Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/439

This page has been validated.
Spurgeon
Spurgeon
433

America. In December 1763 he was appointed captain of the Fubbs yacht, and in April 1766 of the Jersey, in which in May he went out to the Mediterranean as commodore and commander-in-chief. He returned to England in November 1769. On 18 Oct. 1770 he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the blue, and in 1772 commanded a squadron in the Channel. In 1773 he held a command in the fleet when the king reviewed it at Portsmouth, and was knighted on 24 June. He became rear-admiral of the red on 31 March 1775, and died, unmarried, a few months later, 25 Nov. 1775, at Place House, and was buried in St. Anthony church. He was officially known as a good officer of respectable service, but in private as an inveterate perpetrator of disagreeable hoaxes.

[Charnock's Biogr. Nav. v. 414; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.; Burke's Hist. of the Commoners, iv. 695; official letters and other documents in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.

SPURGEON, CHARLES HADDON (1834–1892), preacher, came of a family of Dutch origin which sought refuge in England during the persecution of the Duke of Alva. Charles Haddon's grandfather, James Spurgeon (1776–1864), born at Halstead, Essex, was independent minister at Stambourne. His son, John Spurgeon, the father of Charles Haddon, born in 1811, was successively minister of the independent congregations of Tollesbury, Essex, of Cranbrook, Kent, of Fetter Lane, and of Upper Street, Islington.

Charles Haddon, elder son of John Spurgeon, by his wife, the youngest sister of Charles Parker Jarvis of Colchester, was born at Kelvedon, Essex, on 19 June 1834. His early childhood was spent with his grandfather, James Spurgeon, but in 1841 he was sent to a school at Colchester conducted by Henry Lewis. In 1848 he spent a few months at an agricultural college at Maidstone. In the following year he became usher in a school at Newmarket. His employer was a baptist, and although Spurgeon had been reared an independent, and converted in a primitive methodist chapel, he was baptised and formally joined the baptist community at Isleham on 3 May 1850. In the same year he obtained a place in a school at Cambridge, recently founded by a former teacher and friend, Henry Leeding. There he became an active member of a baptist congregation, and while a boy of sixteen, dressed in a jacket and turndown collar, preached his first sermon in a cottage at Teversham, near Cambridge. His success was pronounced; his oratorical gifts were at once recognised, and in 1852 he became the pastor of the baptist congregation at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire. In April 1854 he was ‘called’ to the pulpit of the baptist congregation at New Park Street, Southwark. Within a few months of his call his powers as a preacher made him famous. The chapel had been empty; before a year had passed the crowds that gathered to hear the country lad of twenty rendered its enlargement essential. Exeter Hall was used while the new building was in process of erection, but Exeter Hall could not contain Spurgeon's hearers. The enlarged chapel, when opened, at once proved too small, and a great tabernacle was projected. In the meantime Spurgeon preached at the Surrey Gardens music-hall, where his congregations numbered ten thousand. Men and women of all ranks flocked to his sermons. The newspapers, from the ‘Times’ downwards, discussed him and his influence. Caricature and calumny played their part. On 19 Oct. 1856 a malicious alarm of fire raised while Spurgeon was preaching at the Surrey Gardens music-hall led to a panic which caused the death of seven persons and the injury of many others; but the preacher's position was not endangered. At twenty-two Spurgeon was the most popular preacher of his day.

In 1861 the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Newington Causeway was opened for service. It cost 31,000l., and accommodated six thousand persons. There Spurgeon ministered until his death, and, until illness disabled him, fully maintained his popularity and power as a preacher. The Tabernacle quickly became, under Spurgeon's impressive personality, an energetic centre of religious life. Many organisations grew up under his care and were affiliated to it. All are now flourishing institutions. A pastors' college, in which young men were prepared for the ministry under his active guidance, was founded at Camberwell in 1856; it was removed to the Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861, and is now located in Temple Street, Southwark. An orphanage, an unsectarian institution, was founded in 1867 at Stockwell for the maintenance and education of destitute orphan boys and girls (it is now supported by voluntary contributions to the amount of 10,000l.); while a colportage association, founded in 1866 to circulate ‘religious and healthy literature among all classes’ by means of colporteurs, who were to be paid a fixed salary and to devote all their time to the work, derived in 1891 over 11,000l. by the sale of books and pamphlets.

A convinced Calvinist, staunchly adher-