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to utter, or even harbour, the least resentment against Mrs. Read. I believe she has ruined me, but I freely forgive her; and, though I will never more have any intimacy with her, I would, at a due distance, rather do her an act of good than ill-will. Lastly, (pardon the expression) I absolutely command you not to of fer me any pecuniary assistance, nor to attempt getting me any from any one of your friends. At another time, or on any other occasion, you may, dear friend, be well assured, I would rather write to you in the submissive style of a request, than that of a peremptory command.
"However, that my truly valuable friend may not think I am too proud to ask a favour, let me intreat you to let me have your boy to attend me this day, not only for the sake of saving me the expense of porters, but for the delivery of some letters to people whose names I would not have known to strangers.
"The civil treatment I have thus far met from those whose prisoner I am, makes me thankful to the Almighty, that though he has thought fit to visit me, on my birth-night, with affliction, yet (such is his great goodness!) my affliction is not without alleviating circumstances. 1 murmur not; but am all resignation to the divine will. As to the world, I hope that I shall be endued by Heaven with that presence of mind, that serene dignity in misfortune, that constitutes the character of a true nobleman; a dignity far beyond that of coronets; a nobility arising from the just principles of philosophy, refined and exalted by those of christianity."
He continued five days at the officer's, in hopes that he should be able to procure bail, and avoid the necessity of going to prison. The state in which he passed his time, and the treatment which he received, are very justly ex-pressed by him in a letter which he wrote to a friend: "The whole day," says he, " has been employed in various people's filling my head with their foolish chimerical systems, which has obliged me coolly (as far as nature will admit) to digest and accommodate myself to every different person's way of thinking; hurried from one wild system to another, till it has quite made a chaos of my imagination, and nothing done promised-disappointed-ordered to send, every hour, from one part of the town to the otl.er
When his friends, who had hitherto caressed and applauded him, found that to give bail and pay the debt was the same, they all refused to preserve him from a prison at the expense of eight pounds; and therefore, after having been for some time at the officer's house, " at an immense expense," as he observes in his letter, he was at length removed to Newgate.
This expense he was enabled to support by the generosity of Mr. Nash at Bath, who, upon
receiving from him an account of his condition, immediately sent him five guineas, and promised to promote his subscription at Bath with all his interest.
By his removal to Newgate, he obtained at least a freedom from suspense, and rest from the disturbing vicissitudes of hope and disappointment: he now found that his friends were only companions, who were willing to share his gayety, but not to partake of his misfortunes; and therefore he no longer expected any assistance from them.
It must, however, be observed of one gentleman, that he offered to release him by paying the debt; but that Mr. Savage would not consent; I suppose, because he thought he had before been too burdensome to him..
He was offered by some of his friends that a collection should be made for his enlargement: but he "treated the proposal," and declared* "he should again treat it with disdain. As to writing any mendicant letters, he had too high a spirit, and determined only to write to some ministers of state to try to regain his pension."
He continued to complaint of those that had sent him into the country, and objected to them, that he had "lost the profits of his play, which had been finished three years ;" and in another letter declares his resolution to publish a pamphlèt, that the world might know how “he had been used."
This pamphlet was never written; for he in a very short time recovered his usual tranquillity, and cheerfully applied himself to more inoffensive studies. He indeed steadily declared, that he was promised a yearly allowance of fifty pounds, and never received half the sum; but he seemed to resign himself to that as well as to other misfortunes, and lose the remembrance of it in his amusements and employ
The cheerfulness with which he bore his confinement appears from the following letter, which he wrote January the 30th, to one of his friends in London.
"I now write to you from my confinement in Newgate, where I have been ever since Monday last was se'nnight, and where I enjoy myself with much more tranquillity than I have known for upwards of a twelvemonth past; having a room entirely to myself, and pursuing the amusement of my poetical studies, uninterrupted, and agreeably to my mind. I thank the Almighty, I am now all collected in myself; and, though my person is in confinement, my mind can expatiate on ample and useful subjects with all the freedom imaginable. I am now more conversant with the Nine than ever,
* In a letter after his confinement.-Dr. J. + Letter, Jan. 15.
