The chief authorities for Bishop Burnet's life are the autobiography "Rough Draft of my own Life" (ed. H.C. Foxcroft, Oxford, 1902, in the Supplement to Burnet's History), the Life by Sir Thomas Burnet in the History of His Own Time (Oxford, 1823, vol. vi.), and the History itself. A rather severe but detailed and useful criticism is given in L. v. Ranke's History of England (Eng. ed., Oxford, 1875), vol. vi. pp. 45-101. Burnet's letters to his friend, George Savile, marquess of Halifax, were published by the Royal Historical Society (Camden Miscellany, vol. xi.). The History of His Own Time (2 vols. fol., 1724-1734) ran through many editions before it was reprinted at the Clarendon Press (6 vols., 1823, and supplementary volume, 1833) with the suppressed passages of the first volume and notes by the earls of Dartmouth and Hardwicke, with the remarks of Swift. This edition, under the direction of M.J. Routh, was enlarged in a second Oxford edition of 1833. A new edition, based on this, but making use of the Bodleian MS., which differs very considerably from the printed version, was edited by Osmund Airy (Oxford, 1897, etc.). In 1902 (Clarendon Press, Oxford) Miss H.C. Foxcroft edited A Supplement to Burnet's History of His Own Time, to which is prefixed an account of the relation between the different versions of the History - the Bodleian MS., the fragmentary Harleian MS. in the British Museum and Sir Thomas Burnet's edition; the book contains the remaining fragments of Burnet's original memoirs, his autobiography, his letters to Admiral Herbert and his private meditations.
The chief differences between Burnet's original draft as represented by the Bodleian MS. and the printed history consist in a more lenient view generally of individuals, a modification of the censure levelled at the Anglican clergy, changes obviously dictated by a general variation in his point of view, and a more cautious account of personal matters such as his early relations with Lauderdale. He also cut out much minor detail, and information relating to himself and to members of his family. His History of the Reformation of the Church of England was edited (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 7 vols., 1865) by N. Pocock.
Besides the works mentioned above may be noticed: Some Passages of the Life and Death of John, Earl of Rochester (Lond., 1680; facsimile reprint, with introduction by Lord Ronald Gower, 1875); The Life and Death of Sir Matthew Hale, Kt., sometime Lord Chief-Justice of his Majesties Court of Kings Bench (Lond., 1682), which is included in C. Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography (vol. vi., 1818); The History of the Rights of Princes in disposing of Ecclesiastical Benefices and Church Lands (Lond., 1682, 8vo); The Life of William Bedell, D.D., Bishop of Kilmore in Ireland (1685), containing the correspondence between Bedell and James Waddesdon of the Holy Inquisition on the subject of the Roman obedience; Reflections on Mr Varillas's "History of the Revolutions that have happened in Europe in matters of Religion," and more particularly on his Ninth Book, that relates to England (Amst., 1686), appended to the account of his travels entitled Some Letters, which was originally published at Rotterdam (1686); A Discourse of the Pastoral Care (1692, 14th ed., 1821); An Essay on the Memory of the late Queen (1695); A Collection of various Tracts and Discourses written in the Years 1677 to 1704 (3 vols., 1704); and A Collection of Speeches, Prefaces, Letters, with a Description of Geneva and Holland (1713). Of his shorter religious and polemical works a catalogue is given in vol. vi. of the Clarendon Press edition of his History, and in Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual. The following translations deserve to be mentioned: - Utopia, written in Latin by Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of England: translated into English (1685); A Relation of the Death of the Primitive Persecutors, written originally in Latin, by L.C.F. Lactantius: Englished by Gilbert Burnet, D.D., to which he hath made a large preface concerning Persecution (Amst., 1687).
See also A Life of Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury (1907), by T.E.S. Clarke and H.C. Foxcroft, with an introduction by C.H. Firth, which contains a chronological list of Burnet's published works. Of Burnet's personal character there are well-known descriptions in chapter vii. of Macaulay's History of England, and in W.E.H. Lecky's History of England in the Eighteenth Century, vol. i. pp. 80 seq.