John Ponsonby

Life
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; influence damaged by appt. of Marquis of Townsend; dismissed from Revenue Board, 1771; resigned Speakership at close of session; ceased to be politically active after 1776.

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Commentary
Tom Bartlett, ed. and 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[ajaesty]’s affairs with safety and success.’ (xx). See also Earl Macartney, Rx.

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