Thomas Povey

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Thomas Povey (b. 1613/14, d. in or before 1705) FRS, was a London merchant-politician. He was active in colonial affairs from the 1650s, but neutral enough in his politics to be named a member from 1660 of Charles II's Council for Foreign Plantations. [1] A powerful figure in the not-yet professionalised First English Empire, he was both "England's first colonial civil servant" [2] and at the same time "a typical office holder of the Restoration". [3] Both Samuel Pepys and William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia, railed at times against Povey's incompetence [4] and maladministration.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Charles II of England King of England, Ireland and Scotland

Charles II was king of England, Scotland and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Contents

Life

The son of Justinian Povey of London, he was educated at Gray's Inn. He was a cousin of Thomas Povey, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, and of Sir John Povey, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.

Thomas Povey was an English military officer who also served as lieutenant governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1702 to 1706. He was probably related in some way to Thomas Povey FRS and was a cousin to colonial secretary William Blathwayt, and may have acquired the lieutenant governorship through this connection. He served for nine years in the English military campaigns in Europe. His tenure as lieutenant governor under the domineering Joseph Dudley apparently did not sit well with him, for by 1706 he had resigned the post and left the colony.

Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts position

The Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts is the first in the line to discharge the powers and duties of the office of governor following the incapacitation of the Governor of Massachusetts. The constitutional honorific title for the office is His, or Her, Honor.

Sir John Povey (1621–1679) was an English-born judge who had a highly successful career in Ireland, holding office as a Baron of the Court of Exchequer (Ireland) and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland during the years 1673–9.

Povey became Member of Parliament for Liskeard in 1646, Bossiney in 1659 and held under Oliver Cromwell a high post in the Office of Plantations. Following the Restoration he was appointed in July 1660 Treasurer to the king's brother James, Duke of York, but the Duke's affairs falling into confusion, Povey was relieved of his office, 27 July 1668, for a consideration of £2000. [5] He was First Treasurer to the Lords Commissioner for Tangier, a lucrative post in which he was followed by the conscientious Samuel Pepys, organiser of the English navy. Povey made an agreement with Pepys in 1665, touching the profits expected from that office by 17th-century convention. Years later, in 1691, Povey brought suit against Pepys and William Hewer at the Court of Chancery with reference to a breach of the agreement; it seems to have been settled out of court. [6]

Liskeard was a parliamentary borough in Cornwall, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1832, and then one member from 1832 until 1885. The constituency was abolished by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.

Bossiney was a parliamentary constituency in Cornwall, one of a number of Cornish rotten boroughs, and returned two Members of Parliament to the British House of Commons from 1552 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act.

Oliver Cromwell 17th-century English military and political leader

Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic.

Povey family interests in the English Caribbean were extensive: Thomas's brother Richard Povey looked after the family interests in Jamaica, where he was officially Commissioner General for Provisions, while another brother, William, attended to affairs in Barbados, where he was officially Provost-General. [7]

Jamaica Country in the Caribbean

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola.

Povey was one of the original members of the Royal Society in May 1663 and had acted in the interests of its less formalised predecessor at Gresham College. Povey proposed Samuel Pepys for membership, 8 February 1665. [8]

Royal Society English learned society for science

The President, Council and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly known as the Royal Society, is a learned society. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as "The Royal Society". It is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. The society is the United Kingdom's and Commonwealth of Nations' Academy of Sciences and fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, fostering international and global co-operation, education and public engagement.

Gresham College educational institution

Gresham College is an institution of higher learning located at Barnard's Inn Hall off Holborn in Central London, England. It does not enroll students and does not award any degrees. It was founded in 1597 under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham, and it hosts over 140 free public lectures every year. Since 2001, all lectures have also been made available online.

Samuel Pepys English naval administrator and member of parliament

Samuel Pepys was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. Pepys had no maritime experience, but he rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, hard work, and his talent for administration. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy.

John Evelyn, a fellow member of the Royal Society, found Povey "a nice contriver of all elegancies and exceedingly formal". As a Fellow, Povey offered the Royal Society a dissertation in 1693 on the manufacture of brass. [9] Povey presented a report on Louis XIV's Hôtel des Invalides, [10] which Charles II emulated in the Royal Hospital Chelsea, under a Royal Warrant of 22 December 1681.

John Evelyn writer, gardener and diarist

John Evelyn, FRS was an English writer, gardener and diarist.

Louis XIV of France King of France and Navarra, from 1643 to 1715

Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power.

Royal Hospital Chelsea retirement home and nursing home for British soldiers

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for some 300 veterans of the British Army. Founded as an almshouse, the ancient sense of the word "hospital", it is a 66-acre site located on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea. It is an independent charity and relies partly upon donations to cover day-to-day running costs to provide care and accommodation for veterans.

