PORTER, Aubrey (c.1660-1717), of Brewer’s Yard, Whitehall and Hessett, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. c.1660, 3rd s. of George Porter of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, Mdx. by Lady Diana, da. of George Goring†, 1st Earl of Norwich, wid. of Thomas Covert of Slaugham, Suss. educ. ?Bury St. Edmunds g.s. m. by 1685, Kezia (d. 1689), da. of Sir Thomas Hervey† of Ickworth, Suff., sis. of John Hervey*, 1s. d.v.p.1
Page of honour 1671–?85; receiver-poll tax by 1687; capt. Ld. Macclesfield’s (Charles Gerard*) regt. 1694, lt.-col. 1708, half-pay 1713–d.2
‘Nobs’ Porter was the grandson of Endymion Porter†, Charles I’s confidant, and the son of a Royalist officer who, although deserting to Parliament in 1645, subsequently served as a gentleman of the bedchamber to Charles II. After the Revolution one of Porter’s uncles was chamberlain to James II in exile. He himself held a place in Charles II’s court, and thereafter, presumably in consideration of this service, the rent of his house in Whitehall was paid by the crown. However, his marriage, and the demands of his career, rather than his Cavalier background, were the determining factors in his politics. His brother-in-law John Hervey not only provided him with a seat in Parliament but also looked after his interests outside. Thus in 1703, Porter being stationed in Ireland, Hervey interceded on his behalf with the viceroy, the Duke of Ormond, in a regimental matter. Returned at a by-election for Bury, Porter supported the Court on the regency bill proceedings on 18 Feb. 1706 and, probably on the following day, voted with other army officers and the friends and followers of the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†) in favour of Salwey Winnington* in his disputed election for Bewdley. He was classed as a Whig in two lists of 1708, and voted in 1709 for the naturalization of the Palatines. His failure to attend during the 1709–10 session and general neglect of his parliamentary duties brought forth a stern admonition with the renewal of Hervey’s electoral support at Bury in 1710. Hervey reminded him that
upon the first rumour of a dissolution I wrote to know your mind concerning your next election, and to acquaint you with their resentments at your last winter’s absence, which you have not furnished me with excuses for. I need not tell you what coy mistresses boroughs are, and that they never were more courted than at present. Some are so enamoured as to desire I would assist them in making their addresses there, concluding by your cold attendance that you have given over the pursuit. But my answer was, I had not yet heard from you, and that as long as you desired the little help I was master of, I could not think of lending it elsewhere.
Despite his previous voting record, Porter was described as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’, perhaps because the colonel of his regiment was Samuel Masham*. He was also named among the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the first session discovered the mismanagements of the previous ministry. Placed on half-pay in May 1713, he was listed as voting as a Whig against the French commerce bill on 18 June, and voted on 18 Mar. 1714 against the expulsion of Richard Steele. Porter was classed as a Whig in the Worsley list and in two lists of the Members re-elected in 1715.3
Hervey recorded in his diary that on 14 Apr. 1717 ‘my brother Porter died at his house in Little Marlborough Street, and was buried near his mother . . . in St. Giles’s chancel the 20th following’.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxi. 112; E. Anglian Misc. (1918), p. 112; Bury St. Edmunds G.S. List (Suff. Green Bks. xiii), 310.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 1327; vi. 91; viii. 1276; xxvii. 477; xxxi. 537; Hervey Diary, 5; CSP Dom. 1696, p. 98; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 281.
- 3. DNB (Porter, Endymion); Cal. Treas. Bks. xxi. 112; Hervey Letter Bks. i. 186–7, 273, 385–6; Bull. IHR, xlv. 49.
- 4. Hervey Diary, 65.