Sir John Hawkins, an English navigator, born in Plymouth about 1520, died in the West Indies, Nov. 21, 1595. In his youth he made several voyages to Spain, Portugal, and the Canary islands, and was engaged for some years in the slave trade. The first adventure from England in this traffic was made by Hawkins in 1562, when he sailed with a small squadron for the coast of Guinea. There he obtained 300 blacks, whom he sold advantageously in Hispaniola (Hayti), and with the profits of this sale was enabled to fit out a second and larger enterprise for the same purpose in 1564. In the following year Queen Elizabeth granted him permission to wear as his crest "a demi Moor in his proper color, bound and captive." He made a third voyage in 1567, for which he received assistance from the queen, and with 500 negroes sailed from Guinea to Spanish America. All trade between the Spanish settlements and foreigners having been prohibited, he found himself unable to dispose of his cargo, and, indignant at the refusal of the governor of Rio de la Hacha to trade with him, he took possession of the town.
He then sailed to Cartagena and sold his slaves, but soon after leaving that place he was attacked by the Spanish fleet in the bay of San Juan de Ulua, Mexico, and escaped with but two vessels, with which he made his way to England, arriving in January, 1568. This loss seems to have disheartened him, and he made no more commercial voyages. In 1573 Elizabeth appointed him treasurer of the navy. He served in 1588 as rear admiral against the Spanish armada, and was knighted for his services. In 1590 he was sent with Sir Martin Frobisher to intercept the Plate fleet, and to harass the trade of Spain, but was successful only in the latter object. In 1595 he commanded, in conjunction with Drake, an expedition against the Spanish possessions in the West Indies. The two commanders quarrelled and separated, the attacks upon Dominica and Porto Rico were repulsed, and Hawkins died at sea. He was an able seaman, but rude, cunning, and avaricious. He was twice returned as member of parliament for Plymouth, and once also for another place.
Sir John Hawkins, an English author, born in London in March, 1719, died May 21, 1789. He was articled to an attorney, but devoted his leisure to literature and the cultivation of music. He subsequently acquired a large fortune in the practice of his profession, and by legacies and marriage. In 1741 he joined the madrigal society, and soon after gained considerable reputation by the publication of several sets of madrigals, for which he furnished the words. In 1749 he was admitted a member of Dr. Johnson's club. About 1700 he began to collect materials for a history of music, which after 16 years of labor was published in 5 vols. 4to, under the title of " General History of the Science and Practice of Music." It suffered somewhat in competition with Dr. Burney's history, published about the same time; but the value of the information which it contains is beyond all question, and it fairly supplies in learning what it lacks in elegance of style. A new edition, with an index, was published in 1853 (2 vols. 4to, London). The library which he had accumulated in the preparation of this work he presented to the British museum.
He also published an edition of Walton's "Complete Angler," and a memoir of Dr. Johnson, whose works he edited in 11 volumes.