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OAME JENYNS, Efq. the author


of these volumes, was born at twelve o'clock at night, in Great Ormondstreet, in London, in the year 1704. His father, Sir Roger Jenyns, Knt. was defcended from the ancient and refpectable family

* The hour of his birth he often mentioned, fometimes adding, that, if it were difficult to anfwer the queftion propofed in Aulus Gellius, lib. iii. cap. 2. 2. "Quæri folitum eft, qui noctis "hora tertia, quartave, five qua alia nati funt, "uter dies natalis haberi appellarique debeat, isne 66 quem nox ea confecuta eft, an qui dies noc"tem confecutus eft," it was ftill more difficult to ascertain the day of his birth; and he added farther, in his pleasant manner, that as that queftion had not been determined, he confidered himfelf at liberty to choose his birth-day, and preferring the birth of the year to the day of its death, he had chofen New Year's Day, which in all civilized countries, was celebrated as a day of general feftivity. He would


family of the Jenyns's, of Churchill in Somerfetfhire; one of whom, about the middle of the fixteenth century, by an intermarriage with a coheiress of the Rowlet family, became poffeffed of Sandridge in the county of Hertford; whofe defcendant, Sir John Jenyns, was created by King James a Knight of the Bath at the creation of Charles Prince of Wales, and was returned to reprefent the borough of St. Alban's, in the fecond parliament holden after the crown had defcended to that prince.

About the middle of the laft century a younger branch of this family fettled in

would fay, likewife, that this circumftance attending his birth made him often laugh at the folemn manner in which biographers recorded the events that happened at the birth of those whose lives they had written, as portentous of their future deftinations or characters in life; for, though he was born in the moment of controverfy, yet, of all subjects in which the learned engaged, that was to him the moft disagreeable.


Cambridgeshire, which county was represented in three parliaments by John, the elder brother of Sir Roger.

Sir Roger's refidence in the country was at Ely, in the Ifle of Ely, where he spent much of his time in an application to thofe kinds of bufinefs which render gentlemen who live in the country most serviceable to their neighbours, and thereby procure them that degree of weight and respect which will always attend on such a character. He was an upright, knowing, and diligent magiftrate, a great encourager of industry, and at enmity with vice and its parent idleness; a constant promoter of good and orderly government, both by precept and example. Amongst other objects of his attention to the interefts of the public, he exceedingly laboured in carrying into execution the draining of the great level of the fens; went through all the higher offices in that corporation, which was created by an act of Parliament paffed in the time VOL. I b


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