HODGETTS FOLEY, John Hodgetts (1797-1861), of Prestwood Park, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. 17 July 1797, 2nd s. of Hon. Edward Foley† (d. 1803) and 2nd w. Elizabeth Maria, da. and coh. of John Hodgetts of Prestwood; bro. of Edward Thomas Foley*. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1815. m. 20 Oct. 1825, Charlotte Margaret, da. of John Gage of Rogate Lodge, Suss., 1s. Took name of Hodgetts before Foley by royal lic. 14 Apr. 1821. d. 13 Nov. 1861.
Hodgetts Foley’s father, the second son of the 1st Baron Foley and a reprobate Foxite, had sat for Droitwich, 1768-74, and Worcestershire, 1774-1803, on his family’s interest, headed since 1793 by the 3rd Baron, Hodgetts Foley’s cousin and his sponsor at Brooks’s, 7 Feb. 1817. By his father’s will (proved 14 Dec. 1803), on the death of his mother in 1810 Hodgetts Foley’s guardianship passed to his uncles Andrew Foley, Member for Droitwich, 1774-1818, and Sir Edward Winnington, Member for Droitwich, 1807-16, and for Worcestershire, 1820-30.1 At the 1820 general election he was considered ‘much fitter in all respects’ than his elder brother Edward to fill the vacancy which had arisen on the family interest in Worcestershire, but being ‘unluckily abroad’ and ‘never here in England’, there was ‘great reason to think he also would decline’.2 In February 1822, however, following the death of his cousin Thomas Foley, Hodgetts Foley came forward for the vacancy at Droitwich. Reports that Lord Foley would no longer be able to ‘bring in’ a second family member proved unfounded and he was returned unopposed.3
A regular attender, Hodgetts Foley (who was sometimes confused with his predecessor in the House) divided steadily with the Whig opposition to the Liverpool ministry on most major issues, including economy, retrenchment and reduced taxation, but is not known to have spoken in debate.4 He voted for parliamentary reform, 25 Apr. 1822, 27 Apr. 1826. He voted against suppression of the Catholic Association, 15 Feb. 1825, but was one of the few Whigs who divided against Catholic claims, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. At the 1826 general election he was re-elected unopposed.5 He was granted a month’s leave on urgent business after serving on an election committee, 16 Mar. 1827. He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828, but for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. He divided for reductions in the corn duties, 22 Apr. 1828. In February 1829 Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, predicted that he would be opposed to securities to counterbalance Catholic emancipation. He voted to consider it, 6 Mar., paired against the second reading of the relief bill, 18 Mar., but voted for the third reading, 30 Mar. On 16 Mar. 1829 he presented a hostile petition from a parish in Herefordshire. He divided against government on the affair at Terceira, 28 Apr., and the civil government of Canada, 25 May 1830. He voted for abolition of the death punishment for forgery, 7 June, and for an amendment to the sale of beer bill prohibiting on-consumption, 21 June 1830.
At the 1830 general election Hodgetts Foley was again returned unopposed.6 He was listed by the Wellington ministry as one of their ‘foes’, but was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He was granted leave for three weeks on urgent business, 2 Dec. 1830, and a fortnight on account of ill health, 14 Feb. 1831. He voted for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he was again returned unopposed.7 He voted for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, against the adjournment, 12 July, and gave generally steady support to its details, although according to The Times he paired with his fellow Whig Member for Droitwich, Sir Thomas Winnington, for use of the 1831 rather than the 1821 census to determine the disfranchisement schedules, 19 July. In a letter to that newspaper about a subsequent division, however, he complained of having been mistakenly included in a list of those who had voted for the enfranchisement of Greenwich, 3 Aug., when he had paired in that sense with the Tory Lord Holmesdale.8 He divided for the third reading of the bill, 19 Sept., its passage, 21 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He voted for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, again supported its details and divided for the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He voted for the address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry the bill unimpaired, 10 May. He divided with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16 July 1832 (as a pair).
At the 1832 general election Hodgetts Foley was returned unopposed for Droitwich, which lost one Member by the Reform Act. Following his defeat there in 1835, against which he petitioned unsuccessfully, he was out of Parliament until 1847, when he was returned on the family interest for Worcestershire East. He died ‘suddenly’ in November 1861, leaving no will.9 Administration of his estate passed to his only son Henry John, Liberal Member for Staffordshire South, 1857-68.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Philip Salmon
- 1. PROB 11/1402/966.
- 2. Hants RO, Tierney mss 48.
- 3. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 23 Jan. 1822.
- 4. Black Bk. (1823), 155; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 464.
- 5. Worcester Herald, 10 June 1826.
- 6. Ibid. 17, 31 July, 7 Aug. 1830.
- 7. Ibid. 7 May 1831.
- 8. The Times, 21 July, 8 Aug. 1831.
- 9. Gent. Mag. (1861), ii. 698.