FOSTER, John Leslie (?1781-1842), of Rathescar, co. Louth; 13 Merion Square, Dublin and 107 Pall Mall, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



4 Mar. 1816 - 1818
1818 - 1820
21 Feb. 1824 - 1830

Family and Education

b. ?1781, 1st. s. of Rt. Rev. William Foster, bp. of Clogher, and Catherine, da. of Rev. Henry Leslie, LLD, of Ballibay, co. Monaghan. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1 Mar. 1797, aged 16; St. John’s, Camb. 1801; L. Inn 1800, called [I] 1803; to France 1802. m. 19 Aug. 1814, Letitia, da. of James Fitzgerald† of Inchicronan, co. Clare, 6s. 1da. suc. fa. 1797. d. 10 July 1842.

Offices Held

Commr. bd. of education [I] 1813, 1824, inquiry into fees of law courts [I] 1814-18, fisheries [I] 1819; king’s adv.-gen. ct. of admiralty [I] 1816; KC [I] 1816; second counsel to commrs. of revenue [I] 1818-28; counsel to commrs. of customs and port duties [I] 1819; bencher, King’s Inns 1819; bar. of ct. of exch. [I] 1830; j.c.p. [I] 1841.

FRS 1819.


Foster, nephew and quondam secretary to the last Irish Speaker John Foster*, had been returned in 1818 for Lisburn, as the nominee of Lord Hertford, and also for Armagh, where he was accommodated by the Irish primate on condition with the Liverpool ministry that when his son William Stuart* came of age, he would be free to return him instead. Foster chose to represent Armagh, but at the 1820 general election was left stranded when the primate, who the former Irish secretary Peel had believed would ‘never claim for his son the fulfillment of the promise’, unexpectedly did so.1 ‘My retirement from the House of Commons was the result rather of accident than choice’, he later reminded Peel, to whom he looked for advancement, adding, ‘I have never been indisposed to return whenever circumstances should invite it’.2 In 1822 he made a tentative pitch for the Irish solicitor-generalship, claiming that he had ‘previously been thought of for the office and that it was probable that he would soon again be in Parliament’, but the Irish secretary Goulburn advised Peel, now home secretary, against having both law officers in the Commons and noted that ‘perhaps too Foster is not of calibre enough to be placed on the bench as a chief if a vacancy should occur, which is after all not very improbable’.3 Backed by Stephen Rumbold Lushington*, the treasury secretary, who promised to do ‘everything in my power to provide a seat for Leslie Foster’, and Goulburn, who conceded that ‘no man could be so well qualified to render useful assistance’ on ‘points of detail relative to Ireland’, Peel put the case for finding him a seat to Lord Liverpool, 28 Nov. 1823, observing that ‘the tithe bill must be amended, and Foster’s assistance will be invaluable’ and ‘quite as useful on exchequer and revenue business’.4 Liverpool concurred, telling Peel, 13 Jan. 1824, that there would ‘certainly be a seat for Leslie Foster’ either at Dorchester, ‘if Warren vacates’, or ‘if not I should request Lord Galloway to return him’ for Wigtown Burghs.5 On 19 Jan., however, Foster apprized Peel of a likely opening on his family interest in county Louth, when the expected death of his aunt Lady Ferrard would elevate the sitting Member, his cousin Thomas Skeffington, to the Irish peerage.6 As Goulburn notified Peel:

Arrangements have long since been made for Leslie Foster’s offering himself for the county and no effectual opposition is expected ... Under these circumstances Leslie Foster will not avail himself of Lord Liverpool’s offer of a seat. He is however very grateful for the offer which has been made.7

On Skeffington’s succession Foster duly came forward, citing the ‘advantages Ireland would derive from the abolition of the protecting duties’ and ‘the improvement that the harbour of Dundalk was capable of’. He was returned unopposed.8

Foster was acknowledged by Sir John Wrottesley in the House to be ‘undoubtedly a good authority, none better’ on Irish affairs, 6 June 1828. John Denison, however, complained of his ‘bold and unblushing way of stating facts, and Acts of Parliament, and authorities, with all minuteness ... while not once out of five times correct’, 2 Apr. 1827. Recalling an ‘incident illustrative of his influence as a legislative speaker’, Richard Sheil*, in a satire for the New Monthly Magazine lampooning him as a ‘walking encyclopedia’, related:

