Burges, Mary Anne (DNB00)

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BURGES, MARY ANNE (1783–1813), authoress, the youngest daughter of George Burges, comptroller-general of the customs. Scotland, by his wife, the Hon. Anne Whichnoar Somerville, was born at Edinburgh, 6 Dec 1783. She was a lady of excellent virtues, and her accomplishments included Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, with some Swedish and German (Introd. to Good Intent, 10th ed. p. iv). In geology she had especial delight, and being a friend of De Luc's, she took a large share in his last publication. In botany she was proficient, and she also prepared an exhaustive account of the British Lepidoptera (which does not seem to have been printed), illustraiing it with her own hand. In music she was as skilful in composition as in education, and yet she did not neglect domestic duties. In 1800 she brought out anonymously the book by which she is known, 'The Progress of the Pilgrim Good Intent,' which is in effect a continuation of the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' Good Intent being the great-grandson of Christian's eldest son. Miss Burges in her preface asks John Bunyan to look with paternal regard upon the labours of his descendant. It went through three editions in 1800, four more in 1801, with three in Dublin and two Charlestown (America) in the same year, and it had a third American issue, from Salem in 1802. Shortly after publishing this book Miss Burges, who was living at her own house, Ashfield, near Honiton (Introd. p. where she enjoyed an easy income (ib, p. vi.) was afflicted with much ill-health, She died on 10 Aug. 1813, aged 49 (ib. p. iv), and was buried at Awliscombe. After her death her brother, Sir James Bland Lamb [q. v.] [see Burges, Sir James Bland], brought out new edition of her 'Good Intent,' disclosing the authorship, and there was a tenth edition in 1832. He was one of her brother's regular correspondents.

[Introd. to Good Intent, 10th ed. 1822. pp. iv-vii, Preface, p. xii ; private information ; Hutton's Bland Burges Papers 188-]

J. H.