CHRISTIE BURTON, Robert (1784-1822), of Hotham Hall, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 1784, 1st s. of Gen. Napier Christie Burton*. educ. Rugby, adm. 11 Nov. 1797, aged 13. m. Mary Thompson, wid., s.p.
At the time of his election, Christie Burton was said to be living ‘most expensively within the walls of the Fleet’. He was represented at the poll by his uncle Col. Christie.1 An unsuccessful candidate petitioned against his return on the grounds that he was not a freeman of Beverley and lacked the property qualification; but the House decided in his favour. Meanwhile he had taken steps to secure his discharge from prison with parliamentary privilege. On 27 Jan. 1819 the Speaker informed the House that Burton had written to him from 39 Ludgate Hill on 14 Jan., informing him that he was imprisoned at the suit of creditors for civil debts; that he had written again on 20 Jan. alleging that he would take his seat on Monday following, but in a letter of 26 Jan. asked the Speaker to help him secure his discharge. A committee of privileges decided in his favour, 28 Jan., despite a petition from his creditors, merchants of Hull, alleging that Burton had been refused his discharge by a King’s bench judge and that the privilege he claimed was applicable only to a mesne process and not to judgments previously executed. The Speaker pointed out that the petition was informal, not being signed by the petitioners themselves, and Charles Williams Wynn asserted that the distinction made by the petitioners did not accord with precedent.2
Burton, in a counter-petition, complained of the malignance of one of his creditors, John Moxon of Hull who, he claimed, had put an execution on Burton’s house at Hotham, only to find that it had been settled on Burton’s wife; and denied Moxon’s allegation that he was worth £5,000 a year and ‘preferred to live in a gaol upon his rents, to paying his debts’. He had been five years in prison at Moxon’s suit and by him deprived of the rules of King’s Bench. Moxon had refused to agree to a trust to settle Burton’s debts by the sale of his Yorkshire property and his estates in reversion in Canada. Moxon’s conduct had been the death of Mrs Burton. Despite this, others were more cynical: Edward John Littleton noted in his diary, ‘We shall see whether his election is not a mere juggle in order to enable him to go abroad and evade his creditors’.3
Burton is not known to have supported government, as he was doubtless expected to do. He was in the minority for the reduction of the lords of Admiralty, 18 Mar. 1819, and for Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May. On 22 and 29 Apr. he had been a defaulter. No speech is known. In the ensuing session he voted for the limitation of the seditious meetings bill to three years, against the seizure of arms bill and against the newspaper stamp bill, 6, 14, 20 Dec. 1819. He was defeated at the election of 1820 and went abroad, dying v.p. at Paris, 13 Apr. 1822.4