Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Evelyn, John (1655-1699)

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EVELYN, JOHN, the younger (1655–1699), translator, third but eldest surviving son of John Evelyn [q. v.], the well-known writer, was born 19 Jan. 1654-5. On 13 Dec. 1660 his father presented him to the queenmother, who ‘made extraordinary much of him.’ Until 1662 he was ‘much brought up amongst Mr. Howard's children at Arundel House.’ In 1665 Mr. Bohun became his tutor. Early in 1667, when ‘newly out of long coates,’ he was sent to Trinity College, Oxford, under Dr. Bathurst. He left Oxford in March 1669, and was admitted of the Middle Temple 2 May 1672. On 29 March 1673 his father took him to see Peter Gunning, bishop of Chichester, who gave him instruction and advice ‘before he received the Holy Sacrament.’ On 25 May of the same year he became a younger brother of Trinity House, and on 10 Nov. 1675 he went to France in the suite of the ambassador (Lord Berkeley), returning in May of the next year. In December 1687 young Evelyn was employed in Devonshire by the treasury, as a commissioner respecting ‘concealment of land.’ Just a year later he was presented to William, prince of Orange, at Abingdon by Colonel Sidney and Colonel Berkeley. As a volunteer in Lord Lovelace's troop he helped to secure Oxford for William III. In 1690 he purchased the chief clerkship of the treasury, but was removed within the twelvemonth. He acted as a commissioner of revenue in Ireland from 1692 to 1696. He returned home in great suffering, and died in Berkeley Street, London, 24 March 1698-9, in his father's lifetime.

Evelyn married, in 1679, Martha, daughter and coheiress of Richard Spenser, esq., a Turkey merchant. She died 13 Sept. 1726 (Hist. Reg. for 1726, p. 36). By her he had two sons and three daughters, but only a son, John, and a daughter, Elizabeth (wife of Simon Harcourt, son of Lord-chancellor Harcourt), survived infancy. The son John, born 1 March 1681-2, married, 18 Sept. 1750, Anne, daughter of Edward Boscawen of Cornwall, was made a baronet 30 July 1713, built a library at Wotton, was a fellow of the Royal Society, and commissioner of customs, and died 18 July 1763. His grandson Sir Frederick, a soldier, died without issue in 1812, and his estates fell to his widow, Mary, daughter of William Turton of Staffordshire, who bequeathed them on her death in 1817 to John Evelyn, a direct descendant of George Evelyn (1530-1603), and grandfather of the present owner, Mr. William John Evelyn. Sir John, a first cousin of Sir Frederick, was fourth baronet, and with the death of this Sir John's brother Hugh, in 1848, the baronetcy became extinct.

Evelyn translated the following works: 1. ‘Of Gardens. Four books. First written in Latin verse by Renatus Rapinus, and now made English,’ London, 1673, dedicated to Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington. 2. ‘The History of the Grand Visiers,’ London, 1677, from the French of François de Chassepol. 3. Plutarch's ‘Life of Alexander the Great,’ for the ‘Plutarch's Lives by Several Hands’ (1683-6). To the third edition of his father's ‘Sylva’ (1678) Evelyn contributed some prefatory Greek hexameters, written at the age of fifteen, and in the last chapter the second book of his version of Rapin's ‘Hortorum Liber’ was reprinted. Several poems by him are printed in Dryden's ‘Miscellanies’ and in Nichols's ‘Collection of Poems.’

[Evelyn's Diary, ed. Bray and Wheatley, i. lxxxvii, and ii. passim; Dews's Hist. of Deptford; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 689.]

S. L. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.119
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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83 ii 1 Evelyn, John (1655-1699): for 1696 read his death in 1699