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COKE, SIR J.—COKE

he said, ought not to be discussed in ordinary argument. Upon this all the judges fell on their knees, seeking pardon for the form of their letter; but Coke ventured to declare his continued belief in the loyalty of its substance, and when asked if he would in the future delay a case at the king’s order, the only reply he would vouchsafe was that he would do what became him as a judge. Soon after he was dismissed from all his offices on the following charges,—the concealment, as attorney-general, of a bond belonging to the king, a charge which could not be proved, illegal interference with the court of chancery and disrespect to the king in the case of commendams. He was also ordered by the council to revise his book of reports, which was said to contain many extravagant opinions (June 1616).

Coke did not suffer these losses with patience. He offered his daughter Frances, then little more than a child, in marriage to Sir John Villiers, brother of the favourite Buckingham. Her mother, supported at first by her husband’s great rival and her own former suitor, Bacon, objected to the match, and placed her in concealment. But Coke discovered her hiding-place; and she was forced to wed the man whom she declared that of all others she abhorred. The result was the desertion of the husband and the fall of the wife. It is said, however, that after his daughter’s public penance in the Savoy church, Coke had heart enough to receive her back to the home which he had forced her to leave. Almost all that he gained by his heartless diplomacy was a seat in the council and in the star-chamber.

In 1620 a new and more honourable career opened for him. He was elected member of parliament for Liskeard; and henceforth he was one of the most prominent of the constitutional party. It was he who proposed a remonstrance against the growth of popery and the marriage of Prince Charles to the infanta of Spain, and who led the Commons in the decisive step of entering on the journal of the House the famous petition of the 18th of December 1621, insisting on the freedom of parliamentary discussion, and the liberty of speech of every individual member. In consequence, together with Pym and Sir Robert Philips, he was thrown into confinement; and, when in the August of the next year he was released, he was commanded to remain in his house at Stoke Poges during his Majesty’s pleasure. Of the first and second parliaments of Charles I. Coke was again a member. From the second he was excluded by being appointed sheriff of Buckinghamshire. In 1628 he was at once returned for both Buckinghamshire and Suffolk, and he took his seat for the former county. After rendering other valuable support to the popular cause, he took a most important part in drawing up the great Petition of Right. The last act of his public career was to bewail with tears the ruin which he declared the duke of Buckingham was bringing upon the country. At the close of the session he retired into private life; and the six years that remained to him were spent in revising and improving the works upon which, at least as much as upon his public career, his fame now rests. He died at Stoke Poges on the 3rd of September 1634.

Coke published Institutes (1628), of which the first is also known as Coke upon Littleton; Reports (1600–1615), in thirteen parts; A Treatise of Bail and Mainprize (1635); The Complete Copyholder (1630); A Reading on Fines and Recoveries (1684).

See Johnson, Life of Sir Edward Coke (1837); H. W. Woolrych, The Life of Sir Edward Coke (1826); Foss, Lives of the Judges; Campbell, Lives of the Chief Justices; also English Law.


COKE, SIR JOHN (1563–1644), English politician, was born on the 5th of March 1563, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After leaving the university he entered public life as a servant of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, afterwards becoming deputy-treasurer of the navy and then a commissioner of the navy, and being specially commended for his labours on behalf of naval administration. He became member of parliament for Warwick in 1621 and was knighted in 1624, afterwards representing the university of Cambridge. In the parliament of 1625 Coke acted as a secretary of state; in this and later parliaments he introduced the royal requests for money, and defended the foreign policy of Charles I. and Buckingham, and afterwards the actions of the king. His actual appointment as secretary dates from September 1625. Disliked by the leaders of the popular party, his speeches in the House of Commons did not improve the king’s position, but when Charles ruled without a parliament he found Coke’s industry very useful to him. The secretary retained his post until 1639, when a scapegoat was required to expiate the humiliating treaty of Berwick with the Scots, and the scapegoat was Coke. Dismissed from office, he retired to his estate at Melbourne in Derbyshire, and then resided in London, dying at Tottenham on the 8th of September 1644. Coke’s son, Sir John Coke, sided with the parliament in its struggle with the king, and it is possible that in later life Coke’s own sympathies were with this party, although in his earlier years he had been a defender of absolute monarchy. Coke, who greatly disliked the papacy, is described by Clarendon as “a man of very narrow education and a narrower mind”; and again he says, “his cardinal perfection was industry and his most eminent infirmity covetousness.”


COKE, THOMAS (1747–1814), English divine, the first Methodist bishop, was born at Brecon, where his father was a well-to-do apothecary. He was educated at Jesus College, Oxford, taking the degree of M.A. in 1770 and that of D.C.L. in 1775. From 1772 to 1776 he was curate at South Petherton in Somerset, whence his rector dismissed him for adopting the open-air and cottage services introduced by John Wesley, with whom he had become acquainted. After serving on the London Wesleyan circuit he was in 1782 appointed president of the conference in Ireland, a position which he frequently held, in the intervals of his many voyages to America. He first visited that country in 1784, going to Baltimore as “superintendent” of the Methodist societies in the new world and, in 1787 the American conference changed his title to “bishop,” a nomenclature which he tried in vain to introduce into the English conference, of which he was president in 1797 and 1805. Failing this, he asked Lord Liverpool to make him a bishop in India, and he was voyaging to Ceylon when he died on the 3rd of May 1814. Coke had always been a missionary enthusiast, and was the pioneer of such enterprise in his connexion. He was an ardent opponent of slavery, and endeavoured also to heal the breach between the Methodist and Anglican communions. He published a History of the West Indies (3 vols., 1808–1811), several volumes of sermons, and, with Henry Moore, a Life of Wesley (1792).


COKE (a northern English word, possibly connected with “colk,” core), the product obtained by strongly heating coal out of contact with the air until the volatile constituents are driven off; it consists essentially of carbon, the so-called “fixed carbon,” together with the incombustible matters or ash contained in the coal from which it is derived. In addition to these it almost invariably contains small quantities of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, the whole, however, not exceeding 2 or 3%. It also contains water, the amount of which may vary considerably according to the method of manufacture. When produced rapidly and at a low heat, as in gas-making, it is of a dull black colour, and a loose spongy or pumice-like texture, and ignites with comparative ease, though less readily than bituminous coal, so that it may be burnt in open fire-places; but when a long-continued heat is used, as in the preparation of coke for iron and steel melting, the product is hard and dense, is often prismatic in structure, has a brilliant semi-metallic lustre and silvery-grey colour, is a conductor of heat and electricity, and can only be burnt in furnaces provided with a strong chimney draught or an artificial blast. The strength and cohesive properties are also intimately related to the nature and composition of the coals employed, which are said to be caking or non-caking according to the compact or fragmentary character of the coke produced.

Formerly coke was made from large coal piled in heaps with central chimneys like those of the charcoal burner, or in open rectangular clamps or kilns with air flues in the enclosing walls; but these methods are now practically obsolete, closed chambers or ovens being generally used. These vary considerably in construction, but may be classified into three principal types:—(1) direct heated ovens, (2) flue-heated ovens, (3) condensing