CHRISTIE BURTON, Napier (1758-1835), of Hull Bank, Beverley, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1796 - 1806

Family and Education

b. 31 Aug. 1758, o. surv. s. of Gen. Gabriel Christie of Stirling, Scotland and Montreal, Canada by Sarah, da. of John Stevenson of Albany, New York. m. 1784, Mary, da. and event. h. of Gen. Ralph Burton of Hull Bank, Beverley, 2s. 2da. Took additional name of Burton by royal lic. 16 Nov. 1784 on d. of bro.-in-law Capt. Richard Burton; suc. fa. 1799.

Offices Held

Ensign 22 Ft. 1775, 3 Ft. Gds. 1776; lt. (America) 1779; lt. 1 Drag. Gds. 1784, capt. and lt.-col. 1789, brevet col. 1795; brig.-gen. (Guernsey) 1796, maj.-gen. 1798; maj. 3 Ft. Gds. 1799; lt.-gen. 1805; col.-commdt. 60 Ft. 1806, gen. 1814.

Lt.-gov. Upper Canada 1799-1802.


American born, Christie Burton served in the war of Independence, being taken prisoner at Yorktown. He subsequently served with the Guards in Flanders; was on the staff in Guernsey (1796) and in the eastern district of England (1798-9); went to Canada as lieutenant-governor (1799-1802); and was stationed at Chester from 1803 until January 1805. In August 1806 he was posted to Ireland.1 In these circumstances he was scarcely an active Member of the House, to which he was returned unopposed in 1796. His marriage connected him with Beverley, where he was further assisted by the goodwill of Lord Yarborough, a recent convert to government.

Burton supported Pitt silently when present in his first Parliament, voting for his assessed taxes, 4 Jan. 1798. In 1802 he survived a keen contest. There is no evidence of opposition to Addington’s ministry. On 6 Dec. 1803 the House was informed that he had been arrested for a breach of military discipline: he had challenged a junior officer, the Hon. Henry King, to a duel. Before the court martial took place, the Duke of Kent begged the Prince of Wales to intercede with the Duke of York, commander-in-chief, on Burton’s behalf, as this was the only blemish on 29 years’ service; but the Duke of York not only declined to prevent the court martial, but provided the prosecution with a private letter of Burton’s to him as evidence. For this, it seems, he was denounced to the King by his brothers the Dukes of Clarence and Kent. Burton was cashiered, 10 Jan. 1804, but next day pardoned and restored on royal recommendation.2

Burton was listed an adherent of Pitt’s second ministry in September 1804 and July 1805. His vote against the censure on Melville, 8 Apr. 1805, confirmed it. He voted against the Grenville ministry, 3 Mar., 30 Apr. 1806, on Ellenborough’s seat in the cabinet and the repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act. He thereby forfeited government support at the ensuing election as well as Yarborough’s, and was defeated, to his chagrin, by the opportunist intervention of a fellow-officer. He proceeded to fight a bloodless duel with John Wharton*, the other successful candidate, whom he publicly blamed for his defeat. This ended his parliamentary career, but his scapegrace son was Member for Beverley in the Parliament of 1818. He himself was discharged from imprisonment for debt at Maid-stone in 1809 and was again confined within the rules of King’s Bench in 1813.3

Burton did not retain the Canadian estates left him by his father and later disposed of his Yorkshire property. He died 2 Jan. 1835, having been ‘an invalid for many years’.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Winifred Stokes


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1835), ii. 204.
  • 2. Prince of Wales Corresp. iv. 1786, 1787, 1791; Geo. III Corresp. iv. 2817; Glenbervie Diaries, i. 365; The Times, 23 Jan. 1804.
  • 3. London Gazette (1813) 70, 2313.
  • 4. PCC 651 Adderley; PCC 215 Gloucester; Gent. Mag. loc. cit.