Croker, John Wilson (1780 -1857)
John Wilson Croker, poet and essayist, was the son of John Croker, Surveyor General of the Customs and Excise for Ireland, and Hester, daughter of the Rev. R. Rathbone of Galway. Educated at a school in Cork, and at Trinity College, Dublin, he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1800, and called to the Irish bar in 1802. He was Member of Parliament for Downpatrick 1807 1812, Athlone 1812 1818, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight 1819 1820, Bodmin 1820 1826, Aldborough 1826 1827 and 1830 1832, and the University of Dublin 1827 1830. Secretary of the Admiralty from 1809 to 1830, a post which he held with great distinction under successive ministries, he retired from politics after the Reform Bill. A successful essayist and poet, he contributed extensively to the Quarterly Review between 1811 and 1845, mostly on literary subjects, including the notorious review of Keats's Endymion, a style of poetry with which he was completely out of sympathy. His best known work was a poem The battle of Talavera. He and Lord Macaulay were enemies, the latter having attacked Croker's edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson with more heat than reason. His collection of autograph letters was sold by S. Leigh Sotheby and John Wilkinson 6 May 1858, and a portion of his library was sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge 18 January 1882. Another sale was held at Sotheby’s London, 25-27 February 1946.