Haak, Theodore

, who is said to have first suggested the weekly meetings of the royal society, and was one of its first fellows when established after the restoration, was born in 1605, at Newhausen, near Worms in the Palatinate, and educated at home. In 1625 he came to Oxford, and studied there about half a year, whence he went for the same time to Cambridge. He then visited some of the universities abroad, but returned to Oxford in 1629, and became a commoner of Gloucester-hall (now Worcester college). Here he remained three years, but without taking a degree, and, as Wood says, was made a deacon by Dr. Joseph Hall, the celebrated bishop of Exeter. He does not, however, appear to have proceeded farther in ecclesiastical ordination, and both in his translation of the “Dutch Annotations,” and in the lists of the royal society, we find him afterwards styled “Theodore Haak, Esq.” In the time of the German wars he was appointed one of the procurators to receive the benevolence money, which was raised in several dioceses in England to be transmitted to Germany, which he used to say “was a deacon’s work.” When the rebellion broke out in this country, he appears to have favoured the interests of parliament. In 1657 he published in 2 vols, folio, what is called the “Dutch Annotations upon the whole Bible,” which is a translation of the Dutch Bible, ordered by the synod of Dort, and first published in 1637. Wood says that the Dutch translators were assisted in this undertaking by bishops Carleton, Davenant, Hall, and other English divines, who were | members of the synod of Dort; but, according to the preface, the only assistance they gave was in laying before the synod an account of the manner in which king James’s translation had been performed by the co-operation of a number of the most eminent divines in England. The synod accordingly adopted the same plan; and their annotations being considered of great value to biblical students, the Westminster assembly of divines employed Haak in making this English translation, and the parliament granted him a sole right in it for fourteen years from the time of publication. Haak also translated into Dutch several English books of practical divinity, and one half of Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” He left nearly ready for the press, a translation of German proverbs, but it does not appear that this was published. He was in 1645 one of several ingenious men (Dr. Wilkins, Dr. Wallis, Dr. Goddard, &c.) who agreed to meet once a week to discourse upon subjects connected with mathematics and natural philosophy, and it was he who first suggested this humble plan on which, the royal society was afterwards formed. Mr. Haak died at the house of his kinsman Dr. Slare, a physician near Fetter-lane, London, May 9, 1690, and was buried in St. Andrew’s church, Holborn. Dr. Horneck preached his funeral sermon. He appears to have been the friend and correspondent of the most learned men of his time, and has some observations and letters in the “Philosophical Collections,” published in May 1682. There is a portrait of him in the picture gallery at Oxford, which has never been engraved. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II.-Prefaces to his Dutch Annotations."