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Burton, Robert (1632?-1725?) (DNB00)


BURTON, ROBERT or RICHARD (1632?–1725?), miscellaneous author, whose real name was Nathaniel Crouch, was the author of many books, attributed on the title-page to R. B., to Richard Burton, and (after his death) to Robert Burton. He was born about 1632, and was the son of a tailor at Lewes. Nathaniel was apprenticed on 5 May 1656 for seven years to Livewell Chapman, and at the close of his apprenticeship became a freeman of the Stationers' Company. He was a publisher, and compiled a number of small books, which, issued at a shilling each, had a great popularity. 'Burton's books'—so they were called—attracted the notice of Dr. Johnson, who in 1784 asked Mr. Dilly to procure them for him, 'as they seem very proper to allure backward readers.' John Dunton says of him: 'I think I have given you the very soul of his character when I have told you that his talent lies at collection. He has melted down the best of our English histories into twelve penny books, which are filled with wonders, rarities, and curiosities; for, you must know, his title-pages are a little swelling.' Dunton professed a 'hearty friendship for him, but objects that Crouch 'has got a habit of leering under his hat, and once made it a great part of his business to bring down the reputation of "Second Spira"' (a book said to be by Thomas Sewell, published by Dunton). Crouch was also, according to Dunton, 'the author of the "English Post," and of that useful Journal intituled "The Marrow of History."' 'Crouch prints nothing,' says Dunton, 'but what is very useful and very diverting.' Dunton praises his instructive conversation, and says that he is a 'phoenix author (I mean the only man that gets an estate by writing of books).' A collected edition in quarto of his 'historical works' was issued in 1810–14, chiefly intended for collectors who 'illustrate' books by the insertion of additional engravings. His original publications are: 1. 'A Journey to Jerusalem … in a letter from T. B. in Aleppo, &c.,' with a 'brief account of … those countries,' added apparently by Crouch. In 1683 it was augmented and reprinted as 'Two Journies to Jerusalem, containing first a strange and true Account of the Travels of two English Pilgrims (Henry Timberlake and John Burrell); secondly, the Travels of fourteen Englishmen, by T. B. To which are prefixed memorable Remarks upon the ancient and modern State of the Jewish Nation; together with a Relation of the great Council of the Jews in Hungaria in 1650 by S. B.[rett], with an Account of the wonderful Delusion of the Jews by a False Christ at Smyrna in 1666; lastly, the final Extinction and Destruction of the Jews in Persia.' There were editions with various modifications of title, such as 'Memorable Remarks,' 'Judæorum Memorabilia,' &c, in 1685, 1730, 1738, 1759. It was reprinted at Bolton in 1786. The latest reissue, entitled 'Judæorum Memorabilia,' was edited and published at Bristol by W. Matthews in 1796. A Welsh translation, published about 1690 at Shrewsbury, is in the British Museum. 2. 'Miracles of Art and Nature, or a Brief Description of the several varieties of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Plants, and Fruits of other Countrys, together with several other Remarkable Things in the World. By R. B. Gent., London, printed for William Bowtil at the Sign of the Golden Key near Miter Court in Fleet Street,' 1678. A tenth edition appeared in 1737. 3. 'The Wars in England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1625 to 1660,' London, 1681. The preface is signed Richard Burton. The fourth edition appeared in 1683; issues in 1684, 1697, 1706, and 1737. 4. 'The Apprentice's Companion,' London, 1681. 5. 'Historical Remarques on London and Westminster,' London, 1681; reprints in 1684 (when a second part was added), 1703, 1722, and 1730, with some modifications. 6. 'Wonderful Prodigies of Judgment and Mercy, discovered in Three Hundred Histories,' 1681; other editions in 1682, 1685, 1699, Edinburgh 1762. 7. 'Wonderful Curiosities, Rarities, and Wonders in England, Scotland, and Ireland,' London, 1682; reprinted in 1685, 1697, 1728, and 1737. 8. 'The Extraordinary Adventures and Discoveries of Several Famous Men,' London, 1683, 1685, 1728. 9. 'Strange and Prodigious Religious Customs and Manners of sundry Nations,' London, 1683. 10. 'Delights for the Ingenious in above fifty select and choice Emblems, divine and moral, curiously ingraven upon copper plates, with fifty delightful Poems and Lots for the more lively illustration of each Emblem, to which is prefixed an incomparable Poem intituled Majesty in Misery, an Imploration to the King of Kings, written by his late Majesty K. Charles the First. Collected by R. B.' London, 1684. 11. 