Born in Rochester, Massachusetts, Burges attended the common schools. He studied medicine at a school in Wrentham. Upon the death of his father he abandoned the study of medicine. He was graduated from Rhode Island College (now Brown University), Providence, Rhode Island, in 1796. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1799 and commenced practice in Providence, Rhode Island. He served as member of the State house of representatives in 1811 and was prominent as a member of the Federal Party. He was appointed chief justice of the supreme court of Rhode Island in May 1815. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the same in 1816. Professor of oratory in Brown University.
Burges was elected as an Adams candidate to the Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses and elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the Twenty-first through the Twenty-third Congresses (March 4, 1825 – March 3, 1835). He served as chairman of the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions (Nineteenth Congress), Committee on Military Pensions (Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses), Committee on Revolutionary Claims (Twenty-first Congress), Committee on Invalid Pensions (Twenty-second and Twenty-third Congresses). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection. He was an unsuccessful Whig candidate for Governor in 1836. He resumed the practice of law. He died on his estate, "Watchemoket Farm" (now a part of East Providence, Rhode Island), October 13, 1853. He was interred in North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.