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To the Gentlemen, Clergy and Freeholders of the County of
Llwydiarth, Sept. 24, 1774. GENTLEMEN,
That the electioneering and epistolary warfare in your county was begun by the Countess of Powis, is a matter of such public notoriety, that I should commit an insult on your understanding, were I to take up your time in the further proof of it.
For the precise expressions, in which I solicited your favour, I must refer to my printed advertisement, disclaiming those which my antagonist is pleased to use for me, and I flatter myself that, what is therein advanced, will be found to carry the fullest proof of those sentiments of respect, gratitude, and submission, with which my heart is deeply impressed towards you, and that the idea of a general meeting was absolutely defeated by the premature declarations of a determined opposition and canvass against me.
My late worthy friend is, it seems, authorised by somebody to affirm “ that her ladyship gave no assurance of any kind to Mr. Williams on the subject of the general election.” I do still, notwithstanding, continue to affirm in the most solemn manner, on the faith and honour of a gentleman, that she did, without my ever soliciting her, declare to me “ that she would make no opposition to me at the next general election, unless provoked,” which declaration I repeated to several persons, before I had the least apprehension of an opposition. Her ladyship did also express herself to the same effect to another gentleman of great honour and distinction, as well as to myself. She further added to me as a reason “that her son, having neither brother nor any near relation, in support of whom she could wish him to spend money, she would rather he should lay it out in improving Powis Castle."
Mr. Owen seems to think the Montgomeryshire freeholders so very dull of comprehension, as not to be able to distinguish between the private assurances of a peeress to a gentleman, that she will not stir up an opposition against him, and the public affront put upon them by presuming in her son's name and her own, in a circular letter signed by herself, to dictate to them in their choice of their representative.
In the next place, animated by an eloquence equal to his zeal, he finds himself "compelled to request your most serious consideration of the question, because it strikes at the immediate existence of election, viz., “which is the disturber of a
county, the sitting member on an old family interest, or a new candidate o’ this very alarming question he treats with so ludicrous and turgid solemnity, as to justify a smile at least at my old friend’s mock heroic.
I did not expect that Mr. Owen would have been so conformable to every electioneering purpose, as to publish a false quotation out of my letter; my words were that “Mr. Owen was by the Powis family made the object of your choice. I hoped, however, he would not be the object chosen.” I desire, gentlemen, you will compare this with that part of his letter, and then form your judgment accordingly.
I agree indeed with him, that when one line of sober truth is to be refuted, or disguised by specious glosses, a whole page may be required; as I have no such purpose I shall hasten to a conclusion, leaving him possessed of all the triumph which he is likely to derive “from my great goodness in promoting his interest” with so much success as it will be found I have done, adding only that if your independency will be promoted by becoming the abject tools of the Powis family, called forth as you are to wreak their resentment upon me who hath served you faithfully, Mr. Owen’s “wishes will be crowned ” as he expresses it. For my own part, whatever may be the event, I shall at all times retain the most grateful remembrance of your past favours, and I think you safely may, as I trust you will, continue them to me, your fellow-commoner, without sinking into the “miserable state of a Polish peasant,” under the dominion of a peer, and I am sure, without becoming “the despicable slaves of,” or being “scheduled over to,” any family whatever.
I am, Gentlemen,
Your most obliged representative and obedient humble servant, WATKIN WILLIAMs.
The Powis influence prevailed in this contest over the rival interest of the Wynn family.
George Edward Henry Arthur was Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Montgomeryshire, and Recorder of Ludlow. He died unmarried in 1801, when all his honours became extinct, whilst his estates passed to his only surviving sister, Lady Henrietta Antonia Herbert, who had married, in 1784, Edward, second Lord Clive.
His lordship's remains lay in state in Powis Castle,
and the public were admitted to view them at midnight before the funeral. An old lady who died in 1869, in her eighty-fourth year, was present, and well remembered, and used to relate, the particulars of the whole scene, which had left, after a lapse of sixty-eight years, a most vivid impression on her mind. A professional man, resident in Welshpool, possesses a gold memorial ring,' which was presented to o: grandfather, on his being present at the earl's funeral, which took place by torchlight (tradition says) under the chancel of Welshpool Church. The ring bears the following inscription—“George Edward Henry Arthur Herbert, Earl of Powis, ob. 17 January, 1801, aet. 46.”
Edward, THE FIRST EARL of Powis of THE PRESENT CREATION.