'English Empire in America. By R. B.,' London, 1685; 3rd edit. 1698, 5th edit. 1711, 6th edit. 1728, 1735, 7th edit. 1739; there was also a 7th edit. Dublin, 1739. 12. 'A View of the English Acquisitions in Guinea and the East Indies. By R. B.,' London, 1686, 1726, 1728. 13. 'Winter Evening Entertainments, containing: I. Ten pleasant and delightful Relations. II. Fifty ingenious Riddles' 6th edit. 1737. 14. 'Female Excellency, or the Ladies' Glory; worthy Lives and memorable Actions of nine famous Women. By R.B.,' London, 1688. 15. 'England's Monarchs from the Invasion of Romans to this Time, &c. By R. B.,' 1685, 1691, 1694. 16. 'History of Scotland and Ireland. By R. B.,' London, 1685, 1696. 17. 'History of the Kingdom of Ireland,' London, 1685, 1692. In the seventh edition, Dublin, 1731, it is said to be an abridgment of Dean Story's 'Late Wars in Ireland.' 18. 'The Vanity of the Life of Man represented in the seven several Stages from his Birth to his Death, with Pictures and Poems exposing the Follies of every Age, to which is added Poems upon divers Subjects and Occasions. By R. B.,' London, 1688, 3rd edit. 1708. 19. 'The Young Man's Calling, or the whole Duty of Youth,' 1685. 20. 'Delightful Fables in Prose and Verse,' London, 1691. 21. 'History of the Nine Worthies of the World,' London, 1687; other editions 1713, 1727; 4th edit, 1738, Dublin, 1759. 22. 'History of Oliver Cromwell,' London, 1692, 1698, 1706, 1728. 23. 'History of the House of Orange,' London, 1693. 24. 'History of the two late Kings, James the Second and Charles the Second. By R. B.,' London, Crouch, 1693, 12mo. 25. 'Epitome of all the Lives of the Kings of France,' London, 1693. 36. 'The General History of Earthquakes,' London, 1694, 1734, 1736. 27. 'England's Monarchs, with Poems and the Pictures of every Monarch, and a List of the present Nobility of this Kingdom,' London, 1694. 28. 'The English Hero, or Sir Francis Drake revived,' London, 1687, 4th edit, enlarged 1695; there were editions in 1710, 1716, 1739, 1750, 1756, 1769. 29. 'Martyrs in Flames, or History of Popery,' London, 1695, 1713, 1729. 30. 'The History of the Principality of Wales,' in three parts, London, 1695, 2nd edit. 1730. 31. 'Unfortunate Court Favourites of England,' London, 1695, 1706; 6th edit. 1729. 82. 'Unparalleled Varieties, or the matchless Actions and Passions displayed in near four hundred notable Instances and Examples,' 3rd edit. London, 1697, 4th edit.1728. 33. 'Wonderful Prodigies of Judgment and Mercy discovered in near three hundred Memorable Histories.' The 5th edition enlarged, London, 1699. 34. 'Extraordinary Adventures, Revolutions, and Events,' 3rd edit. London, 1704. 35, 'Devout Souls' Daily Exercise in Prayer, Contemplations, and Praise,' London, 1706. 36. 'Divine Banquets, or Sacramental Devotions,' London, 1700, 1707. 37, 'Surprizing Miracles of Nature and Art,' 4th edit. London, 1708. 38. 'History of the Lives of English Divines who were most zealous in Promoting the Reformation. By R. B.,' London, 1709. 39. 'The Unhappy Princess, or the Secret History of Anne Boleyn; and the History of Lady Jane Grey,' London, 1710, 1733. 40. 'History of Virginia,' London, 1712. 41. 'Æsop's Fables in Prose and Verse,' 1712. 42. 'Kingdom of Darkness, or the History of Demons, Spectres, Witches, Apparitions, Possessions, Disturbances, and other Supernatural Delusions and malicious Impostures of the Devil.' The first edition appeared as early as 1706. 43. 'Memorable Accidents and unheard-of Transactions, containing an Account of several strange Events. Translated from the French [of T. Leonard], and printed at Brussels in 1691. By R. B.,' London, 1733. The first edition appeared in 1693. 44. 'Youth's Divine Pastime, Part II., containing near forty more remarkable Scripture Histories, with Spiritual Songs and Hymns of Prayer and Praise. By R. Burton, author of the first part.' The 6th edition, London, C. Hitch, 1749. 46. 'Triumphs of Love, containing Fifteen Histories,' London, 1750. In the Grenville Collection the following is attributed to Burton, but apparently bv mistake; 'The Accomplished Ladies' Rich Closet of Rarities, &c.' The last official communication with him from the Stationers' Company was in 1717, and his name ceases to be recorded in 1728. As the name of Thomas Crouch, presumably his son, appears on the title-page of one of Burton's books in 1726, it may be assumed that he died before that date.

[Records of the Stationers' Company, obligingly examined for this article by Mr. C. R. Rivington, the clerk; John Dunton's Life and Errors; Catalogue of the Grenville Collection; Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual; Hawkins's History of Music, xi. 171; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Book-Lore, 1866.]

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