Hodgkin, John (1766-1845) (DNB00)

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HODGKIN, JOHN (1766–1845), grammarian, born at Shipston-on-Stour, 1766, was educated partly at a quakers' school at Worcester, and partly by his uncle, Thomas Hodgkin, a successful private tutor in London, who invited his nephew to enter his own profession. In 1787 he joined Thomas Young [q. v.] in superintending the education of Hudson Gurney [q. v.] The two tutors seem to have given each other mutual instruction for four years, and tutors and pupil remained warm friends through life.

In 1792 Hodgkin spent some months at Vincennes in order to improve his knowledge of French. Of his recollections of the royal family he has left some record in a manuscript autobiography. When the king took the oath to the constitution, Hodgkin, as a quaker, had a conscientious objection to raise his hand with the multitude swearing fidelity to the compact between king and people, while his plain dress caused him to be continually taken for an abbé. He managed, however, to escape real danger. He describes in graphic language the consternation at Vincennes on 10 Oct. 1792, the day of the massacre of the Swiss guard.

Hodgkin returned to England, and soon became well known as a private tutor. His pupils were chiefly ladies belonging to the families of wealthy citizens in the environs of London. These he instructed in the classics and mathematics, but especially in the art of handwriting, in which he greatly excelled. He resided for some years at Pentonville, London, and then removed to Tottenham, where he died in August 1845. He married in 1793 Elizabeth Rickman of Lewes, a cousin of Thomas Rickman the architect [q. v.] His sons, Thomas [q. v.] (1798–1866) and John [q. v.] (1800–1875), are noticed separately.

Hodgkin has left a remarkable record of his skill in handwriting in his ‘Calligraphia Græca.’ It was written in 1794, and was dedicated to Hodgkin's friend Dr. Young, at whose suggestion it was composed. Young also furnished the gnomic sentences from various authors, which Hodgkin wrote in beautiful Greek characters, and his friend Henry Ashby engraved. A translation by Young of Lear's curse into Greek iambics, undertaken ‘rogatu viri omnium disertissimi Edmundi Burke,’ was also added. The work was not published till 1807, when it appeared together with ‘Pœcilographia Græca,’ in which nineteen Greek alphabets of various periods are figured, and some seven hundred contractions used in Greek manuscripts are given. Some of the latter were brought under Hodgkin's notice by Porson, with whom he had a slight acquaintance. Hodgkin also published, besides school and exercise books: 1. ‘Definitions of some of the Terms made use of in Geography and Astronomy,’ London, 1804; 2nd edit., 1812. 2. ‘Specimens of Greek Penmanship,’ London, 1804. 3. ‘An Introduction to Writing,’ 4th edit., London, 1811. 4. ‘A Sketch of the Greek Accidence,’ London, 1812. He likewise took part in ‘Excerpta ex J. F. Bastii commentatione cum tabulis lithographicis a J. Hodgkin transcripta,’ 1835.

[Manuscript Autobiography and private information; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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