Francis Burdett

Photo added by Todd Whitesides

Francis Burdett

Birth
Death 23 Jan 1844 (aged 73)
Burial Ramsbury, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, Wiltshire, England
Memorial ID 177198795 · View Source
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Member of Parliament. Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Baronet of Foremark was a reform British politician, who was known to be zealous, colorful, strong and full of courage getting his political points across. He did not support England's war with France and supported the common man's needs. In 1796, his father-in-law purchased a seat in the House of Commons, which was given to him. His first speech was on the subject of Ireland and saying England was guilty of “enslaving these impoverished people.” Upon his grandfather's death, he became the 5 th Baronet of Foremark on February 13, 1797. After sympathizing with the American Revolutionary War author Thomas Paine in his 1802 post-French Revolution fate, Burdett settled Paine's debts and funded his return trip home to the United States. The same year, he was elected to MP, but the election was declared void due to a technicality, thus he fought the decision, which cost him a great deal financially. He won with the decision overturned in 1805, yet was declared void again within a short time. At that point, he declared never to be a candidate for an election for any public office, but he did run again. The next year, in an amazing victory and representing a different district, he was elected as the first reform candidate to British Parliament. In 1810 he published in the newspaper, the “Weekly Register,” his speech, which was given to Parliament against the House of Commons sending to jail one of its members, stating they did not have the authority to do that. For this publication of his speech, which was against the law, he was banned from Parliament for “libeling the House of Commons.” Upon attempting to return to Parliament, he was arrested on April 9, 1810 and placed in the Tower of London until Parliament was dismissed at the end of August. On August 16, 1819 at St. Peter's Field in Manchester, the British Army Cavalry with swords drawn charged a crowd of approximately 70,000 peaceful and unarmed protesters with many being women and children, who were demanding reform of parliamentary representation. Roads were blocked to keep the protesters from escaping. After the military action, five hundred people were injured, 11 killed, and dozens were sent to prison for up to two years. This became known as the “Peterloo Massacre.” After speaking against this massacre, he was prosecuted for seditious libel, found guilty, sentenced to prison for three months, and fined £2,000. Burdett was a strong advocate of religious toleration and several times attempted to persuade Parliament to grant Catholics equal rights with Protestants. The Catholic Emancipation Act was passed in 1829. He was becoming tired of fighting the government long before the Reform Act was passed in 1832. From 1837, he sided with the Conservative Party. After 30 years in the House of Commons, he left in 1837. At that point, the Tories asked him to be a candidate for MP representing their party; he won that election, remaining in the seat until he died. In 1793 h e married Sophia Coutts, a daughter of an extremely wealthy banker and the couple had six children. His youngest child, Angela Burdett-Coutts, inherited from her maternal grandmother several million dollars. From this inheritance, his wife also received a yearly allowance as well as each of his daughters. According to sources, as a result of romantic rendezvouses ending 1813 with Jane Elizabeth Harley, Countess of Oxford, at least one child was born. He died eleven days after his wife's death and the cause was said to be a pulmonary embolism. His godson was Francis Burdett O'Connor, the son of the colorful Irishman, Roger O'Connor. His godson Francis left Ireland in 1819 with 200 Irish volunteers to help liberate South America from Spain by joining with Simon Bolivar's army and becoming a hero of the revolution. His godson remained in South America the rest of his life, taking the name “Francis Burdett” with him, hence the name being is being used for generations in South America as well as in Sir Francis Burdett's English lineage. Upon his death in 1844, his only son became Robert Burdett, 6th Baronet, who died unmarried in 1880, thus the title was given to a cousin, becoming Sir Francis Burdett, 7th Baronet.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Todd Whitesides
  • Added: 10 Mar 2017
  • Find a Grave Memorial 177198795
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Francis Burdett (25 Jan 1770–23 Jan 1844), Find a Grave Memorial no. 177198795, citing Holy Cross Churchyard, Ramsbury, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, Wiltshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .