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EDMUND CALAMY (1671-1732)

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Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 967 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EDMUND CALAMY (1671-1732), English Nonconformist divine, the only son of Edmund Calamy " the younger," was born in London, in the parish of St Mary Aldermanbury, on the 5th of April 1671. He was sent to various schools, including Merchant Taylors', and in 1688 proceeded to the university of Utrecht. While there, he declined an offer of a professor's chair in the university of Edinburgh made to him by the principal, William Carstares, who had gone over on purpose to find suitable men for such posts. After his return to England in 1691 he began to study divinity, and on Baxter's advice went to Oxford, where he was much influenced by Chillingworth. He declined invitations from Andover and Bristol, and accepted one as assistant to Matthew Sylvester at Blackfriars (1692). In June 1694 he was publicly ordained at Annesley's meeting-house in Little St Helen's, and soon afterwards was invited to become assistant to Daniel Williams in Hand Alley, Bishopsgate. In 1702 he was chosen one of the lecturers in Salters' Hall, and in 1703 he succeeded Vincent Alsop as pastor of a large congregation in Westminster. In 1709 Calamy made a tour through Scotland, and had the degree of doctor of divinity conferred on him by the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Calamy's forty-one publications are mainly sermons, but his fame rests on his nonconformist biographies. His first essay was a table of contents to Baxter's Narrative of his life and times, which wassent to the press in 1696; he made some remarks on the work itself and added to it an index, and, reflecting on the usefulness of the book, he saw the expediency of continuing it, as Baxter's history came no further than the year 1684. Accordingly, he composed an abridgment of it, with an account of many other ministers who were ejected after the restoration of Charles II.; their apology, containing the grounds of their nonconformity and practice as to stated and occasional communion with the Church of England; and a continuation of their history until the year 1691. This work was published in 1702. The most important chapter (ix.) is that which gives a detailed account of the ministers ejected in 1662; it was afterwards published as a distinct volume. He afterwards published a moderate defence of Nonconformity, in three tracts, in answer to some tracts of Benjamin, afterwards Bishop, Hoadly. In 1713 he published a second edition (2 vols.) of his Abridgment of Baxter's History, in which, among various additions, there is a continuation of the history through the reigns of William and Anne, down to the passing of the Occasional Bill. At the end is subjoined the reformed liturgy, which was drawn up and presented to the bishops in 1661. In 1718 he wrote a vindication of his grandfather and several other persons against certain reflections cast upon them by Laurence Echard in his History of England. In 1719 he published The Church and the Dissenters Compar'd as to Persecution, and in 1728 appeared his Continuation of the Account of the ejected ministers and teachers, a volume which is really a series of emendations of the previously published account. He died on the 3rd of June 1732, having been married twice and leaving six of his thirteen children to survive him. Calamy was a kindly man, frankly self-conscious, but very free from jealousy. He was an able diplomatist and generally secured his ends. His great hero was Baxter, of whom he wrote three distinct memoirs. His eldest son Edmund (the fourth) was a Presbyterian minister in London and died 1755; another son (Edmund, the fifth) was a barrister who died in 1816; and this one's son (Edmund, the sixth) died in 1850, his younger brother Michael, the last of the direct Calamy line, surviving till 1876.
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