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Foster Pamphlets

Collection Level Description

Collection of 18th century pamphlets, magazines and reports etc compiled by John Foster, Baron Oriel (1740-1828), last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. An important and unique assemblage of materials, the collection was compiled by Foster during his years of high political office in both the Irish and British Houses of Parliaments. The main focus of the collection concerns the major political pre-occupations of the day, including Parliamentary Reform, Catholic Relief, trade and manufacture, the Act of Union and the state of the Irish nation. Economic affairs is, however, a particular strength of the collection reflecting Foster's own political priorities and interests (he saw economic prosperity as a cure for Irish discontent) with material on the relief of the poor, banking and coinage, agriculture and industry, taxation and tithes all well represented. In addition to political affairs in Ireland, commentary is also provided on the debates concerning the progress of the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and British politics in general. Social matters are also touched on with examples of 18th century poetry, satire and drama to be found throughout the collection. Primarily published in English and from printing houses across the British Isles, the pamphlets are bound into volumes and classified under such general headings as 'Politics,' 'Agriculture,' 'American States,' 'Sermons' 'Tythes and Popery,' 'Regency 1789' etc etc, as originally arranged by Foster during his lifetime.


The Foster Pamphlet Collection is important as it provides a comprehensive representation of the pamphleteering activity prevalent during the 18th century and for its reflection of the major political and economic preoccupations of the day at both local (Irish) and national (Westminster) parliamentary levels. Particular subject strengths include economic development, Irish and British politics, the American War of Independence, Catholic Relief and the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland.

Physical characteristics

2,200 pamphlets bound in 227 volumes. Each volume can contain between 5 and 35 items.

Description or Catalogue

Details of the Foster Collection can be found on the QUB on-line catalogue (QCAT) under the prefix w/. The catalogue is available at:

Collection Dates

Coverage: 1686-1814

Additional Details

George III, King of Great Britain, 1738-1820
Grattan, Henry, 1746-1820
Sheffield, John Holroyd, Earl of, 1735-1821
Lucas, Charles, 1713-1771
Paine, Thomas, 1737-1809
Royal Dublin Society
Society of the United Irishmen
Castlereagh, Robert Stewart, Viscount, 1769-1822
Oriel, John Foster, Baron, 1740-1828
Geographic Coverage
North America
Material Types
Books - including pamphlets

Custodial Information

Accrual Policy: Closed
Accrual Method: Purchase
Accrual Periodicity: Closed
Associated Collection
Foster/ Massereene Papers


Oriel, John Foster, Baron, 1740-1828


Queen's University Belfast