1100K, THEODORE EDWARD, was born on the 21nd of Septem ber 1788, in Charlotte-[treat, Bedford-square, London. lie was the son of James Hook, a musical composer of some celebrity in his days by his first wife (Miss Madden), a beautiful, accomplished, and excel lent woman. There was only one other child by that marriage, Dr. James Hook, dean of Worcester, who was born in 1773, and died on the 5th of February 1828. Dr. Hook married a daughter of Sir James Farquhar, physician, in 1797; and wrote two musical pieces, 'Jack of Newbury' (1795) and 'Diamond cut Diamond' (1797), which were never printed; and two clever novels, ' Pen Owen' and ' Percy Mallory,' which have been republished. Theodore Hook's mother died in 1802, while he was yet a school-boy at Harrow. His father did not send him again to school after the funeral; and not long afterwards he married again.
Theodore Hook was a handsome boy, and remarkably clever; he had a fine ear, was an expert performer on the pianoforte, had a sweet and powerful voice, and sang a pathetic song well and a comic song delightfully. His father was employed at Vauxhall and the theatres, and Theodore wrote songs for him, and sometimes composed the airs. The stripling soon received a free admission before the curtaiu and behind it, and had his share of his father's profits. His brother, who had taken his degrees at St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, aud was then advancing in the Church, seeing the danger to which the young man's character was exposed in this career of dissipation, persuaded his father to send him to the university, and the future dean went with him to be entered at Oxford. But in order to go through a prescribed course of reading, he was not to commence his residence at the uni versity till after the expiration of a couple of terms, and he returned with his brother to London. Ho immediately set about writing an operatic farce, The Soldier's Return' (1805), which was very successful, and he gave up all thoughts of the university. He afterwards wrote several other successful operatic pieces and farces Catch him who can,' 1806; 'The Invisible Girl,' 1806; Tekeli; 1806; The Fortress, 1807 ; ' Music Mad,' 1808 ; 'Siege of St. Quentin,' 1808 ; 'Killing no Murder,' 1809 ; 'Safe and Sound,' 1809; 'Aas-ass-inatien,' 1810 ; 'The Will, or the Widow,' 1810 ; 'Trial by Jury,' 1811; 'Darkness Visible, 1311. In 1809 (he was then only twenty) he made his first essay 53
novelist by the publication of The Man of Sorrow,' under the assumed name of Alfred Allendale, Esq. It was a very flimsy work, and had no success. His life at this time was a series of riotous buffooneries.. In 1809 ha played off one of the most audacious and reckless hoaxes on record, which is known as the 'Berners.street Hoax.' Not only Berners-street, but all the streets connected with it, were rendered almost impassable by vehicles of all descriptions laden with goods of all kinds, from the heaviest to the lightest ; and persons of all ranks aud professions, including the commander-in chief, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the lord mayor, received invitations, and most of them attended.
Hook was even at this period distinguished for his conversational powers, but his talent as an improvisatore' is described as marvellous. Ile was the companion of the first Charles Matthews; and Mrs. Matthews, in her Memoirs' of her husband, relates numerous instances, not only of Hook's displays of improvisation, but of the feats of mimicry which they played off separately and conjointly. Hook was invited to perform before the Prince Regent, who was so much delighted, that after some similar exhibitions at Lady Hertford's and elsewhere, the Regent declared that "something must be done for Hook ;" and late in 1812 something was done for him :—he was appointed Accomptant-General and Treasurer to the Colony of tho Mauritius, with a salary and allowances amounting to nearly 2000/. a.year. He reached his destina tion on the 9th of October 1813, being then only twenty-five years of age. The climate, the society, the amusements, everything delighted him, and he indulged in the most lavish expenditure. Towards the close of 1817, General Farquhar, the governor, sailed for England, and Major-General Hall was sworn in as deputy-governor during his absence. An examination of the accounts and state of the treasury took place, and the report of the examiners declared that everything was correct.