PRYSE, John Pugh (1739-74), of Gogerddan, Card.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 1739 o.s. of Thomas Pryse, M.P., by Maria Charlotte, da. and h. of Rowland Pugh of Rûg, Merion. educ. Oriel, Oxf. 1756. unm. suc. fa. 21 May 1745.
Since Welsh Members had entered Westminster the Pryses of Gogerddan had sat for Cardiganshire in 16 out of 40 Parliaments. They owned extensive estates in the county, whose value in the eighteenth century was greatly enhanced by the discovery of lead mines. In 1759, Thomas Johnes senior of Hafod and Herbert Lloyd of Peterwell, both professed Whigs, had arranged with John Philipps of Picton Castle, the Tory leader, to put up John Pugh Pryse for Cardiganshire at the general election; in return Lloyd was to be returned for the borough. Wilmot Vaughan, to be ousted from his seat for the county, indignantly protested to Newcastle, and described Pryse as ‘an unknown young man whose ancestors till within these few years never took the oaths or aided and approved any one measure of Government’. Johnes defended the measures as giving ‘a certainty of one Whig for the town’, of which Pryse had ‘the absolute command’, and a good chance of Pryse himself becoming a ‘Whig’. He was returned unopposed.1
In October 1761 Newcastle sent Pryse his parliamentary whip through Lord Powis, which suggests that Powis approved of the Cardiganshire disposition of seats. But on 27 Sept. 1762 Newcastle no longer included Pryse in the ‘List of Members to be sent to to attend’, and on 13 Nov. classed him as ‘contra’. In Bute's list Pryse was originally classed as ‘Tory’, which was subsequently crossed out and ‘pro’ written instead. Still, Pryse does not appear in Fox's list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries; but did not vote against them either. He took an independent line in the House, but usually typical of the country gentleman. In February 1763 he supported John Philipps's motion for a commission of accounts, equally distasteful to Newcastle and Fox; voted with Opposition ‘in some questions’ in 1763, and on general warrants, 6 and 18 Feb. 1764; and was classed by Newcastle, in the list of 10 May, as a ‘sure friend’. He was listed by Rockingham, November 1766, as ‘Tory, Bute’, and by Newcastle, March 1767, as ‘Administration’; but over the land tax, 27 Feb., he voted with Opposition. He voted with Administration over the nullum tempus bill, 17 Feb. 1768, but with Opposition in the three divisions over Wilkes, February-May 1769. After this he no longer appears in any of the extant division lists.2
In 1768 he was returned unopposed for Merioneth, having the support of both of the Vaughans of Corsygedol, who put up no candidate of their own, and of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, and other principal landowners in the county. R. Hughes, an agent of Pryse, wrote to him on 19 mar. 1768:
I sincerely congratulate you on your having a seat in Parliament for the county of Merioneth. Certainly for life at little or no expense. And on your having entirely in your power the bringing in of two other Members, viz. the one for the county and the other for the borough of Cardigan, which is greater than any Welsh Member hath been able to do since the death of the late Sir Watkin Williams.3
Pryse died 13 Jan. 1774.