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Povey
Povey
234

followed in 1690 by ‘A Challenge in vindication of the Revolution’ (State Tracts, 1705, vol. i.). In 1699 he printed ‘Proposals for raising One Thousand Pounds.’ Next year he was living at Wapping, and entered the coal trade; but, being persecuted by other merchants, he published ‘A Discovery of Indirect Practices in the Coal Trade,’ 1700, in which he described one of his inventions, an engine for clearing a coal-ship quickly. This was followed in 1701 by ‘The Unhappiness of England as to its Trade by Sea and Land truly stated,’ a piece containing proposals for employing the poor by founding four hospitals of industry, each to hold fifteen hundred people. Povey also dwelt upon ‘the pernicious consequence of wearing swords, and the ill precedents acted at the two theatres.’ This book was succeeded by two religious works, ‘Meditations of a Divine Soul,’ 1703, of which ten thousand copies are said to have been sold, and ‘Holy Thoughts of a God-made Man,’ 1704.

By 1705, and probably some time earlier, Povey was in possession of the Traders' Exchange House, Hatton Garden, where he carried on for several years the business of a commercial agency, and floated life and fire insurance schemes. He estimated the subscriptions to the exchange house at 2,000l. a year. His Traders' Exchange House Office for Lives was started about 1706. It was an insurance scheme for four thousand members, reputed healthy persons, and was to make an annual contribution to the building fund of a projected college for one hundred decayed men and women. Other funds were to be obtained from the proceeds of advertisements in the ‘General Remark on Trade,’ a periodical which appeared three times a week from October 1705 to March 1710. This paper, of which 3,500 copies are said to have been printed, was distributed gratis. Dunton said it was published in rivalry of Defoe's ‘Review,’ and complained that Povey plagiarised from the ‘Athenian Oracle.’ The life-insurance scheme collapsed in 1710, but in the meantime Povey had floated (1707–8) the Exchange House Fire Office for Goods (London), or the Sun Fire Office. Business does not seem to have been begun before 1708, and in December of that year a salvage corps scheme was suggested. The office proved a success, but Povey parted with his interest in it at an early date, although he remained a member of the board. He was at first promised by the managers an annuity of 400l. a year during the lives of himself and his wife, and of the survivor, and he was also to receive 960l. This arrangement, however, was altered, to Povey's annoyance, in October 1710, when the twenty-four acting members of the society said they would give Povey only 20l. each, and an annuity of ten per cent. of the profits, up to 200l. a year.

Povey started in 1709 a scheme called the halfpenny carriage of letters, an imitation of the penny post of William Dockwray or Dockwra [q. v.] The post was confined to the cities of London and Westminster and the borough of Southwark, and the collections seem to have been made by tradesmen. But in November 1709 the postmasters-general proceeded against Povey for an infringement of their monopoly, and in Easter term 1710, when the action was heard in the court of exchequer, Povey was fined 100l. Another scheme, for the carriage of small parcels of goods into the country, which was broached in 1709, never came to maturity (cf. Treasury Papers, 1708–14, vol. cxx. No. 33).

The first number of ‘The Visions of Sir Heister Ryley’ was published by Povey on 21 Aug. 1710; the eightieth and last number appeared on 21 Feb. 1711. Each paper consisted of two quarto leaves, and the periodical, which was sold for a penny, was confessedly an imitation of Steele's ‘Tatler.’ In 1712 Povey let the house and park at Belsize, Hampstead, of which he was tenant, and on which he claims to have spent 2,000l., to Count d'Aumont, the French ambassador-extraordinary, who was to pay 1,000l. for the term of his residence in England, but Povey refused to ratify the agreement when he found that the newly erected chapel would be used for mass (English Memorial). Povey then vainly offered the house and chapel to the Prince of Wales, and the house remained vacant. One of his later schemes was to set up a factory for weavers in part of the house, with a warehouse for the sale of the goods. Povey says he was imprisoned on a false action for 10,000l. in September 1713 (Subject's Representation), and that no bail could be obtained. A half-sheet was published, stating that he was imprisoned for conspiring against the queen and government; but Judge Tracey declared that there was no cause of action, and ordered the release of Povey, who afterwards obtained judgment for false imprisonment against the ringleaders. They, however, fled in order to evade justice (cf. Post Boy, 13–15 Oct. 1713).

Povey published anonymously in 1714 an ‘Enquiry into the Miscarriages of the last Four Years' Reign,’ and he says his life was threatened on account of it. It went through eight editions, some of which were spurious, and was answered by Atterbury's ‘English