In another letter he observes, that he ranges from one subject to another, without confining himself to any particular task: and that he was employed one week upon one attempt, and the next upon another.
Surely the fortitude of this man deserves, at least, to be mentioned with applause; and, whatever faults may be imputed to him, the virtue of suffering well cannot be denied him. The two powers which, in the opinion of Epictetus, constituted a wise man, are those of bearing and forbearing; which it cannot indeed be affirmed to have been equally possessed by Savage; and indeed the want of one obliged him very frequently to practise the other.
ing a poem called "London and Bristol delineated."*
When he had brought this poem to its present state, which, without considering the chasm, is not perfect, he wrote to London an account of his design, and informed his friend,+ that he was determined to print it with his name; but enjoined him not to communicate his intention to his Bristol acquaintance. gentleman, surprised at his resolution, endeavoured to dissuade him from publishing it, at least from prefixing his name; and declared, that he could not reconcile the injunction of secrecy with his resolution to own it at its first appearance. To this Mr. Savage returned an answer, agreeable to his character, in the following terms:
"I received yours this morning; and not without a little surprise at the contents. answer a question with a question, you ask me concerning London and Bristol, why will I add He was treated by Mr. Dagge, the keeper of delineated? Why did Mr. Woolaston add the the prison, with great humanity; was supported same word to his Religion of Nature?' I by him at his own table, without any certainty suppose that it was his will and pleasure to add of recompense; had a room to himself, to which it in his case; and it is mine to do so in my he could at any time retire from all disturb- own. You are pleased to tell me, that you unance; was allowed to stand at the door of the derstand not why secrecy is enjoined, and yet prison, and sometimes taken out into the fields;* I intend to set my name to it. My answer is so that he suffered fewer hardships in prison-I have my private reasons, which I am not than he had been accustomed to undergo in the obliged to explain to any one. greatest part of his life.
The keeper did not confine his benevolence to a gentle execution of his office, but made some overtures to the creditor for his release, though without effect; and continued, during the whole time of his imprisonment, to treat him with the utmost tenderness and civility.
You doubt my friend Mr. S - would not approve of itAnd what is it to me whether he does or not? Do you imagine that Mr. S is to dictate to me? If any man who calls himself my friend should assume such an air, I would spurn at his friendship with contempt. seem to think so by not letting And suppose I do, what then?
You say, 1
him know it—
Perhaps I can
Virtue is undoubtedly most laudable in that state which makes it most difficult; and there-give reasons for that disapprobation, very foreign fore the humanity of a gaoler certainly deserves from what you would imagine. You go on in this public attestation; and the man, whose saying, Suppose I should not put my name to heart has not been hardened by such an employ- it-My answer is, that I will not suppose any ment, may be justly proposed as a pattern of such thing, being determined to the contrary: benevolence. If an inscription was once en- neither, Sir, would I have you suppose that I graved "to the honest toll-gatherer," less applied to you for want of another press: nor honours ought not to be paid "to the tender would I have you imagine, that I owe Mr. gaoler." S obligations which I do not.
Mr. Savage very frequently received visits, and sometimes presents, from his acquaintances; but they did not amount to a subsistence, for the greater part of which he was indebted to the generosity of this keeper; but these favours, however they might endear to him the particular persons from whom he received them, were very far from impressing upon his mind any advantageous ideas of the people of Bristol, and therefore he thought he could not more properly employ himself in prison, than in writ
* See this confirmed, Gent. Mag. vol. Ivii. 1140.
