Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/184

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


during 1868–9, and for a long time a member of the council of that college, where he exercised great personal influence. In 1869 he was appointed surgeon-in-ordinary to the queen in Ireland. He was knighted in 1883, and received a baronetcy in 1889 in recognition of his distinguished professional position. The university of Dublin conferred upon him in 1873 the honorary degree of master of surgery, and in 1891 the post of regius professor of surgery. The university of Glasgow gave him in 1888 the honorary degree of LL.D. In his earlier years he frequently gave expert evidence in the coroner's court, and in 1882 he was one of those who were called upon to examine the bodies of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke, who were murdered in the Phœnix Park. Sir George Porter was attached to many of the Dublin hospitals in an honorary or consulting capacity, and was an active member of numerous charitable and other boards. He acquired by purchase landed property in co. Wexford, and was proud of his position as a country gentleman, and especially of being high sheriff of the county. He died of heart-disease at his residence, Merrion Square, Dublin, on 15 June 1895.

He married Julia, daughter of Isaac Bond of Flimby, Cumberland, by whom he had one son.

[Cameron's Hist. of the College of Surgeons in Ireland; Ormsby's Hist. of the Meath Hospital; obituary notices in British Medical Journal and Lancet, June 1895.]

C. N.

PORTER, GEORGE RICHARDSON (1792–1852), statistician, the son of a London merchant, was born in London in 1792. Failing in business as a sugar-broker, he devoted himself to economics and statistics, and in 1831 contributed an essay on life assurance to Charles Knight's ‘Companion to the Almanac.’ When, in 1832, Knight declined Lord Auckland's invitation to digest for the board of trade the information contained in the parliamentary reports and papers, he recommended Porter for the task. Porter now had scope for the exercise of his powers as a statistician, and in 1834 the statistical department of the board of trade was permanently established under his supervision. In 1840 he was appointed senior member of the railway department of the same board, and in 1841 Lord Clarendon obtained for him the position of joint secretary of the board in succession to John MacGregor [q. v.] Porter's remuneration was at first inadequate, but he ultimately received 1,000l. a year as chief of the statistical department, 1,200l. as senior member of the railway department, and 1,500l. as joint secretary of the board of trade. He was one of the promoters, in 1834, of the Statistical Society, of which he became vice-president and treasurer in 1841; and he took an active interest in the proceedings of section F of the British Association. He was also an honorary member of the Statistical Society of Ulster, corresponding member of the Institute of France, and fellow of the Royal Society. He died on 3 Sept. 1852 at Tunbridge Wells, and was buried there. The immediate cause of his death was a gnat's sting on the knee, which caused mortification. There is an engraved portrait of him in the rooms of the Statistical Society, Adelphi Terrace, London, W.C.

Porter was a liberal in politics, a zealous free-trader, and an able official. His best-known work, ‘The Progress of the Nation in its various Social and Economical Relations, from the beginning of the Nineteenth Century to the present time’ (3 vols. London, 1836–43, cr. 8vo; 1 vol. London, 1838, 8vo; 1847, 8vo; 1851, 8vo), is an invaluable record of the first half of the nineteenth century. It is remarkable for the accuracy and the variety of its information, and for the skill with which the results of statistical inquiry are presented. Besides tracts and papers on statistical subjects in Lardner's ‘Cabinet Cyclopædia,’ the ‘Journal of the Statistical Society,’ and the ‘Proceedings of the British Association,’ Porter published: 1. ‘The Effect of Restrictions on the Importation of Corn, considered with reference to Landowners, Farmers, and Labourers,’ London, 1839, 8vo. 2. ‘The Nature and Properties of the Sugar Cane …’ 2nd edition, with an additional chapter on the manufacture of sugar from beetroot, London, 1843, 8vo. 3. ‘The Tropical Agriculturist: a Practical Treatise on the Cultivation and Management of various Productions suited to Tropical Climates.’ 4. ‘Popular Fallacies regarding General Interests: being a Translation of the “Sophismes Économiques”’ [of F. Bastiat], &c., 1846, 16mo; 1849, 16mo. 5. ‘A Manual of Statistics’ (Section 15 of the ‘Admiralty Manual of Scientific Inquiry,’ edited by Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1849, 12mo; 1851, 8vo); another edition, revised by William Newmarch, 1859, 8vo.

Porter, Sarah (1791–1862), writer on education, wife of the above, was the daughter of Abraham Ricardo, and sister of David Ricardo [q. v.] She died on 13 Sept. 1862 at West Hill, Wandsworth, aged 71. She published: 1. ‘Conversations on Arithmetic,’ London, 1835, 12mo; new edition, with the title ‘Rational Arithmetic,’ &c., London, 1852, 12mo. 2. ‘On Infant Schools for the