Berenger, Richard (DNB00)

BERENGER, RICHARD (d. 1782), a man famous in his day for his charm in social life, held for many years the position of gentleman of the horse to George III. His father was Moses Berenger, a rich London merchant; his mother was Penelope, the fourth and youngest sister of Sir Richard Temple, first Lord Cobham. Both of his works in literature dealt with the horse and its rider. The first, entitled 'A new System of Horsemanship,' appeared in 1754, and was a translation from the French of Monsieur Bourgelat. The second, 'The History and Art of Horsemanship,' was published in 1771 in two volumes, and contained considerable historical information still not without interest to the student. Several minor poems by Berenger are in Dodsley's collection (vi. 271–6); and three essays, with a small poem on the 'Birthday of Shakespeare,' were contributed by him to the periodical called the 'World,' which has been included in many editions of the 'British Essayists.' Dr. Johnson once styled him the 'standard of true elegance;' but the assertion was met with the remark that Berenger resembled too closely the gentleman of Congreve's comedies. Hannah More styled him 'everybody's favourite,' and summed up his character as 'all chivalry, and blank verse, and anecdote.' Distinction in society has its pains as well as its pleasures. Berenger outlived his means, and was obliged for some years to confine himself to his official residence in the King's Mews, then a privileged place against the attacks of bailiffs. Chiefly through the assistance of Garrick, who sent him back his securities for 500l. with a donation of 300l., a composition was effected with his creditors. Berenger died in the King's Mews, London, 9 Sept. 1782.

[Gent. Mag. 1782, p. 455; Boswell's Johnson (1835), iii. 83, vii. 100. viii 68-7; John Taylor's Records of my Life, i, 325-8; Roberts's Life of H. More. i. 74. 77. 175; Garrick's Correspondence. ii. 297-8. 364-5.]

W. P. C.