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a man of very considerable literary abilities, but more famous

, a man of very considerable literary abilities, but more famous as a political adventurer, was the son of John Home, a poulterer in Newport-market, and was born in Newport street in June 1736. He was educated both at Westminster and Eton schools, and after remaining at these seminaries about five or six years, was sent to St. John’s college, Cambridge, in 1755, which he quitted in 1758, after taking his bachelor’s degree. Little seems to be known of his conduct or proficiency in his studies, but his future works showed that the latter could not have been neglected; nor have we much accurate information as to his proceedings when he left college, dates, evidently wrong, being assigned by all who have professed to give any account of him. We can only, therefore, say generally that he was for some time an usher at Mr. Jennings’s school at Blackheath, that he took deacon’s orders at the request of his father, who had probably given him a learned education with that view, and that he first served a curacy in Kent. His own choice is said to have been the law, for which he was well qualified, but he was unable to resist the importunities of his family, and therefore entered into the church, for which he undoubtedly was the most unfit man that ever disgraced the profession. This was a radical error in his outset, and eventually the cause of much of the obloquy which attended his life. It is, as a very acute writer has observed, very necessary to keep steadily in view, in order to form a correct and candid estimate of his character, “that he was from beginning to end, a man labouring under great, perpetual, irremoveable civil disabilities.” It was a real misfortune to a man of an enterprizing disposition, and one regardless, as Home Tooke was, of the means by which such a disposition may be indulged, to become a member of an order, in which propriety and duty enjoin a sparing and partial interference with the concerns of the world, and in which, if propriety and duty are found too feeble restraints, the law interposes with a strong arm, to curb profane activity and unprofessional exertions.