Soame Jenyns

British writer and politician (1704-1787)

Soame Jenyns (1 January 170418 December 1787) was an English writer and Member of Parliament.

Soame Jenyns


  • Great men whilst living must expect disgraces,
    Dead they're ador'd—when none desire their places.
    • "The First Epistle of the Second Book of Horace, Imitated", lines 19-20, in Poems (1752), p. 87
  • The chief business of a government is like that of a nurse, to hinder those who are under its care from doing mischief to themselves.
    • "Reflections on Several Subjects", in Miscellaneous Pieces, Vol. II (1761), p. 250
  • If christian nations therefore were nations of christians, all war would be impossible and unknown among them.
    • A View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion (1776), p. 47
  • Man is that link of the chain of universal existence, by which spiritual and corporeal Beings are united … How will man, that sanguinary tyrant, be able to excuse himself from the charge of those innumerable cruelties inflicted on his unoffending subjects committed to his care, formed for his benefit, and placed under his authority by their common Father?
    • Disquisitions on Several Subjects (1782), Disquisition II: "On Cruelty to Inferior Animals", p. 11
  • We are unable to give life, and therefore ought not wantonly to take it away from the meanest insect, without sufficient reason; they all receive it from the same benevolent hand as ourselves, and have therefore an equal right to enjoy it.

Quotes about Jenyns

  • Soames Jenyns and his more celebrated reviewer, Dr. Johnson, as explicitly as Bentham, laid down the doctrine that utility is the foundation of morals.