Pory, John (1570?-1635) (DNB00)

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PORY, JOHN (1570?–1635), traveller and geographer, born about 1570, may have been grandson or nephew of John Pory, D.D. (d. 1573?) [q. v.] He entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1587, graduated B.A. 1591–2, and M.A. 1595, and was incorporated M.A. at Oxford on 18 April 1610. After leaving Cambridge about 1597, Pory became a sort of pupil of Richard Hakluyt [q. v.], who calls him his ‘very honest, industrious, and learned friend,’ and who for three or more years assisted and encouraged him in the study of cosmography, conceiving him possessed of ‘special skill and extraordinary hope to performe great matters in the same, and beneficial for the common wealth’ (Hakluyt, Voyages, 1600, vol. iii. dedication).

At Hakluyt's instigation, Pory translated, with some notes of his own, ‘A Geographical Historie of Africa, written in Arabicke and Italian by John Leo, a More,’ London, 1600, sm. fol. A copy is in the Grenville Library. The work, which was reprinted by Samuel Purchas [q. v.] in part ii. of his ‘Pilgrimes,’ brought Pory considerable notoriety. He was returned to parliament as a member for the borough of Bridgwater, Somerset, on 5 Nov. 1605, and settled in London. He became intimate with Sir Robert Cotton (Addit. MS. 4176, fol. 14). In the autumn of 1607 he travelled in France and the Low Countries, and sought the support of Dudley Carleton in a scheme for introducing silk-loom stocking weaving into England (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1611–1618, p. 54). He was still in parliament on 17 July 1610 (Winwood, Memorials, iii. 193), but retired shortly after. On 21 May 1611 he obtained license to travel for three years (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1611–18, p. 33), and some months later he accompanied Lord Carew, first to Ireland and afterwards to Paris. There in January 1612 he delivered to Cardinal Perron a treatise written by Isaac Casaubon [q. v.] and the bishop of Ely, in answer to a letter from the cardinal to the king, and he handed to Thuanus, the historian, some materials collected for his use by Sir Robert Cotton and Camden. In 1613 he went through Turin to Venice (Court and Times of James I, i. 255), and thence passed to Constantinople, where he was patronised by Sir Paul Pindar [q. v.] He remained in Turkey until January 1616. In 1617 Carleton wrote from The Hague that ‘if Pory had done with Constantinople and could forbear the pot (which is hard in this country), he shall be welcome unto me [as a secretary], for I love an old friend, and he shall be sure of good usage’ (ib. ii. 29). After a brief visit to London he spent part of 1617 in Turin with Sir Isaac Wake, ambassador to Savoy (ib. p. 521). At the end of 1619 he went to America as secretary to Sir George Yeardley, governor of the colony of Virginia. In November 1621 he and his chief returned to England, but in 1623 Pory went back to Virginia as one of the commissioners to inquire into its condition. He finally, in 1624, settled in London for the remainder of his life, corresponding regularly with Joseph Mead [q. v.], Sir Thomas Puckering [q. v.], Lord Brooke, Sir Robert Cotton, and others. He died in London in September 1635.

His letters, of which twenty-three originals, and more than forty copies, by Dr. Thomas Birch [q. v.], are in the British Museum (Jul. C. iii. ff. 298, 301, 303, 305, 307; Harl. MS. 7000, ff. 314–50; and Addit. MSS. 4161, 4176, 4177, 4178), supply much valuable historical information. Fourteen were printed by Dr. Birch in 'The Court and Times of James I.'

[Venn's Admissions to Gonville and Caius, p. 64; Maty's New Review, 1784, v. 123; Arber's Transcript of the Stationers' Register, iii. 64; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. ii. 1153; Court and Times of James I, i. 41, 42, 65, 135, 194, 255, 388, 443, 450, ii. 11, 14, 29, 30, 32, 52, 64; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603–10 pp. 368, 579, 1611–18, passim; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict.; Wood's Fasti, i. 187.]

C. F. S.