John Hill Burton

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John Hill Burton
Born (1809-08-22)22 August 1809
Aberdeen, Scotland
Died 10 August 1881(1881-08-10) (aged 71)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Occupation advocate, historian, economist

John Hill Burton FRSE (22 August 1809 – 10 August 1881) was a Scottish advocate, historian and economist. The author of "Life and Correspondence of David Hume", he was secretary of the Scottish Prison Board (1854–77), and Historiographer Royal (1867-1881).

Burton was born in Aberdeen, the son of W K Burton[citation needed] by his spouse Eliza Paton. He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and Marischal College. After graduating, he moved to Edinburgh and studied for the Bar, being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1831. However, he had little practice, and in 1854 was appointed Secretary to the Prison Board of Scotland, and in 1877 a Commissioner of Prisons.

He became at an early period of his life a contributor to Blackwood's Magazine and other periodicals, and in 1846 published a life of David Hume, which attracted considerable attention, and was followed by Lives of Lord Lovat and Lord President Forbes. He began his career as a historian by the publication in 1853 of History of Scotland from the Revolution to the Extinction of the last Jacobite Insurrection, to which he added (1867–70) History of Scotland from Agricola's Invasion to the Revolution, in 7 vols., thus completing a continuous narrative. Subsequently he published a History of the Reign of Queen Anne (1880). Other works of a lighter kind were The Book-Hunter (1862), and The Scot Abroad (1864). Burton's historical works display much research and a spirit of candour and honesty, and have picturesque and spirited passages, but the style is unequal, and frequently lacks dignity. Nevertheless, he was one of the first historians to introduce the principles of historical research into the study and writing of the history of Scotland.

John Hill Burton married Isabella, née Lauder (born 1810) in 1844. She died in 1850. He remarried in 1855 to Katherine, daughter of Cosmo Innes, who gave birth the next year to W. K. Burton. Another of their children, Mary Rose Hill Burton, was a notable artist. Burton père died at Morton House, Edinburgh. He was interred in Dalmeny Cemetery, but a monument to him, his wife and children is in Dean Cemetery where they are buried.

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