James Calvert was born at Pickering, England. At the age of 18 he was converted to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and the next year began to preach. Completing his apprenticeship as a printer in 1835, he took missionary training. That done, he and his bride sailed for the Fijian Islands where he set up a small print shop. He mastered the language within two years and printed 840 copies of the first catechism in the native language. In 1857, he baptized King Thakornbau. Returning to England after 25 years, Calvert served a short pastorate. In 1872, at age 59, he went to Kimberly, South Africa, to carry on missionary work. Nine years later he returned to England, and for three years traveled throughout England to stir up interest in missions. From 1885-87 he again visited the Fijian Islands, this time to revise the Fijian New Testanent.