held his arms with his night-gown; they pulled him up again, where he hung next morning till daylight’ (Method taken by the Mob, London, 1736). Notwithstanding the most rigorous investigation, no clue was ever found to the perpetrators of the murder. Several persons were seized and imprisoned on suspicion; but of these only two—one of them a coachman to the Countess of Wemyss, who was in a state of hopeless intoxication when he followed the mob—were brought to trial, and they were found not guilty. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe was accustomed to express full belief in statements made to him by ‘very old persons’ that several of high rank were concerned in the affair, many of them disguised as women (Wilson, Memorials of Edinburgh, ed. 1891, i. 144); and Horne Tooke, in defending himself before Lord Mansfield in 1777, significantly asserted that ‘at this moment there are people of reputation, living in credit, making fortunes under the crown, who were concerned in that very fact’ (ib.)
The outrage led to the introduction of a bill in the House of Lords for the punishment of the provost of Edinburgh, the exaction of a fine from the city, the removal of the Netherbow Port—in token of the levelling of its defences as a rebellious city—and the abolition of the city guard; but, as modified by the House of Commons, the bill merely disqualified the provost from holding any other office throughout the empire, and levied a fine of 2,000l. on the city for the widow of Porteous. Another act was also passed denouncing the murderers of Porteous, offering rewards for their capture, and threatening punishment to all who aided or harboured them. It was further decreed that this proclamation should be read from every pulpit in Scotland on the first Sunday of each month for a year. According to Dr. Alexander Carlyle, one half of the clergy declined to read the proclamation (Autobiography, p. 41); but the idea of inflicting a fine on them for the neglect was dropped. Porteous is described as having been ‘of the middle size, broad-shouldered, strong-limbed, short-necked, his face a little pitted with the small-pox, and round; his looks mild and gentle, his face having nothing of the fierce and brutal; his eyes languid, not quick and sprightly, and his complexion upon the brown’ (Life and Death of Captain Porteous, p. 7).
The plot of Sir Walter Scott's ‘Heart of Midlothian’ turns upon the incidents of the Porteous riot, and many interesting particulars were collected by Scott in his notes to that novel.
[Information for her Majesty's Advocate, &c., with a full and particular Account of the Method taken by the Mob, &c., London, 1736; Account of the Cruel Massacre committed by Captain John Porteous, 1736; Genuine Trial of Captain John Porteous, London, 1736; Life and Death of Captain John Porteous, with an Account of the two Bills as they were reasoned on in both Houses of Parliament, and the Speeches of the Great Men on both, London, 1737; Copy of the Porteous Roll sent to the Ministers of Scotland to be read from the Pulpits of each of them, 1738. These and various other pamphlets on the Porteous occurrences are bound together in two volumes in the library of the British Museum. Gent. Mag. for 1736 and 1737, passim; Mahon's History of England; State Trials, vol. xvii.; Criminal Trials illustrative of Scott's novel, ‘The Heart of Midlothan;’ Dr. Alexander Carlyle's Autobiography; Memoirs of Duncan Forbes of Culloden; Wilson's Memorials of Edinburgh.]
PORTEOUS, WILLIAM (1735–1812), Scottish divine, was the son of James Porteous, minister of Monivaird, Perthshire, by his wife, Marjory Faichney. He was born at Monivaird in 1735, and educated for the ministry. Receiving a license from the presbytery of Auchterarder on 13 Sept. 1757, he was presented by Lady Mary Cunninghame to the parish of Whitburn, Linlithgowshire, in November 1759. He was transferred on 27 April 1770 to the ministry of the Wynd Church, Glasgow. A man of strong character and an able preacher, he filled this important post with success. His congregation increased so rapidly that he had to abandon the parish church, which had been rebuilt in 1764, for the new St. George's Church in 1807. Porteous took a leading part for many years in the proceedings of the Glasgow presbytery, and of the church in the west generally. Strongly orthodox in his views, he resisted the smallest innovations. He defended his position with his pen, and did not spare his adversaries. He resolutely opposed the introduction of organs in 1807–8 (cf. The Organ Question: Statements by Dr. Ritchie and Dr. Porteous, for and against the use of the Organ in Public Worship, in the Proceedings of the Presbytery of Glasgow, 1807–8, with an introductory notice by Robert S. Candlish, Edinburgh, 1856). His attack on the associate synod, in his ‘New Light examined,’ provoked the withering sarcasm of James Peddie's ‘Defence.’ In the general assembly he took no prominent position. In November 1784 he was granted the degree of D.D. by Princetown College, New Jersey. He died on 12 Jan. 1812.
He married first, 26 June 1760, Grizel Lindsay (d. 1774), by whom he had two