Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/241

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Povey
Povey
235

Advice to the Freeholders of England.’ In the following year he printed ‘A Memorial of the Proceedings of the late Ministry’ and ‘The English Parliament represented in a Vision,’ which were entered at Stationers' Hall on 15 Dec. 1714 and 7 March 1715 respectively. ‘The Subject's Representation,’ 1717, and ‘English Inquisition,’ 1718, were full of complaints of persecution by the whigs. Povey estimated his loss by public services at 1,700l. a year, and 15,673l. in money; and he complained (English Memorial) that when any scheme of his came to perfection the government seized the good seed. In ‘Brittain's Scheme to make a New Coin of Gold and Silver to give in exchange for Paper Money and South Sea Stock,’ 1720, he said that a brewhouse at Hampstead belonging to him had been seized in 1718, and his goods sold by excise officers. In 1723 he designed a fire-annihilator, a bomb containing water, the idea of which was said to have been stolen from an invention of a chemist named Ambrose Godfrey or Godfrey-Hanckwitz [q. v.] , who in 1724 tried to convict Povey of the theft.

In 1733 Povey printed ‘The Secret History of the Sun Fire Office,’ and in 1737 the ‘English Memorial to obtain Right and Property.’ These were followed in 1740 by ‘The Torments after Death,’ in which he said that all the profits from his works went to ministers' and tradesmen's widows and charity children, and described a number of charitable projects, including the relief of distressed families, prisoners, and the sick. In 1741 Povey brought out a curious book, ‘The Virgin in Eden, or the State of Innocency. … Presenting a Nobleman, a Student, and Heiress, on their progress from Sodom to Canaan,’ in which there is a section criticising Richardson's new novel, ‘Pamela's Letters proved to be Immoral Romances, printed in Images of Virtue.’ ‘Torments after Death’ and ‘Virgin in Eden’ contain long catalogues of subjects on which he had written. In 1718 he stated that he had produced over six hundred pieces; but this must include the separate numbers of the periodicals which he brought out. His last invention was a self-acting organ (announced in the ‘Daily Advertiser’ for 23 Nov. 1742), which he left by will to the parish of St. Mary, Newington Butts.

Povey died on 4 May 1743, aged upwards of ninety (Gent. Mag. 1743, p. 274), in Little Alie Street, Goodman's Fields, and was buried on the 8th at St. Mary's, Newington, in the church, where his wife Ann was buried. He left directions that his will, which is dated 30 Jan. 1742–3, should be printed twice in a public newspaper, and it was given in imperfect form in the ‘Daily Post’ for 1 and 8 July 1743. Povey mentions land at Cheadle, Staffordshire; and he left money for the charity school in the parish of St. Mary, Newington (with which he was presumably connected through his wife), for the poor of Whitechapel, and for the widows of poor tradesmen and ministers. Of every pound received for his books ninepence was to go to the rector of St. Mary's, Newington, and ninepence to the dissenting minister at the Broad Street meeting-house, for the use of poor ministers' widows. The residue was left to two widows, who were executrixes—viz.: two-thirds to Elizabeth Smith, a niece, and one-third to Margaret Stringer. Povey declared that he never set up any undertaking with the intent to enrich himself by fraud or injustice, and never wrote anything which did not tend to promote virtue and unity among men. A prolific schemer and writer, his statements are untrustworthy and exaggerated. He was quarrelsome, and his vanity is shown by his practice of printing his coat-of-arms on his title-pages instead of his name. But some of his schemes were ingenious, while the Sun Fire Office became a great success. He took pleasure in charitable work and in the promotion of friendliness among persons of different religious beliefs.

[Almost everything that is known about Povey has been collected together by Mr. F. B. Relton in his Account of the Fire Insurance Companies. … Also of Charles Povey, 1893; see especially pp. 261–84, 447–543. Other works which may be consulted are Joyce's History of the Post Office, 1893; Lewins's Her Majesty's Mails, 1865; the Hope Catalogue of Early Newspapers; Notes and Queries, passim; Walford's Insurance Cyclopædia, iii. 465–7.]

G. A. A.

POVEY, THOMAS (fl. 1658), civil servant, was grandson of John Povey, citizen and embroiderer of London, and son of Justinian Povey, auditor of the exchequer and accountant-general to Anne of Denmark (Cal. State Papers, 6 May 1606, and Addenda, 1580-1625, p. 477). He bore the same arms as Charles Povey [q. v.], with an annulet for difference. In 1633 he entered Gray's Inn, and in 1642 published 'The Moderator, expecting sudden Peace or certaine Ruine,' which drew forth three replies: ' A Sudden Answer to a Sudden Moderator' and a 'Fuller Answer' in 1642, and in 1647 'Neutrality is Malignancy, by J.M.' Povey deemed the civil wars unjustifiable, and at first joined neither party. But he was returned to the Long parliament as