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latter part of his life see his friends about to read without snatching the play out of their hands. The generosity of Mr. Hill did not cnd on this occa. sion; for afterwards, when Mr. Savage's necessities returned, he encouraged a subscription to a Miscellany of Poems in a very extraordinary manner, by publishing his story in the Plain Dealer *, with some affecting lines, which he asserts to have been written by Mr. Savage upon the treatment received by him from his mother, but of which he was himself the Author, as Mr. Savage afterwards declared. These lines, and the paper in which they were inserted, had a very powerful effect upon all but his mother, whom, by making her cruelty more public, they only hardened in her aversion.
Mr. Hill not only promoted the subscription to the Miscellany, but fur: nished likewise the greatest part of the Poems of which it is composed, and particularly The Happy Man, which he published as a specimen.
The subscriptions of those whom these papers should influence to patronize merit in distress, without any other solicitation, were directed to be left ar Button's coffee-house; and Mr. Savage going hither a few days afterwards, without expectation of any effect from his proposal, found to his surprise seventy guineas t, which had been sent him in consequence of the compas şion excited by Mr. Hill's pathetic representation.
To this Miscellany he wrote a Preface, in which he gives an account of his mother's cruelty in a very uncommon strain of humour, and with a gaiety, of imagination, which the success of his subscription probably produced.
The Dedication is addressed to the Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, whom he flatters without reserve, and, to confess the truth, with very little art 1. The same observation may be extended to all his Dedications: his compliments are constrained and violent, heaped together without the grace of order, or the decency of introduction; he seems to have writen his panegyrics
* The Plain Dealer was a periodical paper, written by Mr. Hill and Mr. Bond, whom Mr. Savage called the two contending powers of light and darkness. They wrote by turns each.six essays; and the character of the work was observed regularly w rise in Ms. Hill's weeks, and fall in Mt. Bourd's. Dr. J.
+ The names of those who so generously contributed to his relief, having beca mentioned in a former account; nught not to be omitted here. They were the Duchess of Cleveland, Lady Cheyney, Lady Castlemain, Lady Gower, Lady Lechmere, the Duchess Dowager and Duchess of Rutland, Lady Strafa ford, the Counters Dowager of Warwick, Mrs. Mar; Floyer, Mrs. Sufuel Noel, Duke of Rucland, Lord Gainsborough, Lord Milsington, Mr. John Savage, Dr. J,
This the filowing extract from it will prove : “ Since our country has been honoured with the glory of your wit, as elevated and immortal as your “! soul, it no longer remains a doubt whether your sex liave ítrength of mind in proportion to their tweeta “ nels. There is fomething in your veries as distinguished as your air..- They are as ftrong as truth, as " deep as reason, as clear as innocence, and as smooth as beauty.---They contain a nameless and peculiar “ mixture of force and grace, which is at once fu movingly serene, and so majestically lovely, that it is “ too amiable to appear any where but in your eyes and in your writings.
'As fortune is not more my enemy than I am the enemy of Hattery, I know not how I can forbear " this application to your Ladyship, because there is scarce a possibility that I should say more than I believe, when I am speaking of your I.cellence. Dra le
for the perusal only of his patrons, and to imagine that he had no other task than to pamper them with praises however gross, and that flattery would make its way to the heart, without the assistance of elegance or invention.
Soon afterwards, the death of the king furnished a general subject for a poetical contest, in which Mr. Savage engaged, and is allowed to have carried the prize of honour from his competitors: bur I know not whether he gained by his performance any other advantage than the increase of his res putation; though it must certainly have been with farther views that he prevailed upon himself to attempt a species of writing, of which all the topics had been long before exhausted, and which was made at once difficult by the multitudes that had failed in it, and those that had succeeded.
