Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/298
ancient and foreign history have no value whatever; his chapters on earlier English history, and even on the Dutch wars, are but little better, and of his volume of 800 pages rather more than half is thus almost worthless. The last half has, however, an exceptional value. Writing of events concerning which he had very full and accurate information, his statements of facts are of the highest authority, and his expressions of opinion carry great weight. Unfortunately, he has committed many and grave sins of omission, and whether from a reticence cultivated till it had become an instinct, out of respect for his friends, or from a dread of making enemies, he has neglected numerous details, and occasionally events of considerable importance, the result being that while a student may fairly accept his positive evidence on any disputed question, his negative evidence is very far from conclusive.
He married Thomasine, daughter of Sir William Honywood, but nothing is known of his family, though it has been conjectured that a Mr. Burchett who in 1739 was elected chaplain of the House of Commons may have been a son (Notes and Queries, 4th ser. xii. 288; 5th. ser. vi. 463).[Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, edited by the Rev. John Smith, ii. 105; Diary, &c. of Samuel Pepys (Mynors Bright), vi. 156; Report of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty on the petition of Josiah Burchett, 10 May 1717, in Home Office Records (admiralty), No. 46. Both in the Public Record Office, and to some extent in the British Museum, there is an enormous mass of Burchett's official correspondence, which, however, has no biographical importance.]
BURCHETT, RICHARD (1815–1875), subject painter, was born at Brighton on 30 Jan. 1815. He commenced his art-training at the Birkbeck Mechanics' Institute, in Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane, and about 1841 entered the School of Design then established under the board of trade at Somerset House, in the rooms built for the Royal Academy. Here he so distinguished himself by his attainments in geometry, that he became an assistant-master. He was one of the leaders in the revolt of the students against the management of the school, when about fifty students left it; and, on an inquiry being instituted, Burchett was examined as a representative of the students, the result being that the art school was removed to Marlborough House, and later to South Kensington. Burchett was then appointed one of the assistant-masters, and in 1851 became head-master. In 1855 he published his excellent treatise on ‘Practical Geometry,’ and in the following year his ‘Linear Perspective.’ Burchett exhibited five historical pictures at the Royal Academy between 1847 and 1873, the subject of the first being ‘The Death of Marmion.’ He assisted in the decoration of the dome of the Great Exhibition buildings of 1862, and painted a window in Greenwich Hospital. With the assistance of his pupils he also executed a series of portraits of the Tudor family in the royal ante-chamber at Westminster. He died, while on a visit to Dublin, 27 May 1875. There is in the School of Art at South Kensington a tablet to his memory erected by his pupils.[Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists (1878); Athenæum, 5 June 1875; MS. notes in British Museum.]
BURCKHARDT, JOHN LEWIS (1784–1817), traveller in the East, was born at Lausanne 24 Nov. 1784, of a family which had long been settled at Basel. His father, Colonel J. R. Burckhardt, had served in the French army, and in consequence of the turn of political feeling was obliged to live in retirement away from his family. He was, however, able to give his son a good education; and after a course of instruction at a school at Neuchatel, and of private tuition at the family house (the ‘Kirchgarten’) at Basel, he sent him to Leipzig University in 1800, and four years later to Göttingen. The boy was popular among his fellow-students at both universities, and was respected for the talents and zeal for knowledge which he already displayed. In July 1806 Burckhardt came to England, with a letter of introduction from the Göttingen naturalist, Blumenbach, to Sir Joseph Banks, at that time one of the chief supporters of the ‘Association for promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa.’ He soon volunteered to carry on the work of exploration, and his offer was accepted. He received his instructions at the end of January 1809, and sailed for Malta on 2 March, after employing the six weeks' interval in attending lectures on chemistry, astronomy, and medicine, in studying Arabic in London and Cambridge, and inuring himself to hardship by making long walks bareheaded, sleeping on the ground, and living on vegetables. At Malta he stayed seven weeks to improve his knowledge of Arabic, and to equip himself as a Mohammedan trader of India, in which character he proposed to travel in Syria, because he could thus explain any imperfections in his speech which would at once reveal that he was not a native. If he was asked to give a specimen of Hindustani, he used to treat his Syrian