Evans, John (1814-1875) (DNB00)

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EVANS, JOHN (1814–1875), better known as I. D. Ffraid, Welsh poet and Calvinistic methodist minister, was born at Ty Mawr, Llansantffraid yn Nghonwy, North Wales, 23 July 1814. At the age of sixteen he published a ‘History of the Jews’ in Welsh, at twenty-one his ‘Difyrwch Bechgyn Glanau Conwy,’ a volume of poetry. Much of his later work was of a fugitive character, contributions of prose and verse to the periodical literature of the day. He was known for many years as a regular contributor of a racy letter to the ‘Baner,’ under the name of Adda Jones. A writer in the ‘Gwyddoniadur’ (the Welsh Cyclopædia) says that many of the letters remind one of Addison's ‘Essays’ in their liveliness, wit, and ingenious reasonings. He strikes his opponent till he groans, and at the same time tickles him till he laughs, and the reader is amused and instructed. He translated Young's ‘Night Thoughts’ and Milton's ‘Paradise Lost’ (xxxvi. 418, no date). It is on this last his reputation will chiefly rest, and it has received high praise in Dr. Lewis Edwards's ‘Traethodau Llenyddol.’ Dr. W. O. Pughe had already translated the ‘Paradise Lost’ into Welsh, but the doctor's Welsh was so artificial that it was never much read. Evans died 4 March 1876, and his remains were interred in the burying-ground of his native parish, 10 March.

[A Critical Essay on the Life and Work of I. D. Ffraid in the Geninen for March 1888.]

R. J. J.