George Berkeley (died 1746)

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The Honourable George Berkeley (1693? – 29 October 1746) was a member of Parliament for Dover in 1720 and in the following two parliaments, and for Hedon, Yorkshire, in 1734.[1]

He was the fourth and youngest son of Charles Berkeley, 2nd Earl of Berkeley, and Elizabeth Noel.[2] (Elizabeth was the daughter of Baptist Noel, Viscount Campden, and the sister of Edward, first earl of Gainsborough.) He attended Westminster School from its foundation in 1708 and Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1711, graduating MA there in 1713.[3]

On 28 May 1723 he received an appointment as master keeper and governor of St Katharine's Hospital in London, and filled that post until his death. Pro-Walpole at first, Berkeley was alienated from him by his brother Lord Berkeley's dismissal from the post of First Lord of the Admiralty on the accession of George II, and switched loyalties to Pulteney.

He married Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk, on 26 June 1735, as her second husband and nine months after she ceased to be George II's mistress and – though they had no surviving children – the marriage was far happier than her first. He had probably met her through his sister Lady Elizabeth Germain, a friend of Henrietta, but the reasons for Henrrietta's choice of second husband were far from clear to court commentators. One of them, Lord Hervey, described him as:

neither young, handsome, healthy, nor rich, which made people wonder what induced Lady Suffolk's prudence to deviate into this unaccountable piece of folly: some imagined it was to persuade the world that nothing criminal had ever passed between her and the king, others that it was to pique the king. If this was her reason, she succeeded very ill in her design.[4]

However, in a letter from Elizabeth Germain to Jonathan Swift on 12 July 1735, Elizabeth described Lady Suffolk as

indeed four or five years older than [George]; but for all that he has appeared to all the world, as well as to me, to have long had (that is, ever since she has been a widow, so pray do not mistake me) a most violent passion for her, as well as esteem and value for her numberless good qualities.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 1, page 576.
  2. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 350. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  3. ^ "Berkeley, The Hon. George (BRKY711TH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ John, Lord Hervey, Some materials towards memoirs of the reign of King George II, ed. R. Sedgwick, new edn, 3 vols. (1952), 2.10
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Philip Papillon
Matthew Aylmer
Member of Parliament for Dover
1720–1734
With: Henry Furnese
Succeeded by
David Papillon
Thomas Revell
Preceded by
Harry Pulteney
William Pulteney
Member of Parliament for Hedon
17341741
With: Sir Francis Boynton, Bt 1734–1739
Harry Pulteney 1739–1741
Succeeded by
Francis Chute
Luke Robinson
Preceded by
Francis Chute
Luke Robinson
Member of Parliament for Hedon
1742–1746
With: Earl of Mountrath 1742–1744
George Anson from 1744
Succeeded by
George Anson
Samuel Gumley