John Hall Biography

John Hall (1627–1656), also known as John Hall of Durham, was an English poet, essayist and pamphleteer of the Commonwealth period. After a short period of adulation at university, he became a writer in the Parliamentary cause and Hartlib Circle member.
The son of Michael Hall, he was born at Durham in August 1627, was educated at Durham School, and was admitted to St John's College, Cambridge, on 26 February 1646. Hall remained at Cambridge till May 1647, but considered his real merits unrecognised there. He later entered Gray's Inn.

Hall was not initially against the monarchy; but his early views were reforming and utopian. He was much influenced by Baconianism and the chance of a renewal of learning. Blair Worden describes Hall as "elusive" in the period from 1649, but points out parallels with the political development in the views of John Milton.

By command of the Council of State he accompanied Oliver Cromwell in 1650 to Scotland. His friend John Davies states that Hall was awarded a pension of £100 per annum by Cromwell and the council for his pamphleteering services.

Hall died on 1 August 1656, leaving unpublished works. Thomas Hobbes frequently visited him; another of his friends was Samuel Hartlib.