John Daly Burk

Life
1775?-1808; fled prosecution in 1796, and emigrated to US and launched The Polar Star and Boston Daily Advertiser; attempted to manage theatres in Boston and in New York (Time Peace); wrote a play in New York, Time Piece. History of the Late War in Ireland (1799) and History of Virginia (1804-16); settled in Petersburgh, Virginia; killed in a duel with a Frenchman, Coquebert, allegedly on account of his offensive comments on Napoleon; dramatic works incl. Death of General Montgomery in Storming ... Quebec (1797), and Female Patriotism, or the Death of Joan D’Arc (1798). DIW DIB RAF OCAL OCIL

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Works
Dramatic works, Bunker Hill, or the Death of General Warren (NY: Greenleaf 1797), 55pp, verse; The Death of General Montgomery in Storming the City of Quebec (1797); Female patriotism, or the Death of Joan d’Arc (NY: Hurtin 1798), 40pp. [verse]; Bethlen Gabor, Lord of Transylvania, or the Man-Hating Palatine (Petersburgh: Somervell & Conrad, 1807), 49pp.; other plays with unknown dates are The Fortunes of Nigel; The Innkeeper of Abbeyville; Which Do you Like Best, the Poor Man or the Lord? Prose, History of the Late War in Ireland (Philadelphia: Bailey 1799), 140 [1] 40pp; An Oration delivered on 4 March 1803 (Petersburgh: Field 1803), 18pp; The History of Virginia, 4 vols. (Petersburgh: Dickson & Pescud), vol. I, 1804; II, III, 1805; IV, 1816); ‘An Essay on the Character and Antiquity of Irish Songs’, in Richmond Enquirer, 27 May 1808.

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Commentary
Charles Campbell, Some materials to Serve for a Brief Memoir of John Daly Burk, author of a ‘History of Virginia’, with a sketch of the life and character of his only child, Judge John Julius Burk (NY: Joel Munsel 1868), vi, 123pp; Dictionary of American Biography incl. references to the following, W. W. Clapp, Jnr., A Record of the Boston Stage (1853); Oscar Wegelin, Early American Plays (1900); Pr. Quinn, A History of the American Drama from the Beginnings to the Civil War (1923). [WORKS & COMM. from RAF.]

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References
James D. Hart, The Oxford Companion to American Literature [5th edn.] (Oxford: OUP 1983), gives dates as above; Burk wrote a History of Virginia (1804-16); his Bunker Hill or the Death of General Warren (1797), bombastic blank-verse drama, popular for spectacular battle scene; Female Patriotism, or the Death of Joan d’Arc (1798), blank-verse trag., characterising Joan as a simple human being, untouched by inflated rhetoric of his other plays. In Ox.Comp. American Theatre, details are added; adopted Daly from lady who assisted his escape; shot for insulting Napoleon.

Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre: Being a History of the Drama in Ireland from the Earlieest Period up to the Present Day (Tralee: The Kerryman 1946), lists Bunker Hill or The Death of General Warren (Haymarket, Boston, 17 Jan. 1797); Female Patriotism or the Death of Joan d’Arc (Park Theatre, 1798); The Death of General Montgomery in Storming the City of Quebec (1797); Bethlen Gabor, Lord of Transylvania or The Man-hating Palatine (Petersburg, V[irginia], c.1807); Which Do you Like Best, the Poor Man or the Lord. Also Fortunes of Nigel, cited in O’Donoghue.

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Notes
In Bethlam Gabor the title-char. goes mad when Count Wallestein slaughters his family; St. Leon is ‘immensely rich ... by ventriloquism endeavours to restore the mind of Bethlam to resignation and content,, previously married to Wallestein’s daughter’, from which ensues much devilment and dungeonry. In Bunker Hill, the dying Warren ‘look[s] into the womb of time’ and sees his country’s destiny - to become ‘a proud democracy founded on equal laws and stripted entire of those unnatural titles and those name of King and Count.’ (See Wells Microcards of English and American Drama, inconjuntion with William Bergquist, Checklist of English and American Plays, 1963)

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