Pollock, Jonathan Frederick (DNB00)

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POLLOCK, Sir JONATHAN FREDERICK (1783–1870), judge, third son of David Pollock, saddler, of Charing Cross, by his wife Sarah Homera, daughter of Richard Parsons, receiver-general of customs, and brother of Sir David Pollock [q. v.], and also of Field-marshal Sir George Pollock [q. v.], was born in the parish of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields on 23 Sept. 1783. He was educated at private schools, at St. Paul's School, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a scholarship in 1804, but was nevertheless so poor that, but for the help afforded him by his tutor, the ‘unlucky Tavel’ of Byron's ‘Hints from Horace,’ he must have left the university without a degree. He graduated B.A. in 1806, being senior wrangler and first Smith's prizeman, was elected fellow of his college in 1807, proceeded M.A. in 1809, and on 27 Nov. of the same year was called to the bar at the Middle Temple.

Uniting a retentive memory, great natural acumen, and tact in the management of juries, with a profound knowledge theoretical and practical of the common law, and a perfect mastery of accounts and mercantile usages, Pollock rapidly acquired an extensive practice both at Westminster and on the northern circuit, though among his rivals were Brougham and Scarlett. He took silk in Easter vacation 1827, and on 2 May 1831 was returned to parliament in the tory interest for the close borough of Huntingdon, which he continued to represent throughout his parliamentary career. He was knighted, 29 Dec. 1834, on accepting the office of attorney-general in Sir Robert Peel's first administration, which terminated on 9 April 1835; resumed the same office on the formation of Peel's second administration, 6 Sept. 1841, and held it until he was appointed lord chief baron of the exchequer, in succession to Lord Abinger [see Scarlett, Sir James], 15 April 1844.

In the court of exchequer Pollock presided with distinction for nearly a quarter of a century, during which the practice of the courts was materially modified by the Common Law Procedure Acts of 1852 and 1854. He loyally accepted these reforms, and carried them into practical effect. His learned and luminous judgments are contained in the ‘Reports’ of Meeson and Welsby (vol. xii. et seq.), the ‘Exchequer Reports,’ and the ‘Reports’ of Hurlstone and Norman, and Hurlstone and Coltman. In the great case of Egerton v. Brownlow, in the House of Lords, he was almost alone among the judges in the opinion which the lords ultimately adopted. Though place cannot be claimed for him among the most illustrious of the sages of the law, he yields to none in the second rank. On his retirement in 1866 he received, on 24 July, a baronetcy. In later life Pollock resumed the studies of his youth. To the Royal Society, of which he was elected a fellow in 1816, he communicated three mathematical papers (Philosophical Transactions, vol. cxliv. No. xiv., vol. cxlix. No. iii., and vol. cli. pt. i. No. xxi.). He was also F.S.A. and F.G.S.

Pollock died of old age at his seat, Hatton, Middlesex, on 23 Aug. 1870. His remains were interred (29 Aug.) in Hanworth cemetery.

Pollock married twice. By his first wife, Frances, daughter of Francis Rivers of London (m. 25 May 1813; d 27 Jan. 1827) he had issue six sons and five daughters; by his second wife, Sarah Anne Amowah, second daughter of Captain Richard Langslow of Hatton, Middlesex (m. 7 Jan. 1834), he had issue two sons and five daughters [cf. Martin, Sir Samuel, ad fin.] He was succeeded in title by his eldest son, Sir William Frederick Pollock [q. v.] His fourth son, Sir Charles Edward Pollock, is a baron of the exchequer.

[Cambridge Univ. Cal. 1804–1810; Grad. Cant.; Foster's Baronetage; Times, 24 Aug. 1870; Law Journal, 2 Sept. 1870; Law Times, 27 Aug. 1870; Gent. Mag. 1866, pt. ii. 393; Ann. Reg. 1870 (Obituary); Gardiner's Register of St. Paul's School; Jerdan's Reminiscences; Pryme's Autobiographic Recollections, pp. 54, 183, 341, 373; Ballantine's Experiences of a Barrister's Life, p. 154; Crabb Robinson's Diary; Pollock's Personal Reminiscences, 1887; Lord Kingsdown's Recollections, pp. 24, 100, 115; Duke of Buckingham's Cabinets of William IV and Victoria, ii. 150, 412; Foss's Judges of England; Haydn's Book of Dignities, ed. Ockerby.]

J. M. R.