Ensor, George (1769–1843), barrister and political writer, was born in Dublin, son of George Ensor (qv), architect, and Sara Ensor (née Clarke), heiress to Ardress House, Co. Armagh. His uncle John Ensor (qv) was an assistant to Richard Castle (qv) and designed the Rotunda Hospital after Castle's death in 1751. Ensor was educated at Dr Murray's school, Dublin, and entered TCD in 1786; he enrolled at the Middle Temple and King's Inns in 1787, and he graduated BA from TCD in 1790. He afterwards served as a grand juror of Co. Armagh.
He is best remembered for his political pamphlets. His first tract, Principles of morality, was published in 1801, and by the time of his death in 1843 he had produced over twenty disquisitions propagating ‘advanced’ views on national government, English laws and tribunals, the catholic question, the state of Europe in 1816, population, the Irish economy, poor relief, the union, religion, parliamentary reform, education, and the corn laws.
His writing was noted for its sarcasm, much of which was directed at the English government of Ireland. In his Inquiry concerning the population of nations: containing a refutation of Mr Malthus's essay on population (1818), Ensor argued that no country with ‘confirmed liberty and equal laws’ had been made miserable merely by an excess of people, and that Ireland's growth in population should be changed through parochial administration of poor relief and adjustments to the perceived norms of courtship and marriage (Inquiry, 308, 355). He also censored the Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume (1711–76) as a Stuart apologist with absolutist sympathies. Ensor's own work, Defects of the English laws and tribunals (1812), was appraised ‘a rambling, desultory, fault finding, ill digested volume, in which the author finds little to praise and much to blame’ (Marvin's legal bibliography, cited in Allibone, i, 560) and his Of property and its equal distribution (published posthumously in London, 1844) has been judged ‘unsystematic, ideologically biased, and non-quantitative’ (Rudmin, 58).
In 1828 Jeremy Bentham and Daniel O'Connell (qv) debated allowing Ensor, a protestant member of the Catholic Association, to stand as running mate to O'Connell at the Co. Clare election, which was the catalyst in granting catholic emancipation; Bentham dismissed Ensor as ‘clever but impractical’ (DNB). Ensor had earlier criticised O'Connell's support for catholic relief with conditions in his Irish affairs at the close of 1825 (1826) and in the end O'Connell stood for the seat alone. Ensor died 3 December 1843 aged 74 at Ardress House, Co. Armagh.
He married (1803) Esther Weld, sister of Isaac Weld (qv). They had two sons and six daughters. His second daughter, Caroline, married (1 September 1838) the historian J. P. Prendergast (qv). A set of Ensor's treatises was donated to Armagh county museum by Capt. C. H. Ensor early in the twentieth century.