A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Evelyn, John

Evelyn, John (1620-1706).—Diarist, and miscellaneous writer, was of an old Surrey family, and was ed. at a school at Lewes and at Oxf. He travelled much on the Continent, seeing all that was best worth seeing in the way of galleries and collections, both public and private, of which he has given an interesting account in his Diary. He was all his life a staunch Royalist, and joined the King as a volunteer in 1642, but soon after repaired again to the Continent. After 1652 he was at home, settled at Sayes Court, near Deptford, where his gardens were famous. After the Restoration he was employed in various matters by the Government, but his lofty and pure character was constantly offended by the manners of the Court. In addition to his Diary, kept up from 1624-1706, and which is full of interesting details of public and private events, he wrote upon such subjects as plantations, Sylva (1664), gardening, Elysium Britannicum (unpub.), architecture, prevention of smoke in London, engraving, Sculptura (1662), and he was one of the founders of the Royal Society, of which he was for a time sec. The dignity and purity of E'.s character stand forth in strong relief against the laxity of his times.