POLHILL FAMILY HISTORY PAGE<< Previous Next >>
TRIBUTE TO DAVID POLHILL THE PETITIONER.
by his son CHARLES.
(transcribed from) handwriting of Rev. Frederic Campbell
Polhill sent to Edward Polhill, of Brighton, 19th December
The Late David Polhill Esqre. "This good man and most Excellent Parent died January the 15th, 1754 about 80 years of age. He never got over the Death of my Brother Thomas, who was killed by a fall from his Horse on Westminster Bridge the August before.
My Father acted through life a Disinterested Generous and a Noble Part: was the Patron of the oppressed, Firm in the True Interests of his Country, invariable in defending her Civil and Religious Liberties and tho' forming Alliances with great Families, I may truly say, he conferred greater obligations on them, than he received from them.
His first wife was Elizabeth Trevor of Glind in Sussex, to whom he was married at Barnes near Putney in Surrey. Sept. 3rd 1702. She was Great Granddaughter of John Hampden.
His second wife was Gertrude Pelham Sister to Thomas Holles Duke of Newcastle. They were married at Haudlland in Sussex (one of the Duke's seats (or Haland) August 20th - 1713.
Before he had any Children, which did not happen till his third and last Marriage with Elizabeth Borrett my Mother (who was also a Great Grand-daughter of John Hampden) he was uncommonly generous to the Relations of his two first Wives, (and very useful by his Interest at Lewes to the Duke of Newcastle's Friends, Candidates for that Borough) as appears very plainly by letters and his accounts making them very considerable presents.
Very Considerable sums he gave to His own Relations who always found a Father in him under their distresses. His uncle Polhill's descendants, the Polhills' Collins's Greene's etc., had at times some Thousands of Pounds of Him. His Generosity to his Friends and acquaintance was the occasion of his losing very considerable sums - Amongst these by Sir Robert Marsham, the first Lord Romney, he lost, above 1400 L and between 3 and 4000 L by Sir Christopher Powell (who after compounding his Debts, was rich enough to stand as a Candidate for the County):
More by Mr. Saxby of Leybourne and others.
To his own Family he was an uncommon Friend. His next Brother Henry he maintained almost, as he constantly lived with him to the day of his death, which happened a few weeks before that of my Father's. His youngest brother (Charles) was by my Father's interest and Friendship with Lord Townshend. (Then Secretary of State) made a Commissioner of Excise, which employment he enjoyed for 27 years and upwards. (He died October 1755) and received clear from it above 24,000 L, this he obtained entirely through my Father's interest and friendship. Both my uncles left their whole Estates Real & Personal (some few Legacies and small Bequests excepted) to us. The Rev. Sir. Richard Collins who married a Polhill of Farringham, a first or second Cousin of my Father's, through his interest with Lord Westmoreland, obtained the Living of Crayford worth at that time (in 1714 or 16) about 300 L. per annum. Who in the year 1715 on my Father's accepting the office of High Sheriff, promised to provide for Mr. Collins. My Father's interest in the County was at that time so great, that Lord Westmoreland was apprehensive he might be a dangerous Rival to his Brother Col. Fane; who I think was either a Candidate or chosen Knight of the Shire that year, it being the first year of the Accession of the House of Hanover to this Throne, wanting a Man of courage, temper, and a Friend to that Illustrious Family, for High Sheriff, they picked upon David Polhill. These were the Reasons which contributed to make him Sheriff that year.
He first got a sloop for one of Mr. Collins's sons, David, who afterwards died an Admiral and a Company of Foot for the third son Thomas Collins - For Edmonds, another distant relation, he obtained promotion in the Sea Service, but he died very young.
He sold an Annuity for his life of 100 pounds a year for 1600 pounds and bestowed it on his first Cousin Thomas Polhill a broker in the City, to save him from Gaol, and after which helped to support two of his Sisters. Dinah Polhill and Mrs. Greene to the time of their death and Mrs. Greene's Son Jonathan was put to School, Educated and brought into the Excise at the expence and by the favor of my Father and my Uncle the Commissioner of Excise.
My father was a Candidate Eleven different Times for Parliament, soon after the Kentish Petition which was presented to the House of Commons in King William's Reign 1701. By for this two Colepepers, Justinian Champneys, William Hamilton and my Father. He might have been elected for the County; but waiving his interest in favor of Sir William Colepeper (their Family being very Ancient) he carried to the Poll 500 single votes for that Gentleman. In 1708 my Father was chosen for the County without opposition or expense. A new parliament being called in the year 1709 or 1710, he was again a Candidate with Sir Thomas Palmer, but Doctor Sachevepell's Preaching having inflamed the people, they lost the Election, and my Father had very nearly lost his Life, by the violence of Party Rage, lost the election tho' they Polled 3000 votes, a Greater number than any Successful Candidate had ever Polled before.
But the Cry of Sachevepell and the Danger of the Church had so infatuated the people, that they made no scruple of making use of every kind of Wickedness to keep those out of Parliament, who were the real Friends to their Country. Perjury was without hesitation made use of in support of the Church.
In 1715, as I observed above, he was High Sheriff. In 1721, he was again a Candiate for the County with Sir George Oxenden; and they would have been chosen, but for the jealousy of some Great Men (my father's pretended Friends).
