1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Beilby Porteus

Anonymous, Obituary in Gentleman's Magazine 79 (May 1809) 485-86.



At the Episcopal Palace at Fulham, aged 78, Dr. Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London. This truly-venerable Prelate was educated at Christ's college, Cambridge; where he regularly became a fellow; B.A. 1752, M.A. 1755, D.D. 1767. In 1754 the office of esquire-beadle of the University of Cambridge was conferred upon him. He obtained, with Baron Maseres, the Chancellor's medals at Cambridge, on their first installation in 17—, and in 1769 gained the Seatonian prize for a Poetical Essay on Death. In 1764, being then chaplain to Lord Orantham, he was presented to the rectories of Bucking and Wrottesham, in Kent; and in October that year (being then chaplain to Archbishop Secker) obtained a prebend of Peterborough. In 1765 he was married to Miss Hodgson, of Parliament-str. Westminster. He was presented in 1767, to the rectory of Lambeth; and, after the death of Archbishop Secker, was associated with Dr. Stinton in publishing seven octavo volumes of Sermons by their learned Patron, to which Dr. Porteus prefixed a Review of his Grace's Life and Character. In 1776 Dr. Porteus distinguished himself by his exertions to establish a more solemn observation of the Fast on Good-Friday; and published in that year a serious, affectionate, and sensible "Exhortation" to that effect. In the same year he was promoted to the bishoprick of Chester; and in 1787 was translated to London. In 1781 he published "A brief Confutation of the Errors of the Church of Rome," extracted from Archbp. Secker's Five Sermons against Popery, and designed for general distribution. In 1783 he published a volume of "Sermons on several Subjects;" and a second in 1794; containing several admirable examples of pulpit elegance. His single Sermons and his Charges have been numerous; and his "Lectures at St. James's" are too well known to require commendation. His Lordship's poetical talents have been handsomely complimented by Hannah More, in her poem on "Sensibility." His style in prose composition was always classic and correct; but, perhaps, he was too studious of avoiding the blandishments of ornament and fancy. In his episcopal character he was in general a pattern of propriety of conduct; in which the only drawback was an occasional want of firmness. His remains were interred in the chapel at Ide-hill, near Sundridge, in Kent; which, in 1807, he had built, and has since endowed with 250 a year. His other benefactions, both during his life and by his last will, are numerous and exemplary, and shall be properly noticed in a future number.