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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Abraham, Right Reverend Charles John

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Abraham, Right Reverend Charles John, M.A., D.D., the son of the late Captain Abraham, R.N., of Farnborough, Hants, was born in 1815, and educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, of which he was successively Scholar and Fellow. He was admitted to the degree of B.A. in 1837, M.A. in 1840, B.D. in 1849, and received the degree of D.D. in 1859. He was ordained deacon in 1838, and priest in the following year. He was Assistant Master at Eton until 1850, when he went out to New Zealand to become Master of the English department of St. John's College, Auckland. In 1853 he was appointed Archdeacon of Waitemata by the Bishop (Selwyn) of New Zealand. The Bishop had for two or three years been offering to members of the Church of England a Church Constitution, whereby they were to govern themselves; and during the two years which followed, while absent in England, he left Archdeacon Abraham to propagate and expound the principles of the Church Constitution. In 1857 a convention of representative churchmen from all parts of the colony was held in Auckland, which resulted in the framing of the Constitution now in force. In the following year Archdeacon Abraham, who had also been acting as chaplain to the Bishop, was consecrated first Bishop of Wellington by the Archbishop (Sumner) of Canterbury and Bishops (Wilberforce) of Oxford and (Lonsdale) of Lichfield. When the Maori war broke out by reason of the purchase by the Government of the Waitara block, Bishop Abraham presented a protest to the Governor, claiming for the Maoris as British subjects the right to be heard in the Supreme Court. In 1870 he resigned his see, and, returning to England, was made coadjutor to Dr. Selwyn, then Bishop of Lichfield. This office he held until the death of Bishop Selwyn, in 1878. From 1872 to 1876 he was Prebendary of Bobenhall in Lichfield Cathedral, and in 1875-6 was rector of Tattenhill, Staffordshire. Since 1876 he has been Canon and Precentor of Lichfield Cathedral. He married in 1850 Caroline Harriet, daughter of Sir Charles Thomas Palmer, Bart., of Wanlip Hall, Leicestershire, and cousin of the wife of Bishop Selwyn. She died in 1877. Bishop Abraham is the author of "Festival and Lenten Lectures in St. George's Chapel, Windsor," 1848-9 (Parker), and other works.