A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Tooke, John Horne

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Tooke, John Horne (1736-1812). -- Philologist, s. of a poulterer called Horne, added the name of Tooke in 1782 in anticipation of inheriting from his friend W. Tooke, of Purley. He was at Camb. and took orders, but disliking the clerical profession, travelled abroad. Returning he became prominent as a radical politician, and espoused the cause of Wilkes, with whom, however, he afterwards quarrelled. He also supported the revolted American colonists, and was fined and imprisoned for endeavouring to raise a subscription for them. An effort to be admitted to the Bar was unsuccessful; and in 1786 he published his Diversions of Purley, a work on philology which brought him great reputation, and which, containing muck that has been proved to be erroneous, showed great learning and acuteness. T. twice endeavoured unsuccessfully to enter Parliament for Westminster, but ultimately sat for the rotten burgh of Old Sarum, making, however, no mark in the House. He was the author of numerous effective political pamphlets.