CLIVE, Henry (1777-1848), of Barkham, Berks. and 16 New Street, Spring Gardens, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1807 - 1818

Family and Education

b. 1777, 3rd s. of George Clive† (d. 1779), banker, of Wormbridge, Herefs. and Arlington Street, Piccadilly, Mdx. and Sydney, da. of Thomas Bolton of Knock, co. Louth and coh. of her bro. Theophilus Bolton; bro. of Edward Bolton Clive*. educ. Westminster; Christ Church, Oxf. 3 Feb. 1795, aged 17; L. Inn 1794, called 1802. m. 27 Nov. 1809, Charlotte Jane, da. of John Buller† of Morval, Cornw., s.p. d. 16 Mar. 1848.

Offices Held

Under-sec. of state for home affairs Apr. 1818-Jan. 1822.

Capt. S. Salop militia 1809.


Lord Sidmouth’s under-secretary, the anti-Catholic Henry Clive, was of the Whitfield branch of the family, a barrister by profession and the absentee landlord of a 4,869-acre estate in county Tipperary worth £1,200 a year. In 1820 he secured his second return for Montgomery on the interest of his distant kinsman the 1st earl of Powis, who until 1818 had seated him for Ludlow.1 Clive placed his own small interest at Bishop’s Castle at the disposal of Powis, whom he encouraged to return William Holmes in 1820 and 1826 and Frederick Cornewall in 1830.2

In 1820 Clive assisted in the passage of Powis’s heir Lord Clive’s* estate bill, under which he became a trustee. As hitherto he voted with Powis’s Members against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 20 Apr. 1822, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825, and against parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821, 23 Apr. 1826, and abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 23 May 1821. He was given little constituency business, but he presented loyal addresses from Montgomeryshire, Shropshire and elsewhere to the king at his accession and during the furore generated by Queen Caroline’s prosecution, and may have acted for Powis Castle in committees on the 1820 Ludlow, [Welsh] Pool and Oswestry roads bills. As his name was similar to and occasionally confused with that of Powis’s younger son Robert Henry Clive, who had succeeded him as Member for Ludlow, the last is uncertain.3 Clive could be relied on to divide with his colleagues in government until 1822, but although Sidmouth regarded him as a ‘sensible well-informed man’,4 he was an indifferent speaker, and participated in debate only when his office required it. In 1820 his departmental duties included ordering copies of commissioners’ reports, 28 Apr., 4 May, 18 July and bringing up returns and accounts on Scottish courts, 1 May, convictions, transportation, and Scottish representation, 14 July.5 His arguments against receiving the Oldham petition for inquiry into the recent conduct of the military in the town proved ineffective, 12 May. The Times reporter ‘could not hear his remarks’ on the Aldborough election petition on the 25th.6 In committee of supply, he was made to concede that additional costs would be incurred by the appointment of a receiver of the Thames police, 21 June, and policing the disturbances in Northern England, 6 July.7 On Queen Caroline’s case, he was ‘quoted’ in June 1820 as ‘having said that the City address had raised the queen’s tone so much that there was no longer any hope of arrangement’.8 It was one of his duties to search for precedents to strengthen the case against her, of which the Whig Sir James Mackintosh* wrote:

Clive ... showed me with great triumph an extract from the proceedings of the privy council in Elizabeth’s time in which a certain number of foreigners settled at Colchester solicited and obtained permission to settle at Halstead on certain conditions. He was fool enough to think this a good precedent, and Lord Sidmouth may not be aware that it proved too much.9

When called on to defend government’s handling of the case of Robert Franklin, charged with writing and issuing seditious placards concerning the queen, 17 Oct., he said that Sidmouth had thought it ‘inconsistent with official practice’ to comply with applications for Franklin’s detention, interfere with the police magistrates, or offer rewards for his apprehension. Clive and his wife were at Wynnstay to celebrate the birthday of Powis’s son-in-law, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn*, 26 Oct. 1820, and when they stayed on for the christening of Williams Wynn’s heir, his brother Charles Williams Wynn* commented:

It sounded somewhat odd to me to hear ... that he expects Mr. Under-Secretary Clive this evening; the times being so tranquil, and the home office so devoid of business, that though Lord Sidmouth be obliged to attend the ... Lords all day, yet his subordinate may without public inconvenience be spared for a fortnight.10

