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however unjustifiable might be the manner of his trial, or whatever extentåtion the action for which he was condemned might admit, she could not think that man a proper object of the King's mercy, who had been capable of entering his mother's house in the night, with an intent to murder her.

By whom this atrocious calumny had been transmitted to the Queen; whether she that invented had the front to relate it ; whether she found any one weak enough to credit it, or corrupt enough to concur with her in her hateful design, I know not : but methods had been taken to persuade the Queen so strongly of the truth of it, that she for a long time refused to hear any one of those who petitioned for his life.

Thus had Savage perished by the evidence of a bawd, a strumpet, and his mother, had not justice and compassion procured him an advocate of rank too great to be rejected unheard, and of virtue too eminent to be heard without being believed. His merit and his calamities happened to reach the ear of the Countess of Hertford, who engaged in his support with all the tenderness that is excited by pity, and all the zeal which is kindled by generosity; and, demanding an audience of the Queen, laid before her the whole series of his mother's cruelty, exposed the improbability of an accusation by which he was charged with an intent to commit a murder that could produce no advantage, and soon convinced her how little his former conduct could deserve to be mentioned as a reason for extraordinary severity.

The interposition of this Lady was so successful, that he was soon after admitted to bail, and, on the 9th of March, 1728, pleaded the King's pardon. · It is natural to enquire upon what motives his mother could persecute him in a manner so outrageous and implacable ; for what reason she could employ all the arts of malice, and all the snares of calumny, to take away the life of her own son, of a son who never injured lier, who was never supported by her expence, nor obstructed any prospect of pleasure or advantage : why she should endeavour to destroy him by a lyema lye which could not gain credit, but must vanish of itself at the first moment of examination, and of which only this can be said to make it probable, that it may be observed from her conduct, that the most execrable crimes are sometimes committed without apparent temptation.

This mother is still alive *, and may perhaps even yet, though her malice was so often defeated, enjoy the pleasure of reflecting, that the life, which she often endeavoured to destroy, was at last shortened by her maternal offices ; that though she could not transport her son to the plantations, bury him in the shop of a mechanic, or hasten the hand of the public executioner, she has yet had the satisfaction of embittering all his hours, and forcing him into exigencies that hurried on his death.

It is by no means necessary to aggravate the.enormity of this woman's conduct, by placing it in opposition to that of the Countess of Hertford; no

* She died Oct. II, 1753, at her house in Old Bond Street, aged above foutscore.

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one can fail to observe how much more amiable it is to relieve than to oppress, and to rescue innocence from destruction, than to destroy without an injury.

Mr. Savage, during his imprisonment, his trial, and the time in which he lay under sentence of death, behaved with great firmness and equality of mind, and confirmed by his fortitude the esteem of those who before admired him for his abilities *. The peculiar circumstances of his life were made more generally known by a short accountt, which was then published, and of which several thousands were in a few weeks dispersed over the nation : and the compassion of mankind operated so powerfully in his favour, that he was enabled by frequent presents, not only to support himself, but to assist Mr. Gregory in prison ; and when he was pardoned and released, he found the number of his friends not lessened.

The nature of the act for which he had been tried was in itself doubtful; of the evidences which appeared against him, the character of the man was not unexceptionable, that of the women notoriously infamous; she, whose testimony chiefly influenced the jury to condemn him, afterwards retracted ber assertions. He always hișnsell denied that he was drunk, as had been generally reported. Mr. Gregory who is now (1744) Collector of Antigua, is said to declare him far less criminal than he was imagined; even by some who favoured him; and Page himself afterwards confessed, that be had treated him with uncommon rigour. When all these particulars are rated together, perhaps the memory of Savage may not be much sullied by his trial.

Some time after he obtained his liberty, he met in the street the woman that had sworn with so much malignity against him. She informed him, that she was in distress, and, with a degree of confidence not easily attainable, desired him to relieve her. He, instead of insulting her misery, and taking pleasure in the calamities of one who had brought his life into danger, reproved her gently for her perjury; and changing the only guinea that he had, divided it equally between her and himself.

