Friday, 15 July 2011

Coleman Anecdote 01 Calamy

In London the celebrated Edmund Calamy, BD, was one of the first that was imprisoned after the passing of the "Act of Uniformity." He went on Lord's-day, December 28, to the church of Aldermanbury, where he had been minister, with an intention to be a hearer; but the person expected to preach happened to fail. To prevent a disappointment, and through the importunity of the people present, he went up and preached upon the concern of old Eli for the ark of God. Upon this, by a warrant from the Lord Mayor, he was committed to Newgate as a breaker of the "Act of Uniformity;" but in a few days, when it was seen what a resort to him there was of persons of all qualities, and how generally the severity was resented, he was discharged by his Majesty's express order. His grandson relates the following:
"I have been informed that a certain Popish lady, happening then to pass through the City, had much ado to get along Newgate Street, by reason of the many coaches that attended there, at which she was not a little surprised. Curiosity led her to inquire into the occasion of the stoppage, and the appearance of such a number of coaches in a place where she thought nothing of that kind was to be looked for. The standers-by informed her that one Mr Calamy, a person generally beloved and respected, was imprisoned there for a single sermon, at which they seemed greatly disturbed and concerned. This so moved the lady that, taking the first opportunity of waiting upon the King at Whitehall, she frankly told his Majesty the whole matter, expressing her fear that, if such steps as these were taken, he would lose the affections of the City, which might be a very ill consequence. Upon this account, and some others, my grandfather was in a little time discharged by the express order of his Majesty." 
This imprisonment made no small noise in the country. Dr Wilde published a copy of verses, in a facetious style, addressed to Mr. Calamy, which was spread through all parts of the kingdom. And oh what insulting, says Mr Baxter, there was by that party in the Newsbook and in their discourses, that Calamy, who would not be a bishop, was in jail. Coleman gives the Wilde poem.

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