Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/417

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


tember 1788, his body was found on the south side of his father's, and was replaced in the same position in the new church (Nichols, Lit. Anecdotes, i. 285). ‘By his death the public lost an able and upright judge, his friends a sincere, sensible, and agreeable companion, and the poor a great benefactor’ (Gent. Mag. xxiii. 51). Some scandal was created by a clause in his will that he ‘lived as he trusted he should die, in the true faith of Christ as taught in the scriptures, but not in any one visible church that I know of, though I think the church of England is as little stuffed with the inventions of men as any of them’ (ib. p. 98). His writings were numerous. To his father's ‘History of my own Time’ he prefixed a life and copy of his will (cf. Letter, 10 Feb. 1732, of Bishop Warburton to Dr. Stukely; Nichols, Lit. Illustr. ii. 22). He is said to have submitted his father's manuscript to the Duchess of Marlborough, who made some alterations, and to have curtailed it himself (Burnet, Own Times (ed. 1823), Earl of Dartmouth's note, iv. 156, Earl of Hardwicke's note, iv. 158). The bishop's will had directed that no passages should be omitted, and in the second volume Burnet had promised to deposit the manuscript of both volumes, written by the bishop's amanuensis and corrected throughout by himself, in the Cotton Library, but failed to fulfil his promise (see A Letter to Thos. Burnet, Esq., 1736, and another pamphlet, Some Remarks on a late Letter to T. Burnet, 1736, apparently by a son of the nonjuror, Dr. W. Beach, of Salisbury). For the omitted passages see ‘European Magazine,’ v. 27, 39, 157, 221, 374. Others of his works are ‘Our Ancestors as Wise as we,’ by T. B., 1712, and a sequel, ‘The History of Ingratitude;’ ‘Essays Divine, Moral, and Political, by the Author of “The Tale of a Tub,”’ 1714; ‘The True Character of an Honest Man;’ ‘Truth if you can find it;’ ‘A Letter to the People, to be left for them at the Booksellers';’ ‘Some New Proofs by which it appears that the Pretender is truly James III,’ 1713 and 1714; ‘A Second Tale of a Tub,’ 1715; ‘British Bulwark,’ 1715; ‘The Necessity of impeaching the late Ministry, a Letter to Earl of Halifax,’ three editions, 1715; ‘Homerides, by Sir Iliad Doggerel’ (an attack on Pope in collaboration with Ducket); ‘The True Church of Christ,’ 1753; and a volume of posthumous poems, 1777. He also wrote in the ‘Grumbler,’ and replied to Granville's vindication of General Monk against Gilbert Burnet's strictures.

[Foss's Lives of the Judges; Biog. Brit. (Kippis), iii. 39–40; Nichols's Life of Bowyer; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Gent. Mag. xxiii. 21, 98, xlix. 256; Johnson's Lives of the Poets, ‘Granville’; cf. Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 71 and 588; An Account of the Life and Writings of T. Burnet, Esq., 1715; Pope's Dunciad, iii. 179.]

J. A. H.

BURNETT, GEORGE (1776?–1811), miscellaneous writer, was the son of a respectable farmer at Huntspill in Somersetshire, where he was born in or about 1776. He had more intellect than the rest of his family, and, after a suitable introduction to classical literature under the care of a clergyman in the neighbourhood, he was sent to Balliol College, Oxford, with a view to his taking orders in the established church. After two or three years' residence he became disgusted with a college life, and took part in the well-known scheme of ‘pantisocracy’ with Coleridge and Southey. After lingering about for a year or two, dependent upon the supplies which he drew from his father, Burnett obtained admission as a student into the dissenting college at Manchester. He was appointed pastor of a congregation at Yarmouth, but did not remain there long. He subsequently became, for a short time, a student of medicine in the university of Edinburgh. Through the influence of friends he was at one time appointed domestic tutor to two sons of Lord Stanhope, but he idled away a month or more in a needless excursion into the country, and had scarcely entered upon his charge when both his pupils—though not through any fault of his—left their father's house. Lord Stanhope paid 200l.—a year's salary—to Burnett, who afterwards became an assistant surgeon in a militia regiment. This situation he soon quitted, and went to Poland with the family of Count Zamoyska, as English tutor, but in less than a twelvemonth returned to England, without any employment. Shortly afterwards he contributed to the ‘Monthly Magazine’ a series of letters which were reprinted under the title of ‘View of the Present State of Poland,’ Lond. 1807, 12mo. He next published ‘Specimens of English Prose Writers, from the earliest times to the close of the seventeenth century; with sketches biographical and literary; including an account of books, as well as of their authors, with occasional criticisms,’ 3 vols. Lond. 1807, 8vo; a judicious compilation, forming a companion to George Ellis's ‘Specimens of the Early English Poets.’ He also wrote the introduction to the ‘Universal History,’ published under the name of Dr. Mavor. His last production, consisting of a selection from Milton's ‘Prose Works,’ with new translations and an introduction