Important acquisitions

[6 pamphlets by or relating to Robert Reid Kalley]

Author Kalley, Robert Reid
Title [6 pamphlets by or relating to Robert Reid Kalley]
Imprint Lisbon & Funchal
Date of Publication 1845-1875
Language Portugese
Notes This is a collection of six pamphlets, printed in Portugal and Funchal in Madeira, relating to the controversial career of Dr Robert Reid Kalley (1809-1888), a Scottish missionary. Kalley was born and brought up in Glasgow. After qualifying in medicine and surgery at Glasgow University, he practised medicine in Ayrshire, where he refound his Christian faith, lost in his teens, and rejoined the Church of Scotland. Kalley was accepted as a potential missionary by the London Missionary Society in 1837, but was obliged to resign shortly afterwards when he became engaged to be married, without the Society's permission. His wife was found to be ill with tuberculosis, so, seeking a milder, drier climate for her, in October 1838 Kalley and his wife travelled to Funchal, on the island of Madeira, initially to spend the winter there. Funchal had a large colony of British residents, but the devout Christian Kalley was unhappy with what he regarded as the spiritual laxity of the Anglican ex-pat community. He decided to become ordained as a minister, but, rather than spend years of theological study demanded by the Church of Scotland, he went to London where he was ordained in the Congregational ministry in July 1839. However, he renounced the title Reverend and remained throughout his life formally a member of the Church of Scotland. On the way back to Madeira he obtained a medical qualification in Lisbon, which enabled him to practise in Portugal. Kalley subsequently worked as a medical missionary, unsupported by any society and unconnected with any denomination of the church. He learned Portuguese and opened a clinic for Madeiran patients, treating the poor for free. He began preaching to his patients, organized worship in his house for local people and created seventeen schools to teach literacy, so that the Madeiran people could read and understand the Bible. Kalley's evangelizing brought him into conflict with the Catholic Church and the local police. He was eventually arrested and imprisoned in July 1843 on charges of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy, which carried the death penalty. From prison he mounted a campaign for his release in the British newspapers, while the British embassy in Lisbon helped to secure his release in January 1844. Kalley was unbowed by his imprisonment and resumed his work in Madeira despite continued harassment of his local followers and the disquiet of the local British community and consular staff at his activities. He visited Scotland in the summer of 1845, where he addressed the Free Church assembly. A Free Church missionary, William Hewitson, had already arrived in the island and was at this time baptizing his converts. The first pamphlet in this collection, "Revista historica do proselytismo anticatholico" (Funchal, 1845), written by an anonymous 'Madeirense', dates from this period and is an attack on Kalley's work on the island. Kalley's response to this pamphlet was published in Lisbon in 1846 "Observacoes sobre a revista historica do proselytismo". After Hewitson left Madeira, in poor health, in May 1846, Kalley found himself increasingly isolated on the island and again accused of anti-Catholic proselytizing. In August 1846 a crowd headed by a Jesuit priest drove 'Calvinistas' from their homes, and ransacked Kalley's house, burned his books, and demanded 'Death to the wolf from Scotland'. Kalley, fearing for his life, disguised himself as a Madeiran peasant woman, and was carried in a hammock to the harbour, where he and his wife escaped from Madeira on a British ship. Several hundred of his followers were subsequently expelled from their homes in Madeira, settling first in the West Indies and then in the USA. Despite his escape from Madeira, Kalley seems to have maintained links to Madeira. The English-language pamphlet "A few plain words to visitors to the island of Madeira on the present position of the English Church there" written by 'a visitor', published in Funchal in 1848, appears to have been written by him and printed on his behalf. It is a sharply worded attack on the Anglican community there and a "priest of the English Church in this island" who has committed "a most gross act of Schism". Although, Kalley's name is not mentioned anywhere in the pamphlet, it is clearly meant as a vindication of his work on the island. After a period travelling through Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, during which time his first wife died, Kalley settled in Brazil with his new wife, where he continued to work as a medical missionary and prosletytize, this time in a more low-key manner, and without harassment from the more liberal Brazilian government. His turbulent time on Madeira still seems to have exercised him. The collection also contains three different Lisbon printings of a work by him, two dated 1875 from the press of a presumably British printer based in Lisbon (W.T. Wood's Typographia Luso-britannica), the other undated. The work bears the title "Exposicao de factos [etc.]" ("An exposition of the facts relating to the aggression against protestants on the island of Madeira"). It deals with the events of 1843, reproducing official documents relating to Kalley in this period. Not long after the publication of this work, Kalley and his wife retired to Edinburgh in 1876, where he was elected a director of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society, and where he died in 1888.
Shelfmark AP.1.213.32 ; AP.1.213.31 ; AP.1.213.30 ; AP.1.213.29(1) ; AP.1.213.29(2)
Reference Sources Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; W. B. Forsyth, The wolf from Scotland: the story of Robert Reid Kalley, pioneer missionary, Darlington, 1988.
Acquired on 25/01/13
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