Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Foster, John Leslie

1043793Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 20 — Foster, John Leslie1889Gordon Goodwin

FOSTER, JOHN LESLIE (d. 1842), Irish judge, was the eldest son of William Foster, bishop of Clogher, who died in 1797, by Catherine, daughter of Henry Leslie, D.D., and grandson of Anthony Foster, lord chief baron of Ireland. He was admitted to Trinity College, Dublin, 1 March 1797, and graduated B.A. in 1800, LL.B. in 1805, and LL.D. in 1810 (Cat. of Graduates in Univ. of Dublin, 1591–1868, p. 205). He was called to the bar in Ireland in Michaelmas term 1803, but was for some time a member of Lincoln's Inn. In 1804 he published an ‘Essay on the Principles of Commercial Exchanges, particularly between England and Ireland,’ 8vo, London. He was afterwards appointed a commissioner for improving the bogs of Ireland. In 1806 he unsuccessfully contested Dublin University as a tory against the Hon. George Knox, LL.D., also a tory, but was returned the following year, and retained his seat until the general election of 1812. In March 1816 he again entered parliament as member for Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, was chosen advocate-general in Ireland in June of that year, and counsel to the commissioners of revenue in Ireland in April 1818. At the general election of 1818 he was returned for both Armagh and Lisburn, when he elected to serve for Armagh, and continued member until 1820. He was returned for the county of Louth at a by-election on 21 Feb. 1824, and again at the general election in 1826 (Lists of Members of Parliament, Official Return, pt. ii. 255, 264, 282, 298, 314). His two speeches in the House of Commons of 24 April 1812 and 9 May 1817, on Grattan's motion respecting the penal laws against the Roman catholics of Ireland, were published separately. On 4 Feb. 1819 he was elected F.R.S., being then member of the Royal Irish Academy and vice-president of the Dublin Society for the Improvement of Useful Arts. He was also king's counsel, and commissioner of the board of education in Ireland, and of the Irish fisheries. In 1825 he gave evidence before the select committee of the House of Lords appointed to inquire into the state of Ireland. He was appointed a baron of the court of exchequer in Ireland by patent dated 13 July 1830 (Gent. Mag. vol. c. pt. ii. p. 76), and was transferred to the court of common pleas a few months before his death, which took place at Cavan 10 July 1842, when on circuit (ib. new ser. xviii. 424). He married, 19 Aug. 1814, Letitia, youngest daughter of the Right Hon. James Fitzgerald [q. v.] (ib. vol. lxxxiv. pt. ii. p. 288), and by that lady, who survived him, he left issue.

[Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, pp. 119–20; Smith's Parliaments of England, iii. 186, 187, 211; Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, xxii. col. 910, xxxvi. col. 304; Smyth's Chronicle of Law Officers of Ireland; Lists of Royal Society.]

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