Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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POLLOCK, James, governor of Pennsylvania, born in Milton, Pennsylvania, 11 September, 1810. He was graduated at Princeton in 1831, and, after studying law, was admitted to the bar in 1833, and opened an office in Milton. In 1835 he was chosen district attorney for his county, after which he held various minor offices. He was elected to congress as a Whig, and served from 23 April, 1844, to 3 March, 1849, during which time he was an active member of several committees. On 23 June, 1848, he introduced a resolution calling for the appointment of a special committee to inquire into the necessity and practicability of building a railroad to the Pacific coast. As chairman of that committee he made a report in favor of the construction of such a road. This was the first favorable official act on this subject on the part of congress. In 1850 he was appointed president-judge of the 8th judicial district of Pennsylvania, and in 1854 he was elected governor of Pennsylvania as a Union-Republican. During his administration the whole line of the public works between Philadelphia and Pittsburg was transferred to the Pennsylvania railroad company. By this and other means he reduced the state debt by nearly $10,000,000, and this soon led to the removal of state taxation. He convened the legislature in extraordinary session during the financial crisis of 1857, and, acting on his wise suggestions, laws were enacted whereby public confidence was restored and the community was saved from bankruptcy. On the expiration of his term of office he resumed his law-practice in Milton. He was a delegate from his state to the Peace convention in Washington in 1861, and after the inauguration of President Lincoln he was appointed director of the United States mint in Philadelphia, which place he then held until October, 1866. By his efforts, with the approval of Salmon P. Chase, then secretary of the treasury, the motto "In God we trust" was placed on the National coins. In 1869 he was reinstated as director of the mint, which place he then filled for many years, in 1880 he was appointed naval officer of Philadelphia, but resigned in 1884, and resumed the practice of his profession. Governor Pollock has been active in various movements tending to promote educational and religious reforms. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Princeton in 1855, and from Jefferson college. Pa., in 1857.
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