PORCHER, Josias Du Pré (?1761-1820), of Hillingdon House, Mdx. and Winslade House, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1802 - 1806
1806 - Jan. 1807
20 Jan. 1807 - 1807
1807 - 1818

Family and Education

b. ?1761, 3rd s. of Paul Porcher, planter, of Charleston, S. Carolina by Esther née Du Pré. m. 1 Nov. 1787 at Fort George, Madras, Charlotte, da. of Adm. Sir William Burnaby, 1st Bt., of Broughton Hall, Oxon., 4s. 1da.

Offices Held

Writer, E.I. Co. (Madras) 1778; dep. to dep. paymaster, Madras 1783-6; sen. merchant 1785; member of Board of Trade and clerk to cttee. of works 1790; mayor, Madras 1791-2; military storekeeper 1792; ret. 1800.

Gent. of privy chamber Dec. 1818-d.


Porcher was a great-grandson of Isaac Porcher of Sainte-Sévère in Berry, a Huguenot surgeon who fled to South Carolina. He arrived in England in 1768 under the aegis of his uncle Josias Du Pré of Wilton, Buckinghamshire, governor of Madras, and himself proceeded to India to try his fortune in 1778, in which year his uncle left him £1,000 in his will.1 In 1796 on his return home he was the bearer of a diamond sword for the Prince of Wales from the nawab of Arcot. After a successful career, he subscribed £2,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797 and was desirous of becoming an East India Company director. His schoolfellow Henry Alexander* recommended him to Thomas Pelham*, 10 Mar. 1799, as ‘the great benefactor’ of his brother James Alexander*, thereby persona grata to Lord Caledon, and as having ‘one of the most amicable and independent characters’. Porcher himself assured Pelham of his being attached to ‘those in whose hands the executive gov[ernmen]t is most happily placed’ and of his having Lord Hobart’s friendship. Disappointed in his aim, he became a principal in the firm of Porcher & Co., East India agents, of Devonshire Square (1804-17), in which James Alexander was also a partner.2

In 1801 Porcher provided Thomas, 2nd Baron Camelford, with a bonded loan of £25,000 for six years on condition of being returned to Parliament. Camelford duly returned him for Bodmin in 1802, in which year he negotiated Lord Caledon’s purchase of the borough of Old Sarum from Camelford. In 1806, the latter being dead, his brother-in-law and executor Lord Grenville secured Porcher’s return first for Bletchingley on the Clayton interest, then early in 1807 for Dundalk on the Roden interest. He was again returned for Dundalk at the ensuing election, but also for Old Sarum on Caledon’s interest. He opted for the latter, Grenville having seen to it that ‘the amount of the late Lord Camelford’s bond ... for the principal sum of £25,000’ was assigned to Patrick Craufurd Bruce*, who next occupied the Dundalk seat. Porcher had been entitled to si