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Freind Jenyns

(b. Jan. 1, 1704, Great Ormond Street, Holborn, London – d. Dec. 18, 1787, London, England )

Gender: M

Soame Jenyns (1704-1787) was the eldest son of sir Roger Jenyns and his second wife Elizabeth Soame. He lived at Bottisham Hall in Cambridgeshire; in 1742 he became MP for the county, and continued to represent various constituencies until 1780, though he rarely appeared in parliament. For twenty-five years he was one of the Commissioners of the Board of Trade, a lucrative post that brought him £1,000 a year. He was a prolific writer, producing light verse and works on political, economic and religious subjects. He was described as “a man of lively fancy and pleasant turn of wit; very sparkling in conversation, and full of merry conceits and agreeable drollery” (William Cole). His first prose work, Free Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Evil (1756) was the subject of a contemptuous critical review by Samuel Johnson in the Literary Magazine. In 1776 he published View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion, which propounded arguments to demonstrate that the tenets of Christianity were consistent with human reason. This was praised by Elizabeth Carter.

Also known as:

  • Soame Jenyns


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