Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Alberti, George William

ALBERTI, GEORGE WILLIAM (1723–1758), essayist, was born at Osterode am Harz in 1723, and studied philosophy and theology under Heumann and Oporin at Göttingen, where he graduated in 1745. He spent some years in England, where, besides the connection between Hanover and England, he may have had ancestral ties. (There was a George Alberti of Wadham College, M.A., 1631.) He became minister of Tundern in Hanover, and died there on 3 Sept. 1758. He published: 1. ‘Diss. de Pseudothaumaturgis Pharaonis,' 1744. 2. ‘De Imputabilitate Somni' (graduation thesis), 1745. 3. ‘Some Thoughts on the Essay on Natural Religion as opposed to Divine Revelation, said to be written by the celebrated Dryden, which is pretended to be the most formidable piece that has ever yet appeared against Revelation. Reprinted and answered by Alethophilus Gottingensis,' London, 1747 (this is dedicated to the Princess Augusta, with the initials G. W. A. M. A.; the piece to which it replies is certainly not by Dryden, though of his date; it is perhaps worth remarking, in correction of l'Abbé Glaire and others, that it has nothing whatever to do with Hume; it was first printed at the end of ‘A Summary Account of the Deists Religion: in a letter to . . . the late Dr. Thomas Sydenham,' 1745; the editor says ‘he is credibly informed by a gentleman of great learning and integrity ' that it was Dryden's work; it was replied to also in ‘An Essay on Atheism and Deism,' 1749). 4. ‘Aufr. Nachricht von der Rel. . . . der Quäker,' Hanover, 1750. 5. ‘Briefe betreffend den allerneuesten Zustand der Rel. und der Wissenschaften in Gross-Britannien,' Hanover, 1752–4.

[Allgem. Deutsche Biographie; Leland's Deistical Writers; tracts in Brit. Mus., catalogued under Deism; the pseudo-Dryden tract, with Alberti's reply, is reprinted in Saintsbury's new edition of Dryden.]

A. G.