Not just another curious case of money left to the household pet: read on to the part describing just how sweetly Mr. Berkeley left his life.
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WILL OF MR. BERKELEY.
A singular will was that of Mr. Berkeley, an Englishman of fortune, who died on the 5th May, 1805, at Knightsbridge. By this instrument he left a pension of twentyfive pounds to four of his dogs, having a particular affection for that species. Someone having observed to him that a portion of the sums he spent on them would be better employed in relieving his fellow-men, he replied: "Men have attempted my life, whereas it was to a dog that I owe I am alive." And, indeed, it appeared that during a journey through France and Italy this gentleman, being attacked by brigands, had been protected and saved by his dog; the four animals he pensioned by his will were the descendants of this faithful and serviceable friend. His steward was charged to spend the whole amount on the dogs and to reserve nothing for himself; and the testator entered into the most minute particulars as to its expenditure. Feeling his end near, Mr. Berkeley desired that two armchairs might be brought to his bedside, and his four dogs seated on them, received their last caresses, which he returned with the best of his failing strength, and died in their paws.
By an article in his will he orders that the busts of his four dogs, descendants of the dog who saved his life, should be carved in stone and placed at the four corners of his tomb.
- from Curiosities of the search-room: a collection of serious, and whimsical wills, Mrs. Wm. Pitt Byrne (London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1880)p. 194-5.