Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Croker John Wilson

Croker, John Wilson, though of English blood, was born in county Galway, Ireland, in 1780, and, after receiving his education at Trinity College, Dublin, was called to the Irish bar in 1802. One or two satirical pieces from his pen attracted early notice, but in 1807 he revealed more serious aims by advocating Catholic emancipation in a pamphlet entitled The State of Ireland, Past and Present. Next year saw him M.P. for Downpatrick, and by judiciously defending the Duke of York in 1809 against Colonel Wardle, he secured for himself the snug post of Secretary to the Admiralty, and held it for twenty years, when he retired on a pension of £1,500 per annum. Meanwhile he continued to sit in Parliament, where he opposed the Reform Bill of 1832, and, indeed, most other progressive measures, with ability, vigour, and often with bitterness. His pen was, however, more rancorous than his tongue, and the old volumes of the Quarterly Review, which he helped to found, contain many fine specimens of his harsh and acrimonious style. Croker was a literary man as well as a politician, and unhappily he carried the same offensive spirit into this field, provoking severe retaliation from Macaulay and the Whigs. His edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson, and the matter which he collected for an edition of Pope, show industry and critical ability. He deserves praise, too, for reproducing several volumes of interesting memoirs and letters dealing with the Georgian period, for helping to establish the Athenaeum Club, and for consistently supporting grants in aid of art in the House of Commons. He died at Hampton in 1857, having somewhat outlived his reputation even with his own party.