Following the abandonment of the bill of pains and penalties, Clive brought up copies of collects and prayers from which the queen’s name had been omitted, 26 Jan., divided against the opposition censure motion, 6 Feb., and argued against printing the radical Nottingham petition for the impeachment of ministers, 20 Feb. 1821. Asked that day to explain why a prisoner detained after Peterloo had been refused permission to visit his dying wife, he was unable to do so.11

He presented a strong case against charges of home office neglect in the Bowditches’ case, 15 Feb., and refuted allegations that the transportation of offenders bill was a ‘boon sought after the assizes’, 26 Feb. 1821. He announced that inquiry into conditions in New South Wales was already in progress and argued that with 16,000 prison places and approximately 13,000 convictions a year, transportation was essential. He tried, on a point of order, to prevent Thomas Coke I presenting the Norfolk landowners’ petition for relief from distress, 5 Mar., but made little headway without the Speaker’s assistance. He could not say whether the convicted murderer, England, had been pardoned, 9 Apr.12 He refused to be drawn by the radical Joseph Hume’s questions on clothing and victualling contracts in prisons, 28 June. He endorsed Charles Williams Wynn’s suggestion that information on the immolation of Hindoo widows should be printed and referred to a select committee, 28 June, and defended the detention of Mme. Montholon and her child under the Aliens Act, 29 June 1821.13 As first approved by the House, 18 July 1820,14 he introduced legislation to consolidate the Prison Regulation Acts, 1 Mar. 1821. He took charge of the metropolis police bill, 17, 19 Apr., 2 May, and was a government teller for the majorities on the English courts of justice bill, 9 May, postage, 17 May, and the appointment of the Irish revenue commission, 26 June. He ordered a copy of the report on Scottish judges’ salaries, 2 July. He presented returns on convictions for forgery, 15 Mar., political libel and seditious conduct, 19 Apr., and blasphemy and sedition in Ireland, 7 May. He reported from committees on the Anglo-Irish grain trade, 16 Mar., and weights and measures, 5 Apr., and brought up the warrant for the arrest of Charles Hill, a prisoner in Ilchester gaol, 17 Apr.15 Deeming separate legislation necessary, he advised against including a clause prohibiting bull and bear-baiting in the poor relief bill, 2 July 1821.16

Clive, who remained on good terms with the Williams Wynns, retired from office with Sidmouth when the ministry was reshuffled on the junction with the Grenvillites in January 1822. He was subsequently silent in debate and an increasingly inactive Member. He divided against opposition motions on distress and taxation, 11, 21 Feb., against reducing the salt duties, 28 Feb., and against inquiry into the conduct of the lord advocate towards the Scottish press, 25 June. He had been granted three weeks’ leave on urgent private business, 27 Apr. 1822. He was included on the many select committees that could draw on his home office experience for the remainder of the Parliament. He divided against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., in the government’s minority against inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and their majority against inquiry into chancery arrears, 5 June 1823. He voted against condemning the indictment in Demerara of the Methodist missionary John Smith for encouraging slaves to riot, 11 June, and for the Irish insurrection bill, 14 June 1824. He now spent more time at Barkham Place, the Leveson Gowers’ former estate he had purchased in 1816 from Henry Arthur Broughton, and he presented a petition from nearby Oakingham against the county courts bill, 1 Mar. 1825.17 A radical publication of that session noted that he ‘attended occasionally and voted with government.18 He divided for the Cumberland annuity bill, 10 June 1825. Clive’s elder brother Edward, a leading Herefordshire Whig and self-proclaimed Canningite, came in for Hereford after a hard-fought contest at the 1826 general election, when his own return was a formality.19 He was a guest at Powis Castle and Wynnstay as usual in October 1826.20

