Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Porter, Francis

PORTER, FRANCIS (d. 1702), Irish Franciscan, a native of co. Meath, joined the Franciscans, and passed most of his life at Rome. He became professor and lecturer, and was ultimately president, of the Irish College of St. Isidore in that city. He described himself in 1693 as ‘divine and historian to his most Serene Majesty of Great Britain,’ viz. James II. He died in Rome on 7 April 1702.

Porter was author of the following very rare Latin works: 1. ‘Securis Evangelica ad Hæresis radices posita, ad Congregationem Propagandæ Fidei,’ Rome, 1674, ‘editio secunda novis additionibus aucta et recognita;’ dedicated to Roger Palmer, lord Castlemaine. 2. ‘Palinodia religionis prætensæ Reformatæ,’ &c., Rome, 1679; dedicated to Cardinal Cybo. 3. ‘Compendium Annalium Ecclesiasticorum Regni Hiberniæ, exhibens brevem illius descriptionem et succinctam Historiam,’ 1690, 4to; dedicated to Alexander VIII. It contains an epistle to the author, by Francis Echinard, a jesuit, on errors in maps of Ireland. Porter has drawn largely on Ussher and Ware. The last section of the Appendix contains contemporary history down to the end of 1689, with an account of the siege of Derry (taken from letters written in May, July, and September 1689), and of the Jacobite parliament at Dublin. Porter concludes with an invective against Luther, as the author of all the evils of Ireland. 4. ‘Systema Decretorum Dogmaticorum … in quo insuper recensentur præcipui cujuslibet Sæculi, errores, adversi Impugnatores orthodoxi; item Recursus et Appellationes hactenus ad sedem Apostolicam habitæ, cum notis historicis et copiosis indicibus,’ Avignon, 1693, fol.; dedicated to Cardinal Spada. This work is very rare; was unknown to Ware, and was wrongly described by Harris in his edition of Ware's Irish writers. 5. ‘Opusculum contra vulgares quasdam Prophetias de Electionum [sic] Summorum Pontificum, S. Malachiæ … hactenus falso attributas, Gallice primum editum, nunc novis supplementis auctum et in Latinum idioma translatum: adjunctis celebrium Authorum [sic] reflectionibus et judiciis de Abbatis Joachimi Vaticiniis, ejusque Spiritu Prophetico,’ Rome, 1698, 8vo.

[Ware's Works concerning Ireland, ed. Walter Harris, 1764, ii. 262; Webb's Compend. Irish Biography; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Porter's Works; Lowndes's Bibl. Manual; Hazlitt's Bibliographical Collections, 3rd ser. p. 126.]

G. Le G. N.