Hawkey, John (1703–59), schoolmaster and editor, may have been born in Cove, Devon, or East Looe, Cornwall, son of John Hawkey, gaoler. Nothing is known of his mother. After schooling from Mr Spare in Liskeard, Cornwall, he entered TCD (24 June 1721) aged 17 and was a foundation scholar (1723), graduating BA (1725). His first work was to translate and edit Xenophon's Anabasis/The ascent of Cyrus the younger (1738), signalling his interest in the classics, from which he would gain renown by editing a series of pocket-sized Latin classics at Trinity College Press between 1745 and 1747.
The first to be issued was Virgil's Opera (1745), followed by Terence's Comoediae (1745); most copies carried an engraved vignette of the Printing House in TCD, which became a hallmark of the series and was later adopted as a general illustrative device by the University Press. In 1746 Hawkey established an academy on Grafton St., Dublin, and also published editions of the satires of Juvenal and Persius (1746) and Sallust (1747). The TCD board had subscribed to 300 copies of each of the first two works in the series, effectively underwriting it; this figure was halved for the third and fourth editions, and the board asserted that Sallust's Opera (1747) would be the last they would support. The five works as a whole displayed ‘amazing uniformity’ (Pollard, 291) and Hawkey hoped to continue the series with the collected works of Cicero in twenty volumes. However, a lack of interest and financial backing led him to abandon the plan. He did go on to produce well-regarded critical editions of Milton's Paradise lost (1747) and Paradise regained (1752). Hawkey died in Grafton St., Dublin, in July 1759.