Burke, William, an Irishman, who in the early quarter of the century was employed as a porter in Edinburgh. His cupidity was excited by the high price paid, before the Anatomy Act, for bodies for dissection, and, in conjunction with another ruffian named Hare, he set about supplying subjects to the celebrated Professor Knox. Selecting vagrants and other friendless persons, he first made them drunk and then suffocated them. Suspicions were aroused at last, and Hare turned king's evidence against his partner, who admitted to having murdered fifteen persons. He was hanged in 1828, and his name, in the form of a verb, passed into the English language to express the sudden and secret smothering of any disagreeable fact.