverend Henry Callaway, first Bishop of St. John's, South Africa, was born on January 17th, 1817. He was educated at the Grammar School at Crediton, of which at that time the late Dr. Lightfoot was the master. There he acquired an excellent training in the Greek and Latin classics. His superior mental endowments began to show themselves, and, being of a deeply religious turn, thoughts were entertained of his devoting himself to the Church. Very early a strong impression rested on his mind that it would be his duty to give himself to the work of a missionary among the heathen. Soon after leaving school, however, he engaged himself as a tutor, and, being brought in contact with some worthy members of the Society of Friends, he began to read their literature, especially the writings of the founders of the Society. Their lofty notions of the spirituality of the Christian religion, and of the constant communion attainable between the believing soul and God, strongly attracted him, and, at a subsequent stage of his career, he became
a member of the Society.
His view that he was called to the life of a missionary was never lost, though now its fulfilment [sic] seemed less likely than ever, for until quite lately the Society of Friends have scarcely attempted mission work among the heathen. He eventually entered the medical profession, commencing his studies at Bridgwater. He subsequently pursued them with much distinction at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, where life-long friendships were formed with Sir George Burrows, Sir James Paget, Professor Humphry, Dr. Protheroe Smith, and others.
In 1842 he became a Member of the College of Surgeons, and in 1843 a Licentiate of the Apothecaries Company; he shortly afterwards received overtures to become one of the
Company's examiners, but this he declined. He practiced with great success in London from 1844 to 1852. He was appointed Assistant Teacher of Midwifery at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Surgeon Accoucheur to the Farringdon Dispensary, and Surgeon to the Hospital for Women, then in Red Lion Square.
Throughout all these years of intense activity his mind was chiefly occupied with religious subjects, and gradually he became convinced that he ought to rejoin the Church of England. With characteristic energy he retraced his steps in this matter, though it cost him a mental effort and a wrench to his feelings, under which his bodily strength, never great, was seriously broken down. He gave up his practice, and spent the winter of 1852-3 in the South of France.
In the following summer, pending some definite opening in the Christian ministry, to which he always believed himself to be called, he took the M.D. degree at King's College, Aberdeen, and the license of the Royal College of Physicians of London. The following winter (1853-4) he spent at Bonchurch, in the Isle of Wight.
At this time Bishop Colenso had just been consecrated, and, hearing of his need of missionaries, Dr. Callaway offered himself, and was ordained deacon at Norwich Cathedral on August 13th, 1854. In the same month he sailed for Natal, and after a voyage of nearly fourteen weeks reached Port Durban. In September, 1855, he was
ordained priest, and appointed to St. Andrew's, Pietermaritzburg, the first church completed in Natal. Having never lost sight of his view of work among the heathen, he threw himself with great energy and success into the study of the Kaffir language, and early in 1858 he obtained a grant of 3,000 acres of land at a very carefully selected site in the wilderness, about a day's journey beyond Richmond, and here he founded a station, naming it Spring Vale. Under his wise, energetic, and self-sacrificing guidance, this station prospered wonderfully, and became a centre whence Christian and civilising influence emanated far and wide. Here Dr. Callaway carefully and minutely studied the Kaffir language and the beliefs and traditions of the people, as well as their laws and customs. He took an active part in reducing the language to a written form, and made translations of nearly the whole of the Bible and of the Prayer Book, and composed a work in Kaffir, entirely derived from natives, with a literal translation and copious notes, which he called Zulu Nursery Tales; The Religious System of the Zulus, together with other works of great value to philologists and students of folklore.
In the year 1873 the authorities of the Scotch Episcopal Church, at the instigation of the late Bishop Cotterill, decided to take up as a mission field the region lying between Natal and Cape Colony then known as Independent Kaffraria, and they offered the bishopric of this large district to Dr. Callaway. With considerable hesitation and much regret at the prospect of severing his connection with Spring Vale, he accepted the invitation, and was consecrated at Edinburgh on All Saints' Day 1874. He speedily returned to Africa, and traveled in his waggon, or sometimes in his "spider," throughout the widespread
diocese, and at length falling in with the urgent desire of the Government, he established himself at Umtata, there being at the time only one or two traders settled in the neighbourhood. Marvellously rapid development took place, a small town quickly gathered around the station, and there were established a procathedral, a theological training college for natives, various schools for boys and girls, native and European, a small hospital and various other institutions.