This is an action which in some ages would have made a saint, and perhaps in others a hero, and which, without any hyperbolical encomiums, must be allowed to be an instance of uncommon generosity, an act of complicated virtue ; by which he at once relieved the poor, corrected the vici

* It appears that during his confinement he wrote a letter to his mother, which he sent to Theophilus Cibber, that it might be transmitted to her through the means of Mr. Wilks. In his Letter to Cibber he says" as to death, I am casy, and meet it like a man-all that touches me is the concern of my friends, and a reconcilement with my mother I cannot express the agony I felt when I wrote the Letter to her--if you can find any decent excuse for shewing it to Mrs. Oldfield, do ; for I would have all my friends (and that admirable lady in particular) be satisfied I have done my duty towards im Ds. Young to-day sent me a letter, most passionately kind. E.

* Written by Mr. Beokingham and another gentleman. Dr. J.

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ous, and forgave an enemy; by which he at once remitted the strongest provocations, and exercised the most ardent charity.

Compassion was indeed the distinguishing quality of Savage ; he never appeared inclined to take advantage of weakness, to attack the defenceless, or to press upon the falling: i u hoever was distressed was certain at least of Lis good wishes; and when he could give no assistance to extricate them from misfortunes, he endeavoured to sooth them by sympathy and tenderness.

But when his heart was not sostened by the sight of misery, he was sometimes obstinate in his resentmeni, and did not quickly lose the remembrance of an injury. Ile always continued to speak with anger of the insolence and partiality of l'age, and a short time before his death revenged it by a satire *.

It is natural to enquire in what terms Mr. Savage spoke of this fatal ac1.on, when the danger was over, and he was under no 'necessity of using any art to set liis conduct in the fairest lighi. ""Ile was not willing to dwell upon

it; and, if he transiently mentioned it, appeared neither to consider limself as a murderer, nor as a man'wholly free from the quilt of blood t. Jlow much and how long he 'regretted it, appeared in a poem which he 1 ublished many years afterwards. On occasion of a copy of verses, in

bich the failings of good men were recounted, and in which the author endeavoured to illustrate luis position, that “ the best may sometimes deviate from virtue,” by an instance of murder committed by Savage in the heat of wine, Savage remarked, that it was no very just representation of a good man, to suppose him liable țo drunkenness, and disposed in his riots to cut throats,

He was now indeed at liberty, but was, as before, without any other supportahan accidental favours a.d uncertain patronage afforded him ; sources by which he was sometimes very liberally supplied, and which at other times were suddenly stopped; so that he spent his life between want and plenty; or, what was yet worse, between beggary and extravagance; tor as whatever he received was the gift of chance, which might as well favour him aç one time as another, he was tempted to squander what he had, because he always loped to be immediately supplied.

Another cause of his profusion was the absurd kindness of his friends, who at once rewarded and enjoyed his abilities, by treating him at taverns, and habituațing him to pleasures which he could not afford to enjoy, and which he was not able to deny himself, though he purchased the luxury of #single night by the anguish of cold and hunger for a week.

The experience of these inconveniences determined him to endeavour after some settled income, which, having long found submission and intreaties fruitless, le attempted to extort from his mother by rougher inethods. IIe

* Printed in the Present collection.'
$ wone gi li. lettcis hc styles ii a fatal quarrel, but too well known," Dr, ,

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had now, as he acknowledged, lost that tenderness for her, which the whole series of her cruelty had not been able wholly to repress, till he found, by the efforts which she made for his destruction, that she was not content with refusing to assist him, and being neutral in his struggles with poverty, but was as ready to snatch every opportunity of adding to his misfortunes, and that she was now to be considered as an enemy implacably malicious, whom nothing but his blood could satisfy. He therefore threatened to harrass her with lampoons, and to publish a copious narrative of her conduct, unless she consented to purchase an exemption from infamy, by allowing him a pension.