Such was his imprudence, and such his obstinate adherence to his own resolutions, however absurd! A prisoner! supported by charity! and, whatever insults he might have received during the latter part of his stay at Bristol, once caressed, esteemed, and presented with a liberal collection, he could forget on a sudden his danger and his obligations, to gratify the petulance of his wit, or the eagerness of his re
*The Author preferred this title to that of "London and Bristol compared;" which, when he began the piece, he intended to prefix to it.-Dr. J. + This friend was Mr. Cave, the printer.-N.
i Mr. Strong, of the Post-office.-N.
sentment, and publish a satire, by which he But the resentment of the city was aftermight reasonably expect that he should alienate wards raised by some accounts that had been those who then supported him, and provoke spread of the satire; and he was informed that those whom he could neither resist nor escape. some of the merchants intended to pay the alThis resolution, from the execution of which lowance which the law required, and to detain it is probable that only his death could have him a prisoner at their own expense. This be hindered him, is sufficient to show, how much treated as an empty menace; and perhaps he disregarded all considerations that opposed might have hastened the publication, only to his present passions, and how readily he haz-show, how much he was superior to their inarded all future advantages for any immediate sults, had not all his schemes been suddenly gratifications. Whatever was his predominant destroyed. inclination, neither hope nor fear hindered him from complying with it; nor had opposition any other effect than to heighten his ardour, and irritate his vehemence.
When he had been six months in prison, he received from one of his friends,* in whose kindness he had the greatest confidence, and or whose assistance he chiefly depended, a letter. that contained a charge of a very atrocious in
This performance was however laid aside, while he was employed in soliciting assistance | gratitude, drawn up in such terms as sudden from several great persons; and one interruption succeeding another, hindered him from supplying the chasm, and perhaps from retouching the other parts, which he can hardly be imagined to have finished in his own opinion; for it is very unequal, and some of the lines are rather inserted to rhyme to others, than to support or improve the sense; but the first and last parts are worked up with great spirit and elegance.
His time was spent in the prison for the most part in study, or in receiving visits; but sometimes he descended to lower amusements, and diverted himself in the kitchen with the conversation of the criminals; for it was not pleasing to him to be much without company; and, though he was very capable of a judicious choice, he was often contented with the first that offered; for this he was sometimes reproved by his friends, who found him surrounded with felons: but the reproof was on that, as on other occasions, thrown away; he continued to gratify himself, and to set very little value on the opinion of others.
But here, as in every other scene of his life, he made use of such opportunities as occurred of benefiting those who were more miserable than himself, and was always ready to perform any office of humanity to his fellow-prisoners.
resentment dictated. Henley, in one of his advertisements, had mentioned, “Pope's treatment of Savage.' This was supposed by Pope to be the consequence of a complaint made by Savage to Henley, and was therefore mentioned by him with much resentment. Mr. Savage returned a very solemn protestation of his innocence, but however appeared much disturbed at the accusation. Some days afterwards he was seized with a pain in his back and side, which, as it was not violent, was not suspected to be dangerous; but, growing daily more languid and dejected, on the 25th of July he confined himself to his room, and a fever seized his spirits. The symptoms grew every day more formidable, but his condition did not enable him to procure any assistance. The last time that the keeper saw him was on July the 31st, 1743; when Savage, seeing him at his bedside, said, with an uncommon earnestness, “I have something to say to you, Sir;" but, after a pause, moved his hand in a melancholy manner; and, finding himself unable to recollect what he was going to communicate, said, “'Tis gone!" The keeper soon after left him; and the next morning he died. He was buried in the church-yard of St. Peter, at the expense of the keeper.
Such was the life and death of Richard Savage, a man equally distinguished by his virtues and vices; and at once remarkable for his weaknesses and abilities.
He had now ceased from corresponding with any of his subscribers except one, who yet continued to remit him the twenty pounds a year which he had promised him, and by whom it was expected that he would have been in a very short time enlarged, because he had di-lancholy aspect; of a grave and manly deportrected the keeper to inquire after the state of his debts.
However, he took care to enter his name according to the forms of the court,* that the creditor might be obliged to make some allow ance, if he was continued a prisoner, and, when on that occasion he appeared in the hall, was treated with very unusual respect.