The Nobility with the Duke of Dorset at their head, could not bear to see to much Popularity attended with so much Real Merit in a Plebeian, and Col. Fane setting up on the same (the Whig Interest) they broke that interest and all the three Candidates, after much Canvassing (wherein my Father met with very great Success and Encouragement) they all three declined and threw up. In the year 1721, he was elected for the Borough of Bramber in Sussex; in 1727 he was Elected for Rochester and Represented that City from that time to the Day of his Death, January 1754, one year excepted, 1741, when he was thrown out by the Popularity of Admiral Vernon, whom his opponents set up, and who had just taken Porto Bello in the West Indies, where he then was. But on the Admiral declaring his Election for Ipswich, my father on that vacancy was again Elected for Rochester in the year 1742.
He was a Candidate 12 times: once for Dover, once for Sandwich, twice for the County, all which he lost. The first time for the County, through the violence of the Times, the last in 1721 through the jealousy of his pretended Friends.
He was chosen once for the County. once for Bramber and I think 5 times for the City of Rochester and once he lost that Election.
2 elections for Dover and Sandwich before 1708.
1708 chosen for the County.
1709 or 10 and 1721 lost the Election for the County.
1721 chosen for Bromber
1727 or 8 elected for Rochester, re-elected in 1729,
again 1734, 1742, 1748. Lost one election 1741.
In Publick his Actions were consistent. In the year 1721 the Duke of Dorset Broke the Whig Interest of this County by supporting Col Fane, Brother to the Earl of Westmoreland - in 1731, when the Duke's Eldest Son the Earl of Middlesex stood for this County with Sir George Oxenden against Sir Edward Dering and Lord Vane, my Father supported Lord Middlesex's interest, and Col. Fane then Earl of Westmoreland opposed him. It occasioned a memorable Conversation between the Duke of Dorset and my Father. "How is this" said the Duke, "Mr Polhill I opposed you in favor of Col. Fane ten years ago, he now opposes my son and you support him." "It is my Lord" (replied my Father) "because your Son is a Whig, and no private Resentments shall ever induce me to act against my Principles."
A noble Example-here the Commoner appears in a much higher Light than the Peer. This great example for a great mind he had, in every sense of the Word, I hope will ever be remembered and imitated by his Children's grand Children.
An ill state of health in the younger part of my life, deprived me of the pleasure of following his Steps, or taking the Advantage of such a Character in a Parliamentary Line (tho' I was frequently solicited). In private I hope at least my life has been Irreproachable.
These are a few short memorials of that worthy man my father David Polhill, than whom none could be more sincerely lamented by his surviving Children, as no Children could devise or wish for a more tender and affectionate Parent.
If I live I may one day do that justice to his Character in a more diffusive manner, which so steady an attachment to the Liberties of Mankind and of his County, and so much Generosity, Constancy, and Fortitude, deserve.
As to his Failings they were few, may they be buried with him. But may his Virtues, his great and Generous Character descend to animate and spread a Lustre over his Descendants to latest Posterity.
Nov. 10th 1770 C. Polhill
Letters addressed to David Polhill Esq with the dates and names of the respective writers etc. etc.
1696 Sam: Mead to "Monsiers Polhill, Gentilhomme Anglais, au
Parc d'or sur Le Bleyn a la Haye Hollaud"
English Gentleman at the Golden Bread on the Plaza (or Beach) The Hague Hollandaye"
1697 Sir David Dixwell - Broome now Seat of the Oxendens
1701 Rev. J. Curteis D.D. Vicar of Sevenoaks
"to David Polhill Esq now under Confinement in his Majesty's prison of the Gate House-Westminster"
1701 R. Marsham
1707 Sir T. Franklam and Lord Lucas
1710 Earl of Leicester - Penshurst
1710 Lord Rockingham
1710 Tenison Archbishop of Canterbury, about rude behaviour to
Dr. Gee in Chevening Church yard
1710 Edward Tenison on Convocation
1711 Earl of Westmorland, about the living of Crayford
1714 Grey Neville
1714 Earl of Westmorland
1714/5 Nat: Hough Candidate for the Chaplaincy
of the House of Commons "to David Polhill Esq
High Sheriff for the County at his house, near Sundridge Kent."
1717 Earl of Dorset on Sheldon being made Sheriff
1721 Lord Romney
1721 Sam: Lennard
1722 Horace Walpole
1726 Dutchess of Newcastle about some antelopes (Haland, Sussex)
1726 Duke of Dorset
1727 Lord Londonderry announcing the death of George the 1st
1727 Lord Halifax about his Tenants and their votes
1727 Sir R. Furnese Waldershare are now Lord Guildford's
1727 Arthur Onslow, Speaker of the House of Commons
1728 J. Hartop - about Dr. Watts's Degree
1730 Lord Sutherland
1730 Duke of Newcastle
1734 Earl of Leicester Lord Lieutenaut of Kent
1735 Duke of Dorset about Ensign Collins
1738 Col. Campbell afterwards Duke of Argyll, Coomb Bank
1740 Lewis Theobald letter of great flattery
1742 Admiral Byng
1746 Duke of Dorset
1749 Henry Pelham on the Meeting of Parliament
1750 Elizabeth Bendysh grand dau. of Cromwell
1750 Henry Pelham, Chancellor of the Exchequer
The following are letters of Condolence to Charles Polhill on the death of his father David
1754 Duke of Newcastle
Duke of Dorset - Dublin Castle
Duke of Roxburgh
Lord Hardwick - Lord Chancellor
Henry Pelham - Admiral Byng
R. Fairfax - H. Newcome<< Previous Next >>