SAUNDERS, Sir George (c.1671-1734), of St. Olave's, Hart St., London.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Volunteer R.N. 1689, lt. 1694, capt. 1705; commr. of victualling 1721-7; commr. of the navy 1727-9; comptroller of the navy treasurer’s acct. 1729-d.; r.-adm. 1731.
Saunders, whose parentage has not been ascertained, was in the merchant service before joining the navy, in which he served afloat with distinction for 31 years. In September 1715 he was sent by Admiral Sir George Byng to Havre and Paris to complain of ships suspected of carrying arms for the Pretender.2 He was with Byng in the Baltic in 1717, and was chosen by him to be first captain, or captain of the fleet, in the operations against Spain off Sicily and Naples, 1718-20. This appointment was described by Pattee Byng as ‘a rank of consideration and distinction, to which [Saunders] had been nominated by my father from particular friendship to him; and as he knew him to be an active, good officer, and a thinking man, he had much of his esteem’. Saunders was present at Byng’s victory off Cape Passaro, 31 July 1718, was sent to negotiate a treaty with the Order of Malta, October 1719, and arranged the armistice with Spain, May 1720.3 For these services he was knighted by the King at Hanover, while returning home, and given successive shore appointments which he continued to hold as an admiral.
Returned for Queenborough on the Admiralty interest at a by-election in 1728 and again in 1734, he consistently supported the Administration till his death, 5 Dec. 1734.