1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Jortin

Anonymous, "Dr. John Jortin" Gentleman's Magazine 43 (August 1773) 387-88.



He was a very ingenious man, an acute and judicious scholar, born in Huntingdonshire about 1701, educated at the Charter-House school, and from thence sent to Jesus-College, Cambridge, where he improved his literature greatly, under the tuition of Styon Thirlby, who was also a very acute critic. When he had taken his Master of Arts degree, he married, and quitted College; but, having some private fortune of his own, and being of a peculiar disposition that could not sollicit preferment, nor could bear to be neglected, but with severe reflections on those who preferred the ignorant and neglected the learned, he was without any benefice 'till about the year 1738, when Lord Winchester gave him the living of Eastwell, in Kent; but, the place not agreeing with his health, he soon resigned it. He was for some years, from about 1724 to 1732, an assistant to Mr. Capper, who rented a Chapel in Great Russel-street, Bloomsbury.

Archbishop Herring had a great value for him, and about 1751, presented him to the living of St. Dunstan's in the East, worth 200 per annum, where he was much liked by his parishioners.

In 1762, Dr. Osbaldiston, Bishop of London, gave him the living of Kensington, worth 300 and a Prebend in St. Paul's Cathedral, and made him Archdeacon of London, in the room of Dr. Cobden.

His temper was rather morose and saturnine, as was his aspect. In company he liked, he was at all times facetious, but mixed with a large quantity of "sal censura superiorum."

His Sermons were sensible, argumentative, and to the purpose; but delivered in so negligent a manner, and with so little emphasis, as to make little impression on the audience. He was a virtuous man, no bigot, but pretty free in his thoughts on some controverted points, which yet he had not courage always to avow, reading and disapproving the Athanasian Creed at the same time. I was many years intimate with him, and had in general much satisfaction in his company, as with me he was unreserved.

In some works he printed he had half the profits. In his Life of Erasmus, Six Dissertations, and Remarks, 3 vols. he sold the privilege of an impression, but kept the copy right himself.