Hooke, Nathaniel

, celebrated for a “Roman History,” died July 19, 1763, but we know not at what age; | as indeed few particulars of him are recorded, though he is said, “from 1723 till his death, to have enjoyed the confidence and patronage of men not less distinguished by virtue than hy titles.” The first particular that occurs of him is from a letter to lord Oxford, dated Oct. 17,1722, by which it appears, that, having been “seized with the late epidemical distemper of endeavouring to be rich,” meaning the South-sea infatuation, “he was in some measure happy to find himself at that instant just worth nothing,” Some time after, however, he was recommended to Sarah duchess of Marlborough, who presented him with 5000l. the condition of which donation was expressly, that he the said Hooke should aid and assist her the said duchess in drawing up and digesting “An account of the conduct of the dowager duchess of Marl borough, from her first coming to court to the year 1710.” This was done, and the work was published in 1742, 8vo; but soon after she took occasion, as was usual with her, to quarrel with him, “because,” finding her without religion, “he attempted,” as she affirmed, “to convert her to popery.” Hooke was a mystic and quietist, and a warm disciple of Fenelon, whose life he translated from the French, and published in 1723, 12mo. It was he who brought a catholic priest to take Pope’s confession upon his death-bed: the priest had scarcely departed, when Bolingbroke coming in, flew into a great passion upon the occasion. He is said to have been a remarkably fine reader. Richardson informs us, that he once read some speeches of his Roman History to the speaker Onslow, who piqued himself too upon reading, and begged him to give his opinion of the work: the Speaker answered, as in a passion, “he could not tell what to think of it: it might be nonsense for aught he knew; for that his manner of reading had bewitched him.

The “Roman History” of Hooke was published in, 4 vols. 4to; the first in 1733, the second in 1745, the third in 1764, and the fourth in 1771. It embraces the events from the building of Rome to the ruin of the commonwealth. In 1758 he published “Observationson four pieces upon the Roman Senate,” among which were those of Middleton and Chapman; and was answered in an anonymous pamphlet, entitled “A short Review of Mr. Hooke’s Observations, &c. concerning the Roman Senate, and the character of Dionysius of Halicarnassus,1753, 8vo. But the author of this was Edward Spelman, esq. who was then | publishing an English translation of Dionysius. Hooke published also a translation of Ramsay’s “Travels of Cyrus,1739, 4to. Mr. Hooke left two sons; one a clergyman of the English church, rector of Birkby and vicar of Leek in Yorkshire, who died in 1791; the other a doctor of the Sorbonne, and professor of astronomy in that seminary. 1


Nichols’s Bowyer. Ruff head’s Life of Pope, 4to edit. p. 381. 421. Chesterfield’s Memoirs, 4to, p. 116. Boswell’s Tour to the Hebrides.