Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Campbell, William Howard

CAMPBELL, WILLIAM HOWARD (1859–1910), missionary and entomologist, was born on 30 Sept. 1859 at Londonderry, where his father, Thomas Callender Campbell, was in business. Of his six brothers Mr. Sidney George Campbell became fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge.

Educated at the Academical Institution, Londonderry, he took both his arts and divinity courses at Edinburgh University, being a first prizeman in the divinity class and in church history, and graduating M.A. in 1880 and B.D. in 1882. At Edinburgh he also studied Sanskrit for two years, and attended some medical classes. His services being accepted by the London Missionary Society, he was ordained on 12 Sept. 1884 at the congregational church, Londonderry, and reached Cuddapah, South India, in November 1884. In 1895 he settled at Jammulamadugu, and in 1900 he was appointed to the training institution at Gooty. In 1907 he acted as secretary of the South India district committee.

Campbell was a great missionary. Journeying from village to village, he established scores of Christian churches during his seventeen years of labour. A pioneer in the cause of union among missions, he helped to form the united church of South India, in which presbyterians, congregationalists, and baptists united for ecclesiastical purposes, forming a Christian community of upwards of 150,000 people, about one-fourth of the protestants of South India (cf. his art. L.M.S. Chronicle, November 1908). Economic and social problems interested him. While he sympathised with socialist ideals, he fully admitted the beneficent effects of British rule in India (cf. letter in Labour Leader, 25 Nov. 1905). Articles which he contributed to the 'Madras Mail' during the famine of 1897 led to the establishment of relief works.

His linguistic gifts and scholarly attainments made him a leading authority on the Telugu language. In that tongue he published 'Grounds for Belief in a Personal God' (1893), 'Christian Evidences' (1898), 'Christian Theology' (1905), and a short work on Hinduism. The first three of these became text-books in theological institutions. In conjunction with Veerasalingam Pantalu he by order of the Madras government revised Browne's 'Telugu-English Dictionary' (1906) and Arden's 'Telugu Grammar' (1908), and he was a member of the revision committee of the Telugu Bible (1898-1903).

Campbell, who acted as examiner in philosophy to the university of Madras, was a close student of science, especially of entomology and ornithology. In his home in Ireland he and his brothers had made one of the best private collections of Irish moths and butterflies. In India he formed a fine collection of moths of that country, adding sixty or seventy species that were new to science. This collection is now at Gooty, in the Madras presidency.

Campbell returned to England under medical advice in 1909, before taking up the principalship of the new union theological college at Bangalore, to which he had been nominated. He died on 18 Feb. 1910 at Bordighera, and was buried there. On 7 Dec. 1885 he married at Madras Elizabeth Nevin, daughter of David Boyd of Drukendult, Ballymoney, co. Antrim. They had four sons.

[Private information; L.M.S. Chronicle, Nov. 1908, April 1910; British Weekly, 24 Feb. 1910.]

C. H. I.