POWER, Richard (?1775-1834), of Clashmore House, co. Waterford

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



25 Apr. 1814 - 1830

Family and Education

b. ?1775, 1st surv. s. of Richard Power†, MP [I], of Clashmore House and Elizabeth, da. of Shapland Carew, MP [I], of Castleborough, co. Wexford; bro. of Robert Power*. educ. Trinity, Dublin 4 June 1792, aged 16. m. 1809, his cos. Dorothea, da. of Robert Shapland Carew† of Castleborough, 1s. d.v.p. 1da. suc. fa. 1814. d. 12 Mar. 1834.

Offices Held


On the death of his Whig father in 1814, Power had been seated in his place for county Waterford with the support of the 6th duke of Devonshire. He had joined Brooks’s, sponsored by Lord Fitzwilliam, 24 Feb. 1815. At the 1820 general election he stood again. Talk of an opposition came to nothing and he was returned unopposed.1 A regular attender, he continued to vote with the Whig opposition to the Liverpool ministry on most major issues, including economy, retrenchment and reduced taxation.2 He voted for Catholic claims, 28 Feb. 1821, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825, and presented a favourable constituency petition, 1 Mar. 1825.3 He divided in favour of Leeds becoming a scot and lot borough if it received Grampound’s seats, 2 Mar. 1821, and voted for parliamentary reform, 25 Apr. 1822, 24 Apr. 1823, 27 Apr. 1826. He brought up a constituency petition for additional duties on imported butter, 26 Apr. 1822.4 During the rumours of an early dissolution in September 1825, Devonshire announced that he would have his ‘undivided support’ in the anticipated contest with a Catholic Association candidate, whom Power had already promised to ‘assist’ under the terms of a private ‘minute of agreement’, 25 Aug.5 ‘Power ... has formed a junction ... which he asserts he was forced into ... without the sanction or knowledge of the duke’, an informant advised Peel, the home secretary, 2 Sept. 1825, explaining, ‘the priests and Roman squires peremptorily told him he should be turned out if he hesitated, and he ... yielded’.6 He declined to attend the Association dinner for the ‘friends of civil and religious liberty’, 2 Feb. 1826.7

At the 1826 general election he offered again with the exclusive support of Devonshire, citing his family’s ‘long and tried services’. He surreptitiously assisted the Association campaign against his anti-Catholic colleague Beresford, and was returned in first place.8 He insisted that his Protestant constituents were ‘decidedly in favour’ of Catholic claims, 2 Mar., presented favourable petitions, 5 Mar. 1827, 28 Feb. 1828, and voted accordingly, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828.9 In October 1826 he had signed a requisition for a county meeting against the appointment and conduct of ‘certain magistrates’ who had summoned ‘additional military’ assistance to deal with alleged disturbances.10 He seconded his new colleague’s motion for information on the matter, 16 Mar. 1827.11 He was granted a month’s leave on account of ill health, 29 Mar. 1827. He divided for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. He signed the Protestant declaration in support of Catholic emancipation at the end of that year.12 At a county meeting, 19 Jan. 1829, he spoke and moved an address in support of the recalled Irish viceroy Lord Anglesey.13 He presented a petition against the Wellington ministry’s concession of emancipation, 10 Feb., but of course voted in its favour, 6, 30 Mar. In October 1829 the Ultra leader Sir Richard Vyvyan* numbered him among those who had voted thus whose attitude towards a putative coalition government was ‘unknown’. He voted steadily with the revived Whig opposition from March 1830, including for parliamentary reform, 28 May. He presented a constituency petition against the proposed increase in Irish stamp duties, 8 June 1830.

At the 1830 dissolution it was rumoured that he would retire, it being noted by a Beresford agent that the resignation of his cousin and brother-in-law Robert Shapland Carew, Member for county Wexford, who had been ‘certain of his return’, ‘may influence’ him.14 In the event, however, he offered again, referring to his conduct in ‘four successive’ Parliaments, but amidst complaints that he had yet to settle his 1826 election debts. Faced with a contest with Beresford and Daniel O’Connell*, he withdrew a fortnight before the nomination, protesting that after the ‘long tried parliamentary conduct of my father and myself’ he had been snubbed by promises of support which ‘were only contingent on the safety’ of O’Connell. ‘I cannot admit that my claims should be considered as second to those of any other candidate’, he declared, and ‘I cannot reproach myself with having given one vote which I would wish to retract’. On the hustings he attacked O’Connell for his unscrupulous ‘understanding’ with the Beresfords and proposed the abortive candidature of Thomas Wyse* as his successor.15 In April 1831 it was reported that he was ‘still quite anxious to resume his seat’ and ‘likely’ to be chosen by the independents as O’Connell’s running mate, although he ‘fears a contest’.16 He declined to stand at the 1831 general election, citing the ‘disunion and jealousies’ among the reformers of Waterford. A last minute compromise among them, however, allowed his younger brother Robert to slip in unopposed with his backing.17 Power died in London in March 1834, when the family estates at Clashmore devolved on his brother as the next male heir.18

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon


  • 1. Dublin Evening Post, 29 Feb., 25 Mar. 1820.
  • 2. Black Bk. (1823), 139; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 450.
  • 3. The Times, 2 Mar. 1825.
  • 4. Ibid. 27 Apr. 1822.
  • 5. NLI, Wyse mss 15023 (1), Devonshire to Wyse, 9 Sept. 1825; NLI, Villiers Stuart mss 24682.
  • 6. Add. 40381, f. 208.
  • 7. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1278.
  • 8. Southern Reporter, 24 June, 4 July; Waterford Chron. 29 June 1826.
  • 9. The Times, 3, 6 Mar. 1827.
  • 10. Villiers Stuart mss 24690.
  • 11. The Times, 17 Mar. 1827.
  • 12. T. Wyse, Hist. Catholic Association, ii. p. ccxxvi.
  • 13. Tipperary Free Press, 24 Jan. 1829.
  • 14. PRO NI, Pack-Beresford mss D664/A/151, 155, 156.
  • 15. Waterford Mail, 24, 31 July, 14 Aug. 1830.
  • 16. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1796.
  • 17. Waterford Mail, 5, 14 May 1831.
  • 18. Dublin Evening Post, 18 Mar. 1834.