Hooke, Luke Joseph (DNB00)

HOOKE, LUKE JOSEPH, D.D. (1716–1796), catholic divine, son of Nathaniel Hooke (d. 1763) [q. v.], was born at Dublin in 1716. He was educated for the priesthood at the seminary of St. Nicolas du Chardonnet, Paris, graduated D.D. at the Sorbonne about 1736, and in 1742 was appointed to one of the six chairs of theology at the Sorbonne. In 1751 an outcry was raised against him for having allowed Martin de Prades, a bachelor of divinity, to argue a thesis which covertly advocated encyclopædist doctrines. Hooke pleaded in excuse that he had only cursorily examined the thesis, and that as soon as he perceived its unsoundness he had been prominent in denouncing it. In 1752 he was deprived of his professorship, but the decree, at the solicitation of his old colleagues, was rescinded in 1754. The deprivation, however, ultimately took effect. In 1762 another theological chair became vacant, and though Archbishop de Beaumont put forward a rival candidate, Petitjean, Hooke was elected by twenty-eight votes to twenty-seven. The archbishop resorted to every device to get the election annulled, and failing in this he forbade the seminaries to send their students to Hooke's lectures. Hooke, consequently, had only half a dozen auditors, and in 1766 gave up the unequal struggle by resigning his chair. He became librarian to the Mazarin Library. In 1775 he was visited by Dr. Johnson at St. Cloud. ‘We walked round the palace and had some talk,’ says Johnson in his skeleton diary, and next day Hooke returned the call at Johnson's inn (Boswell, Johnson, ed. Birkbeck Hill, ii. 397). Hooke's duties at the library were limited to three days a week and nine months of the year. In April 1791 the Paris Directory dismissed him from the librarianship, on account of his refusal of the oath to the civil constitution of the clergy. Hooke contended that his was one of the posts whose occupants were not amenable to the oath. But the Directory appointed as his successor the sub-librarian, the Abbé Le Blond. Hooke refused to retire; but after standing a sort of siege, withdrew to St. Cloud, where he died 16 April 1796. Besides several pamphlets on his personal grievances, Hooke published ‘Religionis Naturalis et Revelatæ Principia,’ Paris, 1754; reprinted in 1774 by Brewer, an English Benedictine, and by Migne in vols. ii. and iii. of his ‘Theologiæ Cursus Completus;’ and ‘Nature et Essence du Pouvoir de l'Eglise,’ 1791. He also edited in 1778, for the Duc de Fitzjames, the ‘Memoirs of Marshal Berwick.’

[Nouvelles Ecclésiastiques, 1762 p. 118, 1763 p. 21, 1764 p. 61; Almanach Royal, 1743; Barbier's Examen des Dict. Historiques, 1820.]

J. G. A.