George Ensor

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George Ensor, drawing by John Comerford

George Ensor J.P. (17 December 1769 – 3 December 1843) was an eminent Irish author and lawyer.

Ensor was born in Ardress, County Armagh and lived in Ardress house, Ireland and educated at the Royal School, Armagh followed by Trinity College Dublin. He was called to the Irish Bar in 1792. He married Esther Weld (sister of famous Irish explorer, author and painter Isaac Weld) on 7 January 1804. His father, George Ensor, and uncle, John Ensor, were architects who designed much of Merrion Square, Parnell Square, the Rotunda of the Rotunda Hospital, now the Ambassador Theatre (Dublin), the Hotel Saint George[1] and the Castle Hotel[2] - all in Dublin. They originated from Coventry and Wilnecote, England. George (Senior) was the first of the 'Irish' Ensors and John the first of the Rollesby Hall/New Zealand Ensors.

He was a well-known political writer and patriot, author of at least twenty books of educational and Irish interest, and the father-in-law of J. P. Prendergast the historian. He was a friend of Daniel O'Connell, Jeremy Bentham and James Mill. He accompanied John Stuart Mill (aged 14) to France in 1820. Was a grand juror and High Sheriff (1806) of County Armagh and died on 3 December 1843 at the family home, Ardress House, now property of the National Trust.[3]


  • The Independent Man (1806)
  • On National Government (2 vols., 1810)
  • National Education (1811)
  • Defects of the English Laws and Tribunals (1812). Marvin described this book as "a rambling, desultory, fault-finding, ill digested volume, in which the author finds little to praise and much to blame".[4] Ensor was influenced by Romilly.[5]
  • Observations on the present state of Ireland (1814)
  • An Inquiry Concerning the Population of Nations containing a Refutation of Mr. Malthus's Essay on Population (1918)[6]
  • Address to the People of Ireland on the Degradation and Misery of their Country (1823)
  • A Defence of the Irish and the Means of their Redemption (1825) DNB DIW DIH DUB
  • Of property and of its equal distribution as promoting virtue, population, abundance
  • Letters showing the inutility, and exhibiting the absurdity, of what is rather fantastically termed "the new Reformation"
  • Irish Affairs at the Close of 1825 (1827)
  • Anti-Union, Ireland as She Ought to Be (1831)
  • Before and After the Reform Bill (1842)
  • Principles of Morality
  • The Poor and their relief 1823


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  4. ^ Marvin's Legal Bibliography (1847) p 296. For other reviews, see (1813) 72 Monthly Review 174; K, "Review" (1813) 10 Belfast Monthly Magazine 58 and 138; (1814) 6 Critical Review 10. See also Holdsworth, A History of English Law, Methuen, 1966, vol 13, p 495. Copy of this book by Ensor: Google Books.
  5. ^ Radzinowicz, Leon. A History of English Criminal Law and Its Administration from 1750. Macmillan. 1948. vol 1. p 366.
  6. ^ George Ensor (1818). An Inquiry Concerning the Population of Nations: Containing a Refutation of Mr. Malthus's Essay on Population. E. Wilson. 

Oxford Biography Index entry George Ensor

Ensor, George (1769-1843), political writer Oxford Biography Index Number 101008822

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