James Porter

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Porter, James, Rev., a distinguished United Irishman, was born about 1760, at Ballindrait, in the County of Donegal. After completing his theological studies at Glasgow, he was appointed Presbyterian minister of Grey Abbey, near Belfast, in 1784 or 1785. Five years afterwards he married. He was a good classical scholar. His library was extensive, and his scientific instruments and museum for the illustration of natural philosophy were superior to anything else of the kind then in the north of Ireland. Of an enthusiastic and liberal mind, he entered the Society of the United Irishmen. At first moderate in his views, seeking only Catholic Emancipation and Parliamentary Reform, he advanced with the progress of events, and being a good public speaker, and having a ready pen, soon took a foremost place in the movement. His writings in the Northern Star and Press were forcible and trenchant. He took the field with the insurgents in June 1798, was arrested for participation in the attack on Saintfield, tried by court-martial, and executed at Grey Abbey, in sight of his church and home. He suffered with fortitude. He was buried in Grey Abbey churchyard, where a marble slab marks his resting-place.

Sources

330. United Irishmen, their Lives and Times: Third Series: Robert R. Madden, M.D. 3 vols. Dublin, 1846.

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