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Hiberman lagazine S


Entertaining Knowledge


the Greatest Variety of

the most Curious & itseful Subjects in every Bianch


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o R,

Compendium of Entertaining Knowledge,

For JANUARY, 1786.

Memoirs of the Right Hon. JOHN FOSTER.

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(Embellisbed with a friking Likeness)

T would be prefumption to fay, that we are enabled to give a perfect account of the diffinguifhed fenator with which we have opened the new year, beyond a mere sketch; which though excufable in fo limited a line 22 periodical publication, cannot aim at reudering that degree of juftice which is referved for the pen of the future hiftorian. Though we have been lucky enough to catch the annexed ftriking likeness of the prefent Speiser, yet all we can add to the portrait, Will amount to no more than a feanty out Lae of a character, of whom may be hereafter repeated, what Pliny the younger, faid of Thus Livius : * «The reputation of this great man, began already to make fuch a noife in the world, that a ftranger came to Rome from the farthest part of Spain pure polely to behold bim, whofe renown had fpread itfelf far and near in his own country."

The Right Honourable JOHN FOSTER, Speaker of the House of Commons, is the fon of Anthony, late Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughtr of William Burgh, of Bert, Efq. The Speaker was born in the year 1742, and after being a due time at Drogheda school, was entered at Trinity College, where the pleafing circumstances occurred of his hav

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ing the late Lord Chief Baron Burgh, and William Burgh, Efq; late member for Athy, (both his near relations) as clafs fellows and companions; and it was remarked that they were the firft ftudents who occupiede new buildings. In this University he very early gave a promife of thofe uncommon talents, and that capacious mind, which have fince diftinguished the progress of his public conduct. Before he was of age, on the King's acceffion to the throne, he went into Parlament, as member for Dunleer, but took no active part during the life of his father. After returning from the Temple, (where he had that happiness continued to him, of ftudying with his friend the late Chief Baron) he was called to the Irish bar, in the year 1767. But being born with talents fitted for a more extenfive fphere of action, than the mere practice of the courts, he turned his attention to the improvement of the long neglected trade and commerce of his country; and for this very important purpofe, he began with taking all reftraints off the manufactures of the kingdom, as the fift means of attaining his favourite object.

In 1777, the first Teffion of Lord Buckingham's administration, Mr. Foster intro"duced a bill to free the manufactures of Ireland, of every denomination, from all duties on exportation. 'Till then, many of them were fubject to the custom duty of five" per cent. on being exported. In this he copied the British policy of 1722; and strange as it may appear, no man ever attempted to adopt the whole of that policy here, with any fuccefs from that period, until this gen

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