FOLEY, Hon. Edward (1747-1803), of Stoke Edith, Herefs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1768 - May 1774
30 May 1774 - 22 June 1803

Family and Education

b. 16 Mar. 1747, 2nd s. of Thomas Foley, 1st Baron Foley, and bro. of Hon. Andrew Foley*. educ. Westminster 1764; Brasenose, Oxf. 1764; L. Inn 1768. m. (1) 24 Oct. 1778, Lady Anne Margaret Coventry (div. 21 May 1787), da. of George William Coventry, 6th Earl of Coventry, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 21 Mar. 1790, Elizabeth Maria, da. and h. of Thomas Hodgetts of Prestwood, Staffs., 3s. 2da.

Offices Held

Recorder, Droitwich 1793-d.


Foley’s tenure of the county seat was uncontested. A member, like his elder brother Thomas Foley, of the fast set of gambling and racing Foxite Whigs, he remained true to form. He was not a steady attender at Westminster. After voting against Pitt’s Russian policy on 12 Apr. 1791 and being reckoned favourable to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland the same month, he was supposed a Portland Whig in December 1792 and thought of as a possible recruit to Windham’s ‘third party’ in 1793. But on 21 Jan. 1794 he voted for Fox’s amendment to the address and on 18 Feb. supported Fox’s convoy motion. He voted for Harrison’s motion to tax placemen and pensioners, 8 Apr. He was in favour of a peace bid, 30 Dec. 1794 and 26 Jan. 1795, and against the further suspension of habeas corpus, 23 Jan. 1795. He opposed the seditious meetings bill, 25 Nov. 1795, and on 10 May 1796 supported Fox’s motion against the conduct of the war against France. Next day he voted for the compulsory sale of grain in the public market.

After supporting the first two opposition motions in the Parliament of 1796, Foley took six weeks’ leave. Commenting on his refusal to take sides with him on a local road bill, John Cotes* described him at that time as ‘a formidable antagonist, if active’. But apart from a vote for censure of the naval mutiny, 10 May 1797, he seceded until the session of November 1800. On the 12th and 27th of that month he voted for the call of the House and for Tierney’s censure motion on the state of the nation. No further votes of his are known and no speech can definitely be attributed to him. He took six weeks’ leave for illness on 28 Feb. and died 22 June 1803.

Bradford mss, Cotes to Bridgeman, 3 Dec. 1796.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: M. J. Williams