Acting with the Powis Castle Clives rather than his brother, he voted against the corn bill, 2 Apr. 1827, for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828, against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828, and, as ministers anticipated, for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He voted against transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., enfranchising Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., and reducing the grant for South American missions and abolishing the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830. He made no reference to his political views in his addresses at the general election that summer, when he was returned unopposed.21 The Wellington ministry listed him among their ‘friends’ in the 1830 Parliament, but when other Powis Castle Members divided with them on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, he and his brother, one of their ‘foes’, were absent, visiting a sick relation. Still differing from his brother, he divided against the Grey ministry’s reform bill at its second reading, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He was not challenged at the ensuing general election, but Montgomeryshire reformers had been quick to mock him as an inactive Member and a ‘foreigner’.22 A report that the Clives would support Lord Grey on reform proved false.23 Montgomery resented the reacquisition of contributories under the reform bill, and Clive supported the burgesses’ petition against this infringement of their ‘existing rights and constitution’, 4 July 1831.24 He voted against the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, to make the 1831 census the criterion for English borough disfranchisements, 19 July, and against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July. He divided against the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. Unlike Powis’s sons, he voted against the revised bill at its second reading, 17 Dec. 1831. He divided with them against its committal, 20 Jan. 1832. His sister Louisa Keppel, whose town house he now used, died on 16 Mar., and he paired against (and his brother for) the bill’s third reading, 22 Mar. He divided against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July 1832.

It had been known for some time that Powis Castle faced a close and costly struggle in the new Montgomery District constituency, and Clive stood down at the dissolution in December 1832.25 He remained out of Parliament, contesting Ludlow unsuccessfully on the Powis Castle interest in June 1839, when Lord Clive succeeded his father.26 He died without issue in March 1848 and was buried at Barkham, where he was noted for his attention to parochial and county business, especially his work for the labouring poor as chairman of the Wokingham Board of Guardians, and in founding Wokingham Agricultural Society.27 He left estates in Berkshire, Herefordshire and Ireland to the sons of Edward Bolton Clive, provided for his wife’s nephew Edward Hulse, and bequeathed his Bishop’s Castle freeholds to the 2nd earl of Powis.28

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


(1777-1848) according to his obituary (Reading Mercury, 25 Mar. 1848).

  • 1. D. French and J. Firth, Barkham: A History, 102; HP Commons, 1790-1820, iii. 455; Shrewsbury Chron. 29 Feb., 10 Mar.; Salopian Jnl. 8 Mar. 1820.
  • 2. Hereford Jnl. 21 June 1826; Salopian Jnl. 21 July 1830.
  • 3. Shrewsbury Chron. 29 Feb., 29 Dec. 1820; CJ, lxxv. 140, 149, 216, 222, 331, 349, 359, 423; NLW, Powis Castle mss 6840-3; NLW, Glansevern mss 9004.
  • 4. Devon RO, Sidmouth mss, Sidmouth to the regent, 22 Apr. 1818.
  • 5. The Times, 29 Apr., 5 May, 15 July 1820.
  • 6. Ibid. 26 May 1820.
  • 7. Ibid. 26 May, 22 June, 7 July 1820.
  • 8. NLW, Coedymaen mss 581, 942.
  • 9. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, Mon. [July 1820].
  • 10. Coedymaen mss 592.
  • 11. The Times, 27 Jan., 21 Feb. 1821.
  • 12. Ibid. 27 Feb., 6 Mar., 10 Apr. 1821.
  • 13. Ibid. 29, 30 June 1821.
  • 14. Ibid. 19 July 1820.
  • 15. Ibid. 16 Mar., 6, 18 Apr., 8 May 1821.
  • 16. Ibid. 3 July 1821.
  • 17. VCH Berks. iii. 240; The Times, 2 Mar. 1825.
  • 18. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 457.
  • 19. Hereford Jnl. 14, 21 June 1826. See HEREFORD.
  • 20. NLW ms 2795 D, Lady Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 19 Sept. 1826.
  • 21. Salopian Jnl. 21 July 1830.
  • 22. Shrewsbury Chron. 17, 31 Dec. 1830, 22, 29 Apr., 6 May 1831.
  • 23. Creevey mss, Creevey to Miss Ord, 30 Mar. 1831.
  • 24. CJ, lxxxvi. 613.
  • 25. NLW ms 2797 D, Sir W. to H. Williams Wynn, 15 Jan. 1832; B. Ellis, ‘Parl. Rep. Mont. 1728-1868’, Mont. Colls. lxiii (1973), 84-87.
  • 26. The Times, 26 Aug., 21 Dec. 1839, 5 Feb. 1840.
  • 27. Berks. Chron. 25 Mar. 1848; French and Firth, 103-4; A. Roberts, Funeral Sermon, passim.
  • 28. PROB 8/241; 11/2074/378.