« PreviousContinue »
overlooked and neglected. Nevertheless, he laid no undue stress upon such stations and such
preferments ; but entertained just notions concerning what must ever constitute the chief good and happiness of man, and is himself believed to have made the most of them.
Where,' says he in his Adversaria, where is happiness to be found? where is her dwellingplace? Not where we seek her, and where we expect to find her. Happiness is a modest recluse, who seldom shows her lovely face in the polite or in the busy world. She is the sister and companion of religious Wisdom. Among the vanities and the evils which Solomon beheld under the
sun, one is, an access of temporal fortunes, to the detriment of the possessor: whence it appears, that such prosperity is a dangerous thing, and that few persons have a head strong enough, and a heart good enough, to bear it. A sudden rise from a low station, as it sometimes shows to advantage the vir. tuous and amiable qualities which could not exert themselves before, so it more frequently calls forth and exposes to view those spots of the soul, which lay lurking in secret, cramped by penury, and veiled with dissimulation. An honest and sensible man is placed in a middle station, in circumstances rather scanty than abounding. He hath all the necessaries, but none of the superfluities of life; and these necessaries he acquires by his prudence, his studies, and his industry. If he seek to better his income, it is by such methods as hurt neither his conscience nor his constitution. He hath friends and acquaintances of his own rank: he receives good offices from them, and he returns the same: as he hath his occupations, he hath his diversions also; and partakes of the simples
frugal, obvious, innocent, and cheerful amusements of life. By a sudden turn of things, he grows great, in the church, or in the state. Now his for tune is made ; and he says to himself, The days of scarcity are past, the days of plenty are come, and happiness is come along with them. Mistaken man! it is no such thing: he never more enjoys one happy day, compared with those which once shone upon
him. He discards his old companions, or treats them with cold, distant, and proud civility. Friendship, free and open conversation, rational inquiry, sincerity, contentment, and the plain, unadulterated pleasures of life, are no more: they departed from him along with his poverty. New connections, new prospects, new desires, and new cares take place, and engross so much of his time and of his thoughts, that he neither improves his heart nor his understanding. He lives ambitious and restless, and he diesmrich.'
The preceding account, which was first published in the Biographical Dictionary, octavo, 1784, and afterwards prefixed to Dr. Jortin's Sermons, might well indeed have precluded any other ; yet it is presumed that the following particulars may not be found unacceptable, as standing in connection with the plan of his ingenious biographer.
My father Renatus,' says Dr. Jortin, born in Bretagne in France, and studied at Saumur. I have his testimonial from that Academy, dated A. 1682. He came over, a young man, to England, with his father, mother, uncle, two aunts and two
sisters, at the time when the Protestants fled from France, about A. 1687. He was made one of the gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, in the third of King William, A. 1691, by the name of Renatus Jortin. I have his Patent. After this, and before I was born, he took a fancy to change his name into JORDAIN, and to give it an English appearance; being fond, I suppose, of passing for an Englishman, as he spoke English perfectly, and without any foreign accent. This gave me some trouble afterwards, when I went into Deacon's orders under Bishop Kennet; for the register of St. Giles in the Fields wrote my name, as it stood there, Jordain. I gave the bishop an account how it came to pass. After my father's death, my mother thought it proper to assume the true name of Jortin ; and she and I always wrote it so. My father was secretary to Lord Orford, to Sir George Rook, and to Sir Cloudesly Shovel; and was case away with the latter, October 22, 1707.
• I did not think there was any person left of our name,
till latelya I found in a newspaper, that a merchantman came to one of our ports, commanded by a Captain Jortin, from the West Indies.
• I have twice perused Bacon's ingenious History of Life and Death. It recommends abundance of things to be taken, and a variety of rules to be observed, with a view to make life healthy and long. But of these prescriptions many are too dear,
* Most probably in the year 1770, as the above is the last entry found in the Author's Adversaria.
and almost all too troublesome; and a long life is not tanti. Few persons could procure all these subsidia : A Lord Chancellor, or a Lord Bishop, might;—a poor Parson could not afford a hundredth part of the expense. But, for their comfort, I will be bold to tell them, that they may fare as well without his regimen. As to myself, I never observed any of his rules, or any rules at all, except the general ones of regularity and temperance. I never had a strong constitution; and yet,
thank God, I have had no bad state of health, and few acute disordersb?
· Archbishop Herring and I were of Jesus College in Cambridge: but he left it about the time when I was admitted, and went to another. Afterwards, when he was preacher at Lincoln's Inn, I knew him better, and visited him. He was at that time, and long before, very intimate with Mr. Say, his friend and mine, who lived in Ely House; and Mr. Say, to my knowledge, omitted no opportunity to recommend me to him. When he was Archbishop of York, he expected that a good living would lapse into his hands; and he told Mr. Say that he designed it for me. He was disappointed in his expectation; so was not I ; for I had no inclination to go and dwell in the North of England. When Mr. Say died, he asked me, of his own accord, whether I should like to succeed him in the Queen's Library : I told him that nothing could be more acceptable to me; and he immediately used all his interest to procure it for me; but he could not
• Dr. Jortin lived to his seventy-second year; and died in his parish of Kensington, A. 1770.
obtain it. A person, who is not worth the naming, was preferred to me, by the solicitation of-it matters not who..
· The Archbishop afterwards assured me of his assistance towards procuring either the preachership or the mastership of the Charterhouse, where I had gone to school. This project also failed; not by his fault, but by the opposition of—it matters not who.
• In conjunction with Bishop Sherlock he likewise procured for me the preaching of Boyle's Lectures. He also offered me a living in the country, and (which I esteemed a singular favour) he gave me leave to decline it, without taking it amiss in the least; and said that he would endeavour to serve me in a way that should be more acceptable. He did so, and gave me a living in the city. Afterwards he gave me a Doctor's degree. I thought it too late in life, as I told him, to go and take it at Cambridge, under a Professor, who, in point of academical standing, might have taken his first degree under me, when I was Moderator. I was willing to owe this favour to him, which I would not have asked or accepted from any other Archbishop.
That some persons, besides Mr. Say, did recommend me to him, I know, and was obliged to them for it. But I must add, that on this occasion they did only onéudovta ó púvervs-spur the free courser; and that he would have done what he did without their interposition.'
Thus far from the Author's private papers.
In the Journal Britannique, published at the Hague,
c St. Dunstan's in the East.