Burder, George (DNB00)

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BURDER, GEORGE (1752–1832), congregationalist minister, son of Henry Burder, of Fair Street, Southwark, a deacon of Fetter Lane congregational church, was born in London on 5 June 1752. His mother was converted by Whitefield; she died on 4 April 1762, aged 44. Her husband remarried. George was intended for an artist, and took lessons in drawing from Isaac Taylor, then a line-engraver, afterwards well known as Taylor of Ongar. He also studied at the Royal Academy. He began business as an engraver in 1773. The preaching of Romaine and Whitefield (whose last two sermons in London, September 1769, he reported for the press) had much effect upon him. He did not, however, become a member of the Tabernacle till 1775, but the notice he received from Fletcher of Madeley encouraged him to begin preaching on 17 June 1776. For the ministry he received no regular education, but was ordained pastor of the congregational church at Lancaster on 29 Oct. 1778, and acted as a travelling preacher in various parts of England and Wales. Burder was invited to take the West Orchard Chapel, Coventry, on 3 Aug. 1781, and began his ministry on 2 Nov. 1783. He was not ‘publicly recognised’ till 26 May 1784. Burder was the initiator of Sunday schools at Coventry in 1785. The plan first adopted was a joint committee of churchmen and dissenters, but this union was of brief continuance. He was a chief founder of the Warwickshire ‘Association of Ministers for the Spread of the Gospel at Home and Abroad,’ started at Warwick on 27 June 1793, now known as the Warwickshire County Association, in connection with the Congregational Union. Much was done by this body to encourage foreign missions, and it is stated that ‘the first money ever contributed to the London Missionary Society was raised at a meeting held in the vestry of West Orchard Chapel.’ In 1799, on the failure of his London bookseller, he suggested, and was instrumental in forming, the Religious Tract Society. On 26 June 1803 Burder removed to Islington, to become secretary (unpaid) of the London Missionary Society (founded 1795) in succession to the Rev. John Eyre of Homerton (episcopalian). This post he held till 20 April 1827. He was also minister of Fetter Lane congregational church, nominally till his death, but latterly the duties fell upon a colleague, Caleb Morris. He resigned all salary on 30 Aug. 1830. He further edited (also in succession to Eyre) the ‘Evangelical Magazine’ for many years. In 1804 he was one of the founders of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and in 1806 he became one of the preachers at the ‘Merchants' Lecture.’ He was a man of no genius, but of devoted earnestness and great power of steady work. Latterly he resided at Hackney. He suffered from lupus in the cheek, and in 1830 became totally blind. He died at the house of his son, Dr. Thomas Burder, in Brunswick Square, on 29 May 1832, and was buried in Bunhill Fields on 5 June, his eightieth birthday. He was twice married: first to Sarah Harrison of Newcastle-under-Lyne (a descendant of John Machin), who died on 7 Aug. 1801. His second wife died on 28 Feb. 1824. He published: 1. ‘Early Piety, or Memoirs of Children eminently serious,’ 1776, 12mo (several reprints, one by Luckman, Coventry, 1797, has eight copper cuts). 2. ‘A Collection of Hymns from various Authors, intended as a Supplement to Watts,’ 1784, 24mo (many reprints; preface dated 20 Nov.; contains three hymns by Burder). 3. ‘Evangelical Truth defended,’ 1788, 8vo. 4. ‘The Welsh Indians, or a Collection of Papers respecting a People whose Ancestors emi- grated from Wales to America in the year 1170 with Prince Madoc,’ 1797, 8vo. 5. ‘Village Sermons,’ 1797, 8vo (followed at intervals till 1820 by seven other volumes with same title, making one hundred sermons in all. Hale edited a selection, with prefixed essay, 1838, 12mo. Some have been translated into Malay, Cingalese, and other tongues). 6. ‘Life of Rev. John Machin,’ 1799, 12mo (revised from the ‘Life’ published 1671, 12mo, and again in Clark's ‘Lives,’ 1683, fol.). 7. ‘Missionary Anecdotes,’ 1811, 12mo. 8. ‘Sermon on Death of George III,’ 1820, 8vo. 9. ‘Sea Sermons,’ 1821 (twelve sermons; nautical phrases revised by a minister who had been in the navy). 10. ‘Cottage Sermons,’ 1826 (twelve sermons). 11. ‘Sermons for the Aged,’ 1828 (twelve sermons). 12. ‘The Pilgrim's Progress, an Epic Poem,’ 1845, 12mo; and several tracts.

Besides these he edited the following: 1. Bunyan's ‘Pilgrim's Progress,’ Coventry, 1786, 12mo, often reprinted (the first edition divided into chapters, each of which is followed by large notes, had copper cuts and life of Bunyan; translated into modern Greek, 1831). 2. Collings's ‘The Weaver's Pocket-book, or Weaving spiritualised,’ Coventry, 1794, 24mo (by John Collings, D.D., written for camlet weavers of Norwich and reprinted for ribbon weavers of Coventry). 3. Abridgment of Owen's ‘Justification by Faith,’ 1797, 8vo. 4. Bunyan's ‘Holy War,’ 1803, 8vo (with notes, as above). 5. Howel's ‘History of the Holy Bible,’ enlarged and improved, 1805, 8vo (by Lawrence Howel, the nonjuror; first published 1718, in 3 vols.). 6. Watts's ‘Psalms and Hymns,’ corrected, 1806, 12mo. 7. Mather's ‘Essays to do Good,’ revised, 1807, 12mo. 8. Henry's ‘Exposition of the Old and New Testaments,’ 1811, 4to, 6 vols. (Edited in conjunction with Rev. Joseph Hughes. Prefixed is a life of Matthew Henry by Samuel Palmer. Vol. vi. gives additional matter from Henry's manuscripts.)

[Memoir by H. F. Burder, 1833 (portrait); Memoir by Cobbin (new ed.), 1856, 12mo; Circular Letter from the Independent Ministers assembled at Nuneaton, 1793; Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, 1839, pp. 426 seq.; Sibree and Caston's Independency in Warwickshire, 1855, p. 67; Miller's Our Hymns, 1866, pp. 258 seq.; Centenary Celebration of West Orchard Chapel, Coventry, 1879, pp. 7 seq.; Wilson's manuscript list of academies in Dr. Williams's Library.]

A. G.