John Foster (1740–1828)

The politics of improvement and prosperity

Anthony Malcomson

Hardback €45.00
Catalogue Price: €50.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-230-8
December 2011. 512pp; colour ills.

‘An entirely new study of the remarkable public career of the laird of Collon. Drawing not just on the prodigious range of the Foster-Massereene collection but on over a hundred other collections of politically active contemporaries of John Foster, this is another classic performance. Malcomson’s knowledge of the archival landscape is unique … Compared to the 1978 Foster, Malcomson now provides a more nuanced and quite intriguing reading of the Speaker and his role in leading the campaign against parliamentary union', David Dickson, CLAHJ (2013).

‘[Foster] was the subject of Dr Malcomson’s first book in 1978. The revisit is prompted not just by altered perspectives. Malcomson can deploy his own unrivalled knowledge of the sources and an empathy with Foster; also, as he generously admits, he can utilize the findings and insights of other scholars. Accordingly, this second look at Foster gives greater weight to his thinking and achievements as chancellor of the exchequer …Opinions about Foster’s character will continue to diverge, but – yet again – Malcomson shows his unrivalled skill in recreating the constructive thinking of a vigorous conservative. Furthermore, in the course of retrieving and rehabilitating Foster, he adds much to knowledge and understanding of government, administration and the finances of Ireland and Great Britain between the 1780s and 1828', Toby Barnard, Irish Literary Supplement (Spring 2013).

‘This work improves upon the author’s previous biography of Foster by including more material on his economic policies. With 53 illustrations total, the book offers b&w and colour historical illustrations and paintings, plus photos of museum displays. Genealogical charts of the Foster and Burgh families are included', Reference & Research Book News (April 2012).

‘Malcomson notes that “this is, very largely, a new book” [rather than] a revised edition of Malcomson’s acclaimed biography of Foster, published over 30 years previously … This book should create an entirely new audience for those wanting to understand John Foster but can also be read by those who have already studied the 1978 volume … it would be more accurate to take the “very largely” out of the quote above … it is a new book or, perhaps, a second volume to the 1978 biography', Eoin Magennis, Eighteenth-Century Ireland (2012).