Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 08.djvu/14

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Burton
Burton
10

[Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes and his Illustrations of Lit. passim; Manning and Bray's Surrey, iii. 100-102, where is portrait; Gent. Mag. (1771), pp. 95, 305-8; Bentham, De Vitâ J.Burtoni; Biog. Brit. (Kippis); Lyte's Eton College, 308-309; Rawlinson MSS. fol. 16348.]

W. P. C.

BURTON, JOHN, M.D. (1697–1771), antiquary and physician, was born at Ripon in 1697, and is said to have received part of his education at Christ Church, Oxford, but he himself speaks only of the time which he spent in study at Leyden and Cambridge. He graduated M.B. at the latter university in 1733, and before 1738, when he published a 'Treatise of the Non-naturals,' he had taken the degree of M.D. at Rheims. He was a good Greek and Latin scholar, and attained no little eminence in his profession both in the city and county of York. It is said that in 1745 he had some intention of joining the Pretender, but by his own account (British Liberty Endangered, 1749) he was taken prisoner by the rebels and detained unwillingly for three months. It seems, however, that he incurred much censure from those in power, and that his political opinions rendered him obnoxious to Sterne, who satirised him in 'Tristram Shandy' under the name of 'Dr. Slop.' The satire betrayed either great ignorance or gross unfairness, for Dr. Burton's reputation as an accoucheur was deservedly high, and his 'Essay on Midwifery' has been styled 'a most learned and masterly work' (Atkinson, Med. Bibliography, 1834). In later years he became widely known as an antiquarian, and in 1758 published the first volume of the 'Monasticon Eboracense, and Ecclesiastical History of Yorkshire,' a most important contribution to the archaeology of his native county. Ample materials for a second volume were got together by him, but these and his other antiquarian collections have never been printed. In 1769 he was in correspondence with Dr. Ducarel and others about their sale to the British Museum, but shortly before his death, which occurred 21 Feb. 1771, he disposed of them to Mr. William Constable, of Constable Burton. His printed works are:

  1. 'Essay on Midwifery,' 1761 and 1763.
  2. 'Monasticon Eboracense,' vol. i. 1768 (the copy in the King's Library, British Museum, has the first eight pages of the intended second volume, entitled 'The Appendix, containing Charters, Grants, and other Original Writings referred to in the preceding volume, never published before,' York, N. Nickson, 1769).
  3. Two Tracts on Yorkshire Antiquities in the Archæologia,' 1768-1771.

[Nichols's Illust. of Literature, iii. 876-99; Gough's Brit. Top. ii. 407-416; Notes and Queries, 3rd series, v. 414.]

C. J. R.

BURTON, JOHN HILL (1809–1881), historiographer of Scotland, was born at Aberdeen 22 Aug. 1809. His father, of whose family connections nothing is known, was a lieutenant in the army, whose feeble health compelled him to retire on half-pay shortly after his son's birth. His mother was the daughter of John Paton, laird of Grandholm, a moody, eccentric man driven into seclusion by frantic sorrow for the death of his wife, and possessed by an insane animosity towards his own children. The family circumstances were thus by no means promising. Burton, however, obtained a fair education after his father's death in 1819, and gained a bursary, which enabled him to matriculate at the university of his native city. On the completion of his college course he was articled to a writer, but, assuredly from no want of industry, found the confinement of an office intolerable. His articles were cancelled, and he repaired to Edinburgh to qualify himself for the bar, accompanied by his devoted mother, who had disposed of her little property at Aberdeen to provide him with the means of study. He in due time became an advocate, but his practice was never large, and for a long time he found it necessary to earn his livelihood by literature. His beginnings were humble. Much that he wrote cannot now be identified, but he is known to have composed elementary histories under the name of White, to have shared in the compilation of Oliver & Boyd's 'Edinburgh Almanack,' and to have furnished the letterpress of Billings's 'Ecclesiastical and Baronial Antiquities.' His ardent adoption of Bentham's philosophy probably served to introduce him to the 'Westminster Review,' from which he subsequently migrated to the 'Edinburgh.' He also contributed to the 'Cyclopædia of Universal Biography' and Waterston's 'Cyclopædia of Commerce;' prepared (1839) a useful 'Manual of the Law of Scotland,' afterwards divided into distinct treatises on civil and criminal jurisprudence; edited the works of Bentham in conjunction with Sir John Bowring; and compiled (1843) 'Benthamiana,' a selection from Bentham's writings, designed as an introduction to the utilitarian philosophy. About this time he acted for a season as editor of the 'Scotsman,' and committed the journal to the support of free trade. He also edited the 'Athole Papers' for the Abbotsford, and the 'Darien Papers' for the Bannatyne Club. In 1844 he married, and in 1846 achieved solid literary distinction by his biography of Hume, assisted by the extensive stores of unpublished matter bequeathed by Hume's nephew to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. It was a great opportunity, and if