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Porter, Endymion

PORTER, ENDYMION (1587-1649), English royalist, descended from Sir William Porter, sergeant-at-arms to Henry VII., and son of Edmund Porter, of Aston-sub-Edge in Gloucestershire, by his cousin Angela, daughter of Giles Porter of Mickleton, in the same county, was brought up in Spain where he had relatives as page in the household of Olivares. He afterwards entered successively the service of Edward Villiers and of Buckingham, and through the latter's recommendation became groom of the bedchamber to Charles I. In October 1622 he was sent to negotiate concerning the affairs of the Palatinate and the marriage with the Infanta. He accompanied Charles and Buckingham on their foolhardy expedition in 1623, acted as their interpreter, and was included in the consequent attack made by Lord Bristol on Buckingham in 1626. In 1628 he was employed as envoy to Spain to negotiate for peace, and in 1634 on a mission to the Netherlands to the Infante Ferdinand. During the Civil War Porter remained a constant and faithful servant of the king. He was with him during the two Scottish campaigns, attended him again on the visit to Scotland in August 1641, and followed Charles on his last departure from London in 1642, receiving the nominal command of a regiment, and sitting in the Royalist parliament at Oxford in 1643. He had, however, little faith in the king's measures. " His Majesty's businesses," he writes in 1641, " run in their wonted channel subtle designs of gaining the popular opinion and weak executions for the upholding of monarchy." His fidelity to Charles was of a personal, not of a political nature. " My duty and loyalty have taught me to follow my king," he declares, " and by the grace of God nothing shall divert me from it." This devotion to the king, the fact that he was the agent and protege of Buckingham, and that his wife Olivia, daughter of John, Lord Boteler of Bramfield, and niece of Buckingham, was a zealous Roman Catholic, drew upon him the hostility of the opposite faction. As member of the Long Parliament, in which he sat as member for Droitwich, he was one of the minority of 59 who voted against Strafford's attainder, and was in consequence proclaimed a " betrayer of his country." On the 15th of February 1642 he was voted one of the dangerous counsellors, and specially excepted from pardon on the 4th of October and in the treaties of peace negotiated subsequently, while on the 1cth of March 1643 he was excluded from parliament. Porter was also implicated in the army plot; he assisted Glamorgan in illegally putting the great seal to the commission to negotiate with the Irish in 1644; and was charged with having in the same manner affixed the PORTER, FITZ-JOHN PORTER, HENRY great seal of Scotland, then temporarily in his keeping, to that of O'Neill in 1641, and of having incurred some responsibility for the Irish rebellion. Towards the end of 1645, when the king's cause was finally lost, Porter abandoned England, and resided successively in France, Brussels, where he was reduced to great poverty, and the Netherlands. The property which he had accumulated during the tenure of his various appointments, by successful commercial undertakings and by favours of the court, was now for the most part either confiscated or encumbered. He returned to England in 1649, after the king's death, and was allowed to compound for what remained of it. He died shortly afterwards, and was buried on the 20th of August 1649 at St Martin's-in-the-Fields, leaving as a special charge in his will to his sons and descendants to " observe and respect the family of my Lord Duke of Buckingham, deceased, to whom I owe all the happiness I had in the world." He left five sons, who all played conspicuous, if not all creditable, parts in the history of the time. According to Wood, Porter was " beloved by two kings: James I. for his admirable wit and Charles I. for his general bearing, brave style, sweet temper, great experience, travels and modern languages." During the period of his prosperity Porter had gained a great reputation in the world of art and letters. He wrote verses, was a generous patron of Davenant, who especially sings his praises, of Dekker, Warmstrey, May, Herrick and Robert Dover, and was included among the 84 " essentials " in Bolton's " Academy Royal." He was a judicious collector of pictures, and as the friend of Rubens, Van Dyck, Mytens and other painters, and as agent for Charles in his purchases abroad he had a considerable share in forming the king's magnificent collection. He was also instrumental in procuring the Arundel pictures from Spain. The authorship of Eixav TTIOTI), 1649, a vindication of the Elxuv /SaffiXtxi), has been attributed with some reason to Porter.

AUTHORITIES. Life and Letters of Endymion Porter, by D. Townshend (1897); article in the Diet, of Nat. Biog., by C. H. Firth and authorities there cited ; Memoires, by D. Lloyd (1668), p.6s7 ; Burton's Hist, of Scotland (1873), vi. 346-347; Eng. Hist. Rev. ii. 531, 692; Gardiner's Hist, of England; Lives of the Lords Strangford (1877), by E. B. de Fonblanque (Life and Letters); Wood, Athenae Oxonienses; Clarendon's History of the Rebellion; State Papers and Calendar of State Papers ; Calendar of State Papers: Dont. and of Committee for Compounding; The Chesters of Chichele, by Waters, i. 144-149; Eikon Bastlike, by Ed. Almack, p. 94. There are also various references, etc., to Endymion Porter in Additional Charters, British Museum, 6223, 1633, 6225; Add. MSS. 15,858; 33, 374; and Egerton 2550, 2533 ; in the Hist. MSS. Comm. Series; MSS. of Duke of Portland, etc., and in Notes and Queries; also Thomason Tracts, Brit. Mus., E 118 (13).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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