BULLOCK, John (1731-1809), of Faulkbourne Hall, nr. Witham, Essex.
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Family and Education
b. 31 Dec. 1731, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Josiah Bullock, Hamburg merchant, of Faulkbourne Hall by Hannah, da. of Sir Thomas Cooke† of Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, London. educ. Felsted; Clare, Camb. 1749; L. Inn 1750. m. 28 Nov. 1763, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Robert Lant of Putney, Surr., s.p. suc. fa. 1752.
Col. E. Essex militia 1780, brevet col. 1794.
Bullock retained his seat for Essex on the ‘old Whig interest’ unopposed for life. He had joined the Whig Club on 3 Apr. 1786; on 3 Mar. 1792 he was admitted to Brooks’s Club. He resumed his usual silent opposition to government, 12 Apr. 1791, on the Oczakov question, but his support for the repeal of the Test Act could not be counted on that month. In December 1792 he was listed a Portland Whig and in February 1793 Windham tried (without success) to recruit him for his ‘third party’. Nevertheless he seems to have been prepared to give ministers a minimal support when war with France broke out. He next appeared in Wilberforce’s minorities in favour of peace negotiations, 30 Dec. 1794, 27 May 1795. On 15 Mar. 1796 he voted for the abolition of the slave trade. He was still reckoned an opponent of the ministry and on 1 Mar. 1797 he voted for Fox’s motion for a committee of inquiry into the stoppage of cash payments by the Bank. No further indication of his activities appears until 1802, when he renewed his candidature for the county and answered criticisms of his negligence as an attender by reference to his having devoted nine months a year for the last nine years to his militia duties.1
Bullock was not thought to be hostile to Addington’s administration and, though listed ‘Fox’ in March 1804, he appeared as ‘Addington’ in May and ‘doubtful Addington’ in September. He left room for conjecture, no doubt, by his absence. His vote with the majority for the criminal prosecution of Melville, 12 June 1805, enabled him to be listed ‘Opposition’ in July. The Whigs reckoned him ‘friendly’ to the abolition of the slave trade late in 1806, but ‘out of town’.2 He had renewed his tenure at the county election on the grounds that the dissolution had come after only four years. By this time he was being labelled Father of the House. Between then and his death, 28 Dec. 1809, his only known gesture in the House was to present a petition against a veto on distillation from grain, 23 May 1808. He died ‘universally esteemed and respected by all who knew him’.3