He was now advancing in reputation, and though frequently involved in very distressful perplexities, appeared however to be gaining upon mankind, when both his fame and his life were endangered by an event, of which it is not yer determined, whether it ought to be mentioned as a crime or a calamity,
On the 20th of November, 1727, Mr. Savage came from Richmond, where he then lodged, that he might pursue his studies with less interruption, with an intent to discharge another lodging which he bad in Westminster; and accidentally meeting two gentlemen his acquaintances, whose names were Merchant and Gregory, he went in with them to a neighbouring coffee-house, and sat drinking till it was late, it being in no time of Mr. Savage's life any part of his character to be the first of the company that desired to separate. He would willingly have gone to bed in the same house ; but there was nos room for the whole company, and therefore they agreed to ramble about the streets, and divert themselves with such amusements as should offer themselves till morning.
in this walk they happened unluckily to discover a light in Robinson's coffee-house, near Charing-cross, and therefore went in. Merebant with some rudeness demanded a room, and was told that there was a good fire in the next parlour, which the company were about to leave; being then paying their reckoning. Merchant, not satisfied with this answer, rushed into the room, and was followed by his companions. He then petulantly placed himself between the company and the fire, and soon after kicked down the table. This produced a quarrel, swords were drawn on both sides, and one Mr. James Sinclair was killed. Savage, hering likewise wounded a maid that held him, forced his way with Merchant out of the house; but being intimidated and confused, without resolution either to fly or stay, they were taken in a back-court by one of the company and some soldiers whom he had called to his assistance.
Being secured and guarded that night, they were in the morning carried before three justices, who committed them to the Gatehouse, from whence, upon the death of Mr. Sinclair, which happened in the same day, they were removed in the night to Newgate, where they were however treated with
some distinction, exempted from the ignominy of chains, and.confined, not among the common criminals, but in the Press-yard.
When the day of trial came, the court was crowded in a very unusual manner, and the public appeared to interest itself as in a cause of general
The witnesses against Mr. Savage and his friends were, the woman who kept the house, which was a house of ill fame, and her maid, the men who were in the room with Mr. Sinclair, and a woman of the town, who had been drinking with them, and with whom one of them had been seen in bed. They swore in general, ihat Merchant gave the provocation, which Savage and Gregory drew their swords to justify; that Sayage drety first, and that he stabbed Sinclair, when he was not in a posture of defence, or while Gregory commanded his sword ; that after he had given the thrust he turned pale, and would have retired, but the maid clung round him, and one of the company endeavoured to detain him, from whom he broke, by cutting the maid on the head, but was afterwards taken in a court.
"There was some difference in their deposition ; one did not see Savace give the wound, another saw it given when Sinclair held his point towards the ground; and the woman of the town asserted, that she did not see Sin: clair's sword at all: this difference however was very far from amounting to inconsistency ; but it was sufficient to shew, that the hurry of the dispute was such, that it was not easy to discover the truth with relation to particular circumstances, and that therefore some deductions were to be made from the credibility of the testimonies.
Sinclair had declared several times before his death, that he received his wound from Savage : nor did Savage at his trial deny the fact, but endeavoured partly to extenuate it, by urging the suddenness of the whole action, and the impossibility of an ill design, or premeditated malice, and partly to justify it by the necessity of self-defence, and the hazard of his own life, if he had lost that opportunity of giving the trust : he observed, that neither reason nor law obliged a man to wait for the blow which was threatened, and which if he should suffer it, he might never be able to return; that it was always allowable to pevent an assault, and to preserve life by taking away that of the adversary, by whom it was endangered.
With regard to the violence with which he endeavoured to escape, he declared, that it was not his design to fly from justice or decline a trial, but to avoid the expences and severities of a prison ; and that he intended to have appeared at the bar without compulsion.
This defence which took up more than an hour, was heard by the mula titude that thronged the court with the most attentive and respectful silence : those who thought he ought not to be acquitted, owned that applause could not be refused him ; and those who before pitied his misfortunes, now reverenced his abilities.
The witnesses which appeared against him were proved to be persons of characters which did not entitle them to much credit; a common strumpet, a woman by whom strumpets were entertained, and a man by whom they were supported ; and the character of Savage was by several persons of distinction asserted to be that of a modest inoffensive man, nct inclined to broils or to insolence, and who hal, to that time, been only known for his misfortunes and his wit.
