Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/378

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[Cheque Book of the Chapel Royal (Camden Soc. 1872), pp. 10, 11, 13, 57, 58, 94, 128, 207; Dickson's Catalogue of Ancient Music in Ely Cathedral (1861); Sloane MS. 4847, ff. 39, 45.]

W. B. S.

AMNER, RICHARD (1736–1803), a presbyterian (otherwise unitarian) divine, and born in 1736, was one of several children of Richard and Anne Amner, of Hinckley, Leicestershire, his baptism, in the register of the presbyterian (otherwise unitarian) meeting-house there, being set down for 26 April 1737. He entered the Daventry Academy, to prepare for a dissenting pulpit, in 1755; he stayed there seven years, accepting the charge of the unitarian chapel in Middlegate Street, Yarmouth, 21 July 1762 (Browne's Congregationalism in Norfolk and Suffolk). Here his theology did not prove to be in harmony with the theology of his congregation; and, preaching to them for the last time on 5 March 1764, he moved to Hampstead, London, where he commenced duty the following year, 1765. He published three books whilst at Hampstead : 1. ‘A Dissertation on the Weekly Festival of the Christian Church’ (anonymous), 1768. 2. ‘An Account of the Positive Institutions of Christianity,’ 1774. 3. ‘An Essay towards the Interpretation of the Prophecies of Daniel,’ 1776. In 1777 he left to be pastor at Coseley, Staffordshire; he retained this charge till the end of 1794, when, retiring from the ministry to devote himself entirely to study in Hinckley, his native town, he became one of the contributors to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ (Nichols's Preface to General Index to Gent. Mag. from 1787 to 1818). He published his fourth, and last, volume there, ‘Considerations on the Doctrines of a Future State,’ in 1797, and died 8 June 1803, aged 67.

George Steevens lived at Hampstead during the twelve years that Amner preached there; and in 1793 (Amner having removed in 1777, sixteen years before), when Steevens brought out his renowned edition of Shakespeare, it was found that he had put Amner's name to gross notes to which he was ashamed to put his own. Allibone gives an erroneous account of this literary scandal, which procured much sympathy for Amner in its day.

[Park's Hampstead, p. 237; Wilson's MSS. in Dr. Williams's Library; Horne's Introduction to the Crit. Study of the Holy Scriptures, p. 339; Orme's Bibliotheca Biblica, p. 12; Gent. Mag. June 1803; Chalmers's Gen. Biog. Dict. art. ‘Amner;’ Nichols's Illustrations of Literature, viii. 335; Steevens's Shakespeare, xii. 503; Monthly Magazine, xv. 594; Monthly Review, l. 159; Nichols's Leicestershire, iv. 747; Christian Life, vol. ix. No. 350; British Critic, O.S. xiii. 294 et seq.]

J. H.

AMORY, THOMAS, D.D. (1701–1774), dissenting tutor, was born at Taunton on 28 Jan. 1701. His father was a grocer and his mother a sister of the Rev. Henry Grove. He was at school under Chadwick, a local dissenting minister, and learned French at Exeter under Majendie, a refugee minister. On 25 March 1717 he entered, as a divinity student, the Taunton Academy, then the chief seat of culture for the dissenters of the west, under Stephen James of Fullwood, who taught theology, and Henry Grove, who taught philosophy. He received his testimonials for the ministry in 1722, and then went to London to study experimental physics in the academy of the Rev. John Eames, F.R.S., Moorfields. In 1725, on Stephen James's death and before his own ordination, he acted as assistant in the ministry to Robert Darch, at Hull Bishops, who died 31 Jan. 1737–8, aged 65, and in the Taunton Academy to Grove. He was ordained 3 Oct. 1730 as colleague to Edmund Batson at Paul's Meeting, Taunton. Batson was more conservative in theology than Amory, and besides was unwilling to divide the stipend; hence, in 1732, Amory's friends seceded and built him a new meeting-house in Tancred Street. On Grove's death in 1738 Amory was placed at the head of the academy. A list of his students is given in the ‘Monthly Repository,’ 1818; there were more men of mark under Grove; Amory's best pupils were Thomas and John Wright of Bristol. In 1741 he married Mary, daughter of the Rev. S. Baker of Southwark. By her he had five children, four of whom survived him. He removed to London in October 1759 to become afternoon preacher at the Old Jewry, and in 1766 succeeded Dr. S. Chandler as co-pastor of the congregation with Nathaniel White. He was elected one of Dr. Williams's trustees in 1767 (his portrait is in the Williams Library). He received the degree of D.D. Edin. in 1768, and was Tuesday lecturer at Salters' Hall from 1768, and morning preacher at Newington Green, as colleague with Dr. Richard Price, from 1770, in addition to his other duties. Though thus full of preaching engagements, he was not so popular in London as he had been in Taunton. His theology, of the Clarkean type, was not conservative enough for the bulk of the London presbyterians of that day. His style was dry and disquisitional; his manner wanting in animation. But he was a leader of the dissenting liberals, and in 1772 a strenuous supporter of the agi-