See Gent. Mag. vol. Ivii. 10-10.-N.
He was of a middle stature, of a thin habit of body, a long visage, coarse features, and me.
ment, a solemn dignity of mien, but which,
Mr. Pope. See some extracts of letters from that gentleman to and concerning Mr. Savage, in Ruff'head's Life of Pope, p. 502.-R.
made him the slave of every passion that happened to be excited by the presence of its object, and that slavery to his passions reciprocally produced a life irregular and dissipated. He was not master of his own motions, nor could promise any thing for the next day.
His mind was in an uncommon degree vigorous and active. His judgment was accurate, his apprehension quick, and his memory so tenacious, that he was frequently observed to know what he had learned from others, in a short time, better than those by whom he was informed; and could frequently recollect incidents, with all their combination of circumstances, which few would have regarded at the present time, but which the quickness of his apprehension impressed upon him. He had the peculiar felicity that his attention never deserted him; he was present to every object, and regardful of the most trifling occurrences. had the art of escaping from his own reflec-quence of the dominion of his passions, uncertions, and accommodating himself to every new
With regard to his economy, nothing can be added to the relation of his life. He appeared to think himself born to be supported by others, and dispensed from all necessity of providing for himself; he therefore never prosecuted any scheme of advantage, nor endeavoured even to secure the profits which his writings might have afforded him. His temper was, in conse
tain and capricious; he was easily engaged, and easily disgusted; but he is accused of retaining his hatred more tenaciously than his benevolence.
He was compassionate both by nature and principle, and always ready to perform offices of humanity; but when he was provoked (and very small offences were sufficient to provoke him) he would prosecute his revenge with the utmost acrimony till his passion had subsided.
To this quality is to be imputed the extent of his knowledge, compared with the small time which he spent in visible endeavours to acquire it. He mingled in cursory conversation with the same steadiness of attention as others apply to a lecture: and, amidst the appearance of thoughtless gayety, lost no new idea that was started, nor any hint that could be improved. He had therefore made in coffee-houses the same proficiency as others in their closets: and it is remarkable, that the writings of a man of little education and little reading have an air of learning scarcely to be found in any other per-sidered himself as discharged by the first quarformances, but which perhaps as often obscures as embellishes them.
His judgment was eminently exact both with regard to writings and to men. The knowledge of life was indeed his chief attainment; and it is not without some satisfaction, that I can produce the suffrage of Savage in favour of human nature, of which he never appeared to entertain such odious ideas as some, who perhaps had neither his judgment nor experience, have published, either in ostentation of their sagacity, vindication of their crimes, or gratification of their malice.
His friendship was therefore of little value; for, though he was zealous in the support or vindication of those whom he loved, yet it was always dangerous to trust him, because he con
rel from all ties of honour or gratitude; and would betray those secrets which in the warmth of confidence had been imparted to him. This practice drew upon him a universal accusation of ingratitude; nor can it be denied that he was very ready to set himself free from the load of an obligation; for he could not bear to conceive himself in a state of dependence, his pride being equally powerful with his other passions, and appearing in the form of insolence at one time, and of vanity at another. Vanity, the most innocent species of pride, was most frequently predominant: he could not easily leave off, when he had once begun to mention himself or his works; nor ever read his verses without stealing his eyes from the page, to discover in the faces of his audience, how they were affected with any favourite passage.
His method of life particularly qualified him for conversation, of which he knew how to practise all the graces. He was never vehement or loud, but at once modest and easy, open and respectful; his language was vivacious and elegant, and equally happy upon grave or humorous subjects. He was generally cen- A kinder name than that of vanity ought to sured for not knowing when to retire; but that be given to the delicacy with which he was was not the defect of his judgment, but of his always careful to separate his own merit from fortune: when he left his company, he was fre- every other man's, and to reject that praise to quently to spend the remaining part of the which he had no claim. He did not for. night in the street, or at least was abandoned to get, in mentioning his performances, to mark gloomy reflections, which is not strange that every line that had been suggested or amended; he delayed as long as he could; and sometimes and was so accurate, as to relate that he owed forgot that he gave others pain to avoid it him-three words in "The Wanderer" to the advice self. of his friends.
