John Ponsonby

1713-1787; MP, Newtown, 1739; Sec. of Revenue Board, 1742; First Commissioner, 1744-81; Speaker of House of Commons, Dublin, 1756; eminent among ‘undertakers’ who engrossed emoluments of the country [Ireland]; influence damaged by appt. of Marquis of Townsend; dismissed from Revenue Board, 1771; resigned Speakership in the Irish House of Commons at the close of session; ceased to be politically active after 1776.

See also lengthy entry on Rt. Hon. George Ponsonby (1755-1817) - third son of the above - with extensive remarks on the Irish Parliament before and after the Union, in Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica, Vol. II (1821), pp.468-92 - as infra.

Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies, Vol.II [of 2] (London & Dublin 1821)

RIGHT HON. GEORGE PONSONBY - An eminent lawyer and senator, was the descendant of a family which derives its origin from Picardy, in France. That branch of his ancestral stock, to which the Ponsonby family in these kingdoms trace their lineage, came over to England among the adventurous followers of Duke William of Normandy: and when that enterprising leader, after the decisive battle which transferred the crown of England to his head, provided for his followers by the spoil of the conquered country, in the division of the landed possessions, the manor of PONSONBY, at Hale, in Cumberland, fell by lot to the ancestor of this gentleman, and conferred on him and his descendants, “A local habitation and a name.”
 A scion from this stock, a Sir John Ponsonby, in a subsequent age, probably inheriting the adventurous spirit of his ancestor, and desirous to better his fortunes by his martial prowess in the train of a victorious leader, accompanied Cromwell’s army to invade Ireland. The fertile soil of that island presented to this adventurer a tempting contrast to the bleak vallies [sic for valleys] and barren mountains of the Northern border; and the success of the Protector’s arms, enabled Sir John Ponsonby, like many others of his countrymen, to carve out for himself rich possessions, wrested by confiscation from the Irish Catholics, as lawful spoil of a whole sect, proscribed as notorious delinquents “rebels” freebooters, rapparees, and by various other happy epithets, calculated to reconcile to the scrupulous clemency of the victors, the plunder and extinction of the vanquished. The descendants of those fortunate adventurers, are to this hour designated among the natives as Cromwellians. The present rental of the Ponsonby family in Ireland, exceeds £50,000 per annum. Such a property, in a country circumstanced as Ireland has been added to character, talents, and favourable opportunities, could not fail to attain honours, and power, and high connexions, for the possessors: and accordingly, two peerages, Besborough and Imokilly; the Speaker’s chair in the Irish House of Commons; the Irish chancellorship; alliances with the ducal houses of Devonshire and St. Albans, as well as the noble ones of Spencer, Grey, and Westmoreland, in England; and of Shannon, Loftus, Kilworth, and Mountnorris, in Ireland, have all contributed to render the Ponsonby family wealthy, eminent, and powerful.
 Mr. George Ponsonby, the subject of this memoir, was born on the 5th of March, 1755. [...]

See full-text in RICORSO Library - via index or as attached.

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Thomas Bartlett, ed. & intro., Macartney in Ireland 1768-72: A Calendar of the Chief Secretaryship Papers of Sir George Macartney (PRONI [1978), inc. remarks: ‘John Ponsonby, the leading undertaker, was not only speaker of the Irish house of Commons but also the ‘first’ commissioner of the revenue. By destroying the undertakers’ power at what he believed to be its source, Townshend hope ‘to restore to the lord lieutenant such an influence over the revenue as may enable him ... to put it into his power to conduct h[is] m[ajesty]’s affairs with safety and success.’ (p.xx). [See also Earl Macartney, q.v.]

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