Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Coote, Charles (1761-1835)

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COOTE, CHARLES, D.C.L. (1761–1835), historian and biographer, was son of John Coote, a bookseller of Paternoster Row, and the author of several dramatic pieces, who died in 1808. He was sent to St. Paul's School in 1773 (Gardiner, Register of St. Paul's School, pp. 154, 167, 397, 402), was matriculated as a member of Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1778, took the degree of B.A. in 1782, and on 30 Dec. 1784 was elected a scholar on the Benet or Ossulstone foundation in that society. He proceeded M.A. in 1785, B.C.L. by commutation on 10 July 1789, D.C.L. on 14 July following, and was admitted a member of the College of Advocates on 3 Nov. the same year (Cat. of Oxford Graduates, ed. 1851, p. 150). He devoted his attention to literature rather than to law, and was for some time editor of the ‘Critical Review.’ To adopt his own words, ‘even after his enrolment among the associated advocates he for some years did not dwell within the circuit of the college, and when he became a resident member he rather patiently awaited employment than eagerly sought it’ (Catalogue of English Civilians, p. 133). Of a retired disposition, with much of that eccentricity and indolence which often accompany literary merit, he passed through his profession with credit and respect, but reaped little pecuniary reward (Gent. Mag. new ser. v. 93). Not being an able speaker he was rarely employed as an advocate, but he frequently acted as a judge in the court of delegates. He died at Islington on 19 Nov. 1835. Henry Charles Coote [q. v.], his son, is separately noticed.

His works are: 1. ‘Elements of the Grammar of the English Language,’ 1788, a work interesting to the grammarian and philologist; a second edition appeared in 1806. 2. ‘The History of England from the earliest Dawn of Record to the Peace of 1783,’ London, 9 vols. 8vo. 1791–8; to which he added in 1803 another volume, bringing down the history to the peace of Amiens in 1802. This history, though well written, is deficient in antiquarian research. 3. ‘Tῆς Ἐλεγείας ἣν Θωμᾶς Γραῖος ἐν κοιμητηρίῳ άγροικῷ ἐξέχυσε μετάφρασις Ἑλληνική,’ 1794. 4. ‘Life of Caius Julius Cæsar,’ 1796. 5. ‘History of the Union of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland: with an introductory Survey of Hibernian Affairs traced from the times of Celtic Colonisation,’ 1802. This contains a narrative of every important circumstance connected with what George III called the happiest event of his reign. The demand for the work was, however, very inconsiderable, even after the experiment of a formal appeal to the members of the Union Club. 6. ‘Sketches of the Lives and Characters of Eminent English Civilians, with an historical introduction relative to the College of Advocates, and an enumeration of the whole series of academic graduates admitted into that society, from the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII to the close of the year 1803. By one of the Members of the College,’ London, 1804, 8vo. An incomplete and unsatisfactory work, but valuable nevertheless to the biographer as being the only one that treats of the subject. 7. A continuation to the eighteenth century of Mosheim's ‘Ecclesiastical History’ by Maclaine, 6 vols. 1811 (Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, p. 75). 8. ‘The History of Ancient Europe, from the earliest times to the subversion of the Western Empire, with a survey of the most important Revolutions in Asia and Africa,’ 3 vols. London, 1815, 8vo; this work was intended to accompany Dr. William Russell's ‘History of Modern Europe’ (Lowndes, Bibl. Man., ed. Bohn, p. 520). 9. An edition of the works of Horace. 10. A continuation of Russell's ‘History of Modern Europe from 1763 to the Pacification of Paris in 1815,’ London, 2 vols. 1818; the same continued to 1825, London, 1827. 11. A continuation of Goldsmith's ‘History of England,’ 1819, translated into French and Italian.

[Authorities cited above.]

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