Foster, John, 1st Baron Oriel

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Foster, John, 1st Baron Oriel (1740–1826). Politician. Foster, a lawyer, was returned to the Irish House of Commons when he was 21 and in 1784 became Irish chancellor of the Exchequer. The following year he was elected Speaker and strongly opposed the Act of Union, presiding over the last meeting of the Irish Parliament. Nevertheless, he was returned to the Westminster Parliament for Louth, and in 1804 resumed office as chancellor of the Exchequer (I), holding it until 1806 and again 1807–11. He was created a baron in 1821 when he was 80. Foster was bitterly opposed to concessions to the Roman catholics and was one of the leading spokesmen for the Anglo-Irish ascendancy, predicting that Irish catholics would soon tire of the Union and demand first repeal, then separation. Consequently he opposed the Union until it had passed and supported it thereafter.

J. A. Cannon