PORTER, John (?1711-56), of Old Bedlam, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1754 - 11 Apr. 1756

Family and Education

b. 1711 or after, 2nd s. of one La Roche (a French officer who served in Ireland under James II and afterwards changed his name to Porter) by his w. a da. of Isaye Daubuz.  m. Anne, da. of Claudius Amyand sen., sis. of Claudius and George Amyand, s.p. His e. bro. James Porter was ambassador to Constantinople 1746-62.

Offices Held

Alderman of London 1752- d.


Porter was a London merchant, linked with the Pelhams through his brother-in-law, Claudius Amyand, at one time under-secretary to Newcastle as secretary of state. Porter was also a friend of James West, and it was through West that he came to stand at Evesham.1 Pelham undertook to defray for him ‘all expenses exceeding £1500’. On 22 Mar. 1754 Porter wrote to Newcastle that the other candidates offered him £1200 if he withdrew; that he himself would ‘approve with pleasure anything your Grace may determine’; but he asked the Duke’s help in making the other side agree to a sum ‘nearer my disbursements’, which he put at about £1750.2 Possibly he professed so much indifference and readiness to accept Newcastle’s decision in order to strengthen his basis for further claims—Newcastle’s minute, 21 Mar.,3 stated: ‘Mr. Alderman Porter desires not to give it up.’ After the election John Roberts wrote to Newcastle, 27 Apr. 1754, that Edward Rudge, the defeated candidate, ‘complains heavily, wherever he goes, of Alderman Porter’s last opposition to him, which he attributes solely to your Grace’s having obliged Porter to break the compromise that had been agreed to before’; and Porter himself was reported to have said that he had done so in obedience to the Duke’s commands.4 He received on 8 May 1754, £1000 from secret service funds towards his election expenses;5 further claims followed. He repeatedly asked Newcastle for ‘a share of public remittances’ to cover his ‘extraordinary and great expense’ at Evesham, which in the end he put at ‘upwards of £4000 at least’.6 And he assured Newcastle that ‘there is no one whatever more attached to you personally than myself’.

Porter died 11 Apr. 1756. His widow was granted an annual payment of £500 from the profits made on remitting the subsidy to Russia, ‘in consideration of the late Alderman’s great expenses in the public service’.7

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 32995, f. 114.
  • 2. Add. 32734, f. 305.
  • 3. Add. 32995, f. 114.
  • 4. Add. 32735, f. 201.
  • 5. Namier, Structure, 202.
  • 6. Add. 32857, f. 545; Add. 32862, f. 496.
  • 7. Add. 32864, f. 296.