William Jacob

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

William Jacob (c. 1761 – 17 December 1851[1]) was an English merchant, scientist, parliamentarian, public official and advocate for expanded British trade. In his later life he was a significant and effective advocate for the repeal of the Corn Laws.

Early life

The early life of William Jacob is not known, though he seems to have received a good education, and a strong interest in statistics. He may have been from an emigre Jewish family.

In February 1791 he married Martha Stuckey, daughter of the wealthy banking patriarch Samuel Stuckey of Langport, Somerset.

In the 1790s through to 1810 the firm of John and William Jacob traded from London variously as linen merchants and 'warehousemen'. In 1806 William Jacob was elected to the House of Commons as a Tory Member of Parliament (MP) for Westbury,[2] with a subsequent election to Rye for the period 1808-11.[3]

During 1806-7 Britain temporarily invaded the region of Rio de Plata, disrupting the Spanish control of its American colonies. At this time William Jacob was a key influencer in advocating Britain's attempt at invasion and overthrow of the weak Spanish control over its American empire. In encouraging this undertaking William Jacob introduced the Parliamentary Act that reduced the monopoly of the South Sea Company.

In anticipation of changes in South America the firm of J&W Jacob, of Newgate Street, London embarked upon an ambitious trade. In 1807 they sought investors for an expedition to the South Seas to trade contraband fabrics with the closed colonies of Spain's American empire. The Jacobs obtained sufficient investment for three ships to proceed to the Pacific coast, the ship's being the Hero, Pandour, and Memphis.

While each of the ships were commissioned with letter of marque their primary role was to trade British fabrics for silver, gold or copper ingots.

Later life


William Jacob outlived a son, the barrister and legal writer Edward Jacob (1795/6–1841),[4] and died in December 1851. An obituary in The Gentleman's Magazine gave his age as 89.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "William Jacob, Esq. F.R.S" (Google Books). The Gentleman's Magazine. London: J. B. Nichols and Son: 523. January–June 1852. Retrieved 2008-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Stooks Smith, Henry. (1973) [1844-1850]. Craig, F. W. S., ed. The Parliaments of England (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 378. ISBN 0-900178-13-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Stooks Smith, page 348
  4. Gordon Goodwin, ‘Jacob, William (1761/2–1851)’, rev. M. J. Mercer, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 , accessed 11 Jan 2009

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Baldwin
Charles Smith
Member of Parliament for Westbury
With: John Woolmore
Succeeded by
Edward Lascelles
Glynn Wynn
Preceded by
Sir William Elford
Stephen Rumbold Lushington
Member of Parliament for Rye
With: Stephen Rumbold Lushington
Succeeded by
Thomas Phillipps Lamb
Sir Henry Sullivan