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Augustus Foster

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Name  Augustus Foster
Role  British Politician

Died  August 1, 1848
Children  Vere Foster
Augustus Foster
Parents  Elizabeth Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
Grandparents  Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol
Great-grandparents  John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, Mary Hervey
Similar People  Elizabeth Cavendish - Duchess, Frederick Hervey - 4th Earl of Bri, William Cavendish - 5th Duke, William Cavendish - 6th Duke, Georgiana Howard - Countess

Sir Augustus John Foster, 1st Baronet, GCH, PC (1 or 4 December 1780 – 1 August 1848) was a British diplomat and politician. Born into a notable British family, Foster served in a variety of diplomatic functions in continental Europe and the United States, interrupted by a short stint as a Member of Parliament. He wrote about his American experiences in Notes on the United States of America.


Early life and family

Foster was born in 1780, possibly in Ireland, and went on to study at Drogheda Grammar School and Christ Church, Oxford. He enjoyed a comfortable social situation; his father was the Irish MP for Ennis, John Thomas Foster (d. 1796), first cousin of John Foster and William Foster, and his mother Elizabeth Hervey, who would later go on to marry William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire, was herself the daughter of Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol. Augustus had one older brother, Frederick (1777–1853) and an elder sister Elizabeth (b. 1778), who died several days after birth, as well as two illegitimate half-siblings. Augustus's parents separated in 1781, at which time he and his brother remained in the care of his father.

On 18 March 1815, one year after his arrival in Denmark, he married Albina Jane Hobart. (b. 2 May 1788 d. 28 May 1867) daughter of Hon. George Vere Hobart (b. 1761 d. 5 December 1802), second son of George Hobart, 3rd Earl of Buckinghamshire, having previously courted Anne Isabella Milbanke. They would go on to have three sons:

  • Frederick George (2nd Bt) (b. 3 January 1816 d. unm. 25 December 1857),
  • Cavendish Harvey (Rev’d) (3rd Bt) (b. 7 May 1817 d. 27 Nov 1890) and
  • Vere Henry Louis (the philanthropist and educationalist) (b. 25 April 1819 d. 21 December 1900).
  • Career

    Between roughly 1802 and 1804 Foster served as the Secretary to British legation, Naples, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In 1805 he was sent to the United States as the Secretary to British legation, leaving in 1807 to become British chargé d'affaires, Stockholm, Sweden from 1808 to 1810. He was sent back to America in 1811 as Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States, but returned to Britain in 1812 with the outbreak of the War of 1812, where he was promptly elected by Cockermouth, England to the House of Commons.

    In 1814 he left for Copenhagen, Denmark, where he would serve as British minister plenipotentiary until 1824.

    In 1822 he became a Privy Councillor. Following his decade in Denmark, he returned to Italy as British minister plenipotentiary to Turin, Kingdom of Sardinia where he would stay from 1824 to 1840. During this time he was knighted by King George IV (1825) and named Baronet of Glyde Court, Ardee (1831), a town in County Louth, Ireland.

    Later life

    Ending his service in Turin and his career in the British diplomatic service in 1840, Foster began drafting his Notes on the United States of America.

    Foster died in 1848 after cutting his throat at Branksea Castle; he had suffered from delirium because of poor health, and his death was ruled as the result of temporary insanity. His Notes on the United States of America would be rediscovered in a cupboard of his family's home in Northern Ireland in the 1930s, and published posthumously.


  • Foster, Augustus John (1980). Davis, Richard Beale, ed. Jeffersonian America: Notes on the United States of America. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-22076-0. 
  • References

    Augustus Foster Wikipedia

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