Evelyn, John

, third son of the former, was born at his father’s house at Sayes-court, near Deptford, January 14, | 1654-5, and was there very tenderly educated in his infancy, being considered (after the death of his brother Richard Evelyn, January 27, 1657, who, though but five years of age, was esteemed a kind of prodigy) as the heir of the family. He was likewise universally admired for the pregnancy of his parts, of which he gave a pleasing proof in a Latin letter written to his father in Dec. 1665, and which induced his father to send him in 1666 to Oxford, where he remained in the house of the ingenious and learned Dr. Ralph Bathurst, then president of Trinity-college, before he was admitted a gentleman-commoner, which was in Easter term 1663. It is not clear at what time he left Oxford; but Mr. Wood seems to be positive that he took no degree there, but returned to his father’s house, where he prosecuted his studies under the directions of that great man. There is, however, good reason to believe that it was during his residence in Trinity-college, and when he was not above fifteen years of age, that he wrote that elegant Greek poem which is prefixed to the second edition of the Sylva, and is a noble proof of the strength of his genius, and wonderful progress in learning in the early part of his life. In Nov. 1675, he set out for Paris with lord Berkley, ambassador to the French court; and in May 1676, returned to England. He discovered his proficiency soon afterwards, both in the learned and modern languages, by his elegant translations, as well as his intimate acquaintance with the muses, in some original poems which were very justly admired. If we consider the father’s turn of mind, we need not wonder that he should employ his pen first upon gardening, especially in the easy way of translation, and from a book so justly as well as generally admired as the French Jesuit’s has ever been. The title of our author’s little treatise was, 1. “Of gardens, four books, first written in Latin verse, by Renatus Rapinus; and now made English by John Evelyn, esq.1673, 8vo. His father annexed the second book of this translation to his “Sylva,” and it must be allowed that the sense is very faithfully rendered, and the poetry is more easy and harmonious than could have been expected from a youth of his age. 2. “The life of Alexander the great,” translated from the Greek of Plutarch, printed in the fourth volume of Plutarch’s lives by several hands. 3. “The history of the grand visiers, Mahomet and Achmet Coprogli; of the three last grand signiors, their sultanas, and chief | favourites; with the most secret intrigues of the seraglio,” &c. Lond. 1677, 8vo. This was a translation from the French, and has been esteemed an entertaining and instructive history. Our author wrote also several poems occasionally, of which two are printed in Dryden’s Miscellanies, and more are in Nichols’s Collection of Poems. The one entitled “On virtue,” has been esteemed excellent in its kind by the best judges and the other, styled “The remedy of love,” has been also much admired. On Feb. 24, 1679-80, he married Martha, daughter and coheiress of Richard Spenser, esq. Turkey merchant, whose widow married sir John Stonehouse, of Radley, in Berks, bart. Mr. Evelyn, who had a turn for business as well as study, and had been introduced to the prince of Orange in 1688, was in 1690 made one of the chief clerks of the treasury, and quitting that situation in 1691, became one of the commissioners of the revenue in Ireland, which country he visited in 1692. He would probably have been advanced to higher employments if he had not been cut off in thd flower of his age, dying at his house in Berkeleystreet, London, March 24, 1698, in the forty-fifth year of his age. He had by his wife two sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Richard, -died an infant at Sayes-court, as did his eldest daughter Martha Mary. His second daughter, Elizabeth, married Simon Harcourt, esq. eldest son and heir of Simon lord viscount Harcourt, lord high chancellor of Great Britain, by whom she became mother to the first earl Harcourt. Jane, his third daughter, died an infant at his house in the parish of St. Martin’s in the fields, and was interred at Kensington. John Evelyn, his second and only surviving son, born at Sayes-court, March 2, 1681, succeeded to his grandfather’s estate. He was married at Lambeth chapel, September 18,- 1705, to Anne, daughter of Edward Boscawen, of Worthivil, co. Cornwall, esq. He was by letters-patent bearing date July 30, 1713, created a baronet. This worthy gentleman, who inherited the virtue and learning as well as the patrimony of his ancestors, made several alterations and additions to the family-seat at Wotton, in 1717, one of which was the erecting a beautiful library, forty-five feet long, fourteen feet broad, and as many high, for the reception of that large ajtd curious collection of books made by his grandfather, his father, and himself, and where they still remain. He was long one of the commissioners of the | customs, a fellow of the royal society, and was succeeded by his eldest son, John, who dying in 1767, was succeeded by sir Frederick Evelyn, on whose death, in 1812, the title descended to Mr. John Evelyn, the grandson of Charles, a younger son of the first baronet of the Wotton branch. 1


Biog. Brit. ms. belonging to the family. Betham’s Baronetage.