Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/403

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Berry
Berry
399


to the Henrietta. In 1683 he was vice-admiral of the squadron which, under the command of Lord Dartmouth, was sent out to dismantle Tangier and bring home the garrison, and on his return was appointed one of the commissioners of the navy. In 1688 he commanded in the second post, under Lord Dartmouth, in the fleet intended to oppose the invasion from Holland, but when the crisis came the king shrank from the contest, and the officers of the fleet were left to accept the will of the people. The fleet was shortly afterwards laid up for the winter, and Berry returned to his duties in London, in which he appears to have introduced a strict adherence to routine that was then somewhat unusual and distasteful. His death, which took place at Portsmouth after a few days' illness, was attributed to poison; it might perhaps with greater probability be attributed to a pestilential fever caused by the filthy state of the town. He was buried in Stepney Church, where there is a monument to his memory. The date of his death is given on this as 14 Feb. 1691, that is 1691-2, but it appears by an admiralty minute of 22 March 1689-90 that he was then already dead.

[Campbell's Lives of the Admirals, ii. 524; Charnock's Biog. Nav. i. 143.]

J. K. L.

BERRY, MARY (1763–1852), authoress, was born 16 March 1763, at Kirkbridge in Yorkshire. Her younger sister, Agnes, was born there fourteen months afterwards, on 29 May 1764, and they were constantly together for nearly eighty-eight years. Their father, Robert Berry, was the nephew of a Scotch merchant, named Ferguson, who had thriven in trade in London, and by middle life had realised 300,000l., besides purchasing a considerable estate at Raith in Fifeshire. Robert, elder of the two sons of Ferguson's sister, entered his uncle's counting-house in Broad Street, Austin Friars. In 1762 he married a distant cousin, a Miss Seaton. His wife, after the birth of the two children, Mary and Agnes, died in 1767, aged 23, in childbed of a third who also died. Meanwhile Robert's younger brother, William, brought up in a mercantile house, had ingratiated himself with his uncle. Besides this, he had married a Miss Crawford, who brought him 5,000l. in money and two sons in the first two years of their marriage. Robert, having, on the contrary, had a portionless wife and two daughters, had to content himself with an income of 300l. a year and a dingy residence in Austin Friars. From the time of their mother's death, his infant children had been cared for by their grandmother, Mrs. Seaton, at Askham, in Yorkshire. Thence they were removed in 1770 to Chiswick, where they resided in the College House. Their governess at Chiswick was married in 1776. From that date the two girls were entirely self-educated. Their only religious instruction consisted in Mary reading aloud to her grandmother every morning one of the psalms, and every Sunday one of the Saturday papers from the 'Spectator.' In 1781 the uncle, Mr. Ferguson, died, aged 93, leaving to William Berry (who then took the name of Ferguson) 300,000l. in the funds and an estate worth from 4,000l. to 6,000l. a year in Scotland. Robert Berry had a bare legacy of 10,000l. William, however, settled on Robert an annuity of 1,000l. a year. In 1783 Robert Berry and his two young daughters went abroad to Holland, Switzerland, and Italy. The father, as Mary says of him, was chiefly remarkable for 'the odd inherent easiness of his character.' His daughter found that she must be a protecting mother to her sister, and a guide and monitor to her father. Mary Berry began at Florence, in 1783, the 'Journals and Correspondence,' completed seventy years later. After a long stay in Italy, her tour was completed by a return home through France to England in June 1786. Mary Berry and her sister Agnes, in the winter of 1788, first made the acquaintance of Horace Walpole, then more than seventy years of age. A letter, addressed to Lady Ossory, under date Strawberry Hill, 11 Oct. 1788, relates how he had just then willingly yielded himself up to their witcheries on meeting them at the house of his friend Lady Herries, wife of the banker in St. James's Street. Mary he speaks of as 'an angel both inside and out,' adding, in regard to them both, 'I do not know which I like best, except Mary's face, which is formed for a sentimental novel, but it is ten times fitter for a fifty times better thing genteel comedy.' An intimacy was then contracted between himself and the two sisters, which surpassed in tenderness on his part the most ardent affections of his youth. He lavished upon both every conceivable term of endearment, one while (17 April 1789) addressing the elder as 'Suavissima Maria,' and another (17 Oct. 1793) apostrophising the younger as 'my sweet lamb.' Writing to his 'twin wives,' as he calls them, in one letter he thanks them for a double missive from 'Dear Both,' adding, playfully, that 'its duplicity makes it doubly welcome;' and at another time ending with 'Adieu! mes Amours,' signs himself 'Horace Fondlewives.' He begins on 31 Oct. 1788 writing solely with an eye to their amusement, his ‘Reminiscences