CLIVE (afterwards HERBERT), Edward, Visct. Clive (1785-1848).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1806 - 16 May 1839

Family and Education

b.22 Mar. 1785, 1st s. of Edward Clive* 2nd Baron Clive [I], and bro. of Hon. Robert Henry Clive*. educ. Eton 1799-1802; St. John’s, Camb. 1803-6. m. 9 Feb. 1818, Lady Lucy Graham, da. of James Graham*, 3rd Duke of Montrose [S], 5s. 3da. Took name of Herbert in lieu of Clive 9 Mar. 1807 according to will of his mat. uncle George, 2nd Earl of Powis (d.1801); suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Powis 16 May 1839; KG 12 Dec. 1844.

Offices Held

Maj. commdt. Ludlow yeomanry 1807-28; lt.-col. commdt. R.E. Mont. militia 1808, 1846, S. Salop yeomanry 1828-d.

Ld. lt. Mont. 1830-d.


Clive, heir-designate to the Powis Castle estate through his mother, assumed her name after coming of age; since 1804 he had been heir to the earldom of Powis, revived for his father. On coming of age he was also returned for the family borough of Ludlow, where he was unopposed in this period, and held the seat until he succeeded to the title 33 years later. While Clive did not actively oppose the Grenville ministry, his father’s neutrality towards them was suspected by Lord Grenville to be hostile and this was confirmed by Powis’s willingness to support the ensuing Portland administration, in which Clive followed suit. He had been listed ‘adverse’ to the abolition of the slave trade. His father declined the lord lieutenancy of Ireland for himself and a seat at the Treasury board for Clive, 28 Mar. 1807, fearing, with his friend Lord Wellesley, that their conduct in India would be impugned by opposition. When Wellesley accepted office in December 1809, he tried to secure a place for Clive on ‘the first commission for the Board of Control’ and Robert Saunders Dundas* was engaged to offer it to him, on the understanding that Wellesley himself would be in the new commission; but the plan miscarried when Wellesley accepted the Foreign Office.1

Clive made no mark in Parliament before 1812; in 1809 after his father’s quarrel with Charles Williams Wynn, when it was thought likely that Clive would oppose Williams Wynn at the next election for Montgomeryshire, one of the latter’s friends reported: ‘the nice young man, as the young lordling has been called by his friends here, does not seem ... to merit any more respectable appellation—as a public man he is truly contemptible’. On 8 May 1809 he wrote to Perceval apologizing for his inability to attend on Madocks’s motion, which he deplored, and promising to muster in future. His father declined Perceval’s overtures (involving office for Clive) in October 1809, wishing to see Lord Sidmouth included in the government. He voted with ministers on the address, 23 Jan. 1810, and on the Scheldt inquiry 26 Jan., 30 Mar., despite reports that his father was being persuaded by Sidmouth to oppose government: in which case, rather than vote contrary to him, he meant to abstain, although he wished to remain ‘staunch’. The Whigs listed him ‘doubtful’ from their viewpoint. On 21 May 1810 he voted against parliamentary reform. He rallied to ministers on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811, acting throughout that question as leader of the Commons deputation to the Lords for purposes of conference. He voted against the reversion bill, 7 Feb. 1812, and was credited with having left the hunting field to attend in support of the orders in council, 3 Mar. As his father’s mouthpiece, he wished the Sidmouth party to be included in the government at that time. On 15 May he moved an address for a monument in Westminster Abbey in memory of Spencer Perceval, in which, he maintained, he had not been prompted by Perceval’s friends. But he had shown himself to be one of them.2

On 30 Nov. 1812 Clive moved the address. He had voted against Catholic relief on 22 June 1812 and did so again throughout 1813 and in 1817. On 14 Apr. 1813 he secured the committal to Newgate of Thomas Croggon for his offences arising out of the Tregony election. He went to Paris in May 1814, carrying despatches for Castlereagh, and was convinced of ‘the value of which Castlereagh has been to the cause of Europe’. On his return, he spoke in favour of an increased annuity for Sir Rowland Hill*, 10 June 1814. In August he embarked for France again, and proceeded to Vienna where he joined Castlereagh’s entourage. In the following autumn, now a member of Grillion’s Club, he returned to Paris. He did not draw attention to himself in Parliament until 1819, though he mustered for government on most critical divisions. On 14 Jan. 1819 he seconded Peel’s motion for the retention of Manners Sutton as Speaker. He was named to the finance committee in February, for the third session running. In March he opposed the Game Laws amendment bill—he was a passionate sportsman, who wrote in his diary, 1 Sept. 1814: ‘Who would have believed it possible that I should have been travelling through France this day of all days in the year? For 14 years I have never failed doing my duty upon the first of September’.3

As chairman of the Barnstaple election committee, Clive was given leave to bring in a bill to prevent bribery and corruption there, 2 Apr. 1819. He made it clear that he was not in favour of any general plan of parliamentary reform, 10 May. A brief comment on the seditious meetings prevention bill, 6 Dec. 1819, was his last speech in this period. He was present at Castlereagh’s dinner for ministers, 22 Nov. 1819, one of the few out of office there. Robert Ward reported him as saying of Castlereagh that he ‘wondered what thing in the world could tempt him to be a minister, forced one moment to give such a dinner as this, and the next to be slandered, abused and condemned by wilful and ignorant blackguards’.4 Clive remained consistently conservative. He died 17 Jan. 1848, after an accidental shot in his leg while pheasant shooting ten days before.5

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Geo. III Corresp. iv. 3418; Powis Castle mss, Wellesley to Powis, 11 Dec., reply 14 Dec. 1809.
  • 2. NLW, Glansevern mss 2203; Perceval (Holland) mss 24, f. 5; Sidmouth, iii. 13; Malmesbury mss, Palmerston to Malmesbury, 26 Jan.; Lonsdale mss, Ward to Lonsdale, 3 Feb. 1810; Phipps, Plumer Ward Mems. i. 420, 445; Harewood mss, Canning to his wife, 5 Mar. 1812.
  • 3. Lord Clive’s Jnl. 1814-15, pp. 8, 27; Colchester, ii. 554.
  • 4. Phipps, ii. 27-8.
  • 5. Gent. Mag. (1848), i. 428.