Pearse, Edward (DNB00)

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PEARSE, EDWARD (1633?–1674?), nonconformist divine, born about 1633, matriculated as a servitor from St. John's College, Oxford, on 10 April 1652, and graduated B.A. on 27 June 1654. In June 1657 he was appointed morning preacher at St. Margaret's, Westminster, the former preacher and lecturer having been removed by the Protector's injunction (Mackenzie Walcott, St. Margaret's, p. 93 n.) On 31 Dec. his salary was increased by 50l. a year (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1657–8, p. 239); but it does not appear that he was appointed regular incumbent, and Calamy's statement that he was ejected in 1662 probably only means that he lost his post as preacher. He seems to have continued to live in London, and was lying ill at Hampstead in October 1673; he apparently died there early in the next year. An engraved portrait by R. White is stated by Granger and Bromley to have been prefixed to Pearse's ‘Last Legacy,’ 1673, where his age is given as forty.

He wrote religious works of evangelical tone which passed through numerous editions. The chief are: 1. ‘The Best Match, or the Soul's Espousal to Christ,’ 1673, 8vo. Other editions appeared in 1676, 12mo; 1683, 8vo; 1752, 12mo; 1831, 12mo (Religious Tract Society); 1839, 8vo; and 1873, 8vo. 2. ‘A Beam of Divine Glory, or the Unchangeableness of God … whereunto is added the Soul's Rest in God,’ 1674, 8vo. These two discourses were also published under the title ‘Mr. Pearse's last Legacy, being two Discourses,’ &c. The only edition in the British Museum is the third, dated 1704, 12mo; but Granger mentions one in 1673. 3. ‘The Great Concern, or a Serious Warning for a timely and thorough Preparation for Death …’ 17th edit., London, 1692, 12mo; a 25th edit. appeared in 1715, 12mo, and a new edition in 1840.

Pearse has been confused by Wood and others with another Edward Pearse (1631–1694), divine, ‘a Welshman born,’ who matriculated from Jesus College, Oxford, on 7 Dec. 1650, graduated B.A. on 10 March 1654–5, and M.A. on 25 June 1657. He is then stated to have become rector of St. Michael's, Crooked Lane, London. In 1663 he became vicar of Duston, rector of Aldwinckle All Saints, and of Cottesbrooke, all in Northamptonshire. He died at Cottesbrooke on 2 Sept. 1694, aged 63, and was buried in the chancel of his church. He was licensed on 15 May 1666, being described as about thirty-three years of age, to marry Elizabeth, niece of Sir John Langham, bart., whose patronage he enjoyed. She died on 4 Aug. 1705, aged 72, and was buried by her husband's side, leaving two sons—John (1667–1732), who succeeded him as rector of Cottesbrooke; and William. Pearse was author of: 1. ‘The State of Northampton from the beginning of the Fire on Sept. 20th 1675 to Nov. 5th. By a County Minister,’ 1675, 4to. 2. ‘The Conformist's Plea for the Nonconformists,’ 1681, 4to; 2nd edit., corrected and enlarged, 1681; 3rd edit., ‘enlarged with a full Vindication of the Nonconformists from the Charge of the Murder of the late King,’ 1683; all of these editions are in the Bodleian, but none in the British Museum. 3. ‘The Conformist's Second Plea for the Nonconformists. By a charitable and compassionate Conformist, author of the former Plea,’ 1682, 4to; 2nd edit. in the same year. 4. ‘The Conformist's Third Plea,’ &c., 1682, 4to. 5. ‘The Conformist's Fourth Plea,’ &c., 1683, 4to. These pleas are referred to by Dr. Robert South [q. v.] when he denounced ‘all the Pleas and Apologies for the Nonconformists (tho' made by some Conformists themselves)’ as ‘senceless and irrational’ (Sermons, edit. 1711–44, vi. 33).

No relationship has been traced between either of the foregoing and William Pearse (1625–1691), ejected minister, who was son of Francis Pearse of Ermington, Devonshire. He studied at Exeter College, Oxford (1649–50), was presented to the parish church of Dunsford on 25 Dec. 1655, and was ejected on the passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662. He preached privately at Tavistock for ten years. Upon the passing of the Indulgence Act in 1672 he received a license for himself and his house, but was afterwards much persecuted, being in January 1683 committed to the New Prison. At the Revolution of 1688 he was instrumental in erecting a meeting-house at Ashburton, where he continued till his death, on 17 March 1691, aged 65. He published ‘A Present for Youth, and an Example for the Aged, being some Remains of his Daughter, Damaris Pearse.’

[Works in Brit. Museum and Bodleian Libraries; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Wood's Athenæ, iv. 700–1, &c.; Granger's Biogr. Hist. iii. 335; White Kennett's Register and Chron. ed. 1728, p. 835; Bridges's Northamptonshire, i. 448, 556; Chester's London Marriage Licenses; Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial, i. 149; Darling's Cycl. Bibl. ii. 2317–18; McClintock and Strong's Cycl. of Biblical Literature; authorities quoted.]

A. F. P.