Burton, John

, M.D. and F. R. S. and F. S.A. an eminent antiquary, of whom our accounts are very scanty, was born at Rjppon in Yorkshire 1697, and educated hi Christ church college in Oxford for some time, but took his degree in some foreign university; and on his settling at York, became very eminent in his profession. In 1745 it is said that he proposed joining himself to the pretender, then at Manchester; but that his friends had interest sufficient to dissuade him from a measure which must have terminated in his ruin. His conduct, therefore, appears to have unjustly exposed him to censure, if his own account may be relied on, to this purpose, that “going out of York, with leave of the mayor, &c. to take care of his estates, on the approach of the rebels, he was taken by them, and in consequence of that was apprehended Dec. 3, 1745, and detained till March 25, 1746—7.” This is explained in “British liberty endangered, demonstrated by the following narrative, wherein is proved from facts, that J. B. has hitherto been a better friend to the English constitution, in church and state, than his persecutors. Humbly dedicated to the most reverend and worthy the archbishop of Canterbury, late of York (Herring). With a proper preface, by John Burton, of York, M. D.London, 3 749. There was afterwards published “An account of what passed between Mr. George Thomson of York, and doctor John Burton of that city, physician and manmidwife, at Mr. sheriff Jubb’s entertainment, and the consequences thereon, by Mr. George Thomson,London, 1756, 8vo, a narrative, in the lowest and most abusive language, says Mr. Gough, of a quarrel and assault, for the doctor’s refusing to drink certain healths proposed to him, drawn up with all the virulence of disappointment for a verdict against the writer. Long before these events, he published “A Treatise on the Non-naturals, in which the | great influence they have on human bodies is set forth, and mechanically accounted for. To which is subjoined, a short Essay on the Chin-Cough, with a new method of treating that obstinate distemper,York, 1738, 8vo. In the title of this work, he calls himself “M. B. Cant, and M. D. Rhem.” by which it would appear that his bachelor’s was a Lambeth degree, and that he graduated as doctor at Rheims. In 1751, he published “An Essay towards a complete new system of Midwifery,” 8vo, and in 1753, “A Letter to William Smellie, M. D. containing critical and practical remarks upon his Treatise on the theory and practice of Midwifery,” 8vo. But the work by which he is principally known, and for which he was employed in making collections during his latter years, was, his “Monasticon Eboracense; and the Ecclesiastical History of Yorkshire, &c.” the first volume of which was published in 1758, folio. This is in all respects a most valuable work; and it is to be regretted that it was not completed by a second volume, for which he had ample materials. Mr. Gough seems to intimate that his conduct in 1745 was a check both to encouragement and the means for publishing his second volume. Previously to that period, his zeal for illustrating the antiquities of his native country, and his indefatigable researches, met with due encouragement from those who had many important materials in their hands; and he was himself possessed of an invaluable and unparalleled collection for illustrating the history and antiquities of that county, which before his death in 1771, he sold for a sum of money and an annuity for himself and wife to William Constable, esq. of Burton Constable, in whose, or his family’s hands, they probably now remain. Mr. Gough has given an ample list of them. 1

1 Cough’s Topography, vol. II. See Two Papers of Dr. Burton’s in Archsologia, vol. II.