SAUNDERSON, Francis (1754-1827), of Castle Saunderson, co. Cavan.
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Family and Education
b. 15 Sept. 1754, 1st s. of Alexander Saunderson of Castle Saunderson by Rose, da. of Trevor Lloyd, MP [I], of Gloster, King’s Co. educ. Eton 1769; G. Inn 1771. m. 28 Aug. 1779, Anne Bassett, da. of Stephen White of Miskin, Glam., 5s. 2da. surv. suc. fa. 1768.
MP [I] 1788-1800.
Sheriff, co. Cavan 1781-2.
A ‘respectable country gentleman’, Saunderson was independent of the Castle and ‘an old steady friend’ of Charles Fox, as well as ‘a great friend’ of George Ponsonby. He voted against the Union despite the bait of a peerage, it would seem. He had not taken his seat at Westminster by 25 Mar. 1801.1 During Addington’s ministry the Castle remained uncertain of him and in the spring of 1804 he was ‘in Ireland ill’. He opposed Pitt’s second ministry, voting against the additional force bill in June 1804 and being listed ‘Irish Fox and Grenville’ in September and ‘con’, 29 Dec. In May 1805 he was in Ireland, ‘too ill to go over, but he will not tie with any other Member’.2 In July he was listed ‘doubtful Opposition’. Although he was privately critical of the Grenville ministry’s appointment of Sir John Newport, who had banking interests, as Irish chancellor of the exchequer in 1806, he supported government, voting for the repeal of the Additional Force Act on 30 Apr. 1806. There is no evidence that he spoke in debate.
Despite the assurance of government support, Saunderson retired for health reasons rather than face a contest at the election of 1806. At the time of his death in 1827 his eldest acknowledged son Alexander was county Member. It is believed that his eldest son was disinherited for marrying a Roman Catholic.3