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darkness after a moment, as if “the jaws of darkness had devoured it."
As might be expected, from his visits to Vesuvius, Berkeley formed a theory of volcanoes. He supposed "a vacuum to be made in the bowels of the earth by a vast body of inflammable matter taking fire, the water rushing in and being converted into steam; which simple cause was sufficient to produce all the wonderful effects of volcanoes.''** But, notwithstanding the opinion of Berkeley, the question still remains unsolved, whether the volcanic matter is thrown directly from the great reservoir of liquid fire in the centre of the earth, or whether the eruption proceeds from the infusion of water upon mere local accumulations of volcanic elements near the surface.
On his way back to England, Berkeley published, at Lyons, an essay upon a question proposed by the Royal Academy at Paris. The subject was, the principle and cause of motion. The tract is written in Latin, and is entitled, De Motu; sive de Motus Principio et Natura.
He published it in London in 1721. In this tract he arrives, with consummate art, at the same conclusion which he had already reached in his great metaphysical theory.
Fom his philosophical speculations he was diverted for a season, and finally altogether, by the development of the innate benevolence of his character. At this time the country had suffered severely from the South Sea Scheme, and Berkeley published a tract, in which he points out the prime causes of the national suffering and the remedies. He endeavors to show that intemperance, profligacy, luxury, irreligion, and immorality, in fine, the corruption of society, are the great sources of national evil, and that the regeneration of the nation can only be effected by moral and religious reform. There is no doubt of the general correctness of these conclusions in theory. But, practically, such appeals are attended with little effect. Berkeley's pure mind soars into the lofty regions of primary truths, and not only points to heaven, but leads the way. The practical and the possible, however, lie far below his high standard, for, as has been truly observed, " no one will mend his ways, because the nation might be improved by a general reform.”
Shortly after his return to England, Berkeley was introduced by Pope to the accomplished Earl of Burlington, whose name is familiar to the student of architecture. Berkeley had cultivated this art, and during his travels became acquainted with the first existing specimens. His knowledge of the subject, his enthusiasm, his learning, and his talents, excited the admiration of this nobleman, who introduced him, with strong encomiums, to the Duke of Grafton, who was about to go over, as Lord Lieutenant, to Ireland. The Duke appointed him his chaplain. Berkeley had by this time become a senior fellow of Trinity College, and now took his degree of Doctor in Divinity. In the following year he obtained a bequest, amounting to $20,000, from Miss Esther Vanhomrigh* (the Vanessa of Swift), who had made her will in favor of the Dean of St. Patrick's, but afterwards changed it, when she discovered the relation which existed between him and Miss Johnson (Stella). It is stated, on good authority, that Berkeley had only once met the unfortunate lady at dinner, and had not seen her since his return to Ireland. But he must have been well known to her by reputation, besides he was acquainted with the Vanhomrigh family in London, through the introduction of Swift ; and his pure, original character was well calculated to impress most favorably a lady so susceptible of such impressions. Berkeley, we are told, who was made one of the two executors of the will, received the news from the other executor, Mr. Marshall, with great surprise. A remarkable condition is said to have accompanied the bequest : that her executors should make public all the letters which had passed between the testatrix and Swift, as well as his celebrated poem of Cadenus and Vanessa. If such an injunction was ever given him, Berkeley disobeyed it, and burned the letters, though the poem was published soon after Miss Vanhomrigh's death, a circumstance which Roscoet deems to be in favor of the supposition. Every biographer of Swift, up to the time of Sir Walter Scott, has recorded either his censure or apology for Berkeley, on the ground that he disobeyed the injunction of his benefactress. But Scott shows, from an examination of the will, that it contains no such injunction. It is said,
• Not Mrs. Vanhomrigh (the widowed mother of Esther), as erroneously stated by Dr. Stock and other biographers.
† Roscoe's Life of Swift.
however, that she delivered copies of the letters, in her own handwriting, to Mr. Marshall, and strictly enjoined the publication, and that he was influenced by Berkeley to suppress the correspondence. It is probable that fear of the satirist had more weight with him, and that he did not care to bring on himself the lash of that pen from which Mr. Bettesworth, a particular friend of his, had lately smarted severely. After the Dean's death, he had serious thoughts of fulfilling the alleged intention of Vanessa, and with this view showed the letters to some friends, who made extracts. But his own death put a stop to the matter, though the mutilated extracts found their way to the public. We are assured by Dr. Delaney that there was nothing criminal in those letters, as, indeed, appears from the letters themselves, which have been given by Mr. Nichols and Sir Walter Scott, from the originals in possession of Mr. Berwick; but Berkeley observed a warmth in the lady's style, which delicacy required him to conceal from the public.*
In 1724, Berkeley was preferred by the Duke of Grafton to the deanery of Derry, one of the best then in Ireland, being worth $5,500 a year. But his lofty spirit was little influenced by money; for soon we find him offering to resign this deanery with its $5,500 per annum, for $500 per annum as president of an Indian college, which he proposed to found in the Bermudas, or the Summer Isles, as they were then called, with a view of " converting the savage Americans to Christianity.” While on his travels on the continent of Europe, he was captivated by the scenery of Italy, with which he associated visions of human happiness. The idea of a purer and better form of society, founded on the perfect basis of Christianity, was the natural offspring of such a mind as his, and it became the favorite project of his life. The splendor and the luxury, the pomp and vanity, which are the great objects of attraction to common minds, had no charms for him. By his enthusiastic zeal he enlisted, in aid of his Bermuda scheme, many persons who, for example, like the Dean of St. Patrick's, regarded it as visionary.
