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with Mr. Pope, with whom he continued to live in strict friendship during his life: and Swift, beside introducing him to Lord Berkeley of Stratton (to whom he dedicated his last-published • Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous') and other valuable characters, recommended him to the celebrated Earl of Peterborough, Embassador to the King of Sicily and the other Italian States, as Chaplain and Secretary.
At Leghorn, his Lordship’s well-known activity induced him to leave Berkeley with the greater part of his retinue behind him for upward of three months, while he discharged the business of his embassy in Sicily. In this city a little incident befel the new Chaplain, with the relation of which he used sometimes to amuse his friends. Basil Kennett, Chaplain to the English factory at Leghorn, the only place in Italy where the English service was tolerated by the government,* had requested him to preach for him one Sunday. The day following, as Berkeley was sitting in his chamber, a procession of priests in surplices, attended by other formalities, entered the room, and without taking the least notice of the wondering inhabitant marched quite round it, muttering certain prayers.
His fears immediately suggested to him, that this must be a visit from the Inquisition, who had heard of his having officiated before heretics without licence the day before: he was therefore delighted to learn that this was the season appointed by the Romish Calendar for so
* This favour had recently been obtained from the Grand Duke, at the particular instance of Queen Anne,
lemnly blessing the houses of all good catholics from rats and other vermin!
In August 1714,* he returned to England with Lord Peterborough; and his hopes of preferment through this channel expiring with the fall of Queen Anne's ministry, he some time afterward embraced an advantageous offer made him by Dr. St. George Ashe, Bishop of Clogher, of accompanying his son in a tour through Europe.
At Paris, having now more leisure than when he first passed through that city, he paid his respects to his rival in metaphysical sagacity, the illustrious Malbranche. He found him in his cell, cooking in a small pipkin a medicine for an inflammation upon his lungs. The conversation naturally turned on Berkeley's system of immaterialism, of which the other had received some knowledge from a translation recently published. But the issue of their debate proved tragical to Malbranche. In the heat of disputation, with the natural impetuosity of a man of parts and a Frenchman, he raised his voice so high, that he brought on a violent increase of his disorder, which carried him off in a few days. †
In this second excursion, Mr. Berkeley employed upward of four years; and, beside all the places
* Toward the close of this year, Berkeley had a fever; in describing the event of which to his friend Swift, Dr. Arbuthnot could not forbear indulging a little pleasantry on his system, October 19, 1714.-Poor philosopher Berkeley has now the idea of health, which was very hard to produce in him; for he had an idea of a strange fever on him so strong, that it was very hard to destroy it by introducing a contrary one.'
+ He died October 13, 1715.
usually visited by travellers in what is called the Grand Tour, explored some which are less frequented. In particular, he traversed Apulia (whence he addressed an accurate and entertaining account of the tarantula to Dr. Freind), Calabria, and the whole island of Sicily. This last country, indeed, engaged his attention so strongly, that he had industriously compiled very considerable materials for a Natural History of it: but unfortunately these, with a Journal of his transactions, were lost in the passage to Naples; nor could he be prevailed upon afterward to commit them a second time to paper. What an injury the literary world has sustained by this mischance, may in part be collected from the specimens still extant of his talent for lively description, in his letter to Mr. Pope concerning the island of Inarime,* dated Naples, October 22, 1717; and in another from the same city to Dr. Arbuthnot, giving an account of an eruption of Mount Vesuvius,
* Now Ischia, in the Bay of Naples.
+ His theory on the cause of volcanic phenomena, as communicated in conversation to his friends, was the following: All the remarkable volcanoes in the world,' he observed, were near the sea. It was his opinion, therefore, that a vacuum being made in the bowels of the earth by a vast body of inflammable matter taking fire, the water rushed in, and was converted into steam ; a simple cause, indeed, but sufficient (in his apprehension) to produce all the effects he assigned to it, as appears from Savery's fire-engine for raising water, and from the Æolipile. To subterraneous fires, also, he ascribed other great effects. These constantly burning, but altering their operation according to the various quantities or kinds of combustible materials they happen to meet with, send up exhalations more or less of this or that species, which diversely fermenting in the atmosphere produce uncertain variable winds and tempests," (Letter, dated Feb. 20, 1747). In another paper he quotes Count Tezzani of Catania, as
which he had the good fortune to have more than one opportunity of examining very minutely.
On his way homeward, he drew up at Lyons a curious tract De Motu, which he sent to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, the subject being proposed by that assembly; and committed it to the press, shortly after his arrival in London, in 1721. But from these abstruse speculations he was drawn away for a while by the humanity of his temper, and his concern for the public welfare, during the operation of the fatal South Sea Scheme in 1720. Upon this occasion, he employed his talents in writing. An Essay toward preventing the Ruin of Great Britain, which was printed at London in 1721.
Upon his return, Mr. Pope introduced him to Lord Burlington, who conceived a high esteem for him on account of his taste and skill in architecture; and recommended him to the Duke of Grafton, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This Nobleman took him over to his native island as one of his Chaplains, in 1721, after he had been absent thence upward of six years. He had been elected a Senior Fellow of his College, in 1717; and he now took the accumulated degrees of B.D. and D. D.
having referred to this cause the memorable earthquake of 1692, which of the 25,000 inhabitants of that city swallowed up 18,000; terra bollente di sotte in supra,
a sort of subsultive motion ever accounted the most dangerous.” This paper
he concludes with the following impressive paragraph : “ Britain is an islandmaritima autem maximè quatiuntur, saith Pliny; and in this island are many mineral and sulphureous waters. I see nothing in the natural constitution of London, or the parts adjacent, that should render an earthquake impossible, or improbable. Whether there be any thing in the moral state thereof, that should exempt it from that fear, I leave others to judge."
The year following, his fortune received a considerable increase from a very unexpected event. On his first visit to London, in 1713, Swift had introduced him to the family of Mrs. Esther Vanhomrigh (the celebrated · Vanessa'), and frequently took him to dine at her house. Some years before her death, this lady had removed to Ireland, and fixed her residence at Celbridge, a pleasant village in the neighbourhood of Dublin; probably, with a view of frequently enjoying the company of Dr. Swift. But finding herself disappointed in this expectation, and discovering the Dean's connexion with Stella, she cancelled the will which she had made in his favour, and left the whole of her fortune, amounting to nearly 80001. to be divided equally between her two executors, Mr. afterward Justice Marshal, and Dr. Berkeley. The Doctor received the news of this bequest from Mr. Marshal with great surprise; as he had never once seen the lady, who had honoured him with this proof of her esteem, from the time of his return to Ireland till her death.
In the discharge however of his trust as executor, he had an opportunity of showing that he by no means adopted the sentiments of his benefactress with regard to her original favourite.
Several letters, which had passed between Cadenus * and Vanessa, falling into his hands, he immediately committed them to the flames : not, because there was any thing criminal in them, for he frequently assured Dr. Delany and others of the contrary ; but he observed a warmth.
* The anagram of Decanus, or Dean; as Vanessa alludes to Vanhomrigh.