1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir James Bland Burges

John Nichols, in Literary Anecdotes of the XVIII Century (1812-15) 8:127-28.



This gentleman was the only son of George Burges, Esq., by his wife, the Hon. Anne Wichnoure Somerville, daughter of Lord Somerville. He was born June 8, 1752, at Gibraltar, where his father, who had been aid-de-camp and private secretary to General Bland in Scotland, was appointed Secretary and Receiver-general of that Garrison on General Blands becoming the Governor of Gibraltar, and was afterwards Comptroller-general of the Customs in Scotland. Mr. J. B. Burges was about seven years under the tuition of the Rev. Dr. Somerville, author of The History of the Reign of Queen Anne, &c; during which he attended, for the space of two years, the University of Edinburgh. He was then placed at Westminster school, where he continued till Christmas 1769; when he was removed to University College, Oxford, and placed under the tuition of Sir William (the Dr.) Scott, brother of Lord Eldon, and now Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, &c. At College he remained till 1773; when he made the tour of France, Italy, Switzerland, and parts of Germany. On his return, he attended the Courts in Westminster Hall; and in Easter Term, 1777, was called to the Bar by the Society of Lincoln's Inn. On the 19th of June, in the same year, he was married to the Hon. Elizabeth Noel, second daughter of Edward Lord Viscount Wentworth, who died in 1779, without issue. In December 1780, he married a second wife, Anne, daughter of Lieut.-col. Lewis-Charles Montolieu, Baron of St. Hyolite; by whom he has a numerous family. In 1787, he was elected M.P. for Helston in Cornwall, and was re-chosen for the same place in 1790. In August 1789, he was appointed one of the Under-Secretaries of State for the Foreign Department; and in July 1794, a Joint-Commissioner with Evan Nepean and Stephen Cotterell, Esquires, for holding the Privy Seal. He resigned the latter of those places in the November following. On resigning, in October 1795, his office of Under Secretary of State, his Majesty created him a Baronet; and he had also the honour of being appointed Marshal of his Majesty's Household for life. Sir James has gained considerable celebrity as a Poet; particularly by The Birth and Triumph of Love, 1796 composed on a plan from a series of Plates published by Mr. Tompkins in Bond-street; the beautiful designs of which originated from the elegant fancy of an illustrious and all-accomplished Daughter of our revered and venerable Monarch.