Palmer, Samuel (d.1724) (DNB00)

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PALMER, SAMUEL (d. 1724), pamphleteer, was educated for the dissenting ministry under John Ker or Kerr, M.D., noted as a nonconformist teacher of philosophy at Bethnal Green (afterwards at Highgate). On the death of Henry Read Palmer succeeded him (about 1698) as minis- ter of the presbyterian congregation in Gravel Lane, Southwark. John Dunton describes him (1705) as an excellent preacher without notes, a diligent catechist, a good classic, and ‘beloved by all the clergy and gentlemen of the church of England who have had an opportunity to know him.’ In 1703, in the midst of the ‘occasional conformity’ agitation, Samuel Wesley (1662?–1735) [q. v.], father of John Wesley, published a ‘Letter’ to parliament censuring the dissenters' private academies. Palmer published anonymously a spirited ‘Defence of the Dissenters' Education in their Private Academies: in answer to Mr. W——y's … Reflections,’ 1703. In reply to Wesley's ‘Defence’ of his ‘Letter,’ Palmer issued in 1705, with his name, a ‘Vindication of the Learning, Loyalty, Morals, and most Christian Behaviour of the Dissenters towards the Church of England.’ This Dunton thought conclusive, and Matthew Henry [q. v.] wrote highly of it. Of Wesley's ‘Reply’ (1707) Palmer took no notice. Palmer's pamphlets throw important light on the aims and methods of nonconformist training. Between October 1706 and October 1709 Palmer took orders in the established church. Orton's Northampton manuscript of 1731 alleges that he thought himself neglected by dissenters. On 20 April 1710 he became vicar of All Saints' and St. Peter's, Maldon, Essex, and held this living till 1724, the year of his death, according to Morant. There is no entry of his burial at Maldon. Wilson cites a doubtful rumour that ‘his conduct became scandalous.’

He published, in addition to single sermons (1703–26?) and the pamphlets noticed, ‘Moral Essays on … English, Scotch, and Foreign Proverbs,’ &c., 1710, 8vo.

[Morant's Hist. of Essex, 1768, i. 334; Protestant Dissenters' Magazine, 1799, p. 13; Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, 1814, iv. 196; Dunton's Life and Errors, 1818, i. 379 sq., ii. 724; Williams's Memoirs of Matthew Henry, 1828, p. 184; Calamy's Own Life, 1830, i. 459, ii. 505; information from the Rev. E. R. Horwood, Maldon.]

A. G.