Had his audiencebeen his judges, he had undoubtedly been acquiited ; but Mr. Page, who was then upon the bench, treated him with his usual insolence and scverity, and when he had summed up the evidence, endeavourate to exasperate the jury, as Mr. Savage used to relate it, with this elocucnt harangue:
Gentlemen of the jury, you are to consider that Mr. Savage is a very great man, å much greater man than you or I, gentlemen of the jury ;
that he weais very fine cioaths, much finer cloaths than you or I, gentleomen of the jury ; that he has abundance of money in his pocket, much • more money than you or I, gentlemen of the jury; but, gentlemen of the
jury, is it not a very hard case, gentlemen of the jury, that Mr. Savage • should therefore kiil you or me, gentlemen of the jury.'
Mr. Savage, hearing his defence thus misrepresented, and the men who were to decide his fate incited against him by invidious comparisons, resolutcly asserted, that his cause was net candidly explained, and began to recapitulate what he had before said with regard to his condition, and the necessity of endeavouring to escape the expences of imprisonment; but the judge having ordered him to be silent and repeated his orders without esfeci, commanded that he should be taken from the bar by forcé.
The jury then heard the opinion of the judge, that good characters were of no weight against positive evidence, though they might turn the scale where it was doubtful; and that though, when two men attack each other, the death of either is only mans laughter ; but where one is the aggressor, as in the case before them, and, in pursuance of his first attack kills the other, the law supposes the action, however sudden, to be malicious. They then deliberated upon their verdict, and determined that Mr. Savage and Mr. Gregory were guilty of murder; and Mr. Merchant, who had no sword, only of manslaughter.
Thus ended this niemorable trial, which lasted eight hours. Mr. Savage and Mr. Gregory were conducted back to prison, where they were more closely confined, and loaded with irons of fifty pounds weight; four days afterwards they were sent back to the court to receive sentence; on which occasion Mr. Savage made, as far as it could be retained in memory, the following speech:
“ It is now, my Loid, too late to offer ary thing by way of defence or " vindication ; nor can we expect from your Lordships, in this court, but " the schience which the last requires you, as judgrs, to pronounce against
men of our calamitous condition.-But we are also persuaded; that as
mere men, and out of this seat of rigorous justice, you are susceptive rf " the tender passions, and two luumane not to commiserate the unhappy situ“ation of those, whom the law sometimes perhaps - exacts - from you to
pronounce upon. No doubt you distinguish between offences which arise
out of premeditation, and a disposition habituated to vice or immorality, " and transgressions which were the unl:appy and unforeseen effects of ca" sual absence of reason, and sudden impulse of passion: we therefore hope
you will contribate all you can to an extension of that mercy, which the “ gentlemen of the jury have been pleased to show Mr. Merchant, who (al“ lowing facts as sworn against us by the evidence) has led us into this our
calamity. I hope this will not be as if we meant to reflect upon that gen« tleman, or remove any thing from us upon him, or that we repine the
more at our fate, because he has no participation of it: No, my Lord ! "For my part, I dectare nothing could more soften my griet, than to be “ without any companion in so great a misfortune *.” : 'Mr. Savage had now no hopes of life but from the mercy of the crown, which was very earnestly solicited by his friends, and which, with whatever difficulty the story may obtain belief, was obstructed only by his mother. • To prejudice the Queen against him, she made use of an incident, which was omitted in the order of time, that it might be mentioned together with the purpose which it was made to serve. Mr. Savage, when he had discovered his birth, had an incessant desire to speak to his mother, who always avoided him in publick, and refused him admission into her house. One evening walking, as it was his custom, in the streer that she inhabitel, he saw the door of her house by accident open ; he entered it, and, finding no person in the passage to hinder him, went up stairs to salute her. She discovered him before he entered her chamber, alarmed the family with the most distressful outcries, and when she had by her screams gathered them about her, ordered them to drive out of the house that villain, who had forced himself in upon her, and endeavoured to murder her. Savage, who had attempted with the most submissive tenderness to soften her rage, hearing her utter so detestable an accusation, thought it prudent to retire : and, I believe, 'never attempted afterwards to speak to her.
But, shocked as he was with her falsehood and her cruelty, he imagined that she intended no other use of her lye, than to set herself free from his embraces and solicitations, and was very far from suspecting that she would treasure it in her memory, as an instrument of future wickedness, or that she would endeavour for this fictitious assault to deprive him of his life.
But when the Queen was solicited for his pard in, and informed of the severe treatment which he had suffered from his juilge, she answered, that,
horever * Mr. Savage's Life.