Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/422

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Beresford and all other foreign officers summarily dismissed. Owen retired into private life, and resided on his estate at Villa Nova de Paraisa, near Oporto. During the subsequent civil wars Dom Pedro offered to appoint Owen his personal aide-de-camp, with the rank of general; but, not having the permission of his own sovereign, Owen declined the honour.

Owen was a knight commander of San Bento d'Aviz and knight of the Tower and Sword, and had the Peninsular gold cross, the Peninsular medal with clasps for Talavera, Albuera, Vittoria, and Pyrenees. He died at Garratt's Hall, Banstead, Surrey, 16 Dec. 1861, aged 76. Sir John Rennie, who met him in Oporto in 1855, described him as over six feet in height, with a determined countenance, and still full of fire and energy. At Rennie's request he wrote a memoir of Major the Hon. Somers Cocks (a relative of Rennie, killed at Burgos in 1812), which was printed for private circulation by Rennie. Owen published ‘The Civil War in Portugal and the Siege of Oporto’ (London, 1836, 8vo), being an English translation of his Portuguese work, ‘A Guerra Civil em Portugal, o Sitio do Porto e a Morte de Don Pedro. Por hum Estrangeiro’ (1836, 12mo).

[Information furnished by Hugh Owen, esq., F.S.A.; Army Lists; Autobiography of Sir John Rennie, F.R.S. (London, 1875), p. 332.]

H. M. C.

OWEN, Sir HUGH (1804–1881), promoter of Welsh education and philanthropist, born on 14 Jan. 1804, at Y Foel farm, near Talyfoel Ferry, in the parish of Llangeinwen, Anglesey, was the eldest son of Owen Owen, by Mary (d. 1862), daughter of Owen Jones, a prominent calvinistic methodist leader (Y Gestiana, 1892, p. 140). Owen Owen's father, Hugh, who was a currier at Carnarvon, afforded, in 1770, protection from an angry mob to the first nonconformist who preached after the methodist revival in that town (Hughes, Methodistiaeth Cymru, ii. 227).

Hugh the younger received his education at a private school at Carnarvon, and, after a brief stay on the farm at home, proceeded in March 1825 to London, where he became clerk to a barrister, and afterwards entered a solicitor's office. There he continued for about ten years, until he was appointed on 22 Feb. 1836 to a clerkship at the poor-law commission. After remaining for about six years in the ‘parish property’ department, where his practical knowledge of law proved of great service, he was promoted in 1853 to the post of chief clerk, an office which he retained after the reorganisation of the commission under the name of the local government board until his retirement in November 1872. During these twenty years he represented the department at all the parliamentary committees on poor-law subjects, notably the Andover inquiry in 1846.

Owen appears to have first interested himself in educational work in 1839 by acting as secretary of a movement for establishing a British school at Islington; but shortly afterwards he turned his attention to the wants of Wales, and on 26 Aug. 1843 he addressed and had widely distributed a ‘Letter to the Welsh People’ on the subject of day-schools. In November he was instrumental in inducing the British and Foreign School Society to appoint an agent to aid the movement in North Wales, where prior to that time there were only two British schools in existence. He also procured the appointment of another agent for South Wales a few years later. In August 1846, on the formation of the Cambrian Educational Society, which was practically a Welsh branch of the British and Foreign School Society, Owen became its honorary secretary, in which capacity he was in frequent communication with the committee of council on education, and rendered considerable assistance to the commissioners appointed by that department in October 1846 to inquire into the state of education in Wales (see their Report, 1847, pt. ii. p. 2). By means of a Welsh religious census, which he privately conducted in December 1846, he challenged the claims of the national schools, put forward on behalf of the Church of England, to enjoy a monopoly of government support in Wales (British Quarterly Review, January 1871). In his census schedules he obtained information about Welsh deaf mutes, and was thereby the means of forming in 1847 the Cambrian Association for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, which established shortly after a training-school for them at Aberystwith, subsequently removed to Swansea. Owen also wrote numerous letters to the Welsh magazines and for general distribution, notably one dated 17 March 1847, in which he explained and popularised the aims and methods of British schools, and organised the opinions of Welsh nonconformists in favour of state-aided undenominational education, against which a large section of them were at that time opposed. By 1870–1 there were 271 such state-aided schools in Wales, with an average attendance of 32,455 children. In the meantime Owen had in 1855 been elected a member of the committee of the British