Sir James Lamb, 1st Baronet

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This article is about James Bland Lamb, late 18th-century member of the British Parliament. For 19th-century American minstrel and composer, see James A. Bland.
"James Burges" redirects here. For other people named James Burges, see James Burgess (disambiguation).
Sir James Burges

Sir James Bland Lamb, 1st Baronet (8 June 1752 – 13 October 1824), born James Burges and known as Sir James Burges, Bt, between 1795 and 1821, was a British author, barrister and Member of Parliament.

Background and education[edit]

James Burges was born on Gibraltar in 1810. He was the only son of George Burges and Anne Whichnour Somerville. His mother was the daughter of James Somerville, 13th Lord Somerville.[1] His father had distinguished himself at the Battle of Culloden capturing one of the standards. His father was later deputy paymaster in Gibraltar.[2]

He went to Westminster School and then entered University College, Oxford in 1770 before studying law at Lincoln's Inn in 1773.

Political career[edit]

Burges first served in Parliament as Member of Parliament for Helston from 1787 to 1790). He then served as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1789 and 1795 before becoming a Baronet and Knight Marshal of his majesty's household (1795)[3] where he played an important role in the coronation of George IV.[4]

Writing and poetry[edit]

Burges was an ambitious and productive writer. He was well established; being a friend of William Cumberland and John Graves Simcoe;[5] and a patron of Thomas Dermody. He was connected by marriage to Lord Byron. He wrote music for Ode to the Passions by William Collins and wrote the prologue to Vortigern and Rowena (1796).

He exchanged poetry with royalty and wrote long poems. The Birth and Triumph of Love was published in 1796 and the 16,000 line poem was very poorly received. It was quoted as a project that was known for its lack of success. Despite the ignominy Burges still had a prestige and funds available where he could indulge his literary interests. He wrote an introduction for William Henry Ireland Shakespearian forgery and Thomas Dermody stole money from him. Burges continued to publish poetry and he had a play in Drury Lane. Despite being championed by Lord Byron, no other plays followed.[2]

He wrote an introduction to a later edition of the Pilgrim's Progress sequel, Progress of the Pilgrim Good-Intent in Jacobinical Times. In this introduction he revealed that the true author of the work was his gifted sister Mary Ann Burges.[2]


  • Heroic epistle from Serjeant Bradshaw to John Dunning. 1780.
  • Considerations on the law of insolvency. 1783.
  • A letter to the Earl of Effingham. 1783.
  • Address to the country gentlemen of England. 1789.
  • Letters on the Spanish aggression at Nootka. 1790.
  • Narrative of the negotiation between France and Spain in 1790. 1790.
  • Alfred's letters: a review of the political state of Europe. 1792.
  • The birth and triumph of love. 1796.
  • Richard the first: a poem in eighteen books. 2 vols, 1801.
  • The exodiad [with Richard Cumberland]. 1807, 1808.
  • Riches, or the wife and brother: a play. 1810.
  • Songs, duets, etc. in Tricks upon travellers, a comic opera. 1810.
  • Dramas. 2 vols, 1817.
  • The dragon knight: a poem in twelve cantos. 1818.
  • Reasons in favour of a new translation of the holy scriptures. 1819.
  • An inquiry into the procrastination attributed to the House of Lords. 1824.
  • Selections from the letters and correspondence, ed. Hutton. 1885.


  1. ^ Sir James Bland Lamb, 1st Bt.
  2. ^ a b c David Hill Radcliffe, ‘Burges , Sir James Bland, first baronet (1752–1824)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 4 Aug 2014
  3. ^
  4. ^ David McClure, "BBC Local Hero Caroline Burges and Eglinton Castle"
  5. ^ John Graves Simcoe, 1752-1806 by Mary Beacock Fryer, Christopher Dracot, p89

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Lord Hyde
Roger Wilbraham
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Roger Wilbraham
Succeeded by
Sir Gilbert Elliot, Bt
Stephen Lushington
Political offices
Preceded by
William Fraser
St Andrew St John
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
(with Hon. Dudley Ryder 1789)

Succeeded by
George Canning
Court offices
Preceded by
H. Boscawen
Knight Marshal
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Lamb, Bt
Baronetage of Great Britain
New creation Baronet
(of Burghfield)
Succeeded by
Charles Montolieu Lamb