Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Berkeley, George

BERKELEY, Sir GEORGE (1819–1905), colonial governor, born in the Island of Barbados, West Indies, on 2 Nov. 1819, was eldest son of General Sackville Hamilton Berkeley, colonel of the 16th regiment of foot. The father, who descended from a branch of the family of the earls of Berkeley, served at the capture of Surinam in 1804, of the Danish Islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix in 1807, and of Martinique in 1809. Sir George's mother was Elizabeth Pilgrim, daughter of William Murray of Bruce Vale Estate, Barbados. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, which he entered on 3 July 1837, he graduated B.A. in 1842, and soon returned to the West Indies, where his active life was almost wholly passed. On 11 Feb. 1845 he was appointed colonial secretary and controller of customs of British Honduras and ex-officio member of the executive and legislative councils. While still serving in that colony he was chosen in 1860-1 to administer temporarily the government of Dominica, and on 8 July 1864 was appointed lieutenant-governor of the Island of St. Vincent. During his tenure of office in 1867 an Act to amend and simplify the legislature substituted a single legislative chamber for the two houses which had been in existence since 1763. He was acting administrator of Lagos from December 1872 to October 1873, when he was appointed governor in chief of the West Africa settlements (Sierra Leone, Gambia, Gold Coast, and Lagos). The Gold Coast and Lagos were soon erected into a separate colony (24 July 1874), and Berkeley was recalled, so as to allow of a new governor (of Sierra Leone and Gambia) being appointed at a reduced salary. While on his way home in June 1874 he was offered, and accepted, the government of Western Australia, but did not take up the appointment, being sent instead to the Leeward Islands as governor in chief. There he remained until 27 June 1881, when he retired on a pension. He was created C.M.G. on 20 Feb. 1874, and K.C.M.G. 24 May 1881.

Berkeley died unmarried in London on 29 Sept. 1905, and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.

[Colonial Office List, 1905; The Times, 2 Oct. 1905; Oliver's Hist. of the Island of Antigua, 1899, iii. 319; Hart's Army List, 1863; Dublin Univ. Matric. Book, 1837; Colonial Office Records.]

C. A.