Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/353

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Berkeley
Berkeley
349

ledge' in 1710. Berkeley was disappointed by the reception of his works. His friend Sir John Percival, afterwards Earl of Egmont, reported to him the criticisms of various metaphysical authorities, especially Clarke and Whiston (see Fraser's Berkeley, in Blackwood's Philosophical Classics). They compared him to Malebranche and Norris, regretting the waste of 'extraordinary genius' upon metaphysics, and regarding him as paradoxical and visionary. Clarke, whilst condemning Berkeley's first principles, declined to argue the point, though urged by Whiston (Memoirs of Clarke) to give an answer. Berkeley, moved by this neglect, and desiring to meet the ordinary objections, wrote the 'Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous,' published in 1713, the finest specimen in our language of the conduct of argument by dialogue. Berkeley's opinions made some noise, though few or no converts, and occasioned no serious discussion. Meanwhile he was promoted to various college offices. He was a tutor from 1707 to 1724, though after 1712 only in name; he was appointed sub-lecturer in 1710, elected junior dean in 1710 and 1711, and junior Greek lecturer in 1712. His whole college income is estimated at 40l. a year.

In January 1713 Berkeley went to England, obtaining leave of absence on the ground of ill-health and being anxious to publish his ' Dialogues ' and 'make acquaintance with men of merit.' He speedily became known to the wits. Steele received him warmly. He associated with Addison, Pope, and Arbuthnot. He describes Arbuthnot as being favourable to his new theory, though in a letter to Swift (19 Oct. 1714) Arbuthnot jokes rather disrespectfully about 'poor philosopher Berkeley,' who has now tne ' idea of health ' which was struggling hard with the 'idea of a strange fever.' Addison, too, showed some favour to the new opinions, and either now or soon afterwards arranged a meeting with Clarke. The discussion was fruitless, and Berkeley complained that Clarke, though unable to answer, was not candid enough to own himself convinced. Berkeley contributed some papers to the 'Guardian,' under Steele's editorship. Swift., now Steele's bitter antagonist, did his best to help his young countryman. He introduced Berkeley to Lord Berkeley of Stratton on 12 April 1713 (Journal to Stella) and to the famous Lord Peterborough. Peterborough was sent as ambassador to the king of Sicily in November 1713, and upon Swift's recommendation took Berkeley as his chaplain. Berkeley left London in November 1713, travelled to Paris in company with Martin (author of the 'Voyage to St. Kilda'), and, after a month at Paris, crossed the Mont Cenis on 1 Jan. 1713-4, and reached Leghorn in Februarv, where he was left whilst Peterborough went to Sicily. From Leghorn he addressed a complimentary letter to Pope (1 May 1714) upon the 'Rape of the Lock,' and soon afterguards returned to England, reaching London in August. The death of Queen Anue deprived Berkeley's friends of power. The publication of a sermon on passive obedience in 1712, preached at Trinity College Chapel, had exposed him to a suspicion of Jacobitism—unjustly, for he advocates a general principle equally applicable to the new dynasty; but the lords justices not unnaturally made a 'strong representation against him,' and he could obtain no appointment. He spent two years mainly in London (Fraser's Berkeley, p. 108), and in November 1716 he again went abroad as tutor to St. George Ashe, son of Bishop St. George Ashe [q. v.] These dates disprove a story told by his biographer, Stock, and frequently repeated. Berkeley, it is said, had a discussion with Malebranche in Paris, and the rival philosopher became so excited that an inflammation of the lungs from which he was suffering was increased, and carried him off a few days after. Malebranche, however, died on 13 Oct. 1715, whilst Berkeley was still in England. Berkeley's travels lasted four years, though Bishop Ashe, the father of his pupil, died in 1718. A framentary diary shows that he passed 1717 in Rome, Naples, and Ischia. From Naples he wrote an interesting description to Pope of the island Inarime. In 1718 he was chiefly in Rome. His journals show a lively interest in natural phenomena as well as in antiquities. He is specially interested in stories about the bite of the tarantula. He wrote to Arbuthnot a graphic account of an eruption of Vesuvius in April 1717, which was published in the 'Philosophical Transactions' for October 1717. In 1719 it seems probable that he made a pedestrian excursion in Sicily (see Warton's Essay on Pope, ii. 198). During these travels he lost the manuscript of a second part of his treatise. On his way home through France he wrote a Latin essay, 'De Motu,' suggested lay a prize ottered by the French Academy. If ever presented, it was unsuccessful, the prize being given to Crousaz. Berkeley published his essay in London in 1721. Berkelev returned to London in 1720 to find the nation under the unprecedented excitement of the South Sea scheme. Paroxysms of speculation were then new, and to Berkeley the spectacle seemed to be symptomatic of a fatal development of luxury and