John Evelyn

1620-1706. Diarist and author. Fourth son of a landed gentleman in Surrey, he remained a pious Christian, loyal Anglican, and Royalist all his life. In the Commonwealth period he refused office, often traveling abroad. After the Restoration he enjoyed Charles II's confidence, but was assigned difficult and unremunerative appointments such as the care of prisoners. Evelyn consistently sought the good of the realm, suggesting remedies for air pollution, dirt in streets, traffic congestion, deforestation of the land, and other things. He held it is man's duty to study God's handiwork in nature. He was a co-founder of the Royal Society. “Whatever you love besides God only, pray you may not love too much” summarizes his attitude to life. His Diary (6 vols., ed. E.S. de Beer) was published in 1955. His own books number more than forty.

See biography by F. Higham (1968).