an eminent English prelate, was born at York in 1731. He passed several years at a small school in his native city, and at the age of thirteen was sent to a school at Ripon, and entered at an earlier age than usual Cambridge University, where he was admitted a sizar of Christ's College. His personal worth, united with his superior attainments, both classical and mathematical, soon procured for him a fellowship in his college, and by the exertions of his friends he was made esquire-beadle of the university. This office he did not long retain, but chose rather to give his undivided attention to private pupils. In 1757, at the age of twenty-six, he was ordained deacon, and soon after priest; sand only a little while later was appointed lecturer at Whitehall. He first became known as a writer by obtaining Seaton's prize for the best English poem on a sacred subject. On this occasion the topic was "Death," and the production of Mr. Porteus was universally regarded as one of great merit. In 1761 his fame was still further increased by a sermon which he preached before his alma mater on the character of David, king of Israel. Archbishop Seeker was so much pleased with Porteus that he made him in 1762 his chaplain. Porteus's first preferments were two small livings in Kent, which he held a while and then took the rectory of Hunton in the same county. Hunton was his favorite residence. He delighted in the quiet of that rural retirement, and still more in exercising the duties of the ministry among its simple and attached people. He was most indefatigable in performing all the duties of the parish-preached in some district of it daily; and by his pastoral visits to the poor, as well as to the rich, secured the affections and esteem of all his parishioners. His high character for propriety and talents brought him into general notice, and he was soon appointed prebendary of Peterborough, and not long afterwards, in 1767, he became rector of Lambeth. In the same rear lie took the degree of D.D. at Cambridge, and in 1769 was made chaplain to king George III, and master of the hospital of St. Cross, near Winchester. In 1773 Dr. Porteus, with a few other clergymen, joined in an unavailing application to the bishops, requesting that they would review the Liturgy and Articles for the purpose of making some slight alterations. In 1776 Dr. Porteus, without any solicitation on his part, was made bishop of' Chester; and in 1787, on the death of bishop Lowth, he was promoted to the diocese of London, over which he presided till his death. This appointment, with the new duties to which it called his attention, put a temporary stop to the immediate prosecution of several important undertakings lie had contemplated; but they were resumed shortly after. The first of these was the publication of his excellent Summary of the Principal Evidences of the Truth and Divine Origin of the Christian Revelation, designed chiefly for the instruction of young persons. Besides. as a member of the Legislature, he pursued a long-formed plan for improving the condition of the Negro slaves in the West Indian islands, and particularly for their instruction in religious knowledge. He was for many years one of the vice-presidents of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and took a lively interest, as well as an active part, in the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. In short, his public influence, as well as private patronage, were constantly exerted in devising or supporting measures for the diffusion of pure and undefiled religion. In 1798 lie began a course of lectures on St. Matthew's Gospel, which he delivered at St. James's Church on the Fridays in Lent. These lectures, which he afterwards published have been perhaps the most popular of all his works. He died May 14, 1808. Though bishop Porteus cannot be called a profound scholar or divine he was a man of considerable learning and ability; and he pursued through life a steady course of pious exertion for the benefit of his fellow- creatures, which procured him a high reputation among men of all parties. He was a prelate of liberal and enlarged views, one proof of which may be adduced in the fact that when a bill was introduced into Parliament for the relief of dissenting ministers and schoolmasters, he pronounced it "a measure no less consonant to the principles of sound policy than to the genuine spirit of the Gospel." He was in private life distinguished by a cheerful disposition, affable manners, great benevolence, and deep and unaffected piety. As a preacher, few in his day surpassed him either in eloquence or pathos. He is conspicuous for sound judgment, solid argument, great knowledge of the human heart, accurate observation of the world, all unshrinking reprobation of vice, the most persuasive exhortations to piety, and an unqualified avowal of all the essential, fundamental truths and doctrines of the Gospel. His works, consisting of sermons and tracts, with a Life of Archbishop Secker, and the poems and lectures already mentioned, were collected and published, with his Life, making another volume, by his nephew, the Rev. Robert Hodgason, afterwards dean of Carlisle (1811, 6 vols. 8vo, and often). There are a few letters, sermons, etc., not included in this collection (see Darling, Cyclop. Bibliog. 1, 2425). Besides Hodgson's Life of Bishop Porteus (also published separately, 1810, 8vo), see Churchman's Magazine, vol. 8;
Jones, Christian Biogr. s.v.; Perry, Ch. list. of Enyl. 3, 428, 476; Clissold, Lamps of the Church, p. 69 sq.; Chambers, Cyclop. Eugi. Lit. 2, 654; Lond. Quar. Review, March, 1812, p. 3438; British Critic, 1811; North American Review, 10, 41, 396; Mathias, Pursuits of Literature (ed. 1812), p. 270 sq.