and formed into an amphitheatre, where servants were allowed to keep places, and no person was admitted without a ticket. In this representation she struck the ground with her stick when signing the warrant for the death of Mary Stuart, and her vehemence and spirit elicited loud applause.
Mrs. Porter was eminently popular with all classes. Lord Cornbury [see Hyde, Henry, Viscount Cornbury] gave her his unacted comedy, ‘The Mistakes,’ which in 1758, or some five years after his death, she published by subscription at 5s. a copy. The Countess Cowper subscribed for eighty copies, and many fashionable folk took from twenty copies up, it is said, to a hundred, so that a large sum was realised. In the advertisement to the book she speaks of herself as ‘an old and favoured servant of the public, whose powers of contributing to its amusement are no more.’ She became great friends with Mrs. Oldfield, as she had been with Mrs. Barry and Mrs. Bracegirdle. Jesting her on her gravity, Mrs. Oldfield often called her ‘mother.’ Though far from handsome, she was tall, well formed, and of a fair complexion; her voice, tender at first and wanting in volume, acquired power by cultivation. She had exquisite judgment. Somewhat cold in comedy, in those parts of tragedy in which the passions predominate she was another person. She had ‘noble and enthusiastic ardour, great dignity, and most affecting softness and tenderness.’ She was held the legitimate successor of Mrs. Barry. In Hermione and Belvidera she was equally effective. In the latter part Booth preferred her to Mrs. Oldfield. She excelled particularly in her agony when forced from Jaffier in the second act, and in her madness. Dr. Johnson, with whose friends the Cotterels she lived for a time on terms of great intimacy, said, ‘Mrs. Porter in the vehemence of rage, and Mrs. Clive in the sprightliness of humour, I have never seen equalled;’ and Walpole declared that she surpassed Garrick in passionate tragedy. No breath of scandal is heard concerning her. She outlived an annuity on which she depended, and probably outlived her friends also; she died at an advanced age and in straitened circumstances on 24 Feb. 1765 (Gent. Mag. 1765, p. 146). No portrait of her has been traced.
[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Betterton's Hist. of the English Stage; Davies's Dramatic Miscellanies; Victor's Hist. of the Theatres; Colley Cibber's Apology, ed. Lowe; Gilliland's Dramatic Mirror; Thespian Dict.; Dibdin's Hist. of the Stage; Boswell's Johnson, ed. Birkbeck Hill; Clark Russell's Representative Actors, &c.]
PORTER, ROBERT (d. 1690), ejected divine, was born in Nottinghamshire, and educated at Cambridge, but the college is not specified. He became vicar of Pentrich, Derbyshire, in 1650, succeeding John Chapman (d. 1 Nov. 1652), who had been sequestered by the parliamentary commissioners. The living yielded an income of but 15l., which was brought up to ‘near fifty’ by the parishioners. Porter refused other preferment, and devoted himself to parish work. In his principles he was a very moderate nonconformist of the school of John Ball (1585–1640) [q. v.] He became a member of the Wirksworth presbyterian classis, and was moderator at its first recorded meeting on 16 Dec. 1651. Great deference was paid to his judgment, especially in cases of conscience. He was ejected from Pentrich by the Uniformity Act of 1662; his farewell sermon is in ‘England's Remembrancer,’ 1663. He remained in the parish, preaching privately in his own house. On the coming into force (25 March 1666) of the Five Mile Act, he retired to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but still ministered occasionally to his old flock preaching by night at ‘an obscure house’ in Longcroft Fields. After the indulgence of 1672 he established a congregation at Mansfield, but he always attended the services of the parish church, and held his own meetings out of church hours. Hence he was never molested. He died at Mansfield on 22 Jan. 1690. His sister Ann married John Oldfield or Otefield [q. v.]
Posthumous was his ‘Life of Mr. John Hieron, with … Memorials of ten other worthy Ministers,’ &c. 1691, 4to, a valuable collection of Derbyshire nonconformist biographies used by Calamy (four copies in Brit. Mus.)
[Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 180 sq.; Cox's Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, 1879, iv. 357 sq.; Minutes of Wirksworth Classis in Derbyshire Archæol. and Nat. Hist. Soc. 1880, pp. 150 sq.]
PORTER, Sir ROBERT KER (1777–1842), painter and traveller, was one of the five children of William Porter, who was born in 1735, and was buried at St. Oswald, Durham, in September 1779, after twenty-three years' service as surgeon to the 6th (Inniskilling) dragoons. He was descended from an old Irish family which claimed among its ancestors Sir William Porter, who fought at Agincourt, and Endymion Porter. His mother was Jane, daughter of Robert Blenkinsop of Durham. She died at Esher in 1831, aged 86. Robert's brothers, both older than himself, were William Ogilvie Porter,