I was under the gallery of the House of Commons during the debate on the Catholic question in the year 1825. The House was full. Mr. Foster rose to speak, and the effect of his appearance on his legs was truly wonderful. In an instant the House was cleared. The rush to the door leading to the tavern upstairs, where the Members find a refuge from the soporific powers of their brother legislators, was tremendous ... The single phrase ‘Mr. Speaker’ was indeed uttered with such a tone as indicated the extent of the impending evil ... Mr. Foster takes exceedingly great if not very meritorious pains at his oratorical laboratory, and passes many a midnight vigil in compounding those opiates, with which, at the expense of his own slumbers, he lulls the House of Commons to repose.9

He spoke in support of compensating court officials for losses arising from the county courts bill, 26 Mar. 1824. He commended the Kildare Place Society for ‘the utility of their labours’ in correcting the ‘misdirected education’ of the Irish poor, 29 Mar., and was deemed by Liverpool to be suitable as a member of the education commission, but not ‘the head’, who ‘must be an Englishman’, 23 Apr.10 He welcomed the commission’s appointment, hoping that it would have ‘an opportunity of revising the state of the schools in Ireland generally’, 4 May, and was one of the members asked to resolve a dispute involving his cousin John McClintock* and the titular Catholic archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Curtis, that September.11 Peel considered his many letters on the commission’s proceedings to be ‘very interesting’ and came to ‘entirely concur’ in his belief that ‘Parliament ought not to grant funds to the Roman Catholic prelacy for the separate education of Roman Catholics’, given the ‘impracticable’ conditions which they laid down for any joint education of Catholic and Protestant children.12 He warned that the usury laws repeal bill would ‘raise the rate of interest in Ireland from six to eight or ten per cent’ and have ‘a most baneful effect’, 8 Apr. He contradicted Hume’s statements concerning the consumption of rum in Ireland, 9 Apr.13 Denying the ‘insignificance of the Protestant population of Ireland when compared with the Roman Catholics’, he spoke and was a majority teller against inquiry into the Irish church, 6 May. He presented a Dundalk petition against the warehoused wheat bill, 7 May, but contended that ‘in time of dearth’ it ‘might be productive of the greatest advantage’, 17 May.14 He presented constituency petitions against the admission of foreign corn and from Irish attorneys complaining of their annual license duty, 11 May.15 He warned of the ‘difficulties’ of extending exemption from oaths to ‘separatist’ sects, 13 May. He endorsed a petition from the maltsters of Wexford asking to be ‘put on the same footing’ with England, 17 May.16 Giving evidence before the select committee on Irish disturbances (to which he had been appointed, 12 May), he called for measures to prevent the Irish peasantry ‘multiplying on the spot where they were born, by introducing an improved mode of education among the people, by giving them superior notions of comfort, and by suggesting various lines of life in which they might better their condition by active pursuits, rather than staying inactive at home’, 31 May 1824.17

Foster informed his sister that the foreign secretary Canning had been ‘quite pleased to see him’ at the opening of Parliament in February 1825, and was ‘very anxious’ for him to ‘remain’ and speak on the Catholic question, for which he was ‘obliged to give up the Cavan assizes which is very vexatious’.18 On 10 Feb. he condemned the Catholic Association for creating ‘hatred on both sides’, warning that it had ‘awakened in one party an unfounded and artificial confidence’ and in the other ‘unfounded apprehensions’. He voted for the bill to suppress it, 15, 25 Feb., and was appointed to the select committee on the state of Ireland, 17 Feb. He gave evidence on this to the Lords inquiry, 18, 23, 25 Feb., when he contended that the ‘operation of the Insurrection Act’ had been ‘extremely effectual in suppressing disturbance’, and again, 20 May.19 ‘They examined me on oath for three days’, he told his cousin Lord Farnham:

While sitting on the stool of evidence and plied with all sorts of critical questions by members of the cabinet ... I could not help thinking of the old times in which you used so well to advise me not to commit myself. According to the new mode of proceeding in public affairs, when government must turn their friends inside out on the subject of abuses, they must at least make up their minds to their giving some inconvenient votes hereafter in Parliament in consistency with their sworn sentiments.20

