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BERKELEY, BISHOP

Berkeley, and ten years later an earldom with the title of Fitzhardinge. He died without issue in 1857. His brother, Sir Maurice Fitzhardinge Berkeley, who succeeded to Berkeley under the terms of the 5th earl’s will, revived the claims, and was likewise given a new barony (1861) as Lord Fitzhardinge, a title in which he was succeeded by two of his sons, the 3rd baron (b. 1830) being in 1909 owner of the Berkeley and Cranford estates. The earldom of Berkeley was never assumed by the eldest legitimate son of the 5th earl, and was in 1909 enjoyed by Randal Thomas Mowbray Berkeley, 8th earl, grandson of admiral Sir George Cranfield Berkeley, second son of the 4th earl. In 1893 Mrs Milman (d. 1899), daughter and heir of Thomas Moreton Fitzhardinge Berkeley, 6th earl de jure, was declared by letters patent under the great seal to have succeeded to the ancient barony of Berkeley created by the writ of 1421; and she was succeeded by her daughter.

Many branches have been thrown out by this family during its many centuries of existence. Of these the most important descended from Maurice of Berkeley, the baron who died in Wallingford hold in 1326. His second son Maurice was ancestor of the Berkeleys of Stoke Giffard, whose descendant, Norborne Berkeley, claimed the barony of Botetourt and had a summons in 1764, dying without issue in 1770. Sir Maurice Berkeley of Bruton, a cadet of Stoke Giffard, was forefather of the Viscounts Fitzhardinge, the Lords Berkeley of Stratton (1658-1773) and the earls of Falmouth, all extinct, the Berkeleys of Stratton bequeathing their great London estate, including Berkeley Square and Stratton Street, to the main line. Edward Berkeley of Pylle in Somerset, head of a cadet line of the Bruton family, married Philippa Speke, whose mother was Joan, daughter of Sir John Portman of Orchard Portman, baronet. His grandson William, on succeeding to the Orchard Portman and Bryanston estates, took the additional name of Portman, and from him come the Viscounts Portman of Bryanston (1873). From James, Lord Berkeley, who died in 1463, descended Rowland Berkeley, a clothier of Worcester, who bought the estates of Spetchley. Rowland’s second son, Sir Robert Berkeley, the king’s bench justice who supported the imposition of ship-money, was ancestor of the Berkeleys of Spetchley, now the only branch of the house among untitled squires.

See John Smyth’s Lives of the Berkeleys, compiled c. 1618, edited by Sir John Maclean (1883-1885); J. H. Round’s introduction to the Somerset Domesday, V.C.H. series; G. E. C(okayne)’s Complete Peerage; Jeayes’s Descriptive Catalogue of the Charters and Muniments at Berkeley Castle (1892); Dictionary of National Biography; Transactions of Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 3 vols., viii., xlv., et passim; The Red Book of the Exchequer, Chronicles of Roger of Wendover, Matthew Paris, Adam of Murimuth, Robert of Gloucester, Henry of Huntingdon, &c. (Rolls Series); British Museum Charters, &c.

 (O. Ba.) 

