Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hooke, Nathaniel (1664-1738)

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HOOKE, NATHANIEL (1664–1738), Jacobite, born at Corballis in the county of Meath in 1664, was third son of John Hooke, a merchant of Drogheda, and grandson of Thomas Hooke, a merchant and alderman of Dublin. Hooke, John (1655–1712) [q. v.], serjeant-at-law, was his eldest brother. In 1679 he entered Trinity College, Dublin, but he left almost immediately, possibly on account of his religious opinions, which were puritan. He proceeded to Glasgow University in 1680, but soon removed to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he was admitted a sizar on 6 July 1681 (Hist. MSS. Comm. App. to 3rd Rep. p. 328), leaving Cambridge as he had left Glasgow, without taking a degree. He then went abroad, probably joining the Earl of Argyll in Holland. In 1685 he landed with Monmouth at Lyme Regis, acting as the duke's private independent chaplain. When in the beginning of July Monmouth passed into Somerset, Hooke was sent secretly to London with one Danvers to raise an insurrection in the city; he was exempted from the general pardon issued on 10 March 1685–6, but in 1688 he gave himself up and was pardoned. Hooke now became a loyal servant of King James II, and turned Roman catholic. After James's abdication he joined Dundee in Scotland, but in May 1689 was taken at Chester and committed to the Tower of London. He was released on 12 Feb. 1689–90, went to Ireland, served in the Jacobite army at the battle of the Boyne, and then entered the French service in the Irish regiment of Galmoy. In 1702 Hooke entered into communication with the Duke of Marlborough; the next year he held a command in the regiment of Sparre, and served with the French army in Flanders and on the Moselle. In August 1705 he he went on a mission to the Scottish Jacobites, and in 1706 he obtained letters of naturalisation in France, and took part in the battle of Ramillies. In April 1707 he again went to Scotland, with Lieutenant-colonel John Murray, to confer with the Jacobites. The next year he became a brigadier in the French army (3 March 1708), was created an Irish baron, and was present at the Dunkirk expedition of that year, and at Malplaquet in the next.

Hooke had now wearied of negotiating schemes for rebellion with the Jacobites in Scotland, and refused in 1709 to go again as an emissary. He is probably the Mr. Hooke who appears as a correspondent of the Duke of Marlborough in 1710 (Hist. MSS. Comm. App. to 8th Rep. p. 38), and in 1711 he went to Dresden on a diplomatic mission from Louis XIV to Frederick Augustus, king of Poland and elector of Saxony, but this negotiation was superseded by the general arrangements for peace at Utrecht. Hooke had no active share in the rebellion of 1715. He had communications in that year with John Dalrymple, second earl of Stair [q. v.], British ambassador in Paris, but there is nothing to prove that he turned traitor to the Jacobite cause; it is more probable that in his relations with Stair he was acting as a spy in the Jacobite interest. On 18 March 1718 he became a maréchal de camp in the French army. On 1 Jan. 1720 his letters of naturalisation were confirmed and registered, and on 27 April 1721 he became a commander of the order of St. Louis. Hooke died on 25 Oct. 1738. He married in 1704 Eleanor Susan MacCarthy Reagh, probably a lady-in-waiting on the exiled queen-dowager, and by her left one son, James Nathaniel Hooke (1705–1744).

The correspondence of Colonel Hooke from 1703 to 1707, partly transcribed by Hooke's nephew, Nathanael Hooke, the historian of Rome [q. v.], is now in the Bodleian Library. This was edited, with a memoir (in vol. ii.), by the Rev. W. D. Macray, for the Roxburghe Club, 1870–1. Portions of Hooke's correspondence had previously appeared in ‘Revolutions d'Ecosse et d'Irlande en 1707, 1708, et 1709 …’ published at the Hague 1758, and in Macpherson's ‘Original Papers,’ published 1775.

[Memoir in Macray's edition of the Correspondence of Colonel Hooke.]

W. A. J. A.