He disapproved of appointing a ‘paid officer as an assistant to the magistrates’ in Ireland, 22 Feb. Speaking against Catholic claims, 28 Feb., he disclaimed any ‘connection’ with the Orangemen, whose existence he regretted, but insisted that the present state of tension was ‘the very last moment when any change should be made’. Sir John Nicholl* considered it a ‘smart performance on the state of Ireland’, but Hudson Gurney* noted that he ‘was by no means successful in a detail of Orange history somewhat of the oldest’.21 (Giving evidence that month, Daniel O’Connell* confirmed that he had ‘never heard that Mr. Leslie Foster was an Orangeman, nor do I believe that he is’.)22 He divided against Catholic relief, 21 Apr., 10 May, but conceded that it was only the clergy, and not the Catholic laity or aristocracy, who were ‘unfit to participate in the enjoyment of civil rights’ on the grounds of ‘security’, 29 Apr. He endorsed the bill to disfranchise Irish 40s. freeholders, 26 Apr., and called for the disfranchisement of ‘fraudulent holders in fee, as well as ... fraudulent leaseholders’, 9 May. He presented a Dundalk petition against the cost of publicans’ licenses, 1 Mar., and welcomed the grant of £8,000 to compensate his fellow education commissioners on their retirement, 15 Apr.23 He recommended inquiries into the Irish butter trade, 22 Apr., and the admission of bonded corn, 2 May. He presented constituency petitions against any alteration of the corn laws and for special attention to the interests of millers, 28 Apr.24 He was a minority teller against financial maintenance of the Irish Catholic clergy, 30 Apr. He approved the principle of assimilating the currencies of Great Britain and Ireland, 12 May 1825. He voted to receive the report on the salary of the president of the board of trade, 10 Apr., and against altering the representation of Edinburgh, 13 Apr. 1826.

At the 1826 general election Foster offered again, denying that he entertained ‘hostile feelings towards my Catholic countrymen’, whose emancipation ‘conscience obliges me’ to resist. The late intervention of the Catholic Association, whom he charged with adding ‘all the terrors of another world to every art of intimidation that can be practised in this’, produced a contest ‘unparalleled in the parliamentary history of this or any other country’. He was narrowly returned in second place, having received, so the Dublin Evening Post asserted, ‘a lesson’ which ‘will make him pause before he gives another vote against the emancipation of the Irish people!’25 To Peel, however, he wrote:

Many persons suppose that Catholic emancipation would abate the influence of the priests. My impressions to the contrary are only confirmed by what I have seen. If any candidate after the carrying of the measure should resist their notions of education, or their being provided with chapels or glebe houses, or ... any of their notions of aggrandizement, I am persuaded he would equally be denounced as an enemy ... and that all the same consequences would ensue ... The power of these priests is become so tremendous, and their fury in the exercise of it so great, that I begin to fear a crisis of some kind or other is not far distant.26

Peel, in reply, doubted whether ‘the late victory of the priests’ would ‘permanently add to their influence’ or ‘compensate the tenant for the estrangement of his landlord’, but conceded the need for a thorough investigation of the ‘spirit’ of Irish popery.27 ‘The approaching effort which will be made in the new Parliament to force the [Catholic] question ... appears to me to make it of great importance that we should know the truth’, he told Foster, 3 Nov., urging him to ‘get, therefore, all the information that you have a legitimate claim to, as bearing upon the subjects of your [educational] inquiry’, as ‘when I see it inevitable, I shall (taking due care to free my motives from all suspicion) try to make the best terms for the future security of the Protestant’. On 6 Nov. 1826 Foster advised:

The most practical safeguard would be a modification of the franchise. If the present election laws were to remain untouched, you would have at least sixty Catholic Members. And such Catholics! Sheil for Louth, and O’Connell for any southern county he might choose. Their presence in the House of Commons would be the least part of the mischief, a bellum servile would ensue all over Ireland ... The adoption of a principle that contribution of a certain amount to the county cess should be required to entitle the freeholder to vote ... would in its practical effects reduce the sixty Catholics to eight or ten, and secure that the latter should be gentlemen.28

