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THE LIFE AND WRITINGS
DR JOHN JORTIN.
JOHN JORTIN was born in the parish of St Giles in the fields, in the County of Middlesex, October 23. 1698. His father, Renatus Jortin, was a native of Bretagne, in France : He came into England when a young man, along with his father and other friends, about the year 1685, when the Protestants fled from France on account of the revocation of the edict of Nantz. Soon after his settlement in this country, he married Martha, the daughter of the Rev. Daniel Rogers of Haversham, in Buckinghamshire.
Mr Renatus Jortin was appointed one of the gentlemen of the privy-chamber to King William, in the year 1691 ; and was afterwards successively secretary to Admiral Edward Russell, Sir George Rooke, and Sir Cloudesley Shovel ; with the last of whom he pe
rished, when his ship struck upon thic rocks off Scilly, October 22. 1707.
After this melancholy event, Mrs Jortin removed into the neighbourhood of the Charter-house, to accommodate the education of her son, who was now nine years of age. He learned French at home, and spoke it well : At the age of fifteen he had completed his education at school, after which he perfected himself at home in writing and arithmetic.
On the 16th of May 1715, he was admitted pensioner of Jesus College in Cambridge. He early discovered his progress in classical learning, for which he was afterwards so much distinguished. At the recommendation of his tutor, Dr Thirlby, he was engaged, while yet an undergraduate, to translate some of Eustathius's notes on Homer for Mr Pope *. In Ja
* Mr Jortin, in his own account of this engagement, among other things, mentions that he inserted in his papers, some remarks on a passage, where he thought Mr Pope had made a mistake. “ When that part of Homer (says he)
came out, in which I had been concerned, I was eager, as “ it may be supposed, to see how things stood; and much “ pleased to find that he had not only used almost all my “ notes, but had hardly made any alteration on the expres« sions. I observed also, that in a subsequent edition, he “ corrected the place, to which I had made objections."
“ I was in some hopes in those days (for I was young) that “ Mr Pope would make inquiry about his coadjutor, and take nuary 1719, he was admitted Bachelor of Arts, and in October 1721, was elected Fellow of Jesus College: He soon after took the degree of Master of Arts. In the two following years he acted as moderator at the disputations and as taxor.
It was in the course of tlie year 1722 that Mr Jortin published a few Latin poems, entitled, “ Lusus Poetici :” they were well received, and have been different times printed.
He was ordained deacon by Dr Kennet, bishop of Peterborough, Sept. 22. 1723. and received priest's orders from Dr Green, bishop of Ely, June 24. 1724. and on the 20th of January 1727, he was presented by the Master and Fellows of Jesus College, to the vicarage of Swavesey, near Cambridge.
In the year 1728, Mr Jortin married Anne, daughter of Mr Chibnall of Newport-Pagnell, in Buckinghamshire. About three years after this, he resigned his vicarage of Swavesey, and settled in London, where he became reader and preacher at a Chapel in NewStreet, belonging to tae parish of St Giles in the Fields.
some civil notice of him. But he did not; and I had no " notion of obtruding myself upon him. I never saw his face.
On his removal to London he published “ Four Sere “mons on the Truth of the Christian Religion.” The substance of these he afterwards incorporated with his " Remarks on Ecclesiastical History,” and other works,
In the years 1731 and 1732, Mr Jortin, in conjunction with some literary friends, published “ Mis" cellaneous Observations upon Authors, Ancient and “Modern,” in a series of numbers, making together two volumes octavo. This critical work was translated into Latin, and printed at Amsterdam, and it was continued by the learned Burman and others, under the title of “ Miscellaneæ observationes criticæ in « auctores veteres et recentiores; ab eruditis Britannis 4inchoata, et nunc a doctis viris in Belgis et aliis “ regionibus continuatæ,”
In 1734, he continued his critical disquisitions, and published “ Remarks on Spencer's Poems; on Mila «ton ; and on Seneca ;” which were afterwards reprinted in a collection of his writings, intitled,“ Tracts, " philological, critical, and miscellaneous.” His criticisms on the two English poets have received the praise of Bishop Newton and Mr Warton.
Mr Jortin was, in 1737, presented by the Earl of
Winchester to the vicarage of Eastwell in Kent, worth about one hundred and twenty pounds a-year; but finding that the air of the place did not agree with his health, he soon resigned it, and returned to London. He continued to preach at the Chapel in New-Street until he was appointed by his friend Dr Zachary Pearce, then Rector of St Martin's in the Fields, afternoon preacher at a Chapel of Ease belonging to that parish, in Oxenden Street,
In the year 1746, he published his “ Discourses concerning the Truth of the Christian Religion,” which included the substance of the sermons before mentioned, and have gone through several editions, The subjects of these discourses are, the prejudices of the Jews and Gentiles; the propagation of the gospel; the kingdom of Christ ; the fitness of the time when Christ came into the world ; the testimony of John the Baptist ; the truth, importance, and authority of the Scriptures of the New Testament; and the gospel considered as it is grace and truth.
Dr Zachary Pearce being appointed to the see of Bangor, Mr Jortin, at Dr Pearce's request, preached the consecration sermon in the parish church of Kensington on February 21. 1747, which was afterwards published. On the recommendation of Arch