Papers of John, Viscount Ponsonby

Scope and Content

Ponsonby came from a family with lands in Ireland, and his interest in Irish matters is apparent in the papers. In 1826 he was appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Buenos Aires, and from there went to Rio Janeiro in the same capacity in 1828. He was sent on a special mission to Belgium in 1830-1831, related to the question of the Belgian throne.

His period as envoy at Naples in 1832 was only brief, before becoming ambassador at Constantinople 1833-1841, and ambassador at Vienna 1846-1850. Each phase of his diplomatic career is represented in the papers, but in uneven depth. The bulk of the material relates to his nine years in Turkey, and constitutes a major source for the study of the Eastern Question. There is little on Ponsonby's short period at Naples, and the Vienna material is rather disappointing.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eldest son of the 1st Baron Ponsonby. Brother of Mary, Countess Grey, wife of the 2nd Earl Grey. Succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Ponsonby 1806; created Viscount Ponsonby of Imokilly, 1839. A diplomat, involved in missions to South America 1826-9, Belgium 1831, Naples 1832, Constantinople 1833-41, Vienna 1846-50.


Papers in files in a single alphabetical sequence (correspondents and subjects intermingled), followed by notebooks. There are some interruptions to the precise alphabetical sequence where a large correspondence occurs, but boxes are clearly labelled with contents. Files and notebooks are numbered in a single sequence (file in this context represents a correspondent or subject heading under which papers are grouped and may occupy many folders).

Access Information

Open for consultation.


Part of : Earl Grey Papers

Other Finding Aids

Available online at online catalogue