1736), captain of the city guard of Edinburgh, whose name is associated with the celebrated riots of 1736, was the son of Stephen Porteous, an Edinburgh tailor.
Porteous, who was said to have fired at the people with his own hand, was brought to trial and sentenced to death.
The sympathies of the people, and even, it is said, of the clergy, throughout Scotland, were so unmistakably on the side of the rioters that the original stringency of the bill introduced into parliament for the punishment of the city of Edinburgh had to be reduced to the levying of a fine of 2000 for Porteous's widow, and the disqualification of the provost for holding any public office.
The incident of the Porteous riots was used by Sir Walter Scott in The Heart of Midlothian.
in British Museum) containing The Life and Death of Captain John Porteous, and other papers relating to the subject; W.