He was appointed to the select committee on emigration, 15 Feb. 1827. He spoke against the bribery at elections bill, recommending better enforcement of the ‘existing rules’, 26 Feb. He endorsed a petition from 240 Irish millers against the importation of foreign flour the following day, and denounced one from the Catholic bishops of Ireland accusing Farnham of carrying out a ‘crusade’ to convert Catholics to Protestantism, 2 Mar.29 He presented a Drogheda petition against Catholic relief that day, and voted thus, 6 Mar.30 He was granted six weeks’ leave to go the circuit, 8 Mar. He defended the report of his fellow commissioners on Irish charter schools, 5 Apr. He spoke as a member of the Penryn election committee, 18 May, and divided against its disfranchisement, 28 May. He criticized the costs of the Dublin Foundling Hospital and argued that ‘the children reared in these establishments should, after they had arrived at a suitable age, be sent to New Brunswick, where there was at present a voracious demand for apprentices’, 25 May. On 30 May 1827 he caused a stir by asserting that the ‘population in various parts of Ireland was so dense, that the whole produce of the land was insufficient for its support’, and contending that ‘Irish landowners should take on themselves the charge of sending the superabundant population across the Atlantic’.31

Foster commended the Irish Subletting Act for preventing tenants from creating ‘an unlimited population ... beyond what the land can possibly maintain’, 19 Feb. 1828. He voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. He demanded compensation for Captain O’Reilly, whose money had been mislaid by the East India Company, 18 Apr., 22 May. He called for an extension of the Election Trial Acts consolidation bill to Ireland, where the ‘state of law’ was ‘extremely defective’, 21 Apr. He divided with the Wellington ministry on chancery delays, 24 Apr. Next day he welcomed their proposals to relax the corn laws, rejecting the ‘apprehensions’ of the agriculturists as ‘absurd’. ‘Although I have not before voted with ... ministers on any corn bill, I am now disposed to give them my support’, he declared. He called for a petition against the Irish admiralty court to be referred to the commissioners of inquiry, anticipating that its allegations might ‘not be well founded’, 2 May. Resuming his opposition to Catholic claims, 9 May, when he again claimed to be ‘no Orangeman’ and to ‘belong to no party’, he warned that ‘concession would only lead to fresh irritation’. ‘If I could consent to change the vote I have constantly given on this subject’, he added, no Member ‘is more certain of an easy and inexpensive return’. He was a minority teller against relief, 12 May. He feared that the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham would establish a precedent which would ‘seriously injure, rather than serve the constitution’, 19 May. He presented a petition from county Mayo complaining of distress, but warned of the ‘utter hopelessness’ of employing the population ‘by advances of public money’ and called for the removal of ‘legal obstacles’ to cultivation of the bogs, 5 June. That day he cautioned against ‘any violent or extensive change’ to bank note restrictions, in which he hoped Ireland and Scotland would soon follow England. He attacked the ‘extravagant loss’ incurred by post office steam packets to Ireland, urging ministers to ‘transfer the excellent (160 horse power) vessels’ from the Liverpool station to Holyhead, and so ‘give to the Irish Members all the facilities of a shorter voyage’, 6, 25 June. He opposed and was a minority teller against the assessment of lessors bill, 12 June. He denounced the usury laws repeal bill as ‘a most flagrant delusion’ which would allow ‘properties to be brought to the market at the caprice of the money-lenders’, 19 June. He did not think that professors should be admitted ‘without some test’ to the Belfast Academical Institution and considered it ‘hardly fair that the salary of the chief justice of a court in Ireland should be less than that of a puisne judge in England’, 23 June. The following day he dismissed proposals for inquiry into the Irish church as ‘quite superfluous’. Speaking in support of the Irish registrar, 26 June, he asserted that ‘there is no office in existence where half a million of deeds are so well registered’. He endorsed a Drogheda petition against the high taxes arising from its county status and advocated ‘equalizing the rate on the county’, 27 June. He voted against ordnance reductions, 4 July, and defended the grant for a ‘correct map of Ireland’, 7 July. He joined in calls for Robert Taylor to be punished for his lectures ‘denying the truth of Christianity’, 8 July. He voted with government on the silk duties, 14 July 1828.