It cannot be said, that he made use of his abilities for the direction of his own conduct; an irregular and dissipated manner of life had
His veracity was questioned, but with little reason; his accounts, though not indeed always the same, were generally consistent. When he
loved any man, he suppressed all his faults; and, when he had been offended by him, concealed all his virtues: but his characters were generally true, so far as he proceeded; though it cannot be denied, that his partiality might have sometimes the effect of falsehood.
In cases indifferent, he was zealous for virtue, truth, and justice: he knew very well the necessity of goodness to the present and future happiness of mankind; nor is there perhaps any writer, who has less endeavoured to please by flattering the appetites, or perverting the judgment.
ty is simplicity, and uniformity the prevailing
For his life, or for his writings, none, who candidly consider his fortune, will think an apology either necessary or difficult. If he was not always sufficiently instructed on his subject, his knowledge was at least greater than could have been attained by others in the same state. If his works were sometimes unfinished, accuracy cannot reasonably be exacted from a man oppressed with want, which he has no hope of relieving but by a speedy publication. The insolence and resentment of which he is accused were not easily to be avoided by a great mind, irritated by perpetual hardships, and constrained hourly to return the spurns of contempt, and repress the insolence of prosperity; and vanity may surely be readily pardoned in him, to whom life afforded no other comforts than barren praises, and the consciousness of deserving them.
Those are no proper judges of his conduct, who have slumbered away their time on the down of plenty; nor will any wise man presume to say, "Had I been in Savage's condition, I should have lived or written better than Savage.'
As an author, therefore, and he now ceases to influence mankind in any other character, if one piece which he had resolved to suppress, be excepted, he has very little to fear from the strictest moral or religious censure. And though he may not be altogether secure against the objections of the critic, it must however be acknowledged, that his works are the productions of a genius truly poetical; and, what many writers who have been more lavishly applauded cannot boast, that they have an original air, which has no resemblance of any foregoing writer, that the versification and sentiments have a cast peculiar to themselves, which no man can imitate with success, because what was nature in Savage would in another be affectation. It must be confessed, that his descriptions are striking, his images animated, his fictions justly imagined, and all his allegories artfully pursued; that his diction is elevated, though sometimes forced, and his numbers sonorous and majestic, though frequently sluggish and encumbered. Of his style, the general fault is harshness, and its general excellence is dignity; of his sentiments, the prevailing beau- | less, wit ridiculous, and genius contemptible.
This relation will not be wholly without its use, if those, who languish under any part of his sufferings, shall be enabled to fortify their patience, by reflecting that they feel only those afflictions from which the abilities of Savage did not exempt him; or those, who, in confidence of superior capacities or attainments, disregarded the common maxims of life, shall be reminded, that nothing will supply the want of prudence; and that negligence and irregularity, long continued, will make knowledge use
AN account of Dr. Swift has been already collected, with great diligence and acuteness, by Dr. Hawkesworth, according to a scheme which I laid before him in the intimacy of our friendship. I cannot therefore be expected to say much of a life, concerning which I had long since communicated my thoughts to a man capable of dignifying his narrations with so much elegance of language and force of sentiment.
count said to be written by himself,* the son of Jonathan Swift, an attorney, and was born at Dublin on St. Andrew's day, in 1667: according to his own report, as delivered by Pope to Spence, he was born at Leicester, the son of a clergyman, who was minister of a parish in
* Mr. Sheridan, in his Life of Swift, observes that this account was really written by the Dean, and now exists in his own hand-writing in the li JONATHAN SWIFT was, according to an ac-brary of Dublin College.-R.