Berkeley, George, Ll.D. Prebendary Of Canterbury

, second son of the preceding, by Anne, eldest daughter of the right hon. John Forster, a privy-counsellor and speaker of the Irish house of commons, by Anne, daughter to the right hon. John Monck, brother to the duke of Albemarle, was born on the 28th of September | 1733, old style, in Grosvenor-street, Grosvenor-square. In his infancy he was removed with the family to Ireland, where he was instructed in the classics by his father only, the bishop taking that part of the education of his sons on himself. Instructed in every elegant and useful accomplishment, Mr. Berkeley was, at the age of nineteen, sent over to Oxford his father leaving it to his own choice to enter a gentleman commoner, either at Christ church or St. John’s college. But bishop Conybeare, then dean of Christ church, on his arrival offering him a studentship in that society, he accepted it, finding many of the students to be gentlemen of the first character for learning and rank in the kingdom. His first tutor was the late learned archbishop of York, Dr. Markham; on whose removal to Westminsterschool, he put himself under the tuition of Dr. Smallwell, afterwards bishop of Oxford. Having taken the degree of B. A. he served the office of collector in the university, and as he was allowed by his contemporaries to be an excellent Latin scholar, his collector’s speech was universally admired and applauded. In 1758 he took a small living from his society, the vicarage of East Garston, Berks, from which he was removed, in 1759, by archbishop Seeker, his sole patron, to the vicarage of Bray, Berks of which he was only the fifth vicar since the reformation. In 1759, also, he took the degree of M. A. The kindness of archbishop Seeker (who testified the highest respect for bishop Berkeley’s memory by his attention to his deserving son) did not rest here he gave him also the chancellorship of Brecknock, the rectory of Acton, Middlesex, and the sixth prebendal stall in the church of Canterbury. In 1768 he had taken the degree of LL. D. for which he went out grand compounder, and soon afterwards resigned the rectory of Acton. Some time after he had obtained the chancellorship of Brecknock, he put himself to very considerable expence in order to render permanent two ten pounds per annum, issuing out of the estate, to two poor Welch curacies. The vicarage of Bray he exchanged for that of Cookham near Maidenhead, and had afterwards from the church of Canterbury the vicarage of East-Peckham, Kent, which he relinquished on obtaining the rectory of St. Clement’s Danes which with the vicarage of Tyshurst, Sussex (to which he was presented by the church of Canterbury in 1792, when he vacated Cookham), and with the chancellorship of Brecknock, he; held till his death. His | illness had been long and painful, but borne with exemplary resignation and his death was so calm and easy that no pang was observed, no groan was heard, by his attending wife and relations. He died Jan. 6, 1795, and was interred in his father’s vault in Christ church, Oxford. Not long before his death, he expressed his warmest gratitude to Mrs. Berkeley, of whose affection he was truly sensible, and of whom he took a most tender farewell. Dr. Berkeley’s qualifications and attainments were such as occasioned his death to be lamented by many. He was the charitable divine, the affectionate and active friend, the elegant scholar, the accomplished gentleman. He possessed an exquisite sensibility. To alleviate the sufferings of the sick and needy, and to patronize the friendless, were employments in which his heart and his hand ever co-operated. In the pulpit his manner was animated, and his matter forcible. His conversation always enlivened the social meetings where he was present; for he was equalled by few in affability of temper and address, in the happy recital of agreeable anecdote, in the ingenious discussion of literary subjects, or in the brilliant display of a lively imagination.

Dr. Berkeley published two or three single sermons; one of which, preached on the anniversary of king Charles’s martyrdom, 1785, entitled “The danger of violent innovations in the state, how specious soever the pretence, exemplified from the reigns of the two first Stuarts,” has gone through six editions, the last in 1794 one on Good Friday 1787 one at Cookham on the king’s accession, 1789. His Sermon on the consecration of bishop Home was not published until after his death. In 1799, his widow published a volume of his Sermons with a biographical preface. He married, in 1761, Eliza, eldest daughter and coheiress of the rev. Henry Finsham, M. A. by Eliza, youngest daughter and one of the coheiresses of the truly pious and learned Francis Cherry, esq. of Shottesbrook-house in the county of Berks, by whom he had four children, now no more. The late bishop Home, we may add, was one of Dr. Berkeley’s earliest and most intimate friends, the loss of whom he severely felt, and of whom he was used to speak with the sincerest respect and the most affectionate regard.

This memoir, we have some reason to think, was drawn up for the preceding edition of this work, by his widow, a lady who claims some notice on her own account. She died | at Kensington, Nov. 4, 1800, leaving a character rather difficult to appreciate. In 1797, she published the “Poems” of her son George Monck Berkeley, esq. in a magnificent quarto volume, with a very long, rambling preface of anecdotes and remarks, amidst which she exhibits many traits of her own character. She was unquestionably a lady of considerable talents, but her fancy was exuberant, and her petty resentments were magnified into an importance visible perhaps only to herself. She had accumulated a stock of various knowledge, understood French perfectly and spoke it fluently. She likewise read Spanish and Hebrew, and always took her Spanish Prayer-book with her to church. This was but one of her peculiarities. In conversation, as in writing, she was extremely entertaining, except to those who wished also to entertain; and her stories and anecdotes, although given in correct and fluent language, lost much or their effect, sometimes from length, and sometimes from repetition. She had, however, a warm friendly heart, amidst all her oddities and her very numerous contributions to the Gentleman’s Magazine contain no small portion of entertainment and information. Her son, the above-mentioned George Monck Berkeley, published in 1789, an amusing volume of anecdote and biography, under the title of “Literary Kelics.1

1 Dr. Berkeley’s Sermons. —Gent. Mag. 1795, 1800, and 1793, p, 185,