From Irish Wig Rebel to Bourbon Diplomat: The Life and Career of Nathaniel Hooke (1664-1738)
Byrne, Thomas (2006) From Irish Wig Rebel to Bourbon Diplomat: The Life and Career of Nathaniel Hooke (1664-1738). PhD thesis, NUI Maynooth.
This thesis examines the career of Nathaniel Hooke (1664-1738). Born to an Anglo-Irish Protestant family in Dublin, he became involved with Whig radicals opposed to Charles II and James II in 1680s England. Hooke was the only Irish participant in Monmouth's rebellion in 1685. After experiencing defeat and exile he surrendered and was pardoned by James II in 1688. Converting to Catholicism, he remained loyal to James II, serving in his entourage in Ireland and France until 1700. In 1702, on the basis of insightful memoranda recommending strategies to address the political, military and commercial challenges facing France in a European and global context, he was employed by the French foreign minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, marquis de Torcy. Throughout the War of Spanish Succession, Hooke acted as a policy adviser to de Torcy, as well as his personal agent on diplomatic missions to Holland, Scotland and Saxony; several of his analytical memoranda were read by de Torcy to the Conseil dâen haut of Louis XIV. Hooke was thus a significant figure in the formulation and implementation of French foreign policy. Examining Hooke's career highlights the importance of reassessing Irish history from a European perspective and casts light on the broader survival strategies and experiences of the Irish in Europe. The study also explores issues of identity, presentation and perception and addresses a number of historiographical questions in relation to the creation and manipulation of the historical record. Thus a study of Hooke offers a rich and rewarding vein of insight and understanding at a personal level, of migration, strategies for survival and identity and transformation in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, while at the same time linking this individual experience with the broader unfolding of history by shedding light on workings of geopolitics, diplomacy and international relations.
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