Richard Burke Jr.

Richard Burke

Richard Burke (studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds)
Member of Parliament
for Malton
In office
Preceded by Edmund Burke
Succeeded by William Baldwin
Personal details
Born (1758-02-09)9 February 1758
Died 2 August 1794(1794-08-02) (aged 36)
Political party Whig
Relations Edmund Burke
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Occupation Agent of the Catholic Committee
Profession Barrister

Richard Burke (9 February 1758 – 2 August 1794) was a barrister and Member of Parliament in England.

He was born in Battersea, the son of Edmund Burke and Jane Mary Nugent.[1] He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1780. His father had high hopes for "the Whelp", never to be realized.

He was Recorder of Bristol from 1783 until his early death.

In 1791 Richard carried out a mission to the Koblenz headquarters of the French émigré army on behalf of his father, who was indulging in private diplomacy. Thereafter he returned to Ireland to become an agent of the Catholic Committee, which attained a small measure towards Catholic Emancipation in the Irish Parliament's "Roman Catholic Relief Act" (1793).

In 1794 his father resigned his seat in parliament for Malton, North Yorkshire over the failure to convict Warren Hastings in a parliamentary impeachment. Richard was elected in succession to his father, but fell ill soon afterwards, and died in South Kensington at the early age of thirty-six on 2 August 1794, and was buried in Beaconsfield.

The elder Burke suffered grief on a scale described by eyewitnesses as "truly terrific". In the words of his biographer, Edmund's bursts of affliction were of fearful force, so overwhelming indeed as to fright and almost to paralyze those who were around them. The Dictionary of National Biography article describes the grief of the parents as "almost uncontrollable", and his father considered himself ‘marked by the hand of God’ [2]

Richard had been a member of The Club since 1782. His contacts with Samuel Johnson were fairly slight, and on one occasion involved a rebuke to the younger man for futile attempts at "smart drollery".

No evidence has been found to support the claim that he was married. He should not be confused with his uncle, also named Richard Burke.


  1. Paul Langford, ‘Burke, Edmund (1729/30–1797)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edn, May 2006 accessed 23 November 2007
  2. Burke, Edmund. Correspondence, 8.90


Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Edmund Burke
George Damer
Member of Parliament for Malton
with George Damer

Succeeded by
George Damer
William Baldwin
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