Following the election of O’Connell for Clare that month, Foster joined his brothers-in-law Vesey Fitzgerald, president of the board of trade, and John Henry North* in advising Peel, again home secretary, of ‘the danger’ of leaving the question of his eligibility undecided until Parliament met.32 He repeatedly warned that without a change in the Irish franchise there would be a landslide for the Catholic Association at the next election.33 On 12 Dec. Peel wrote to consult him about ‘the draft of a bill which you left with me in the summer’, to ‘limit the exercise of the 40s. franchise ... and correct some of the abuses of the system’, ‘a subject on which it might be necessary to write volumes to any one less thoroughly conversant than yourself in the ... details of the law and the practice of the right of voting in Ireland’.34 In his reply, 16 Dec. 1828, Foster again recommended ‘urgent and immediate’ action, for otherwise ‘at the very next general election you will have to deal with about 60 Radicals, the nominees of O’Connell ... who will sit fast in the House of Commons from the moment the Speaker takes the chair until the candles are put out’. The remedy, he insisted, was to abolish ‘all franchises under £20 per annum’ as ‘a practical annihilation of whatever influence the Catholics now possess’, and to counteract the ‘system of fraud’ by extending ‘any new restrictions’ to all types of freehold, ‘whether arising from leasehold, or perpetuity, or fee simple’. Pre-empting criticism that his ‘new system’ would ‘transfer much of the real power formerly exercised by the great proprietors to the minor gentry, the clergy, and the more opulent farmers’, he pointed out that

the influence of the aristocracy is annihilated. The priests and the demagogues are in their place. The practical question seems to be whether we should not now aim at placing the power in the hands of that middle class, as the best course within our reach. The minor gentry of Ireland are essentially Tory, rather than Whig. Very little of what is radical enters into their composition. They are also essentially Protestant. I should think that the government would have no reason to be dissatisfied with the representatives which this influence would return ... Few things could more powerfully conduce to the permanent tranquillity of Ireland than the taking the business of elections out of the hands of the lower classes. You would not merely allay the vague and restless passions of the peasantry but you would extinguish all the real hopes of the leaders of the Catholic Association. They are not dreaming of insurrection, legislate as you may, but they feed themselves with the expectation of their assured triumphs at the next general election. It is there they intend to make their fight and ... nowhere else. I have the sure means of knowing their private feelings upon this point and the adoption of either of the plans which we have considered would be a death blow to their hopes.35

Vesey Fitzgerald doubted that Foster’s letter got ‘rid of any of the difficulties’, but was instructed by Peel to ‘consider this most important delicate and difficult question conjointly’ with him as part of a ‘special committee’ of four, which also included Farnham and George Dawson*.36 On 25 Jan. 1829 Lord Ellenborough, a member of the cabinet, recorded in his diary that ‘Peel told us he had seen Leslie Foster who was for a settlement, but strongly against paying the Roman Catholic clergy’. ‘Foster consulting with the cabinet how Catholic emancipation may best be brought about!’, he exclaimed, describing the following day how he was

brought through the park to the foreign office by Vesey Fitzgerald, and thence through all the dark passages to the cabinet-room, where we examined him as to the expediency of giving to the crown a power of prohibiting the exercise of the spiritual functions of any priest ... His evidence showed the inutility of the exercise of such a power.37

