John Foster, 1st Baron Oriel

Anglo-Irish politician and peer (1740–1828)

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The Lord Oriel

portrait by Gilbert Stuart
Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland
In office
30 April 1807 – 1811
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Duke of Portland
Preceded by Sir John Newport, Bt
Succeeded by William Wellesley-Pole
In office
9 July 1804 – 24 February 1806
Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger
Preceded by Isaac Corry
Succeeded by Sir John Newport, 1st Baronet
In office
23 April 1784 – 17 September 1785
Preceded by George Ponsonby
Succeeded by Sir John Parnell, 2nd Baronet
Speaker of the Irish House of Commons
In office
1785–1800
Monarch George III
Preceded by Edmund Pery
Succeeded by Office abolished
(Cathal Brugha as Ceann Comhairle)
Personal details
Born 1740
Died 23 August 1828 (aged 87–88)
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(m. 1764; died 1824)​

John Foster, 1st Baron Oriel PC (Ire) (1740 – 23 August 1828) was an Anglo-Irish politician and peer who thrice served as Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland and also served as the last speaker of the Irish House of Commons.

Early life[edit]

He was the son of Anthony Foster of Dunleer, Louth, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer (himself the son of John Foster, MP for Dunleer) by his first wife Elizabeth Burgh. Foster lived in Merville, now part of the University College Dublin Campus in Clonskeagh, which came into his ownership in 1778. He also inherited Collon House in County Louth from his father, and made extensive improvements to the house and grounds; Collon was famous for its variety of trees and shrubs.[1]

Political career[edit]

He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) to the Irish House of Commons for Dunleer in 1761, a seat he held until 1769. He made his mark in financial and commercial questions, being appointed Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1784.[2] His law giving bounties on the exportation of corn and imposing heavy taxes on its importation is noted by William Lecky as being largely responsible for making Ireland an arable instead of a pasture country.[3] In 1785 he became the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.

In 1768, Foster was elected for Navan and in 1783 for Sligo Borough. Both times he had also stood for County Louth, which constituency he then chose to represent. He held this seat until the Act of Union in 1801, which he opposed. From 1785 to 1800 he was Speaker of the Irish Parliament.[4]

It was said by his critics that his opposition to the Union was less political than personal: summoned to London for consultations, he found himself treated with contempt by the English officials he dealt with, who mocked his broad Irish accent and called him “Mister Spaker”. On returning to Ireland he launched a campaign of opposition to the Union. He ultimately refused to surrender the Speaker’s mace, which was kept by his family and is now on display in the Parliament House, Dublin (now the Bank of Ireland).[5]

Collon House, ancestral seat of the Foster family.

He served as Custos Rotulorum of Louth from 1798 to 1801 and Governor of Louth from 1798 to his death.

Foster was returned in 1801 to the new United Kingdom parliament as a member for County Louth, and from 1804 to 1806 was Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer under Pitt.

From 1807 to 1813 he was second Commissioner in the Irish Treasury and from 1807 to 1812 one of the Lord Commissioners of the UK Treasury.[6]

In 1821 he has created a peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Oriel, of Ferrard, in the County of Louth, and died on 23 August 1828.

Family[edit]

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Foster Place, Dublin, street sign, named after John Foster

In 1764, he married Margaretta Amelia Burgh, daughter of Thomas Burgh, MP for Lanesborough, and his wife Anne Downes, daughter of Dive Downes, Bishop of Cork and Ross. John and Margaretta had two sons and a daughter.

His elder son, John Foster, was MP for Dunleer 1790–92 and died without issue before 18 April 1792.[7] That John should not be confused with his cousin John William Foster, MP for Dunleer 1783–90.[8]

His wife (d. 1824) had in 1790 been created an Irish peeress, as Baroness Oriel, and in 1797 Viscountess Ferrard. Their younger son, Thomas Henry (1772–1843), who married Harriet Skeffington, Viscountess Massereene in her own right, and took the name of Skeffington, inherited all these titles; the later Viscounts Massereene being their descendants.

John and Margaretta also had a daughter, Anne, who married James Blackwood, 2nd Baron Dufferin, but had no children. She outlived her husband by many years and reached the age of 93.

One of his first cousins married Elizabeth Hervey, aka Lady Bess Foster, aka Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire. His younger brother was Lord Bishop Foster.

Arms[edit]

Coat of arms of John Foster, 1st Baron Oriel
Motto
Divini Gloria Ruris[9]

References[edit]

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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free.id-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited.id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration.id-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription.id-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}“Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Chisholm
  3. ^ Chisholm
  4. ^ Chisholm
  5. ^ Chisholm
  6. ^ Chisholm
  7. ^ Burke’s Peerage 1970
  8. ^ [1] says “John William Foster,. M.P., for Dunleer, who married 1788, Rebecca, the only child of Hamilton McClure, Esq., of Dublin, and died 1809, having had …”
  9. ^ Debrett’s Peerage. 1825.

External links[edit]

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Biography and letters[edit]

  • APW Malcomson: “John Foster: The politics of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy”; ISBN 0-19-920087-4, 504 pages, 1978 Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • APW Malcomson: An Anglo-Irish Dialogue: A Calendar of the Correspondence between John Foster and Lord Sheffield 1774-1821″; ISBN 0-905691-00-8, 1975 Belfast: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by

Member of Parliament for Dunleer
1761–1769
With: Thomas Tennison 1761–1762
Dixie Coddington 1762–1769
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Member of Parliament for Navan
1768–1769
With: Joseph Preston
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Member of Parliament for County Louth
1768–1801
With: James Fortescue 1768–1782
Thomas James Fortescue 1782–1796
William Charles Fortescue 1796–1801
Succeeded by

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by

Member of Parliament for Sligo Borough
1783
With: Owen Wynne
Succeeded by

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Louth
18011821
With: William Charles Fortescue to 1806
Viscount Jocelyn 1806–1807
John Jocelyn 1807–1810
Viscount Jocelyn 1810–1820
John Jocelyn from August 1810
Succeeded by

Political offices
Preceded by

Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland
1807–11
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland
1804–06
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Speaker of the Irish House of Commons
1785–1800
Office abolished
Preceded by

Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland
1784–85
Succeeded by

Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Oriel
1821–1828
Succeeded by