Jackson, Richard (d.1787) (DNB00)


JACKSON, RICHARD (d. 1787), politician, was son of Richard Jackson of Dublin. He was entered at Lincoln's Inn as a student in 1740, and called to the bar in 1744. On 22 Nov. 1751 he was admitted ad eundem at the Inner Temple, became a bencher in 1770, reader in 1779, and treasurer in 1780. He was created standing counsel to the South Sea Company in 1764, was one of the counsel for Cambridge University, and held the post of law-officer to the board of trade. He was elected F.S.A. in 1781, and was a governor of the Society for Propagation of the Gospel. On a chance vacancy (1 Dec. 1762) he was returned to parliament for the conjoint borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, and from 1768 to 1784 he sat for the Cinque port of New Romney. Lord Edmund Fitzmaurice calls him ‘the private secretary of George Grenville’ in 1765, and writes that in that year he warned the House of Commons against applying the Stamp Act to the American colonies. In after-years Jackson was known as the intimate friend of Lord Shelburne. When Shelburne formed his ministry in July 1782, Jackson was made a lord of the treasury, and he held that office until the following April. He died at Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane, London, on 6 May 1787, when a considerable fortune came to his two sisters. From his extraordinary stores of knowledge he was known as ‘Omniscient Jackson,’ but Johnson, in speaking of him, altered the adjective to ‘all-knowing,’ on the ground that the former word was ‘appropriated to the Supreme Being.’ When Thrale meditated a journey in Italy he was advised by Johnson to consult Jackson, who afterwards returned the compliment by remarking of the ‘Journey to the Western Islands’ that ‘there was more good sense upon trade in it than he should hear in the House of Commons in a year, except from Burke.’ He is introduced into ‘The old Benchers of the Inner Temple’ in Lamb's ‘Essays of Elia.’

[Boswell, ed. Hill, iii. 19, 137; Fitzmaurice's Life of Lord Shelburne, i. 321–2; W. H. Cooke's Inner Temple Benchers, p. 80; Lamb's Elia, ed. Ainger, p. 127; Gent. Mag. 1764 p. 603, 1787 pt. i. p. 454; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iv. 390; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. viii. 466.]

W. P. C.