Speaking in support of the address, 6 Feb., Foster asserted that he was ‘no Orangeman’ and ‘no Brunswicker’, that ‘for some time antecedent to the rise of the Brunswick Association’ it had become his ‘settled conviction’ that ‘an over-ruling necessity had arisen for attempting the settlement of the Roman Catholic question’ and that owing to Wellington and his cabinet a ‘far different course now lies before us’ which, ‘while it shall admit the Catholics to all civil privileges, shall do so upon Protestant principles, and accompanied with every measure which a reasonable Protestant can consider as a security’. These included the bill to suppress the Catholic Association, which the cabinet ‘settled’ with Foster and the law officers, 9 Feb., and for which he argued, 12 Feb., and the raising of the qualification for the Irish county franchise from 40s. to £10, which he assured the House would offer ‘a real and substantial security to the Protestant interest’ and prevent ‘the freeholder from being the tool of the landlord, or the slave of the priest’, 20 Mar.38 He, of course, voted for emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. He welcomed the special oath for Catholic Members, 23 Mar., but recommended tighter restrictions on Jesuits, 24, 27 Mar., when he argued that it was ‘the duty of a Protestant legislature to meet and repress’ their ‘special obedience to the pope in respect of missionary labour’. On 26 Feb. he spoke in support of removing a ‘tenant’s right of pasture’, which would assist in ‘reclaiming the bogs of Ireland’. He was appointed to the select committee on the Irish estimates, 9 Apr. On 1 Sept. Peel asked him to ‘write to me unreservedly and confidentially your opinion’ on the ‘great difficulty’ of Irish education and Maynooth. In his reply, 12 Dec., Foster advised that ‘any attempt which could be made at present to substitute a new system would involve all concerned in far more serious difficulties’ and that ‘any renewed agitation of the subject will call into violent action those feelings which, if not absolutely asleep, are at least in a sort of sullen torpor’. As Ellenborough put it, 14 Nov. 1829, ‘he thinks the political and religious hostility of the two parties is subsiding. The chiefs alone keep it up. The adherents are gradually falling off. To open the questions of education, etc., now, would be to open closing wounds’.39

On 5 Feb. 1830 the Irish secretary Lord Francis Leveson Gower wrote to implore Foster ‘to quit your fireside at Rathescar’, explaining that while there was no ‘inducement’ to rival ‘the late cabinet counsels of last year’, they could offer

O’Connell on the second bench of the opposition and Newport pulling down the church. If this does not tempt you, I do not know what will. Seriously, if you can give us the benefit of your assistance, it never was more desirable or could be more appreciated.40

Foster duly attended and voted against parliamentary reform, 18 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester, 23 Feb. In his last known speech, 19 Mar., he opposed inquiry into distress, claiming that it had been ‘very much exaggerated’ in Ireland where ‘at no former period was there less’, and declaring that ‘there is no worse nostrum in the hands of political quacks, than that the distress of the country can be relieved by any addition to the currency’. He was granted a month’s leave on urgent private business, 5 Apr. 1830.

At the 1830 general election Foster did not come forward, for it had long been agreed by Peel and Leveson Gower that in view of the office which he had been ‘lately compelled to resign’, following the abolition of counsel to the revenue in January 1828, his claims to promotion were ‘very much superior’ to any others.41 As Wellington had noted, the ‘counsel to the commissioner of the revenue’ was ‘usually considered first for the post of solicitor-general or for the bench’, and Foster ‘receives a pension as compensation for his loss of office’ which it ‘is desirable to dispense with’.42 On 5 Sept. 1828 Leveson Gower had written to Wellington

to offer a reason or two why I should prefer seeing Mr. Foster on the bench to the other alternative ... It is that Mr. Serjeant Lefroy* from the engagements, as I believe, of the late lord lieutenant, has at least a strong expectancy of promotion to the next vacancy ... [but] is a very strong Orangeman, and if he were to undergo any severe disappointment by the promotion of a gentleman of contrary politics I should fear the consequences on the minds of his Protestant friends. In the case of Mr. Foster no inconvenience of this nature could arise.43

Peel concurred, 3 Aug. 1829, observing that ‘Foster’s appointment to the bench would save the public ... £2,000 a year ... would satisfy him for the loss of his office, and would get rid of the embarrassment of a Louth election in his person’, though he felt bound to ‘express a doubt, however highly I think of Foster’s abilities and acquirements, whether he would shine as a law officer of the crown’.44 On 11 Aug. Leveson Gower, who was ‘very confident that Foster will do better service on the bench than as solicitor-general’, cleared the way with John Doherty*, another candidate, and by December 1829 Sheil considered it ‘certain that an election will take place by the elevation of Mr. Foster to Baron McClelland’s seat on the exchequer bench’.45 However, Foster did not receive his ‘hourly expected’ commission until the following summer, by when it was clear that no writ would be moved for the vacancy owing to the king’s ‘alarming state of health’.46 ‘The next three judges are to be Joy, Leslie Foster and Sergeant Lefroy’, O’Connell had earlier observed, ‘what a prospect for the Irish people!’47

