John Ponsonby (politician)

John Ponsonby (politician)

John Ponsonby, PC(I) (29 March 1713 – 12 December 1789), styled the Hon. John Ponsonby, PC(I), was an Irish politician and the second son of Brabazon Ponsonby, 1st Earl of Bessborough.

In 1739 he entered the Irish House of Commons in 1744, becoming its speaker in 1756. He also served as First Commissioner of the Revenue and he became a member of the Privy Council of Ireland in 1746.

Belonging to one of the great families which at this time monopolized the government of Ireland, Ponsonby was one of the principal "undertakers," men who controlled the whole of the king's business in Ireland, and he retained the chief authority until George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend became lord-lieutenant in 1767. Then followed a struggle for supremacy between the Ponsonby faction and the party dependent on Townshend, one result of this being that Ponsonby resigned the speakership in 1771.

He married in 1743 Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Devonshire, a connection which was of great importance to the Ponsonbys. His sons, William Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Imokilly, and George Ponsonby, were also politicians of distinction. His daughter Catherine married Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of Shannon and was mother to Henry Boyle, 3rd Earl of Shannon.


*Mosley, Charles (editor). (1999). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th edition


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