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Berkeley, George (1693?-1746) (DNB00)


BERKELEY, GEORGE (1693?–1746), politician, born in or about 1693, was the fourth and youngest son of Charles, second earl of Berkeley. He was admitted to Westminster School on the foundation in 1708, and thence was elected to a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1711, where he graduated M.A. in 1713. He was elected in 1718 M.P. for Dover, which constituency he continued to represent in the two following parliaments. He sat for Hey don, Yorkshire, from the beginning of the parliament of 1734 until his death. He voted against the measures of Sir Robert Walpole. On 28 May 1723 he was appointed master-keeper and governor of St. Katharine's, near the Tower. He died on 29 Oct. 1746.

Late in life he married Henrietta, daughter of Sir Henry Hobart, and widow of Henry Howard, ninth earl of Suffolk. This lady was celebrated for her intimacy with George II. Her marriage with Berkeley took place about July 1735, some nine months after her rupture with the king, and their union was the subject of much merriment among the courtiers of that day. Lord Hervey (Memoirs, ii. 10-13) says: 'Mr. Berkeley was 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.' Berkeley seems to have been very gouty, but his age did not exceed forty-two at this time; and his sister, Lady Betty Germaine, in announcing the match to Dean Swift on 12 July 1735, remarks: 'She is indeed four or five years older than he; 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.'

[Walpole's George II, i. 154, 512; Swift's Works (Scott), 2nd ed. xviii. 347, 348, 359, 496; Welch's Alumni Westmon. (Phillimore), 250, 255, 257, 533, 544.]

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