Jennings, Louis John (DNB01)

JENNINGS, LOUIS JOHN (1836–1893), journalist and politician, son of John Jennings, a member of an old Norfolk family, was born on 12 May 1836. Before he was twenty-five he became connected with the 'Times,' for which journal he was sent to India as special correspondent in 1863. For some time he was editor of the 'Times of India.' After the civil war he was the representative of the 'Times' in America, as successor to Dr. Charles Mackay [q. v.] In 1867 he published 'Eighty Years of Republican Government in the United States,' London, 1868, cr. 8vo, and in the same year he married Madeline, daughter of David Henriques of New York. He settled in New York and became the editor of the 'New York Times.' The municipal government of the city had fallen into the hands of the Tammany Ring and 'Boss' Tweed. Jennings, undeterred by threats of personal violence, and even of murder, during many months exposed the malpractices in his newspaper, and finally had the satisfaction of seeing the corrupt organisation broken up through his public-spirited and courageous efforts, and the ring-leaders, who had defrauded their fellow-citizens of millions of dollars, punished. This remarkable achievement was commemorated by a testimonial to Jennings, signed by representatives of the best classes in New York.

Jennings returned to London in 1876 to devote himself to literature, founded and edited 'The Week,' a newspaper which did not meet with much success, and became a contributor to the 'Quarterly Review,' for the publisher of which, John Murray, he acted as reader. In 1877 he had charge of the city article in the 'World.' He was an active pedestrian, and published 'Field Paths and Green Lanes: being Country Walks, chiefly in Surrey and Sussex' (1877 &c. five editions), followed by 'Rambles among the Hills in the Peak of Derbyshire and the South Downs' (1880), with some charming wood-cuts after sketches by Mr. A. H. Hallam Murray. These volumes have nothing of the formal character of guide-books, but are racy descriptions of secluded country paths interspersed with stories of quaint rural wayfarers. In 1882-3 he wrote a novel, 'The Millionaire,' said to depict Jay Gould, the American, which appeared in 'Blackwood's Magazine,' and was afterwards published anonymously (1883, 3 vols.)

His most important literary undertaking was to edit 'The Croker Papers: the Correspondence and Diaries of the late Rt. Hon. John Wilson Croker, Secretary to the Admiralty from 1809 to 1830' (London, 1884, 3 vols. 8vo; 2nd edit, revised, 1885), a duty which he performed with much skill and judgment. In November 1885 and July 1886 he was elected M.P. for Stockport in the conservative interest, and became absorbed in politics. He was a follower of Lord Randolph Churchill [q. v. Suppl.], but dissociated himself when Lord Randolph attacked the appointment of the Parnell commission in 1889. His last literary work was to edit Lord Randolph Churchill's 'Speeches, with Notes and Introduction' (1889, 2 vols. 8vo). He acted as London correspondent of the 'New York Herald,' and published 'Mr. Gladstone: a Study' (1887, cr. 8vo, several editions), a severe party attack criticised by Mr. H. J. Leech in 'Mr. Gladstone and his Reviler,' 1888. After two years' illness he died on 9 Feb. 1893, at Elm Park Gardens, London, aged 56, leaving a widow and children.

[Athenæum, 18 Feb. 1893, p. 221; Men and Women of the Time, 1891, 13th edit. p. 500; Supplement to Allibone's Dictionary, 1891, ii. 908; Times, 10 Feb. p. 5, and 11 Feb. 1893, p. 1.]

H. R. T.