Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jebb, Samuel

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1399016Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 29 — Jebb, Samuel1892Joseph Frank Payne

JEBB, SAMUEL, M.D. (1694?–1772), physician and scholar, born about 1694, probably at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was second son of Samuel Jebb, a maltster. His eldest brother, Richard, settled in Ireland, and became the founder of the Irish family of Jebb. Another brother, John, became dean of Cashel, and was father of Dr. John Jebb [q. v.], the Socinian. Samuel Jebb was educated at Mansfield grammar school, and became a sizar at Peterhouse, Cambridge, on 15 June 1709, aged 15. He graduated B.A. in January 1712–13 (Reg. of Peterhouse). He was intended for the church, but, having joined the nonjurors, was unable to take orders. According to Nichols (Lit. Anecd. i. 160), he remained at Cambridge at least till 1718. On leaving Cambridge he became librarian to Jeremy Collier in London, and occupied himself with literary work. Possibly the death of Collier, in 1726, had something to do with his change of profession; for on the advice of Dr. Mead he commenced the study of medicine, attending Mead's private practice, and also learning chemistry and pharmacy of Mr. Dillingham, a well-known apothecary of Red Lion Square. He took the degree of M.D. at Reims on 12 March 1728 (Munk), and set up in practice as a physician at Stratford-le-Bow, where, while successfully following his profession, he continued his literary work. He did not become licentiate of the College of Physicians till 25 June 1751 (ib.) A few years before his death he retired with a moderate fortune to Chesterfield, Derbyshire, where he died on 9 March 1772. About 1727 he married a relative of Mrs. Dillingham, the apothecary's wife, and left several children, one of whom was the physician, Sir Richard Jebb [q. v.]

Jebb was a learned physician, and a very painstaking scholar. His literary productions were chiefly editions and translations, and he published no original work on medicine. His most important literary enterprise was his edition of Roger Bacon's ‘Opus Majus’ (‘Rogeri Bacon Opus Majus nunc primum ed. S. Jebb,’ Lond. 1733, fol.; reprinted Venice, 1750), the fruit of three years' labour, undertaken at the instigation of Dr. Mead, to whom it is dedicated. As the first edition of Bacon's work, it is a most valuable contribution to the history of science [see Bacon, Roger]. His most important classical work, which, however, is not highly spoken of by modern scholars, was an edition of the works of Aristides, the Greek rhetorician. In 1720 he issued proposals for its publication in 4 vols. 4to. It ultimately appeared in 2 vols. 4to (‘Ælii Aristidis Opera Gr. et Lat. recensuit S. Jebb, Oxonii,’ vol. i. 1722, vol. ii. 1730), with introduction, collation of manuscripts, and notes. He published in 1725 a collection of sixteen historical memoirs relating to Mary Queen of Scots in Latin, French, and Spanish (‘De Vita et rebus gestis Mariæ Scotorum Reginæ quæ scriptis tradidere autores sedecim,’ 2 vols. fol. London, 1725). In the same year he issued, anonymously, ‘The History of the Life and Reign of Mary Queen of Scots,’ London, 1725, 8vo, a rather dry narrative. A similar work, evidently a companion volume, ‘The Life of Robert, Earl of Leicester, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth,’ London, 1727, 8vo, is also attributed to him. He edited the posthumous work of Dr. Hody (‘Humph. Hodii de Græcis illustribus linguæ Græcæ … instauratoribus’), with a dissertation on Hody's life and writings, London, 1742, 8vo.

In 1722 he commenced a classical periodical, ‘Bibliotheca Literaria, being a collection of Inscriptions, Medals, Dissertations,’ &c., intended to appear every two months. Ten numbers were issued from 1722 to 1724. Jebb's own contributions were anonymous. His other publications were: 1. A translation of the reply by Daniel Martin, pastor of the French church at Utrecht, to a tract by Emlyn on a theological point, 8vo, Cambridge (?), 1718; London, 1719 (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. i. 160); not in British Museum. 2. ‘Sancti Justini Martyris cum Tryphone dialogus, ed. S. J.,’ 1719, 8vo. 3. ‘Joannis Caii De Canibus Britannicis, … De Pronunciatione Græcæ et Latinæ linguæ, etc., ed. S. J.,’ 1729, 8vo.

[Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, i. 160, 436, 480, viii. (additions) 366; Nichols's Literary Illustrations, v. 398; Munk's Coll. of Phys. 1887, ii. 179.]

J. F. P.