John Graunt, the author of the "Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality" was the son of Henry Graunt, a Hampshire man but a citizen of London, who carried on the business of a draper at the sign of the Seven Stars in Birchin Lane. Of the eight children born to Henry Graunt and Mary, his wife, John, who first saw the light between seven and eight in the morning of April 24th, 1620, was probably the eldest. While a boy he had been educated in English learning and he afterwards acquired Latin and French by studying mornings before shop-time. There is also some indication that he was not lacking in artistic tastes. He was apparently not only the friend of Samuel Cooper, the miniaturist, and of the portrait painter John Hayls, but he was also a collector himself. Pepys found his prints "indeed the best collection of anything almost that ever I saw, there being the prints of most of the greatest houses, churches and antiquitys in Italy and France, and brave cutts." Graunt was bound apprentice to a haberdasher of small wares, and he mostly followed that trade, though free of the Drapers' Company. That he became a person of standing in his world we have ample assurance. He went through all the offices of the City as far as common council-man, bearing that office two years. He was known as a great peacemaker and was often chosen an arbitrator between disputing merchants. He had, before the completion of his thirtieth year, sufficient influence to secure for his friend Petty the professorship of
- Aubrey, Brief Lives, i. 271—274.
- Register of St Michael, Corn hill (Harleian Society), 33.
- His is the earliest recorded christening among the children of Henry Graunt. Register, 114; cf. pp. 114, 116, 117, 119, 121, 122, 239.
- Pepys's Diary, 2 Jan, 1662.
- Pepys, 26 April, 1668.
- Pepys, 20 April, 1663. "I had not time," he characteristically adds, "to look them over as I ought."