Tooke, William
b. 1777-11-22
d. 1863-09-20
William Tooke was born at St. Petersburg, Russia on 22 November 1777 to William Tooke Sr., historian of Russia, and Elizabeth. Tooke was a lawyer and promoter of arts and literature, he traveled to England in 1792. Tooke completed his law studies under William Devon, a solicitor in Gray's Inn, with whom he established a partnership in 1798. Tooke later formed a partnership with Charles Parker and then established Tooke, Son, & Hallowes.1
In 1825, Tooke took a prominent part in the formation of the St. Katherine's Dock and helped in the foundation of the University College, London. He continued to represent the issues of the college in the 1830s by pressing the legislation of London to grant degrees -- he sat as their treasurer until 1841. Beyond his contribution to the college, Tooke was also elected as a fellow of the Royal Society on 12 March 1818; and, he was present at the first meeting of the Law Institution on 5 June 1827. He was subsequently elected to Parliament on 15 December 1832, representing the borough of Truro until 1837.2
After losing his seat, he became a candidate for Finsbury but did not proceed to the polls. Nonetheless, during the five sessions that he sat in parliament, he supported reform, promoted education and the abolition of slavery. After Tooke's death on 20 September 1863 at his London residence, 12 Russell Square, he left a legacy of work in parliament and contributions in writing. During his life, Tooke had contributed to the New Monthly Magazine, the Annual Register, and the Gentleman's Magazine.3
  • 1. G. C. Boase and Eric Metcalfe, Tooke, William, Oxford Dictionary fo National Biography.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
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