Francis Hawkins

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This article is about the 17th-century British Jesuit. For the contemporary Australian politician, see Frank Hawkins (Australian politician).

Francis Hawkins (1628–1681) was an English Jesuit and child prodigy and translator. His primary fame derives from two translations he did while quite young, although he had a long career among the English speaking Jesuits in exile. His father was the noted grammarian and physician John Hawkins, and his uncles were Sir Thomas Hawkins and the Jesuit leader Henry Hawkins.

At the age of ten, he published An Alarum for Ladyes, translated from de La Serre. At thirteen, he published Youths Behaviour, or, Decency in Conversation amongst Men (1641). It is possible that the latter work was translated earlier and only published in 1641, as there are references in the work as its being the first he performed. Youths Behaviour was quite popular and ran to ten editions by 1672, and its fame was such that the Puritan Robert Codrington wrote Youths Behaviour, or, Decency in Conversation amongst Women in 1664.

As a young man and adult, he moved between the various Anglophone centers of Jesuit learning and service in Europe. He went between the Jesuit College at Watten, the English college at Liège, and the college of Saint Omer. He took his vows in 1662, and he served in multiple positions at the various colleges afterward. Hawkins's exceptional intelligence made him a natural fit for administrative duties, and he was sent from place to place to provide services. He finally settled in Liège from 1675 until his death of unknown causes in 1681.