Colonel Edward Saunderson was the single most significant figure in the early development of organized Unionism in Ireland. He helped to inspire and to mould the institutions of the movement, provided direction and imbued it with his own economic and evangelical convictions. Irish Toryism has always been a maverick entity, occasionally escaping from the leash of British control. Saunderson helped to encourage the freedom of Irish Tories, both through promoting a cross-party loyalism and developing the organizational structures of his alliance.
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