1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Saunderson, Edward James

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SAUNDERSON, EDWARD JAMES (1837–1906), Irish politician, was born at Castle Saunderson, Co. Cavan, on the 1st of October 1837. He was the son of Alexander Saunderson, M.P. for Cavan (d. 1857), his mother being a daughter of the 6th Baron Farnham. The Irish Saundersons were a 17th century branch of an old family, originally of Durham; a Lincolnshire branch, the Saundersons of Saxby, held the titles of Viscount Castleton (Irish: cr. 1628) and Baron Saunderson (British: cr. 1714) up to 1723. Edward Saunderson was educated abroad, and, having succeeded to the Cavan estates, married in 1865 a daughter of the 3rd Baron Ventry, and in the same year was elected M.P. for the county as a Palmerstonian Liberal. He lost his seat in 1874, and by 1885, when he again entered parliament for North Armagh, he had become a prominent Orangeman and a Conservative; the question of Irish home rule had now come to the front, and Saunderson's political career as a representative Irish Unionist had begun. He had entered the Cavan militia (4th battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers) in 1862, and was now major (1875), becoming colonel in 1886 and in command of the battalion from 1891 to 1893. Almost from the first he became leader of the Irish Unionist party in the House of Commons, his uncompromising speeches being full of force and humour. In 1898 his services were recognized by his being made a privy councillor. He died on the 21st of October 1906. In private life Colonel Saunderson was well known as a keen yachtsman; his character was deeply marked by stern religious feeling, and his fine sincerity, while endearing him to his friends, never lost him the respect of his opponents.

See the Memoir by Reginald Lucas (1908).