BERKELEY, GEORGE (1685-1753), Irish bishop and philosopher, the eldest son of William Berkeley (an officer of customs who had, it seems, come to Ireland in the suite of Lord Berkeley of Stratton, lord lieutenant, 1670-1672, to whom he was related), was born on the 12th of March 1685, in a cottage near Dysert Castle, Thomastown, Ireland. He passed from the school at Kilkenny to Trinity College, Dublin (1700), where, owing to the peculiar subtlety of his mind and his determination to accept no doctrine on the evidence of authority or convention, he left the beaten track of study and was regarded by some as a dunce, by others as a genius. During his career at Dublin the works of Descartes and Newton were superseding the older text-books, and the doctrines of Locke’s Essay were eagerly discussed. Thus he “entered on an atmosphere which was beginning to be charged with the elements of reaction against traditional scholasticism in physics and in metaphysics” (A. C. Fraser). He became a fellow in 1707. His interest in philosophy led him to take a prominent share in the foundation of a society for discussing the new doctrines, and is further shown by his Common Place Book, one of the most valuable autobiographical records in existence, which throws much light on the growth of his ideas, and enables us to understand the significance of his early writings. We find here the consciousness of creative thought focused in a new principle which is to revolutionize speculative science. There is no sign of any intimate knowledge of ancient or scholastic thought; to the doctrines of Spinoza, Leibnitz, Malebranche, Norris, the attitude is one of indifference or lack of appreciation, but the influence of Descartes and specially of Locke is evident throughout. The new principle (nowhere in the Common Place Book explicitly stated) may be expressed in the proposition that no existence is conceivable—and therefore possible—which is not either conscious spirit or the ideas (i.e. objects) of which such spirit is conscious. In the language of a later period this principle may be expressed as the absolute synthesis of subject and object; no object exists apart from Mind. Mind is, therefore, prior both in thought and in existence, if for the moment we assume the popular distinction. Berkeley thus diverted philosophy from its beaten track of discussion as to the meaning of matter, substance, cause, and preferred to ask first whether these have any significance apart from the conscious spirit. In the pursuit of this inquiry he rashly invaded other departments of science, and much of the Common Place Book is occupied with a polemic, as vigorous as it is ignorant, against the fundamental conceptions of the infinitesimal calculus.

In 1707 Berkeley published two short mathematical tracts; in 1709, in his New Theory of Vision, he applied his new principle for the first time, and in the following year stated it fully in the Principles of Human Knowledge. In these works he attacked the existing theories of externality which to the unphilosophical mind is proved by visual evidence. He maintained that visual consciousness is merely a system of arbitrary signs which symbolize for us certain actual or possible tactual experience—in other words a purely conventional language.

The contents of the visual and the tactual consciousness have no element in common. The visible and visual signs are definitely connected with tactual experiences, and the association between them, which has grown up in our minds through custom or habit, rests upon, or is guaranteed by, the constant conjunction of the two by the will of the Universal Mind. But this synthesis is not brought forward prominently by Berkeley. It was evident that a similar analysis might have been applied to tactual consciousness which does not give externality in its deepest significance any more than the visual; but with deliberate purpose Berkeley at first drew out only one side of his argument. In the Principles of Human Knowledge, externality in its ultimate sense as independence of all mind is considered. Matter, as an abstract, unperceived substance or cause, is shown to be impossible, an unreal conception; true substance is affirmed to be conscious spirit, true causality the free activity of such a spirit, while physical substantiality and causality are held to be merely arbitrary, though constant, relations among phenomena connected subjectively by suggestion or association, objectively in the Universal Mind. In ultimate analysis, then, nature is conscious experience, and forms the sign or symbol of a divine, universal intelligence and will.

In 1711 Berkeley delivered his Discourse on Passive Obedience, in which he deduces moral rules from the intention of God to promote the general happiness, thus working out a theological utilitarianism, which may be compared with the later expositions of Austin and J. S. Mill. From 1707 he had been engaged as college tutor; in 1712 he paid a short visit to England, and in April 1713 he was presented by Swift at court. His abilities, his courtesy and his upright character made him a universal favourite. While in London he published his Dialogues (1713), a more popular exposition of his new theory; for exquisite facility of style these are among the finest philosophical writings in the English language. In November he became chaplain to Lord Peterborough, whom he accompanied on the continent, returning in August 1714. He travelled again in 1715-1720 as tutor to the only son of Dr St George Ashe (?1658-1718, bishop successively of Cloyne, Clogher and Derry). In 1721, during the disturbed state of social relations consequent on the bursting of the South Sea bubble he published an Essay towards preventing the Ruin of Great Britain, which shows the intense interest he took in practical affairs. In the same year he returned to Ireland as chaplain to the duke of Grafton, and was made