Aland, John Fortescue (DNB00)

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ALAND, Sir JOHN FORTESCUE, first Baron Fortescue of Credan (1670–1746), justice of the common pleas, was the second son of Edmund Fortescue, a descendant of Sir John Fortescue, chief justice in the reign of Henry VI. His father took the name of Aland on his marriage with Sarah, daughter of Henry Aland, of Waterford. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1712, and became reader to that society in 1716. On the accession of George I he became solicitor-general to the Prince of Wales, and subsequently (December 1715) solicitor-general to the king. In January 1717 he was raised to the bench as a baron of the exchequer, and in 1718 appointed a justice of the king's bench. On the accession of George II he was superseded, but in January 1728 was appointed a justice of the common pleas. He held this office till June 1746, when he resigned. It is said that he had four years before petitioned for leave to retire with a pension, and had requested that a seat in the House of Commons might be obtained for him. This request, if it was ever made, was of course refused; but on his resignation in 1746 he received an Irish peerage. He died a few months afterwards, 19 Dec. 1746. He married first a daughter of Lord Chief-Justice Pratt, and secondly a daughter of Sir William Dormer, a justice of the king's bench. He was a fellow of the Royal Society and a D.C.L. of Oxford, though he was probably not educated there (see Lord Clermont, Hist. of the Family of Fortescue, ii. 73). He was the author of ‘Reports on Select Cases in all the Courts of Westminster Hall,’ published after his death in 1748. He also issued a good edition of his ancestor Sir John Fortescue's work, ‘The Difference between an Absolute and Limited Monarchy’ (London, 1714), with an excellent introduction containing some sensible remarks on the importance of studying the earliest specimens of English law, and of understanding the ‘Saxon’ language. Lord Fortescue's appearance was very peculiar, and his nose was specially remarkable. There is a well-known story told of him to the effect that a counsel practising before him, being reproached with handling his case in a lame manner, replied: ‘Have patience with me, and I will make it as plain as the nose on your lordship's face.’ Lord Fortescue has been sometimes confused (as in Chalmers's Biograph. Dict.) with his kinsman William Fortescue, master of the rolls, the friend of Pope.

[Lord Clermont's History of the Family of Fortescue, 1869, ii. 67; Foss's Judges of England, viii. 98; Park's Edition of Walpole's Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, v. 290; Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary.]

S. J. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.4
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
216 i 26 Aland, Sir John F.: after 1716 insert He became K.C. in 1714
29  after the king insert He was whig M.P. for Midhurst from 1715 until he became a judge