This expedient proved successful. Whether shaine still survived, though virtue was extinct, or whether her relations had more delicacy than herself, and imagined that some of the darts which satire might point at her would glance upon them; Lord Tyrconnel, whatever were his motives, upon his promise to lay aside his design of exposing the cruelty of his mother, received him into his family, treated him as his equal, and engaged to allow him a pension of two hundred pounds a year.

This was the golden part of Mr. Savage's life ; and for some time he had no reason to complain of fortune ; his appearance was splendid, his expences large, and his acquaintance extensive. He was courted by all who endeavoured to be thought men of genius, and caressed by all who valued themselves upon a refined taste. To admire Mr. Savage, was a proof of discernment; and to be acquainted with him, was a title to poetical reputation. His presence was sufficient to make any place of publick entertainment popular ; and his approbation and example constituted the fashion. So powersul is genius, when it is invested with the glitter of affluence! Men willingly pay to fortune that regard which they owe to merit, and are pleased when they have an opportunity at once of gratifying their vanity, and practising their duty.

This interval of prosperity furnished him with opportunities of enlarging his knowledge of human nature, by contemplating life from its highest gradations to its lowest; and, had he afterwards applied to dramatick poetry, he would perhaps not have had many superiors ; for as he never suffered any scene to pass before his eyes without notice, he had treasured in his mind all the different combinations of passions, and the innumerable mixtures of vice and virtue, which distinguish one character from another; and as his conception was strong, his expressions were clear, he easily received inpressions from objects, and very forcibly transmitted them to others.

Of his exact observations on human life he has left a proof, which would do honour to the greatest names, in a small pamphlet, called, The Author to be let *, where he introduces Iscariot Hackney, a prostitute scribbler, giving an account of his birth, his education, his disposition and morals, habits of * Printed ia liis Works, vol. II. p. 231.

life, and maxims of conduct. In the introduction are related many secret histories of the petty writers of that time, but sometimes mixed with ungenerous reflections on their birth, their circumstances, or those of their relations ; nor can it be denied, that some passages are such as Iscariot Hackney might himself have produced.

He was accused likewise of living in an appearance of friendship with some whom he satirised, and of making use of the confidence which he gained by a seeming kindness to discover failings and expose them: it must be confessed, that Mr. Savage's esteem was no very certain possession, and that he would lampoon at one time those whom he had praised at another.

It may be alledged, that the same man may change his principles; and that he, who was once deservedly commended, may be afterwards satirised with equal justice, or that the poet was dazzled with the appearance of virtue, and found the man whom he had celebrated, when he had an opportunity of examining him more narrowly, unworthy of the panegyrick which he had too hastily bestowed; and that, as a false satire ought to be recanted, for the sake of him whose reputation may be injured, false praise ought likewise to be obviated, lest the distinction between vice and virtue should be lost, lest a bad man should be trusted upon the credit of his encomiast, or lest others should endeavour to obtain the like praises by the same means.

But though these excuses may be often plausible, and sometimes just, they are very seldom satisfactory to mankind; and the writer, who is not constant to his subject, quickly sinks into contempt, his satire loses its force, and his panegyrick its value, and he is only considered at one time as a flatterer, and as a calumniator at another.

To avoid these imputations, it is only necessary to follow the rules of virtue, and to preserve an unvaried regard to truth. For though it is undoubtedly possible that a man, however cautious, may be sometimes deceived by an artful appearance of virtue, or by false evidences of guilt, such errors will not be frequent; and it will be allowed, that that the name of an author would never have been made contemptible, had no man ever said what he did not think, or misled others but when he was himself deceived.

The Author to be let was first published in a single pamphlet, and afterwards inserted in a collection of pieces relating to the Dunciad, which were addressed by Mr. Savage to the Earl of Middlesex, in a * dedication which he was prevailed upon to sign, though he did not write it, and in which there are some positions, that the true author would perhaps not have published under his own name, and on which Mr. Savage afterwards reflected with no great satisfaction; the enumeration of the bad effects of the uncontrouled freedom of the press, and the assertion that the “ liberties taken ♡ by the writers of Journals with their superiors were exorbitant and unjusa * Sce his Works, vol. II. p233.

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