Berkeley, Maurice Frederick Fitzhardinge (DNB00)

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BERKELEY, MAURICE FREDERICK FITZHARDINGE, Lord Fitzhardinge (1788–1867), admiral, second son of the fifth earl of Berkeley by his alleged private marriage [see Berkeley, Family of], was born 3 Jan. 1788. He entered the navy in June 1802, and after six years' service, for the most part in the West Indies or on the Newfoundland station, where his uncle. Vice-admiral G. C. Berkeley, was then commander-in-chief, was made lieutenant 9 July 1808. He was then appointed to the Hydra frigate, with Captain George Mundy, and actively employed on the east coast of Spain during the next eighteen months. In February 1810 he was appointed flag lieutenant to his uncle at Lisbon, and in the autumn had charge of a division of gunboats on the Tagus co-operating with the troops then holding the lines of Torres Vedras. He was promoted 19 Dec. 1810 to the command of the Vestal, in which he continued till the following November. He was posted 7 June 1814, and from 1828 to 1831 commanded the Semiramis frigate, flagship at Cork. In 1840–1 he commanded the Thunderer, 84, in the Mediterranean, and took part in the several operations on the coast of Syria, including the bombardment of St. Jean d'Acre, in acknowledgment of which he was made a C.B., and received the gold medal. With this his service at sea came to an end, though he became, in course of seniority, rear-admiral 30 Oct. 1849; vice-admiral 21 Oct. 1856; and admiral 15 Jan. 1862. On shore, however, he was closely occupied with naval affairs, and held a seat at the admiralty, with few and comparatively short interruptions, from 1833 to 1857. His longest absence from the board was from 1839 to 1846, when he gave up his seat in consequence of a difference with his colleagues on the subject of sending out men-of-war with the insufficient number of men proposed as a 'peace complement,' a practice which, as is now known, placed the English Mediterranean fleet in very serious jeopardy, and in condemnation of which Berkeley published 'A Letter addressed to Sir John Barrow, Bart., on the System of War and Peace Complements in her Majesty's Ships ' (21 pp. 8vo, 1839). With few intermissions he also represented the city of Gloucester in parliament from 1831 to 1857, though in 1833 and again in 1837 he was an unsuccessful candidate.

His elder brother, who had been created Baron Segrave (1831), and afterwards Earl Fitzhardinge (1841), died in 1857,and his titles became extinct. On this Admiral Berkeley put in a claim for the baronry of Berkeley, but failed to establish it. He was, however, raised to the peerage on 5 Aug. 1861 as Baron Fitzhardinge. When his younger brother Grantley [q. v.] published in 1865 some brutal reflections on his mother's character, Lord Fitzhardinge and his other brothers joined in drawing up a deservedly severe pamphlet, entitled 'Reply to some Passages in a Book entitled "My Life and Recollections, by the Hon. Grantley F. Berkeley."' Lord Fitzhardinge was twice married: first in 1828 to Lady Charlotte Lennox, daughter of the fourth duke of Richmond; second in 1834 to Lady Charlotte Moreton, daughter of the first earl of Ducie. He was nominated a privy councillor in 1855, was made a K.C.B. 5 July 1855, and G.C.B. 28 June 1861. He died 17 Oct. 1867.

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Gent. Mag. (1867), 4th ser. iv. 819.]

J. K. L.