Addison and Steele also aided his views. It is told by Lord Bathurst that, at a dinner given by his Lordship to a literary club, it was agreed to banter Berkeley on his Ameri
can scheme. He took all that had been said with good humor, and, as his host afterwards, declared, " displayed his plan with such an astonishing and animating fire of eloquence and enthusiasm, that they were struck dumb, and, after some pause, rose all up together, with earnestness exclaiming, Let us set out immediately.'” Well, therefore, might Warburton write of him, “ He is a great man, and the only visionary I ever knew that was."
Such was the force of his disinterested example, that three fellows of Trinity College consented to give up their position and prospects at home and accompany him across the Atlantic, with the expectation of a salary of £40 per annum. In advocating his project, he did not rest its claims merely on the hope it held out of promoting Christianity, but its advantage to the government. At that time public lands in the island of St. Christopher’s, which had been ceded to England by the treaty of Utrecht, were about to be sold for the benefit of the government. Berkeley discovered that he could raise from them a much greater sum than was expeeted, and proposed that a part of the proceeds of the sale should be applied to the erection of his college. Through a Venetian of distinction, the Abbe Altieri, whom he had met in Italy, and who had access to the court of George I., he laid his proposal directly before the King. His Majesty directed his prime minister, Sir through the House of Commons, and, at the same time, granted a charter for å college, to be called St. Paul's in Bermuda. On the 11th of May, 1726, it was moved in the Commons “That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, that out of the lands in St. Christopher's, yielded by France to Great Britain by the treaty of Utrecht, bis Majesty would be graciously pleased to make such grant, for the use of the president and fellows of the College of St. Paul in Bermuda, as his Majesty shall think proper.
A debate took place on the motion, but none spoke against it except two commercial men. The comment of Berkeley was, that the mercantile interest feared lest America might become independent by the advance of civilization. The motion was carried, and the sum of £20,000 was accordingly promised by the Minister. But, to a man like Walpole, the scheme was a vision of Utopia, and such a sum of money a serious expenditure without any prospect of return; and had Berkeley been a man of the world, he might well
have distrusted the good faith of the Premier. But it is not the only instance in which men of vast intellect and profound learning have been deceived by the practised arts of shallow but wily and unprincipled politicians. Nor is Berkeley's the only example of superior minds, whose sphere is the closet and the library, proving themselves utterly in competent to the management of the practical affairs of life, To the enthusiasm and simplicity of the philosopher, the address of the House of Commons seemed decisive-the opposition of the Council, which was silenced and apparently set at rest, went for nothing.. Several private subscriptions were raised to promote “so pious an undertaking," as it is called in the King's answer to the address. Such a bright prospect of realizing his dream kindled the muse of Berkeley into a flame, and the poem, of which the verses quoted above are the conclusion, was the happy result.
In the mean time, Berkeley, in August, 1728, married Miss Anne Foster, eldest daughter of John Foster, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, of whom he writes to his friend Prior: “I am married, since I saw you, to Miss Foster, daughter of the late Chief Justice, whose humor and turn of mind please me beyond anything I knew in her whole sex.”
Accompanied by his wife, he set sail for America shortly after his marriage. The other companions of his voyage were his wife's friend, Miss Hancock, two gentlemen of fortune, named James and Dalton, and Smilert, the painter, who sketched on board, and afterwards finished,
the portraits of the group as they appeared in the cabin. This picture, which is now in the Trumbull gallery at Yale College, New Haven, marked the dawn of art in America, and with it associates the visit of Berkeley. Smilert was the first artist of merit who had ever trodden American soil. Before his arrival, nothing beyond a single figure had been produced. New England owes to him the portraits of many of her distinguished men. Thus did Berkeley draw to him men of talent and of noble nature.
The first land made by the ship which bore Berkeley to the New World was Rhode Island, but it is not certain whether this was by design or accident. It is believed by some that the visit was intentional, and that it was for the purpose of purchasing the lands there which were to sustain his Bermuda establishment. Others, however, are of a contrary opinion. It is said the captain was unable to discover the island of Bermuda, and then steered in a northerly direction, which course resulted in his reaching the coast in the