1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hawkesworth

Isaac Reed, in Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse (1782) 1:211-12.



JOHN HAWKESWORTH, LL.D. This gentleman was born about the year 1719. He originally was brought up to a mechanical profession, and, if we are not misinformed, that of a watch-maker. He was likewise of the sect of presbyterians, and a member of the celebrated Tom Bradbury's meeting, from which he was expelled for some irregularities. He afterwards devoted his attention to literature, and became an author of considerable eminence. In the early part of his life, his circumstances were rather confined. He resided some time at Bromley, in Kent, where his wife kept a boarding-school, which they relinquished in order to accommodate two women fortune who came to reside with them. He afterwards became known to a lady who had great property and interest in the East-India company, and through her means was chosen a director of that body. When the design of compiling a narrative of the discoveries in the South-Seas was suggested, he was recommended as a proper person to be employed on the occasion. This task he executed, and is said to have received for it the enormous sum of 6000. His work, though written with elegance, whether through want of accuracy in the narrative, or from some notions which were propagated in it of an heterodox cast, or on account of particular occurrences too luxuriantly described, did not afford that complete satisfaction that was expected from it. In consequence of his situation as an East-India director, and of his connection with the admiralty while writing the above work, it has been suggested that he injured his health by too freely indulging in the pleasures of the table, which brought on a fever, of which he died at a friend's house, in Lime-street, Nov. 17, 1773. He is the author of,

1. Amphytryon. C. altered. 8vo. 1756.
2. Oroonoko. 1759.