Berkeley, George Earl Of

, descended in a direct line from Robert Fitzharding, who was of the royal house of Denmark. He with his nephew, Charles Berkeley, had the principal management of the duke of York’s family, and was one of the privy council in the reign of Charles II. James II. and William III. At the restoration he manifested great loyalty for Charles II. and was advanced to the dignity of viscount Dursley and earl of Berkeley in 1679. One of his most munificent acts was his bestowing on the public library of Sion college, a valuable collection of books formed by sir Robert Coke. He died Oct. 14, 1698, aged seventy-one, and was buried at Cranford in Middlesex. Lord Orford attributes to him, on good authority, a curious and scarce work of the religious cast, entitled “Historical applications and occasional meditations upon several subjects. Written by a person of honour,1670, 12mo. In this book are several striking instances of the testimony which some men of eminence have borne to the | importance of religious life, and the consolation to be received from it, especially at the approach of death. Fenton, in his observations on a short poem, prefixed to this work by Waller, says that his lordship was a person of strict virtue and piety, but of such undistinguishing affability to men of all ranks and parties, that Wycherley has been supposed to have drawn his character of “Lord Plausible,” in the Plain Dealer, from him a circumstance that cannot detract much from his lordship’s reputation, for Wycherley was a poor judge of men of “strict virtue and piety.” Besides the above work, of which a third edition appeared in 1680, lord Berkeley published, the same year, “A speech to the Levant Company at their annual election, Feb. 9, 1680.1

1 Park’s edit, of the Royal and Noble Authors. Collins’s Peerage. 'Granger, vol. III.