Francis Henry Egerton Bridgewater, earl of, born Nov. 11, 1758, died in Paris, Feb. 11, 1829. He was the second cousin of the preceding, and the youngest son of John Egerton, bishop of Durham, grandson of John, 3d earl of Bridgewater, whose direct ancestor was Sir Thomas Egerton, lord chancellor of England. (See Egerton.) He graduated at Oxford in 1780, in which year his father appointed him a prebendary of Durham. His relative, the last duke of Bridgewater, presented him to valuable rectories in Shropshire in 1781 and 1797. His brother John succeeded to the earldom on the extinction of the dukedom of Bridgewater in 1803. Twenty years later Mr. Egerton himself became the eighth and last earl, dying a bachelor. He resided during the latter part of his life in Paris, where he was distinguished for his eccentricities. His house was nearly filled with cats and dogs; out of fifteen dogs, two were admitted to his table, and six, dressed up like himself, were frequently seen alone in his carriage, drawn by four horses and attended by two footmen. His own publications are a splendid edition of the "Hip-polytus" of Euripides, with scholia, notes, various readings, and a Latin version; a " Life of Lord Chancellor Egerton; " a "Letter to the Parisians on Inland Navigation; " and " Anecdotes " of his own family.
He bequeathed his manuscripts and autograph letters to the British museum, with £12,000, the interest of which was to be expended in taking care of and increasing them. Further, "by his will, dated Feb. 25, 1825, he left £8,000 to the president of the royal society, to be given to some person or persons named by him, who should write, print, and publish 1,000 copies of a work "on the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, as manifested in the creation." Mr. Davies Gilbert, who occupied the chair of the royal society when the earl died, decided that eight treatises, devoted to the illustration of separate branches of the subject, should be written. Thus originated the "Bridgewater Treatises," whose authors were Thomas Chalmers, D. D., John Kidd, M. D., William Whewell, D. D., Sir Charles Bell, Peter Mark Roget, M. D., William Buckland, D. D., the Rev. William Kirby, and William Prout, M. D. These works have had a large and continuous sale; and, by the terms of the bequest, the profits of the treatises are appropriated to their respective authors.
The earl's immense property, about £100,000 a year, in the first instance, came into possession of his kinsman, the duke of Sutherland. On his death in 1833, it devolved upon the duke's second son, Lord Francis Leveson Gower, who then took the name and arms of Egerton only, and was created Viscount Brackley and earl of Ellesmere in 1846.