Edward, the first Earl of Powis of the present creation, is entitled to a place in our memoirs in consequence of his marriage with Lady Henrietta Antonia, the heiress of the Herberts, May 7, 1784. He was born March 7th, 1754, and succeeded to the title of Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey, in the Irish peerage, by the death of his father, the great Lord Clive, Nov. 22nd, 1774. He represented Ludlow in Parliament before he attained his majority, and continued member of that borough until he obtained an English peerage.
He supported Fox's East India Bill in November, 1783, and in 1788 divided in favour of the claims of the Prince of Wales.
He was created Baron Clive of Walcot, in the English peerage, August 13th, 1794, and added another leaf to the laurels already gathered by his father in the peninsula of India. As Governor of Madras he revived the glory of the name of Clive, and in the Mysorean war with Tippoo Sahib he vigorously co-operated with the measures of the Governor-General, the Marquess Wel
* It was exhibited at the Third Annual Meeting of the Powysland Club. (See Mont. Coll., vol. iii, p. 31.
lesley, sharing alike his counsels and his triumphs. He also executed the commission of the East India Company to annex the rich and fertile region of the Carnatic to the British possessions already acquired in India. On his return home from his distinguished and successful career in that peninsula, the thanks of both Houses of Parliament were voted May 3, 1804, to his lordship for his eminent services during the Mahratta war, and on the 12th of the same month he was advanced to the vacant earldom of Powis. Having shown undoubted proofs of a capacity for government he was nominated Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1805; but the death of Mr. Pitt before his departure for the sister island frustrated the appointment, and denied him the opportunity of a further display of administrative ability in an arduous and responsible sphere. His Lordship was Lord Lieutenant of the county of Salop, and had been Recorder of Shrewsbury and Ludlow. He took an active part in the formation of excellent turnpike roads in the neighbourhood of his seat at Walcot, and, having completed one over the lofty range of the Longmynd, inaugurated the project by driving in his carriage, drawn by four horses, down the steep declivities of that mountain. His conservatory was large, and well-planned, and for the production of fruits .# flowers was unrivalled in England. The earl was remarkable for physical vigour, and might have been seen, on the verge of eighty years, digging in his garden at six o'clock in the morning in his shirt sleeves. He had kept up for many years very intimate relations with the corporation of Shrewsbury, and the local historians of that town give the following description of the munificent presentations of plate, which Colonel Robert Clive, formerly its representative in Parliament, and afterwards the first Lord Clive, and his son, the Earl of Powis, made to the mayor and corporation of that ancient borough. The most costly and valuable part of the corporation
ornaments are the magnificent tankard and salver, which adorn the mayor's table, and presented by the macebearer to the judges of assize—the one well stored with cakes, and the other with negus—when the mayor meets their lordships on their arrival. The former was given by Robert Lord Clive, the latter by his son, the Earl of Powis, as an appropriate appendage to his father's present. The tankard is a massive and highly beautiful piece of plate. On the side are figures in high relief, representing commerce, agriculture, and manufactures, and are finely executed. On the lid, with a highly embossed border, is a boy brandishing the child's toy called a mill-reel, the purport of which in such a place is not very apparent. The handle and base are in the same rich style of decoration. The chased work is raised on a frosted ground, and the inside, handle, base, and border are double gilt. Around the upper part is inscribed “ The gift of Colonel Robert Clive to the Hon. the Mayor and Corporation of Shrewsbury, Sept. 17, 1760." This fine civic cup will contain somewhat more than three quarts, is ten inches in height, and weighs one hundred and seven ounces.
The salver is extremely splendid. It is raised on eight silver claws, and enclosed by an elevated margin, enchased with Bacchanalian masks, connected with wreaths of vine leaves and fruit. In the centre are the arms of Shrewsbury, on a frosted ground within a foliated border, on the outside of which is engraved “The gift of Edward, the Earl of Powis, son of Colonel Robert Clive, to the Honorable the Mayor and Corporation of Shrewsbury, Sept. 1820. The Rev. Hugh Owen, Mayor.” The remaining portion is overspread with fine enchasing of vine leaves, grapes, cornucopias, etc. The diameter of this gorgeous piece of plate is twenty-four inches, and its weight one hundred and eighty-eight ounces nine pennyweights.
1 It is also worthy of record that in 1769, when a subscription was raised for the erection of the English bridge at Shrewsbury, at a cost of £15,000, Colonel Robert Clive contributed the munificent sum of £1,500, Sir W. W. Wynn, Bart., £700, and Henry Arthur, Earl of Powis, £400.