Left: In November 1787, Powell’s intriguing over opposition to the improvement of the harbour led to increasing frustration at Common Hall meetings. On one occasion, Powell attempted to enter a resolution opposing the Harbour Bill into the minute book without reading it out to the assembled burgesses. Charles Collins insisted on reading the motion, taking it from Gabriel’s hand. Whilst trying to read the motion, Collins’ wig was torn off by Gabriel’s son Reverend Thomas Powell. A brawl then followed. Upon hearing the story, Moses Harries drew a cartoon entitled ‘ A Welsh Corporation Meeting’
Right: In 1787, Powell attended Parliament to oppose a bill intended to improve the town by paving the streets and other improvements. Acceptance of the bill would ultimately mean a loss of control of certain aspects of the town’s administration to a committee of some kind, with strangers and meddlers; a situation totally unacceptable to Powell.

In support of his opposition, Powell made a speech to the Parliamentary Committee. His intent was to describe Swansea as a small town of no importance or ambition. His remarks were so scathing that they inspired the artist Moses Harries to draw this cartoon and caption it with an extract from his speech: ‘Swansea is a poor town mostly inhabited by Copper Men and Colliers; But as well paved as most country towns are: I know of no theatre there. I may have heard of one. I was never at it’.

 

 

 

The View for Sunday 4 December 2000

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