Publisher and author, b. near Montrose, Forfarshire, Scotland, 1808; d. in London, 11 April, 1871. During the last half of the nineteenth century his work in the cause of Catholic literature and Catholic church music contributed much to the rapid advancement of the Church in Great Britain and to the many conversions that were made throughout that period. His father was a Presbyterian minister and sent him to a college in Glasgow with the idea that he should follow the same calling. But feeling no inclination for it, he left the school in 1832 and went to London where he found employment with a publishing firm. He acquired a thorough knowledge of this trade and then set up for himself in a modest way. He soon won success and the ministers of the Established Church adopted him as an active auxiliary in their literary campaign of tracts and polemic publications. He then became a "Puseyite", or high-churchman. From his press were issued many interesting and instructive books of a high literary tone in the series he called "The Englishman's Library " and "The Fireside Library ". The Oxford Movement under Newman of course drew him within its range, with the result that, in spite of the great worldly sacrifice it meant, he followed the example of many of his friends and became a convert in 1847.
The change was one of the sensations of the time and involved for him the making of a new business life and fortune. The Anglican publications of the old house were sold off and he set to work, and succeeded, in a comparatively brief time, in building up an equally enviable reputation as an enterprising and prolific publisher of good and wholesome Catholic literature. To his "Popular Library " Cardinal Wiseman contributed "Fabiola" and Cardinal Newman, "Callista". Other volumes from a host of well-known writers, prayer books, and books of devotion soon made the name of the firm of Burns & Oates a household word throughout the English-speaking world. Mr. Burns also wrote constantly on church music and edited and republished many compositions of the best masters. He continued his busy life in spite of a painful internal malady which ended in cancer, from which he died. His widow, who was also a convert, survived him twenty-two years, dying a member of the Ursuline community at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. January, 1893. Of his five daughters, four entered the Ursuline Order and the other became a Sister of Charity. His only son was ordained a priest, serving for a long time as chaplain at Nazareth House, Hammersmith, London.
The Angelus Holy Card
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online