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Burges
Burges
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and Pitt requested Burges to write a pamphlet to prepare the public mind. Pitt emphatically told the French envoy that England would support Holland if attacked by France. As the result of a discovery accidentally made by Burges this was fully expected; but the danger ultimately blew over. When the doctrines of the author of 'The Rights of Man' began to be propagated among certain classes in England, Burges wrote to his friend, Colonel Simcoe, lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, that 'the very first opportunity will be laid hold of to make an example of these libellers and treasonable propagators of French principles.'

Burges was one of the three commissioners when the privy seal was temporarily placed in commission during Earl Spencer's absence. In August 1794 he was offered his choice of going as minister to Copenhagen or to Switzerland, the object being to appoint a new under-secretary in his room. In a letter to Lord Grenville, Burges declined both appointments. Burges was thrown into frequent contact with the royal family. His epigrams and poems especially attracted the attention of the Princess Elizabeth, and she prepared a series of drawings with her own hand to illustrate his poetical effusion, 'The Birth and Triumph of Love.'

During the serious riots of 1795 in London, Pitt, Nepean, and Burges were the only public officials who daily appeared at the government offices. Burges received at this time marks of approval of his official acts from abroad, among them being the gift of a fine diamond snuff box, of the value of 400l., from the Empress Catherine II, presented to him on the ground that he had always been a good friend of Russia. In 1795 Burges retired from the foreign office to make room for a personal friend of Lord Grenville. He received a baronetcy, and had also conferred upon him the sinecure title and post of knight marshal of the royal household, with remainder to his son.

Burges now devoted himself to literary pursuits. He formed the acquaintance of Cumberland, the dramatist, who took a great interest in a portentous achievement of Burges, entitled 'Richard thi» First.' This voluminous poem consists of eighteen books, written in the Spenserian metre (2 vols. 1801). Burges was also a playwright, and two of his pieces were produced on the stage. The one entitled 'Riches' was an adaptation of Massinger's 'City Madam.' The other was 'Tricks upon Travellers.' The author wrote six other plays, the best a comedy named 'The Crusaders,' being a representation of German life in a somewhat distant age. Burges was also the author of a treatise on 'The Law of Insolvency,' a romantic poem in twelve cantos entitled 'The Dragon Knight' (1818), and a work purporting to contain 'Reasons in favour of a New Translation of the Holy Scriptures' (1819). He also wrote a number of tales and satirical poems, as well as a series of letters under the signature of 'Alfred.' He wrote, in conjunction with Cumberland, a sacred poem entitled 'The Exodiad' (1807-8). Burges and another undersecretary of state of congenial tastes and opinions were the founders of the 'Sun' newspaper, begun with the sanction of Pitt.

In 1810 Burges lost his wife, in the following year his friend Cumberland died, and in 1812 his son, Wentworth Noel, was killed at Burgos. In 1812 Burges married for a third time, his wife being Lady Margaret Fordyce, daughter of the Earl of Balcarres, and widow of General Alexander Fordyce. Burges had formed an attachment in his youth for his third wife, then Lady Margaret Lindsay; but the young lover was sent abroad, and out of this attachment sprang the universally admired ballad of 'Auld Robin Gray,' Burges being the young Jamie of this poem, which was written by Ladv Margaret's sister, the Lady Anne Barnard [q. v.] Lady Burges died in 1814.

In 1821 Burges came into possession of the estate of his friend John Lamb, and assumed by royal license the name of Sir James Lamb. He died on 11 Oct. 1824. In character he is represented as belonging to the type of the old English gentleman.

[Selections from the Letters and Correspondence of Sir James Bland Burges, Bart., with Notices of his Life, ed. Hutton. 1885; The Birth and Triumph of Love. 1796: Richard the First, 1800; Sir J. B. Burges's Dramas. 2 vols. 1817; Sir J. B. Burges's Dragon Knight, 1818; Annual Register, 1824.]

G. B. S.


BURGES, JOHN (1745–1807), physician, was born in London in 1745, and educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford. The dates of his degrees are B.A. 1764, M.A. 1767, M.B. 1770, M.D. 1774. He became a fellow of the College of Physicians 1775, was censor six times between 1776 and 1797, and an elect 1797. He held office as physician to St. George's Hospital from 1774 to 1787. As his health was delicate, he did not attempt general practice. He gave several gratuitous lectures on scientific subjects. His chief occupations were the study and the collection of the materia medica. In forming his collection he received much assistance from his relative, Sir James Bland Burges [q. v.], sometime under-secretary in the foreign office. At his death, in 1807,