John Foster, 1st Baron Oriel
He was the son of Anthony Foster of Louth, an Irish judge (son of John Foster of Dunleer, MP for Dunleer). 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. His law giving bounties on the exportation of corn and imposing heavy taxes on its importation is noted by William Lecky as responsible for making Ireland an arable instead of a pasture country. 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 Louth, which constituency he then chose to represent. He held this seat until the Act of Union in 1801, which he opposed. He ultimately refused to surrender the Speaker's mace, which was kept by his family. Foster was returned to the united parliament as a member for County Louth, and in 1804 became Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer under Pitt. In 1821 he was created a peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Oriel, of Ferrard, in the County of Louth, and died on the 23rd of August 1828.
His wife (d. 1824) had in 1790 been created an Irish peeress, as Baroness Oriel, and in 1797 Viscountess Ferrard; and their younger son, Thomas Henry (1772–1843), who married Viscountess Massereene (in her own right) and took the name of Skeffington, inherited all these titles; the later Viscounts Massereene being their descendants.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Oriel, John Foster, Baron". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Biography & Letters
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, 102 pages, 1975 Belfast: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland