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, the of the year 1714-15. His father was a baker in that town, who, through indolence and dissipation, left nothing behind him but some debes, which his son very honorably discharged. His mother was a very amiable, prudent, and exemplary woman.
Mr. Whitehead received the first rudiments of his education at some common school at Cambridge; but at the age of fourteen, July 6, 1728, he was removed to Winchester, having obtained a nomination into that Col. lege by means of Mr. Bromley. At school he was always of a delicate turn, and though obliged to go to the hills with the other boys, he spent his time there in reading either plays or poetry; and was also particularly fond of the “ Atalantis," and all other books of private history or character. He yery early exhibited his taste for poetry; for, while other boys were contented with shewing up twelve or fourteen lines, he would fill half a sheet, but always with English verse. When he was sixteen he wrote a whole comedy,
In the year 1733, the Earl of Peterborough having Mr. Pope at his house, near Southampton, carried him to Winchester, to shew him the collegeschool. The Earl gave ten guineas to be disposed of in prizes amongst the boys; and Mr. Pope set theni a subject to write upon, viz. PETERB0ROUGH. Prizes of a guinea each were given to six of the boys, of whoin V'hitehead was one. The remaining sum was laid out for other boys in subscriptions to Pine's Horace, then about to be published: He enjoyed for some little time a lucrative place in the college, that of prepositor of the hall.
At the election in September 1735, he was treated with singular injustice, for through the force of superior interest he was placed so low on the roll, that it was scarcely possible for him to succeed to New College. Being now superannuated he left Winchester of course, deriving no other advantage from the college than a good education.
Two months after his disappointment at Winchester, he removed to the place of his nativity, where the peculiar circumstances of his being the phan son of a baker of Cambridge gave him an unexceptionable claim to one of the scholarships founded at Clare-Hall, by Mr. Thomas Pyke of that trade and town. His mother accordingly admitted him a sizer of this college, under the tuition of Mess. Curling, Goddard, and Hopkinson, November 26, 1735.
The first pieces he published were verses on public occasions, the març riage of the Prince of Wales in 1736, and the birth of his son the present king in 1738. In 1741 appeared his epistle “ On the Danger of writing “ Verse,” which was followed by “ Atys and Adrastus" in 1743; and that by the “ Epistle from Ann Boleyn in the Tower to King Henry the Eighth, the same year. His next poem was his " Essay. on Ridicule," which also appeared in 1743; and to that succeeded “Nobility, an Epistle the Earl of Ashburnham.” During the time of his being an under-graduate, he lived a very studious life, observing the strictest frugality possible, that he might be the less burthensome to an affectionate mother. After taking a very creditable degree, and being emancipated from those mathematical studies for which young men of his tribe seldom have much relish, he wrote, as we have seen, rapidly, though not carelessly for the press, but this rapidity, as it did not continue through life, probably arose at the time rather from a laudable desire of self-maintenance, than any undue eagerness for poetical fame.
In June 1742 he was elected fellow of Clare-Hall. In April 1743 he lost his mother; and in the same year commenced Master of Arts. His intentivn at that time was to take orders; and with that view he prepared him self for the Church; but shortly afterwards a circumstance occurred, which led him to defer putting this design in practice, and in the end occasioned his relinquishing the idea entirely. The late Earl of Jersey was making enquiries after a proper person to take the private tuition of his second son, now become his only hope from the death of his elder brother; on which account probably he durst not trust him to the dangers of a public education, as his constitution appeared to be very delicate. Fortunately for the young Viscount, Mr. Whitehead was recommended to his father, by Mr. Commissary Graves, as a person fully qualified for this important charge. His recommendation was successful; and Mr. Whitehead, when the offer was made, did not hesitate to accept it. He therefore in the summer of 1745 removed to the Earl's house, where he was placed upon the most liberal footing.
At Michaelmas 1746 he resigned his fellowship; and, having now many intervals of leisure, he employed himself in writing “ The Roman Father,” which was acted in 1750. In 1754 he collected his works into a volume, and in the same year produced “ Creusa Queen of Athens." The exhibition of this play was hardly over, before he was called upon to attend his pupil, and Lord Viscount Nuneham, son to the Earl of Harcourt, in their travels, as their joint Governor.
After passing through Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Holland, he returned to Harwich in September 1756. During his absence he had received the badges of secretary and register of the order of the Bath; and in 1757 his finances were further improved by the appointment of Poet Laureat. On his arrival in England he was pressed to continue in the family of Lord Jersey; and there and in the house of Lord Harcourt he resided for fourteen years.