Povey had apartments in Whitehall Palace by virtue of his Crown posts. Robert Streater painted a ceiling in Povey's London house, on the west side of Lincoln's Inn Fields; there John Evelyn visited him in July 1664:

Went to see Mr Povey's elegant house in Lincolns-Inn-Fields , where the perspective in his court, painted by Streater, is indeed excellent, with the vases painted in imitation of porphy and fountains... [11]

Pepys noted with approval Povey's neatly fitted up stables, lined with washable Delft tiles. [12] Povey also inherited from his father Hounslow Priory, situated in a suburban village west of London; it was sold in 1671, and by the end of the 18th century only the chapel remained. [13] He donated to the Royal Society the portrait that he asserted was of the historian George Buchanan and by Titian. [14] In his court appointment as Master of Requests, 1675–85, he received petitions and presented them for consideration by the Privy Council.

Povey advanced the early career of his nephew William Blathwayt, and it is surely due to his influence that his son-in-law Giles Bland was sent to Virginia as customs collector. [15] Some of the paintings from Povey's collection, which hung in his London house or at Hounslow, remain in Blathwayt's house, Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire. Povey's letter books are conserved in the British Library. [16]

Family

He married Mary, daughter of John Adderly and widow of John Agard of King's Bromley, Staffordshire. His daughter Sarah married another member of the Staffordshire gentry, Robert Leveson of Wolverhampton and had three sons, including the soldier and politician Richard Leveson. Another daughter Sarah married Giles Bland, who was executed for treason in Virginia in 1677, having played a leading part in Bacon's Rebellion the previous year.

Notes

  1. Povey was one of the four eminent London merchants— the others being Martin Noell, Sir Nicholas Crispe and Sir Andrew Riccard— among the courtiers on the board, whose restrictions on colonial trade were resisted from the first by Virginia planters (Joan de Lourdes Leonard, "Operation Checkmate: The Birth and Death of a Virginia Blueprint for Progress 1660–1676", The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 24.1 (January 1967:44–74).
  2. Lillian M. Penson, The Colonial Agents of the British West Indies: A Study in Colonial Administration, Mainly in the Eighteenth Century, 1924: S.S. Webb, "William Blathwayt, Imperial Fixer: From Popish Plot to Glorious Revolution", The William and Mary Quarterly 1968.
  3. Herbert L. Osgood, The American Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, vol. III:145f.
  4. Pepys found him a "wretched accountant".
  5. "Thomas Povey", The Diary of Samuel Pepys, 1893 text
  6. Eleanore Boswell, "Footnotes to Seventeenth-Century Biographies. Samuel Pepys" The Modern Language Review26.2 (April 1931:176–178).
  7. Bernard Bailyn, "Communications and trade: the Atlantic in the seventeenth century", Journal of Economic History, 1953.
  8. Norman J.W. Thrower, "Samuel Pepys FRS (1633–1703) and the Royal Society" Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London57.1 (January 2003:3–13) p. 6.
  9. Povey, "The Method, Manner and Order of the Transmutation of Copper into Brass, etc. by Thomas Povey, Esq; Brought into the Royal Society, of Which He is a Fellow", Philosophical Transactions (1683–1775), Vol. 17, (1693:735–736).
  10. C.I. Ritchie, "The hostel of the Invalides by Thomas Povey (1682)(Lambeth Palace Library MS. 745)", Medical History, 1966.
  11. Evelyn, Journal, 1 July 1664.
  12. Pepys, "His stable, where was some most delicate horses, and the very racks painted, and mangers, with a neat leaden painted cistern and the walls done with Dutch tiles like my chimnies" (Diary); Povey admired the Duke of Newcastle's stabling on a tour of the grand houses of Derbyshire that Povey made in 1688, when he saw "that considerable Prince, the Duke of Newcastle, and his Pallace, Stables, riding Houses and Horses, which are more extraordinarie then are to bee seene in Europe, if the Curiositie and Excellencie of their Manège, Discipline and Methods are to be considered." (quoted in Lucy Worsley and Tom Addyman, "Riding Houses and Horses: William Cavendish's Architecture for the Art of Horsemanship", Architectural History45 [2002:194–229], p. 194).
  13. Daniel Lysons, 'Heston', The Environs of London: volume 3: County of Middlesex (1795:22–45): accessed 6 August 2010.
  14. William Carruthers, "On the so-called portrait of George Buchanan by Titian", The Scottish Historical Review6.24 (July 1909:337–342).
  15. Bland soon got into trouble with Governor Berkeley and in Bacon's Rebellion served as Bacon's lieutenant in the attack upon Berkeley at Accomack (Wilcomb E. Washburn, "Sir William Berkeley's 'A History of Our Miseries'" The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 14.3 [July 1957:403–413]).
  16. B.L. Add. Mss 11411.

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