Porteus, Bishop Beilby

Scope and Content

Unaddressed fragment of a letter written by Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London, which possibly refers to the parliamentary debates on the slave trade in 1788. An extract reads 'There will undoubtedly in so very complex a business in which so many interests are involved, be a great diversity of opinion on this [illegible] other Points. But they are now submitted to the wisdom of Parliament, and most of them will I hope this Evening be settled to your entire satisfaction'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Beilby Porteus was born in York in 1731; his parents were Virginian colonists who had moved back to England. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1752 and tutored until 1757 when he was ordained. In 1759 he won the Seatonian Prize for his poem 'Death: a poetical essay'. By 1762 Porteus had been appointed domestic chaplain to Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury; in 1769 he became Chaplain to King George III, and was created Bishop of Chester in 1776. When Porteus was appointed Bishop of London in 1787, the British overseas colonies came under his jurisdiction. He had already shown a keen interest in the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and now organised missions to India and the West Indies. He also took part in House of Lords debates which opposed the slave trade, and was foremost amongst those trying to pass Sir William Dolben's Slave Carrying Bill in 1788. Porteus also published volumes of sermons and tracts on political and spiritual topics. He died in 1808.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Found with MS804.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

4" x 2½"

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Separated Material

Further material relating to Porteus may be found at Lambeth Palace Library, London; Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service; the National Library of Scotland; and the Huntington Library, California.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Related Material

Senate House Library holds the library of Beilby Porteus, including books and pamphlets on ecclesiastical affairs, slavery, the French Revolution, travel and topography, mostly published between 1750 and 1809.