BURTON, Ralph (d.1768), of Hall Bank, Cottingham, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



18 Mar. - 29 Sept. 1768

Family and Education

s. of Richard Burton.1 m. (1) 1750 Elizabeth (d. 6 Aug. 1753), da. of Sir John St. Leger of Grangemellon, co. Kildare, niece of Arthur St. Leger, 1st Visct. Doneraile [I], sis. of Anthony St. Leger, s.p.; (2) c.Oct. 1763, Marguerite,2 da. of John Henry Lydius,3 Baron de Quade of Albany, N.Y. and Kensington, London, 1s. 1da.

Offices Held

Lt.-gov. Quebec 1759; lt.-gov. Trois Rivières 1760.

Addl. 2nd lt. 32 Ft. 1742; capt. 2 Horse Gren. Gds. 1745, maj. 1747; lt.-col. 48 Ft. 1754; col. (America only) 1758; col. 95 Ft. 1760-3; maj.-gen. 1763; col. 3 Ft. 1764- d.


Burton was a very close friend of John Calcraft, whose letter-books contain a great number of letters to him; after Burton went out to America in 1755 Calcraft looked after his interests in England and kept him informed of political developments, military affairs and appointments. When at the end of 1757 Abercromby replaced Loudoun in the American command, and went out with ten blanks for appointing colonels, Calcraft attempted, apparently successfully, to secure one for Burton.4 Burton was in the expedition against Louisbourg in 1758, and the following year served under Wolfe at Quebec. In December 1760 he obtained a regiment on the recommendation of Amherst and through the intervention of Lord Bute.5 After Burton’s appointment in October 1760 as lieutenant governor of Trois Rivières, Calcraft wrote: ‘I had great hopes of carrying the point of Canada for you and tried my utmost but the Scotch were too powerful and succeeded.’6

On 13 Nov. 1763 Calcraft wrote to General Amherst:7

Col. Maunsell gives me such a very melancholy account of Burton’s health that I despair of ever seeing him and am most heartily concerned and affected. I have known and loved him many years and had figured to myself many happy hours of friendship on his return. If the worst happens I must take the liberty to entreat some attention to his family and I will answer your drafts for whatever may be wanted to bring them to England and defray their expenses in America.

Back in England Burton was returned on Calcraft’s interest for Wareham at the general election of 1768, but died on 29 Sept. 1768.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. See Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 254.
  • 2. About their marriage see letters from Calcraft, Add. 17493, f. 150; Add. 17496, ff. 29-30.
  • 3. About Lydius see Docs. relating to Colonial Hist. of the State of N. Y and Gent. Mag. 1791, i. 383-5.
  • 4. Add. 17493, ff. 131-2.
  • 5. Add. 17495, f. 185.
  • 6. Add. 17496, f. 12.
  • 7. Ibid. f. 24.