PONSONBY, Hon. George (?1773-1863), of Woolbeding, Suss.

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



12 Apr. 1806 - 1806
1806 - 1812
1826 - 1832

Family and Education

b. ?1773, 4th s. of William Brabazon Ponsonby*, and bro. of John Ponsonby*, William Ponsonby* and Frederick Ponsonby*. educ. Trinity, Dublin 7 Mar. 1791, aged 18; L. Inn 1794, called [I] 1797. m. (1) 7 Apr. 1807, Sarah (d. 18 July 1808), da. of John Jacob Gledstanes of Annesgift, co. Tipperary, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 11 June 1812, Diana Juliana Margaretta, da. of Hon. Edward Bouverie I*, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1796-8.

Ld. of Treasury Nov. 1830-Nov. 1834.


Ponsonby was returned for Kilkenny in succession to his father on the Bessborough interest and a few months afterwards for Cork, in succession to his cousin Viscount Boyle, though there was some idea of his standing for the King’s or the Queen’s County.1 He followed the family line in supporting the Grenville ministry and from 1807 until his defeat at the election of 1812 was in opposition, of which his uncle George meanwhile became leader. He did not attend with the same regularity as the latter and missed the crucial divisions of April 1807 owing to assize duties,2 but over 25 votes with opposition are recorded. He seems to have spoken in debate only on 4 and 7 Aug. 1807, in condemnation of the Irish arms bill, unless, which seems unlikely, any of the speeches attributed to his uncle were his: even on the bill he abominated he seems to have changed his mind, as he is reported to have gone away without voting swayed by Grattan’s argument, 12 days before.3 He was a supporter of Catholic relief, but eschewed extra-parliamentary agitation for constitutional reform.

On his uncle’s death in 1817 there was surprise in some Whig circles that Earl Fitzwilliam did not return Ponsonby for the vacant seat for Wicklow, but failing this, Ponsonby set his heart on recapturing his seat for Cork from Richard Hare. His uncle Earl Grey encouraged him and he persuaded a reluctant Duke of Devonshire to assist him, but the election of 1818 came too soon to enable him to muster enough votes and he gave up the contest.4 He remained out of Parliament until 1826. Ponsonby died 5 June 1863.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. HMC Fortescue, viii. 411; Blair Adam mss, Duchess of Bedford to Adam, 29 Oct. 1806.
  • 2. Dublin Evening Post, 23 Apr. 1807.
  • 3. Romilly, Mems. ii. 220.
  • 4. Brougham mss, Brougham to Lambton [23 Aug.]; Carlisle mss, Abercromby to Morpeth, 26 Oct.; Chatsworth mss, Ponsonby to Duke of Devonshire, 2, 17, 19 Nov., replies 15, 18 Nov. 1817; Add. 40278, f. 162.