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John, Lord Berkeley

Sir John, Lord Berkeley (baptised February 1, 1606/7 - August 28, 1678), fifth and youngest son of Sir Maurice Berkeley, was born in 1607. He commanded the army against the Scots in 1638, and was knighted at Berwick in that year. He bore a conspicuous part in the civil wars that followed, supporting the royal cause; he became Governor of Exeter, and General of the King Charles I’s forces in Devon. He participated in the exile of the royal family, in 1652, and was placed at the head of the Duke of York’s establishment, having the management of all the Duke's receipts and expenditures. On May 19, 1658 he was raised to the Peerage, as Baron Berkeley of Statton, in the county of Somerset. On the restoration he became one of the Privy Council, and towards the close of 1669, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and administered the government for two years. In 1675 he was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary to Versailles, and died August 28th, 1678. Although holding so many distingnished offices some authorities assert that, at one time, he was ‘‘under a cloud,” in consequence of his being detected in selling of offices, and other corrupt practices. Pepys speaks of him as being esteemed “a fortunate, though a passionate, and but weak man as to policy,” and ‘‘the most hot, fiery man in discourse, without any cause,” he ever saw. The intimate relations existing between Berkeley and King Charles and the Duke of York, as shown in Pepys' illustrative diary, fully account for the granting to him an interest in New Jersey, as well as in Carolina, which he had previously received.


New Jersey Archives, First Series. Newark, NJ, 1880-1893., Volume 1, page 25.

Whitehead, William Adee, East Jersey under the proprietary governments. New York, New-Jersey historical society, 1846, page 103.

O'Callaghan, ed., Documents relating to the Colonial history of the State of New York, 1849 - 1851. Volume 2, page 599.

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