1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir James Bland Burges

Stephen Jones, in Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse (1812) 1:77-78.



SIR JAMES BLAND BURGES, Bart. and LL.D. is the only son of George Burges, Esq. by his wife, the Hon. Anne Wichnoure Somerville, daughter of Lord Somerville. He was born at Gibralter, on the 8th of June 1752, and 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 the Right Hon. Sir William (then Dr.) Scott, brother of Lord Eldon, and now Judge of the High Court of Admiralty. At college he remained until 1773; when he made the tour of France, Italy, Switzerland, and part 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 Lord Viscount Wentworth, who died in 1779, without issue. In December 1780, he married a second wife, Ann, daughter of Col. Montolieu; by whom he has had a numerous family. In 1787, he was elected to Parliament for Helston, in Cornwall, and was 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 1794, a Joint Commissioner with Evan Nepean and Stephen Cotterell, Esqrs. of the Privy Seal.

On his resigning, in October 1795, his office of Under Secretary of State, the King created him a Baronet; and he had also the honour of being appointed Knight Marshal of his Majesty's Household for life.

Sir James has written several ingenious legal and political productions. In the poetical line he has chiefly distinguished himself by The Birth and Triumph of Love, a poem; Richard the First, an heroic poem, in eighteen books; and The Exodiad, a poem (written in conjunction with Mr. Cumberland). As a dramatist, Sir James is author of an alteration of Massinger's City Madam, under the title of Riches. Play. 8vo. 1810. To this worthy Baronet we have also heard ascribed Tricks upon Travellers. C. O. 1810. N.P.