Henrietta, Countess de Salis, was the daughter of William Foster, Bishop of Clogher and the niece of John Foster, the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Henrietta's private letters (from her sister, Letitia North, from her brother-in-law, John Henry North and from her brother, John Leslie Foster) provide an insight into political events in Ireland in the years from 1802 to 1832. When the Countess encouraged North to stand in the Drogheda election of 1822 she was met with consternation from her rather less liberal brother who 'did not approve ... of ladies dictating to gentlemen in matters to which the softer sex are usually strangers'. In 1828, with the Countess's support, John Henry North was eventually elected as MP for Drogheda but his success was short-lived: only three years later he died, exhausted, having failed to stem the revolutionary tide for reform. After his death, a bitter row ensued between the two sisters about the expenses of his election.
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