See also:historical writer, the son of an officer in the army, was
See also:born at
See also:Aberdeen on the 22nd of
See also:August 1809 . After studying at the university of his native city, he removed to
See also:Edinburgh, where he qualified for the Scottish
See also:bar and practised as an
See also:advocate; but his progress was slow, and he eked out his narrow means by
See also:work . His
See also:Manual of the
See also:Law of Scotland (1839) brought him into
See also:notice; he joined
See also:Bowring in editing the
See also:works of
See also:Jeremy Bentham, and for a
See also:time was editor of the Scotsman, which he committed to the cause of
See also:trade . In 1846 he achieved high reputation by his
See also:Life of
See also:David Hume, based upon extensive and unused MS. material . In 1847 he wrote his
See also:biographies of
See also:Lord Lovat, and of
See also:Forbes, and in 1849 prepared for
See also:Chambers's Series manuals of
See also:political and social
See also:economy and of emigration . In the same
See also:year he lost his wife, whom he had married in 1844, and never again mixed freely with society, though in 1855 he married again . He devoted himself mainly to literature, contributing largely to the Scotsman and
See also:Blackwood, writing Narratives from Criminal Trials in Scotland (1852),
See also:Treatise on the Law of Bankruptcy in Scotland (1853), and
See also:publishing in the latter year the first
See also:volume of his
See also:History of Scotland, which was completed in 187o . A new and improved edition of the work appeared in 1873 . Some of the more important of his contributions to Blackwood were em-bodied in two delightful volumes, The
See also:Hunter (1862) and The
See also:Scot Abroad (1864) . He had in 1854 been appointed secretary to the prison
See also:board, an
See also:office which gave him entire pecuniary independence, and the duties of which he discharged most assiduously, notwithstanding his literary pursuits and the pressure of another important task assigned to him after the completion of his history, the editorship of the
See also:National Scottish Registers . Two volumes were published under his supervision . His last work, The History of the Reign of
See also:Queen Anne (188o), is very inferior to his History of Scotland .
He died on the loth of August 1881 .
See also:Burton was pre-eminently a jurist and economist, and may be said to have been guided by accident into the path which led him to celebrity . It was his
See also:fortune to find abundant unused material for his Life of Hume, and to be the first to introduce the principles of historical
See also:research into the history of Scotland . All previous attempts had been far below the
See also:modern standard in these particulars, and Burton's history will always be memorable as marking an epoch . His chief defects as a historian are want of
See also:imagination and an undignified familiarity of
See also:style, which, however, at least preserves his history from the dulness by which lack of imagination is usually accompanied . His dryness is associated with a fund of dry
See also:humour exceedingly effective in its proper place, as in The Book Hunter . As a man he was loyal, affectionate, philanthropic and entirely estimable . A memoir of
See also:Hill Burton by his wife was prefaced to an edition of The Book Hunter, which like his other works was published at Edinburgh (1882) . (R .
ROBERT BURTON (1577-1640)
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