Jortin, Johns, D D
Jortin, Johns, D. D., an eminent English divine, was born in London Oct. 23, 1698. His parents were French Huguenots, and formed part of that noble and devoted band who fled from France at the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, giving up all in preference to abjuring their faith. He received his grammatical education at the Charter House. In May, 1715, he was admitted to Jesus College, in Cambridge, of which he became in due time a fellow. He very soon, attracted attention by his remarkable proficiency as a scholar, particularly his mastery of the learned languages, and two years after being admitted to the college was recommended by his tutor, Dr. Styan Thirlby, to make extracts from Eustathius for the use of Pope's Homer, and for his services in the work he received the highest commendations from that distinguished poet. While at Cambridge he published a small volume of poems, which are greatly admired, and allowed by scholars to possess a very high rank among modern Latin verses. In 1723 he was admitted to deacon's orders, and the following June to that of priest. In 1726-27 he was presented to the living of Swavesey, near Cambridge, but, in consequence of his marriage soon after, he resigned that living, and removed to London, where he soon became an admired and popular preacher. When his friend, Dr. Osbaldeston, became bishop of London in 1762, Jortin was appointed his domestic chaplain, and was presented with a prebend in the Church of St. Paul and the living of Kensington. To these was soon added the archdeaconry of London. He fixed his residence at Kensington, where he died in 1770. He was as much beloved for his private virtues as admired for his learning, abilities, liberality of mind, and contempt of subserviency. Few men have ever enjoyed the intimacy of so many eminent persons. Among these may be mentioned the names of bishops Horsley, Warburton, Sherlock, Hare, Lowth, and Secker, besides Cudworth, Middleton, Pope, Akenside, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Dr. Parr, Dr. Doddridge, and others. The most intimate relations subsisted between Dr. Jortin and bishop Warburton until he incurred the displeasure of that distinguished prelate by controverting his doctrine with regard to the state of the dead, as described by Homer and Virgil, in his "Divine Legation of Moses." The critical writings of Dr. Jortin are greatly admired by all who have a taste for curious literature. It is not merely on account of the learning which is displayed in them, and the use which is made of obscure authors, but there is a terseness in the expression, and a light, playful satire in the thoughts, which render them very entertaining. His principal works are, Discourses concerning the Truth of the Christian Religion, etc. (Lond. 1746, 3 vols. 8vo): — Life of Erasmus (Lond. 1758-60, 2 vols. 4to): — Sermons on different Subjects, and the Doctrine of a Future State, etc. (Lond. 1771, 4 vols. 8vo): — Six Dissertations upon different Subjects (Lond. 1772, 7 vols. 8vo): — Tracts, philological, critical, and miscellaneous (Lond. 1790, 2 vols. 8vo): — Miscellaneous Observations upon Authors, ancient and modern (1731, 2 vols. 8vo): — On Covetousness (Tracts of Angl.
Fathers, 4, 226); and Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, a work which is universally allowed to be curious, interesting, and impartial; full of manly sense, acuteness, and profound erudition. — English Cyclopoedia, s.v.; Allibone, Dictionary of English and American Authors, s.v. (E. de P.)