Foster’s former associates continued to solicit his advice on Irish matters. In April 1832 Ellenborough sought ‘information which your labour and knowledge have enabled you to acquire’, in the hope of rendering the Grey ministry’s Irish jury bill ‘less objectionable and dangerous than I fear it is at present’. Thanking him for his ‘very valuable opinion’, 15 Apr., Ellenborough hoped ‘we may be able to induce Lord Melbourne to put it off for this year ... it is now put off till after Easter’.48 The following month Foster discouraged Ferrard from proposing postal voting in the Irish reform bill, observing that it ‘would certainly give great protection in Ireland to tenants and assistance to the interest of landlord’, but ‘would be considered too great a departure from established principles’.49 Foster, who moved to the court of common pleas in 1841, died on the circuit at Cavan in July 1842, after being ‘seized with sudden illness’ and ‘having filled up and signed the codicil to his will’.50

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon


  • 1. Add. 41295, ff. 131, 136, 146, 149, 155.
  • 2. Add. 40357, f. 200.
  • 3. Add. 40328, f. 1.
  • 4. Add. 38195, f. 153; 40357, f. 305; 40339, f. 227.
  • 5. Add. 40304, f. 214.
  • 6. Add. 40360, f. 128.
  • 7. Add. 40330, f. 11.
  • 8. Drogheda Jnl. 25, 28 Feb. 1824.
  • 9. Sketches, Legal and Political ed. M. Savage, i. 172, 183-6.
  • 10. Add. 40304, f. 240.
  • 11. The Times, 5 May 1824; Wellington mss WP1/800/24.
  • 12. Parker, Peel, i. 344, 392-3.
  • 13. The Times, 10 Apr. 1824.
  • 14. Ibid. 8 May 1824.
  • 15. Ibid. 12 May 1824.
  • 16. Ibid. 18 May 1824.
  • 17. PP (1825), vii. 241.
  • 18. PRO NI, Foster mss D207/73/118, 121.
  • 19. PP (1825), ix. 48, 93.
  • 20. PRO NI, Foster Massereene mss D562/3457, Foster to Farnham, 8 Mar. 1825.
  • 21. Merthyr Mawr mss F/2/8, Nicholl diary, 1 Mar.; Gurney diary, 1 Mar. 1825.
  • 22. PP (1825), viii. 75.
  • 23. The Times, 2 Mar., 16 Apr. 1825.
  • 24. Ibid. 29 Apr. 1825.
  • 25. Dublin Evening Post, 25 May, 8, 22, 24, 27, 29 June; Drogheda Jnl. 14, 17, 24 June, 5 July 1826.
  • 26. Parker, i. 411-12.
  • 27. RIA Dublin, J. L. Foster mss 23.G.39/1, Peel to Foster, 16 July 1826.
  • 28. Parker, i. 423-4.
  • 29. The Times, 28 Feb. 1827.
  • 30. Ibid. 3 Mar. 1827.
  • 31. Ibid. 26, 31 May 1827.
  • 32. Wellington mss WP1/941/12.
  • 33. Add. 40389, f. 266; 40322, f. 337.
  • 34. Add. 40397, f. 372.
  • 35. Ibid. ff. 384-94.
  • 36. Add. 40322, f. 378; 40323, f. 31; N. Gash, Secretary Peel, 552.
  • 37. Ellenborough Diary i. 321-3.
  • 38. Wellington mss WP1/1004/19; Ellenborough Diary, i. 342.
  • 39. Parker, ii. 127-32; Ellenborough Diary ii. 134; Gash, 607.
  • 40. J.L. Foster mss 23.G.39/4.
  • 41. Add. 40336, f. 266.
  • 42. Wellington mss WP1/957/10.
  • 43. Ibid. WP1/952/20.
  • 44. Add. 40337, f. 99.
  • 45. Ibid. f. 115; PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/32/A/3/1/254, Mahony to Anglesey, 9 Dec. 1829.
  • 46. Belfast Guardian, 11 June 1830.
  • 47. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1608.
  • 48. J.L. Foster mss 23.G.39.4.
  • 49. Foster mss T2519/4/2140, Foster to Ferrard, 30 May 1832.
  • 50. Gent. Mag. (1842). ii. 424.