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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/95

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Ponsonby
Ponsonby
89

Marquis of Rockingham, 1852, i. 218-20), and on 12 July following kissed hands on his reappointment as joint postmaster-general (Grenville Papers, 1852-3, iii. 217), being at the same time sworn a member of the privy council. On 26 Nov. 1766 Bessborough offered to resign the post office in favour of Lord Edgcumbe, who had been dismissed from the treasurership of the household, and to accept a place in the bedchamber instead. His offer, however, was refused, and Bessborough thereupon resigned (Chatham Correspondence, iii. 130). In company with the Duke of Devonshire, and Lords Rockingliam, Fitzwilliam, and Fitzpatrick, he protested strongly against the proposed Irish absentee tax in 1773 (Froude, English in Ireland, 1872-4, ii. 160, 162). He died on 11 March 1793, and was buried on the 22nd of the same month in the family vault of the Dukes of Devonshire in All Saints' Church, Derby, where there are monumental busts of him and his wife by Nollekens and Kysbrach respectively.

He married, on 6 July 1739, Lady Caroline Cavendish, eldest daughter of William, third duke of Devonshire, by whom he had five sons—all of whom died young with the exception of Frederic, viscount Duncannon (born 24 Jan. 1768), who succeeded as third Earl of Bessborough, and died on 3 Feb. 1844, and whose son, John William, fourth earl, is separately noticed—and six daughters, all of whom died young with the exception of Catherine, who married, on 4 May 1763, the Hon. Aubrey Beauclerk (afterwards fifth Duke of St. Albans), and died on 4 Sept. 1789, aged 46: and Charlotte, who married on 11 July 1770 William, fourth earl Fitzwilliam, and died on 13 May 1822, aged 74. Lady Bessborough died on 20 Jan. 1760, aged 40, and was buried in All Saints', Derby.

There is no record of any speech delivered by Bessborough in either the Irish or British parliaments, though he signed a number of protests in the British House of Lords (see Rogers, Complete Collection of the Protests of the Lords, 1875, vol. ii.) He was appointed a trustee of the British Museum in 1770. The pictures at his house in Pall Mall, and the antiques at Bessborough House, Roehampton, which Bessborough and his father had collected, were sold at Christie's in 1801. A catalogue (in French) of his gems was published by Laurent Natter in 1761 (London, 4to). A portrait of Bessborough was painted by George Knapton for the Dilettanti Society, and there is a mezzotint engraving by R. Dunkarton after J. S. Copley.

[Walpole's Memoirs of the Reign of George III, 1845, i. 200–1, ii. 22, 194, 381–2, 395; Walpole's Letters, 1857–9 passim; Glover's Hist. of Derbyshire, 1833, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 491; Cox and Hope's Chronicles of All Saints', Derby, 1881, pp. 129, 132, 133; Nichols's Leicestershire, 1795–1815, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 283; Brayley and Britton's Surrey, 1850, iii. 483; Lysons's Environs of London, 1792, i. 433–4, Supplement, 1811, p. 64; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage, i. 351–2; Edmondson's Baronagium Genealog. v. 448; Foster's Peerage, 1883, p. 78; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, 1789, ii. 281–2; Collins's Peerage, 1812, vii. 265–7; Gent. Mag. 1760 p. 46, 1763 p. 257, 1770 p. 344, 1789 pt. ii. p. 866, 1793 pt. i. p. 285, 1801 pt. i. pp. 323–4, pt. ii. p. 783, 1822 pt. i. p. 472, 1844 pt. ii. p. 87; Official Return of Members of Parliament, pt. ii.; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890.]

G. F. R. B.


PONSONBY, Sir WILLIAM (1772–1815), major-general, born in 1772, was the second son of William Brabazon Ponsonby, first baron Ponsonby [q. v.], by the Hon. Louisa Molesworth, fourth daughter of the third Viscount Molesworth. John, first viscount Ponsonby [q. v.], was his eldest brother. Sir William was second cousin of Sir Frederic Cavendish Ponsonby [q. v.], both being great-grandsons of the first Earl of Bessborough. After serving for a year and a half as ensign and lieutenant in the independent companies of Captain Bulwer and Captain Davis, he obtained a company in the 83rd foot in September 1794, and on 15 Dec. of that year became major in the loyal Irish fencibles. On 1 March 1798 he was transferred to the 5th dragoon guards, and obtained the command of that regiment on 24 Feb. 1803, having become lieutenant-colonel in the army on 1 Jan. 1800. He became colonel on 25 July 1810. Up to this time he had seen no foreign service, but in 1811 he went to Spain with his regiment, which formed part of Le Marchant's brigade. His was the leading regiment of that brigade in the affair at Llerena on 11 April 1812 [see Ponsonby, Sir Frederic Cavendish], and he won the commendation of Sir Stapleton Cotton. At Salamanca he took part at the head of his regiment in the charge of the brigade which broke up the French left and took two thousand prisoners, and after the fall of General Le Marchant in that charge he succeeded to the command of the brigade. He was definitively appointed to this command three days afterwards, 25 July 1812, and he led the brigade at Vittoria. He was promoted major-general on 4 June 1813, and on 2 Jan. 1815 he was made K.C.B. In the campaign of 1815 he was given command of the Union brigade of heavy cavalry (Royals, Scots Greys, and Inniskillings), and led it at Waterloo in the famous charge on d'Erlon's shattered corps. Lord