7 JANUARY 1865, Page 9

The Times has started the often discussed subject of human

longevity. It allowed a correspondent to re-affirm the well-known opinion of Sir Cornewall Lewis, that stories of longevity beyond the century were usually apocryphal. A number of persons immediately forwarded " cases" of persons who had lived beyond that period, but only one seems to be very well authenticated. This is the case of a woman named Sarah Lee, of Alton, who died in 1864, and whose birth was registered in the parish church of Lasham as occurring on 3rd June, 1759, so that she lived 105 years. Mr, John James, F.S.A., also writes to say that he can " prove " that Henry Jenkins, of Brorapton-cum-Swale, lived to the age of 169, but he does not do it. All he does do is to establish that old men said he was in their youth still an old man, which is no evidence at all. The best proof of the scarcity of such cases is their rarity in official records, peerages, pension-lists, and other collections, the compilers of which have an interest in accuracy.