Jonas

in Dryden's satire of Absalom and Achitophel, is meant for Sir William Jones, Attorney-General, who conducted the prosecution of the Popish Plot (June 25th, 1674); not the great Oriental scholar, who lived 1746-1794. The attorney-general was called in the satire Jonas by a palpable pun.

Not bull-faced Jonas, who could statutes draw
To mean rebellion and make treason law.

Dryden: Absalom and Achitophel, part i. 520, 521.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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