Bernard was born on 27 April 1750 in Lincoln, and died at Leamington Spa on 1 July 1818. He was the third son of Sir Francis Bernard, the penultimate royal governor of Massachusetts. Educated at Harvard College in Massachusetts (AB 1767, AM 1770), he studied under Professor John Winthrop, astronomer and member of the Royal Society, gaining from his mentor a keen interest in the practical applications of science. In 1770, shortly after colonial unrest led to the recall of Governor Bernard, he followed in his father's footsteps by reading law at the Middle Temple. Ten years later he was called to the bar, after which he practised conveyancing for over twenty years, holding simultaneously two War Office posts, Commissary-General of Musters and Agent and Solicitor of Invalids. Although essentially retired from the law after 1795, he continued to hold the Invalid Office post until 1806 when it passed to his nephew, Francis Bernard-Morland. Although the Bishop of Durham, Shute barrington made him diocesan chancellor in 1801, he was effectively a full-time philanthropist from 1795 until his death in 1818. He inherited the baronetcy from his elder brother, Sir John Bernard, in 1810.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.