one of the managers of the impeachment of the Jacobite rebel, the Earl of Wintoun, in March 1715–16, and opened the case against the Jew, Francis Francia, on his trial at the Old Bailey for treasonable correspondence with the friends of the Pretender (22 Jan. 1716–17). Though, as one of the committee of secrecy appointed to investigate the cases of Bolingbroke and Oxford, he had expressed himself adverse to the prosecution of the latter, he nevertheless acted as one of the managers of his impeachment in June 1717. He was rewarded on 13 July following with the post of master of the rolls, and sworn of the privy council on the 31st (Howell, State Trials, xiv. 830, 898, 1164; Parl. Hist. vii. 473; Boyer, Polit. State of Great Britain, xiv. 78, 204; Hardy, Cat. of Lords Chancellors, &c. p. 80). The rolls house having fallen into decay Jekyll rebuilt it, the king contributing 5,000l. towards the expenses (Hist. Reg. Chron. Reg. p. 39). He still continued to speak occasionally in parliament. Thus he supported the war with Spain in 1718, and took a leading part in exposing the corrupt practices of the directors of the South Sea Company in 1720. He was chief commissioner of the great seal between the resignation of the Earl of Macclesfield (7 Jan. 1725) and its delivery to his successor Lord King (1 June). In parliament he gave a steady support to Walpole, speaking in favour of the Excise Bill in March 1732–3 and against the augmentation of the land forces on the outbreak of the war of the Polish election. He was, however, more of a whig than of a courtier, and gave great offence to the queen by inopportunely raising a point of law which the law officers could not answer on occasion of the Marlborough election petition in March 1734–5, in consequence of which the decision of the committee went against the court party. Hence Pope's allusion in the ‘Epilogue to the Satires,’ Dialogue I. 38–40, to
Jekyll, or some odd old whig,
Who never changed his principle or wig.
(Parl. Hist. vii. 582, 689 et seq., 796 et seq., viii. 675, 681, 1295; Hervey, Mem. i. 472–3; Comm. Journ. xxii. 435, 437). Jekyll was also opposed to state lotteries and stage plays, and incurred much popular odium by introducing in 1736 a measure for laying a tax of 20s. per gallon on the retailing of spirituous liquors, popularly known as the ‘gin act.’ A guard of sixty soldiers was placed at the rolls to protect him from the violence of the mob (28 Sept.) Jekyll was also the author of the Mortmain Act of this year, a singularly ill-drawn measure, now superseded by the Mortmain and Charitable Uses Act, 1888 (Parl. Hist. ix. 70, 74, 944, 1033–5, 1059 et seq., 1110 et seq.; Gent. Mag. 1736, p. 551; Hervey, Mem. ii. 139; Coxe, Sir Robert Walpole, i. 475). In 1738 he was elected one of the governors of the Charterhouse. He died at his seat, Brookmans, North Mimms, Hertfordshire, of mortification of the bowels, on 19 Aug. of the same year, and was interred in the Rolls Chapel on 1 Sept. Jekyll married Elizabeth, second sister of John, lord Somers, by whom he had no issue. She survived him, dying on 29 Sept. 1745. By his will he bequeathed 20,000l. East India Stock, after his wife's death, to the commissioners of the national debt, to be applied as a sinking fund; upon which Lord Mansfield remarked that ‘he might as well have attempted to stop the middle arch of Blackfriars Bridge with his full-bottomed wig.’ A portion of the fund was restored to his residuary legatees by act of parliament in 1747. Part of his estate he left to Lord-chancellor Hardwicke, who had married his wife's niece; other property in trusts for the benefit of the dissenting interest. Jekyll appears to have been an ungraceful speaker and somewhat puzzle-headed, yet we have it on Lord Hervey's authority that ‘he spoke with more general weight though with less particular approbation’ than any of his contemporaries in the House of Commons (Hervey, Mem. i. 474).
As to the authorship of ‘A Discourse of the Judicial Authority belonging to the Office of Master of the Rolls in the High Court of Chancery,’ which has been erroneously attributed to Jekyll, see Yorke, Philip, first Earl of Hardwicke, 1690–1764.
[Foss's Judges of England; Baker's Northamptonshire, i. 132; Gent. Mag. 1738, pp. 381, 436; Burnet's Own Time; Gent. Mag. 1738 pp. 381, 436, 489, 1745 p. 558, 1747 p. 274; Cussans's Hertfordshire, ‘Hundred of Dacorum,’ p. 286; Legal Observer, ii. 96; Noble's Continuation of Granger's Biographical History of England, iii. 205–6; Harris's Life of Lord Hardwicke, i. 415.]
JEKYLL, JOSEPH (d. 1837), wit and politician, was the only son of Edward Jekyll, a captain in the royal navy, and a great-nephew of Sir Joseph Jekyll [q. v.] He was educated at Westminster School, and matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 5 Feb. 1771, aged eighteen, when his father was described as dwelling at Haverfordwest. He graduated B.A. in 1774, and M.A. in 1777. In 1769 he entered at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the bar at that inn on