Jacob, Giles (DNB00)

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JACOB, GILES (1686–1744), compiler, born in 1686 at Romsey, Hampshire, was the son of a maltster. In his ‘Poetical Register’ (i. 318) he states that he was bred to the law under a ‘very eminent attorney,’ and that he was afterwards steward and secretary to the Hon. William Blathwait. He died on 8 May 1744.

Jacob was a most diligent compiler. He is chiefly remembered by the

  1. ‘Poetical Register, or Lives and Characters of the English Dramatic Poets,’ 2 vols., 1719–20, 8vo (some copies are dated 1723); and
  2. ‘A New Law Dictionary,’ 1729, fol., which reached a tenth edition in 1782, and was reissued, with additions by T. Tomlins, in 1797, 1809, and 1835.
Among other law-books compiled by Jacob are:
  1. ‘The Accomplished Conveyancer,’ 3 vols., 1714.
  2. ‘Lex Mercatoria,’ 1718.
  3. ‘Lex Constitutionis,’ 1719.
  4. ‘The Laws of Appeal and Murder,’ 1719.
  5. ‘The Laws of Taxation,’ 1720.
  6. ‘The Common Law common-placed,’ 1726.
  7. ‘The Compleat Chancery-Practiser,’ 1730.
  8. ‘City Liberties,’ 1732, &c.
Other compilations are:
  1. ‘The Compleat Courtkeeper, or Land-Steward's Assistant,’ 1713; 8th edit. 1819.
  2. ‘The Country Gentleman's Vade Mecum, containing an Account of the best Methods to improve Lands,’ 1717.
  3. ‘The Compleat Sportsman,’ in three parts, 1718.
  4. ‘The Land Purchaser's Companion,’ 1720.

In 1714 Jacob published an indifferent farce (never acted), ‘Love in a Wood, or the Country Squire’ (one act, prose); and he mentions in the ‘Poetical Register’ that he had written a play called ‘The Soldier's Last Stake.’ ‘Human Happiness: a Poem,’ &c., appeared in 1721, with a dedication to Prior.

Pope introduced Jacob in the ‘Dunciad,’ iii. 149–50:—

Jacob, the Scourge of Grammar, mark with awe,
Nor less revere him, Blunderbuss of Law.

In the ‘Poetical Register’ Pope had been handsomely treated, but scant courtesy had been shown to Gay, in whose behalf Pope attacked Jacob. The latter retorted in a letter to John Dennis, printed in ‘Remarks upon several Passages in the Preliminaries to the “Dunciad,” by John Dennis,’ 1729. In 1733 Jacob reprinted the letter to Dennis (and opened a fresh attack on Pope) in ‘The Myrrour, or Letters Satyrical, Panegyrical, Serious,’ &c., 8vo.

[Poetical Register, i. 318; Baker's Biographia Dramatica, 1812; Nichols's Anecdotes, viii. 296–297; Watt; Brit. Mus. Cat. See for supposed descendants Jacob and Glascott's Hist. and Genealog. Narrative of the Families of Jacob, privately printed, p. 99.]

A. H. B.