A very gratifying testimonial of the high merits of this distinguished clergyman is now in progress. It appears the congregation at Camden Chapel, Camberwell, hare determined on presenting Mr. Melvill, on his resignation as minister of that place of worship, with a splendid serrice of plate. The subscriptions already received amount to a very large sum, although the proposed memorial has been only privately mentioned, and no general meeting of the seatholders has been convened.
Mr. Melvill’s career is a striking instance of eminence obtained solely by great abilities. He was not originally intended for the church; but, in consequence of the early exhibition of great scholastic attainments, his friends enabled him to enter as a Sizer at St. John's College, Cambridge, where, in October, 1817, he commenced his University career. Here he became the first man of his year, and continued to hesd the list of college examinations until 1821, when be took his bachelor's degree. In his Senate House examination, he stood bracketed with two others for the first place, but was eventually placed as Second Wrangler. In a succeeding examination, (that for Smith's Prize,) be obtained the first prize, sn event of very unusual occurrence.
On his being ordained, such was his character for learning that he was offered a Fellowship at St. Peter's College, and became one of the Tutors of that house; in discharge of this duty he remained many years, during which period he fulfilled successively the offices of Public Examiner, Proctor, Examiner in Hebrew, and Select Preacher before the University; and, in addition, was offered the Hulsean Lectureship, which he declined, haring determined upon leaving the University and devoting himself to more active clerical duties.
He accordingly soon afterwards vacated his Fellowship, and became the minister of Camden Chapel, Camberwell, where his extraordinary eloquence is remembered with admiration and delight.
Here, in the exercise of the active duties of his holy vocation, Mr. Melvill continued for some considerable time, till his great powers and exemplary conduct having attracted the attention of the Duke of Wellington, that great man, upon the chaprlry of the Tower becoming vacant, with his accustomed disinterestedness, offered the promotion to Mr. Melvill, who accepted it, and who has since fulfilled the duties of lus office in such manner as to entitle him to general esteem.
We do not intend here to enlarge upon the character of Mr. Melvill's eloquence or attainments; they are both too well known, and too well appreciated, to require any remarks from us. It is therefore only necessary to add. that they have lost nothing of their force, their beauty, or their brilliancy, and are in keeping with his exemplary life and his assiduity in nis holy calling, qualities that have endeared him to all who admire learning, who love piety, and respect honourable conduct.
The retirement of this justly esteemed minister from Camden Chapel is the more to he regretted, as difficulties have been suggested as to the appointment of a successor. The vicar of Camberwell, it is said, claims the right of nomination, to which the trustees will not consent. The chapel was licensed by the Bishop to Mr. Melvill, but was never consecrated. It was previously used by a congregation of Dissenters, and, in the event of a dispute respecting the appointment of a minister, might revert to them.
Mr. Melvill has just received the appointment of the Principal of the Hon. East India Company’s College at Haileybury, which has led to his secession from his attached flock at Camberwell.
“The Rev. Henry Melvill.” Illustrated London News (): 48.
Last modified 5 December 2015