Bishop Callaway continued indefatigable in his visits to distant parts of the diocese, and in discharge of the various and often difficult duties devolving upon him. At length his incessant labour began to tell, and he had an attack of a paralytic character. From this he seemed to recover, and again visited England under medical advice, but on his return to Africa slight attacks recurred from time to time, and he felt it necessary to appoint a coadjutor. Bishop Key was consecrated to this office in 1883, and in 1886 Bishop Callaway formally resigned and returned to England to end his days.
On quitting Spring Vale, with characteristic liberality he dedicated all his property there to church and mission purposes, and subsequently he transferred to the Episcopal Church of Scotland, subject to a life interest to himself and Mrs. Callaway, £2,000 for the permanent augmentation of the stipend of the Bishop of St. John's.
Bishop Callaway published a small volume of sermons; the volume on Kaffir folk-lore, in Zulu and English, already alluded to, of which he has left materials for a more complete edition, occasional sermons; and various pamphlets and papers chiefly in reference to native matters. He also wrote numerous poems and hymns, but these have not hitherto been published. In 1864 he was appointed local secretary for Natal of the Anthropological Society, and, in 1870, corresponding member of the American Philological Society.
Bishop Callaway died at Ottery St. Mary on March 26th, after repeated attacks of a paralytic character.
Mr. JONATHAN HUTCHINSON, F.R.S., sends us the following reminiscences of Bishop Callaway in early life:
"The late Bishop Callaway was some years my senior, and I never knew him as a student. In somewhat later life I often met him. After obtaining his diploma he became assistant to the late Mr. May, of Tottenham, who was a member of the Society of Friends, and a man of earnest character and persuasive address. In Mr. May's family Henry Callaway (previously a Churchman) became a convert to Quakerism, and was in due course admitted a member of the Society. He was, however, by no means of the quiet temperament best suited for that persuasion, and although he had married a Friend and had for a few years occupied a position of much esteem amongst them, he eventually relapsed. During this period he had taken a house in Finsbury Circus, and had engaged with much success in family practice. He was beloved by all his patients, indeed, by all who knew him, for he had a warm heart, was unselfish, and had winning manners. In person he was a tall, comely man. It was whilst engaged in practice in Finsbury, and doing, I believe, exceedingly well, that Henry Callaway became filled with the desire for a missionary life, and decided to renounce his prospects of worldly success. At this time the Society of Friends offered but small outlet for missionary zeal, and I suspect that in other directions Callaway had found his zeal had not been encouraged to develop itself into the activity which he longed for. Like many converts he went ahead of those whom he had joined. I well remember Mr. May himself, a most scrupulous Friend, remarking plaintively to me,' Henry Callaway has been reproving me for allowing Punch to come into my family; dost thou think there is any harm in it?' Thus it came about that Callaway found that his yearnings for work in the cause of religion would be best realised by returning to the Church which he had left, and he not long afterwards sought ordination, and went out as a medical missionary to South Africa. In making this change he did not forget his old associations, but kept up his friendship with those whom he had known as patients. A Quaker lady, now much advanced in years, on whom he regularly called when he revisited England, still speaks of him affectionately as 'my bishop.' He was just the man for the life which he ultimately lived, and none better fitted for a modern bishop could have well been found. He was well informed, and zealous in the acquisition of knowledge of all kinds; of a loving disposition, and anxious to consecrate all he knew and all he had to the increase of the happiness of others. His advance in life was not hindered by an over-development of the logical faculty, and whilst it could not be said that he was original in his work in any department, his attainments were more than respectable in many. Some of his anthropological researches have supplied materials to Herbert Spencer and other authorities. Whilst, however, his intellectual gifts were above the average, his strength of character lay in his warmth of heart and his conscientious sense of responsibility. I remember an anecdote of his student days at St. Bartholomew's which may serve to illustrate his faithfulness in rebuke, and which will be appreciated by those who knew both or either of the men concerned. He once addressed the late Mr. Wormald somewhat in this fashion: 'I am grateful, Thomas Wormald, for much practical' knowledge which thou hast given me, but thou must permit me to say that I have often been pained by the anecdotes thou relates. Excuse me saying it, but thou art too jocose."'
Created by: Samuel Taylor Geer
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We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 1 John 3|
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