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Bernard, Sir Thomas

BERNARD, SIR THOMAS, Bart. (1750-1818), English social reformer, was born at Lincoln on the 27th of April 1750, the younger son of Sir Francis Bernard, 1st bart. (1711-1779), who as governor of Massachusetts Bay (1760-1770) played a responsible part in directing the British policy which led to the revolt of the American colonies. On the death of his elder brother in 1810, Bernard succeeded to the baronetcy conferred on his father in 1769. His early education was obtained in America, partly at Harvard, in which college his father took a great interest. He then acted as confidential secretary to his father during the troubles which led (1769) to the governor's recall, and accompanied Sir Francis to England, where he was called to the bar, and practised as a conveyancer. He married a rich wife, and acquired a considerable fortune, and then devoted most of his time to social work for the benefit of the poor. He was treasurer of the Foundling Hospital, in the concerns of which he took an important part. He helped to establish in 1796 the "Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor," in 1800 a school for indigent blind, and in 1801 a fever institution. He was active in promoting vaccination, improving the conditions of child labour, advocating rural allotments, and agitating against the salt duties. He took great interest in education, and with Count Rumford he was an originator of the Royal Institution in London. He died without issue on the 1st of July 1818.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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