Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/179

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the prince (Gardiner, Hist. of England, iv. 370, 374, 383, 398). Porter accompanied Prince Charles and Buckingham to Spain in 1623, and sometimes acted as their interpreter. His letters to his wife contain an interesting account of their reception (Fonblanque, Lives of the Lords Strangford, p. 29; Nichols, Progresses of James I, iv. 808, 818, 912). In 1626, when the Earl of Bristol attacked Buckingham's conduct of the marriage negotiations, he involved Porter in his charges (Gardiner, vi. 96; Hardwicke State Papers, i. 501). Porter was again sent to Spain in 1628 to propose negotiations for peace between that country and England (ib. vi. 333, 373; Report on the MSS. of Mr. Skrine, pp. 156–66; Fonblanque, p. 51). In 1634 he was employed on a mission to the Cardinal Infante Ferdinand of Spain, then governor of the Low Countries, which ended in nothing but a dispute about questions of etiquette (ib. p. 59; Cal. State Papers, 1634–5, p. 461). Charles also commissioned him in October 1639 to warn Cardenas of the danger of the Spanish fleet at Dover and the king's inability to protect it from the Dutch (Gardiner, ix. 66; Fonblanque, p. 67).

Porter's rewards more than kept pace with his services. In May 1625 he was given a pension of 500l. a year as groom of the bedchamber, which was converted three years later into an annuity of the same amount for himself and his wife. On 9 July 1628 he was granted the office of collector of the fines in the Star-chamber, estimated to be worth 750l. a year (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1625–6 p. 23, 1628–9 pp. 199, 219). In addition to this, he purchased the post of surveyor of the petty customs in the port of London, and had an interest in the soap monopoly. He also frequently obtained smaller pecuniary favours, such as leases of land at low rentals, shares in debts due to the king, and he was liberally paid for his diplomatic missions (ib. 1635, p. 65; Fonblanque, p. 65). He was granted one thousand acres of land in Lincolnshire which he undertook to drain (1632), but the speculation was not very successful. More profitable, probably, were his trading speculations. He was one of the association of East Indian traders, founded by Sir William Courten, which so seriously diminished the profits of the old East India Company, and he had shares in other maritime ventures (Bruce, Annals of the East India Company, vol. i.; Strafford Letters, ii. 87; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1635, p. 96). The wealth thus acquired was liberally spent.

Porter's memory owes its celebrity chiefly to his taste for literature and art. He wrote verses himself, and was the friend and patron of poets. Some lines, prefixed to Davenant's ‘Madagascar,’ and an elegy on Dr. Donne's death, afford specimens of his poetic skill which scarcely justify Randolph's unstinted praise (‘A Pareneticon to the truly noble gentleman Master Endymion Porter,’ Works, ed. Hazlitt, p. 639). Dekker dedicated his ‘Dream’ to Porter, Gervase Warmstrey his ‘England's Wound and Cure’ (1628), and May his ‘Antigone’ (1631); Edmund Bolton addressed to him his ‘Historical Parallel’ (1627), and he was one of the eighty-four ‘Essentials’ in Bolton's intended ‘Academy Royal.’ Porter's influence with Charles I saved Davenant's play of ‘The Wits’ from the excessive expurgations of the master of the revels. ‘Your goodness,’ said Davenant's dedication, ‘first preserved life in the author, then rescued his work from a cruel faction’ (Collier, English Dramatic Poetry, i. 484; Davenant, Works, ed. 1673, ii. 165). Davenant, who addresses Porter as ‘lord of my muse and heart,’ and frequently refers to gifts of wine received from him, was poet in ordinary to the Porter family. Among his works there are poems to Olivia Porter, to her son George, copies of verse on Endymion's illnesses, an ‘address to all poets’ upon his recovery, and dialogues in verse between Olivia and Endymion and Endymion and Arrigo. Herrick also was among Porter's friends, and appeals to him not to leave the delights of the country for the ambition and state of the court (‘The Country Life: an Eclogue or Pastoral between Endymion Porter and Lycidas,’ Herrick, Poems, ed. Hazlitt, i. 196, 246). Elsewhere he declares that poets will never be wanting so long as there are patrons like Porter

who dost give
Not only subject-matter for our wit,
But also oil of maintenance to it.

(ib. p. 40). Porter's generosity also extended to Robert Dover [q. v.], whose Olympic games upon the Cotswold Hills he encouraged by ‘giving him some of the king's old clothes, with a hat and feather and ruff, purposely to grace him, and consequently the solemnity’ (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iv. 222).

Porter had also a taste for art; he bought pictures himself, and was one of the agents employed by Charles I in forming his great collection. He procured for Daniel Mytens [q. v.] the office of ‘one of his Majesty's picture-drawers in ordinary’ (Walpole, Anecdotes of Painting in England, ed. Wornum 1849, i. 216, 274). Much of the correspondence with the foreign agents who bought pictures and statues for the king in Italy and