Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Hellmuth, Isaac

HELLMUTH, ISAAC (1817–1901), bishop of Huron, born of Hebrew parents near Warsaw, Poland, on 14 Dec. 1817, attended Rabbinical schools, and at the age of sixteen passed to the University of Breslau, where he convinced himself of the truths of Christianity. Coming to England in 1841, he was received into the Church of England at Liverpool. Trained for holy orders by Hugh McNeile [q. v.] and James Haldane Stewart, Liverpool clergymen of strong evangelical views, Hellmuth emigrated to Canada in 1844, bearing letters to George Jehoshaphat Mountain [q. v.], bishop of Quebec, from Archbishop Sumner of Canterbury, and other eminent men. Bishop Mountain ordained him deacon and priest in 1846 and appointed him to be professor of Hebrew and Rabbinical literature at Bishop's College, Lennoxville, of which he soon became also vice-principal. At the same time he was made rector of St. Peter's church, in the neighbouring town of Sherbrooke, then the chief centre of English settlement in the province of Lower Canada. His learning and zeal were widely recognised. He received the degree of D.D. from Lambeth in 1853 and from Lennoxville University in 1854, as well as the degree of D.C.L. from Trinity College, Toronto, in the latter year. He afterwards resigned his posts in the province of Quebec to become superintendent of the Colonial and Continental Church Society in British North America. In this capacity he was very successful. He joined Dr. Cronyn, bishop of Huron, in an endeavour to set up in the diocese an evangelical theological college by way of opposition to Trinity College, Toronto. During a visit to England in 1861 Hellmuth collected a sum sufficient to endow the new Huron college in the diocese. It was established in London, Ontario, and when it was opened in 1863 Hellmuth became first principal and professor of divinity. He was also appointed archdeacon of Huron, dean of Huron, and rector of St. Paul's cathedral. His continued interest in education led him to institute at London, Ontario, in 1865 the Hellmuth Boys' College and in 1869 Hellmuth Ladies' College.

On 19 July 1871 Helhnuth was made coadjutor bishop of Huron to Dr. Cronyn, with the title of bishop of Norfolk, and on Cronyn's death in September following Hellmuth succeeded him as the second bishop of Huron. In his first charge to the diocesan synod, the bishop showed his strong evangelical views by recommending the canons of the Church of Ireland for use in his diocese, by way of preventing ritualism. In 1872 he opened a chapter-house, which was intended to form part of a new cathedral. In 1878 he attended the Lambeth conference. The crowning achievement of his episcopate was the foundation of the Western University in connection with Huron College. The imiversity was incorporated by an act of the Ontario legislature in 1878, and was inaugurated by Hellmuth at the chapter-house on 6 Oct. 1881. He contributed of his own means $10,000 (over 2000l. sterling) to its endowment, and had visited England in 1880 to collect subscriptions. On 29 March 1883 Hellmuth resigned the see of Huron owing to a misunderstanding. His friend Robert Bickersteth [q. v.], bishop of Ripon, asked him to leave Canada to become his bishop-suffragan as bishop of Hull, an appointment to which Bickersteth publicly announced that the royal assent had been given. But as an ordained bishop, Hellmuth was declared by the law officers of the crown ineligible for the post of suffragan. Thereupon Bickersteth installed him in the less satisfactory position of coadjutor-bishop, which lapsed with Bickersteth's death in 1884. Hellmuth became successively rector and rural dean of Bridlington (1885-91), chaplain of Trinity Church, Pau (1891-7), and rector of Compton Pauncefoot, Somerset (1897-9). He died at Weston-super-Mare on 28 May 1901, and was buried there.

Hellmuth married (1) in 1847 Catherine (d.1884), daughter of General Thomas Evans, C.B., by whom he had two sons and one surviving daughter; (2) in 1886 Mary, daughter of Admiral the Hon. Arthur Duncombe and widow of the Hon. Ashley Carr-Glynn, by whom he had no issue.

Besides numerous controversial and other pamphlets, he published 'The Divine Dispensations and their Gradual Development,' a critical commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures (Edinburgh 1866); 'The Genuineness and Authenticity of the Pentateuch' (1867), and 'A Biblical Thesaurus (Polyglot Bible), with an Analysis of every Word in the Original Languages of the Old Testament' (1884).

Two paintings of Hellmuth in the possession of his elder son were destroyed by fire in Toronto.

[Morgan, Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 1898; Mockridge, Bishops of the Church of England in Canada, 1896 (with engraved portrait); Canadian Biog. Dict. 1880; Hist. of the County of Middlesex, 1889; Annual Register, 1901; F. J. Lowndes, Bishops of the Day, 1897.]

D. R. K.