Burt was born in Plymouth on 23 August 1778, and died there on 1 September 1826. He was educated at Exeter grammar school, and articled as a solicitor in Bridgwater. Some time after 1800 he established a legal practice in Plymouth, and lived comfortably at Colyton, near Honiton for several years, until he lost most of his money in the collapse of a country bank. The incident left him with an abiding distrust of Banks, which colours his later works and career. He then took up residence in Plymouth, and supported himself through writing and through an appointment as secretary to the Plymouth chamber of commerce. He also edited a newspaper, the Plymouth and Dock Telegraph, and briefly held a commission as an army officer, though he does not appear to have ever seen service. His son, T. Seymour Burt, records that he had wide-ranging interests in science, history and antiquities, and was a frequent lecturer at the Plymouth Institution.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.