James Porter (diplomat)

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Sir James Porter
Born 1710
Died December 1786
Nationality United Kingdom British
Occupation Diplomat

Sir James Porter (1710–1786) was a British diplomat. He wrote papers on astronomy and geology and was a member of the Royal Society.


He was born the son of a La Roche in Dublin, Ireland, a Captain of Horse who had adopted the name of Porter. James was apprenticed to a business house in London and studied mathematics in his spare time.[1]


He was a business associate of Lord Carteret, and in 1741 joined the staff of the English embassy to Austria at Vienna. He then became British ambassador to the Sublime Porte of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul. Appointed on 4 October 1746, he arrived in Constantinople on 11 February 1747. His appointment stemmed from his connections with Carteret, Sir Thomas Robinson, ambassador in Vienna, and Mr Amyand of the Levant Company of merchants in Constantinople.

A self-educated man of science, during his time in Constantinople he wrote papers on astronomy and geology, as well as publishing his memoirs, a detailed and comprehensive description of life in Turkey. He was recalled at his own request on 1 May 1761 and left Constantinople on 24 May. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1749.[1]

Porter then became British minister in Brussels in 1762 but, finding the lifestyle there too expensive, resigned his position in 1765 and retired to Richmond, near London, where his associates included a friend from his travels in Turkey, Lord Bessborough. He was knighted in 1763.

Porter died in 1776. He married into the de Hochepied dynasty of Dutch diplomats in London and his son George became Baron de Hochepied, Baron and Magnat of Hungary, and Lieutenant-General. Porter's eldest surviving child was Anna Margaretta. She married John Larpent and she is known today because of the seventeen volume daily diary that she kept from 1773 to 1830.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Fellow details". Royal Society. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Lisa Forman Cody, ‘Larpent , Anna Margaretta (1758–1832)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 12 April 2017
  • "Turkey: Its History and Progress". journals and correspondence of Sir James Porter. London: Hurst and Blackett. 1854.