In 1962 he produced " The school for Lovers," and in the same year his “ Charge to the Poets.” In 1770 “ The trip to Scotland" was acted ; and in 1774 he again collected his performances into two volumes. « Variety" was published in 1776 ; and “ The Goat's Beard” in 1777. He also employed himself in other dramas, some of which finished, and others imperfect, he left behind him in manuscript. He died at his lodgings in Charlesstreet, Grosvenor-Square, April 14, 1985; and was buried in South Audley Chapel.
“ Thus having completed," says Mr. Mason, from whom all the particulars of the preceding account are taken, his seventieth year, he died, retaining all his faculties more perfectly than is usually the lot of persons who live to such an age. Of these his memory was the most remarkable, which, being always strong, continued to that late period with no diminution of vigour. And, as his reading and observations had been far more extensive and various than he had occasion to exhibit in that mode of writing which he chiefly employed to convey his sentiments, this accurate retention of what he had by study acquired made him a living library, always open to communicate its treasures to his acquaintance, without obtruding itself upon them by any ostentatious display or assumed superiority.
SOAME JEN YNS was the only son of Sir Roger Jenyns, of Bottesham
in Cambridge, at which place he was born about 1705. His mother's name was Palmer, of the family of Sir Charles Palmer. After a common school education, he was entered a fellow-commoner of St. John's College ; but left the University, as was formerly the usual practice with gentlemen of fortune, without taking any degree.
He early displayed his poetical talents. In 1729 he published “ The Art 6 of Dancing ;” and, in 1735. wrote his poetical “ Epistle to Lord Loveá lace.” This was followed by several others, which he collected into a volume in 1752. On the publication of Hawkins Browne's Latin poem on the “ Immortality of the Soul,” in 1752, Mr. Jenyns made a translation of it into English, which was published in 1753, in Dodsley's Collection of Poems. The “ Free Enquiry into the Nature and Origin of Evil" appeared in 1757: and to this succeeded several other performances both in prose and verse, either in defiance of government, or levelled at some persons in opposition to the measures of administration. In 1776 his celebrated work, intituled “ A View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion," was published ; a performance which has been commended in terms of the highest praise by some, whilst it has been spoken of in the slightest manner by others. At the close of this volume he made a very explicit declaration of his belief in the doctrine of the Christian religion. Speaking of his work he says, “Should it ever have the honour to be admitted into such good com
pany, they will immediately, I know, determine that it must be the work " of some enthusiast or methodist, some beggar, or some madman. I shall " therefore beg leave to assure them, that the author is very far removed « from all these characters; that he once perhaps believed as little as them
selves ; but having some leisure, and more curiosity, he employed them " both in resolving a question, which seemed to him of some importance-" Whether Christianity was really an imposture, founded on an absurd, in“ credible, and obsolete fable, as many suppose it? or whether it is what it
of pretends pretends to be, a Revelation, communicated to mankind by the interpo“sition of some Supernatural Power ? On a candid enquiry, he soon found " that the first was an absolute impossibility; and that its pretensions to the « latter 'were founded on the most solid grounds. In the further pursuits ~ of his examination, he perceived at every step new lights arising, and sone « of the brightest from parts of it the most obscure, but productive of the « clearest proofs, because equally beyond the power of human artifice to «invent, and human reason to discover. These arguments, which have « convinced him of the divine origin of this religion, he has here put toge"ther in as clear and concise a manner as he was able, thinking they might, " have the same effect upon others; and being of opinion, that, if there “ were a few more true Christians in the world, it would be beneficial 19 « themselves, and by no means detrimental to the public."
In 1982 he published “ Disquisitions on several Subjects;" which pro- , duced answers both grave and comic, from different hands, and with different degrees of merit. He continued writing almost till the close of his life
; and he had the felicity to preserve his faculties unimpaired, and his spirits undiminished, to his latest period.
He was introduced into the senate under the patronage of Sir Robert, Walpole, and was elected, first, for the county of Cambridge in the year 1741. He represented it again in the parliament of 1747. In that of 1754. he was member for Dunwich in Suffolk ; and in 1761 took his seat for the town of Cambridge, which place he continued to represent so long as he remained in parliament.
In 1755 he was appointed one of the lords of trade and plantations, a post which he held during every change of administration, until it was abolished in the year 1780. He was in general an adherent of the minister for the time being; and was a useful, active, and diligent member of the House of Commons, though he shared, as he admitted in one of his poems, no gift of tongue.
He had been twice married: first te Miss Soame, to whom his father had been guardian; and afterwards to the lady whom he left his widow. He died the 18th of December, 1987, at his house in Tilney-street: and on his death-bed, says a late writer, he reviewed his life, and with a visible gleam. of joy he gloried in the belief that his little book on Christianity had been useful. He spoke of his death as one prepared to die. He did not shrink from it as an evil, nor as a punishment; but met it with decent firmness, as his original destiny, the kind release from what was worse, the kinder summons to all that is better.