Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day/J. C. M. Bellew


John Chippendale Montesquieu Bellew is the only son of the late Captain Robert Higgin, of Lancaster. He was born in 1823. His mother was a member of the family of Lord Bellew, in Ireland; and he has assumed his mother's maiden name. He was educated at the Grammar School, Lancaster, and entered at St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, in 1842. Here he became a regular speaker at the Union Debating Society, and in 1848 he was ordained a curate at St. Andrew's, Worcester. In 1850, he became curate at Prescot, whence he went out to the East Indies as a chaplain in the following year. He was attached to St. John's Cathedral, Calcutta, from that date till 1855, when he returned to England, and undertook a temporary engagement at St. Philip's, Regent-street. Here he gained great celebrity for his powers of oratory; and, after having held some temporary clerical appointments, he became in 1862 incumbent of Bedford Chapel, Bloomsbury.

Mr. Bellew is the author of a novel entitled 'Blount Tempest,' 'The History of Holland House,' and other works.

Some four years since, Mr. Bellew retired from the incumbency of Bedford Chapel, and embraced the Catholic faith.

As a skilful elocutionist and successful reader, Mr. Bellew is in all probability without a rival; and he excels alike in humorous and pathetic pieces, as all who have had the pleasure of listening to him in two such entirely opposite pieces as 'Horatius' and 'The Charity Dinner' can testify. It may be questioned if any single reader has ever succeeded in gathering together such large and appreciative audiences as Mr. Bellew; and his popularity, instead of being on the wane, appears to increase daily. Personally, Mr. Bellew is a handsome man, with a commanding presence—natural gifts which he turns to the greatest advantage on the platform.

"Master of one of the 'three Rs'"


Doubtless, he owes no inconsiderable portion of his success to his hair, which he wears in a most melodramatic fashion.

He has distanced all his competitors in his own line—which is that of giving theatrical renderings of the best writers to a very worthy class of people, who would never think of entering the doors of a playhouse.

His best humorous readings—'Love in a Balloon' and 'The Charity Dinner' are published in 'Once a Week.' Years ago, Mr. Bellew proved himself to be a master of one of the three Rs—reading. His reputation has been fairly earned.