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nobody at the White Lion is apprised of it. Though I let the officer know the strength (or rather weakness) of my pocket, yet they treated me with the utmost civility; and even when they conducted me to confinement, it was in such a manner, that I verily believe I could have escaped, which I would rather be ruined than have done, notwith standing the whole amount of my finances was but three pence half
penny " In the first place I must insist, that you will-industriously conceal this from Mrs. SMS, because I would not have her good-nature suffer that pain, which, I know, she would be apt to feel on this occasion. “ Next, I conjure you, dear Sir, by all the ties of friendship, by no means to have one uneasy thought on my account: but to have the same pleasantry of countenance, and unruffled 'serenity of mind, which (God be praised !) I have in this, and have had in a much severer calamity.
Furthermore I charge you, if you value my friendship as truly as I do yours, not 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 express
sion) I absolutely command you not to offer 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 1.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 entreat you to let me have your boy to attend me * for this day, not only for the sake of saving me the expence 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 good" ness!) my afilliction is not without aleviating circumstances. I murnur
not; but ain all resignation to ihe 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 noblemani
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 expressed by him in a letter which he wrote to a friend: “ The 3 N 2
« whole day,” says he, " has been employed in various people's filling my " head with their foolish chimerical systems, which has obliged me cooly “ (as far as nature will adnit) to digest, and accomodate myself to every “ different person's way of thinking; hurried from one wild system to ano“ ther, till it has quite made a chaos of my imagination, and nothing done
-promised-disappointed-ordered to send, every hour, from one part 66 of the town to the other."
When his friends, who had hitherto caressed and applauded, found that to give bail and pay the debt was the same, they all refused to preserve him from a prison at the expence of eight pounds; and therefore, after having been for some time at the officers house," at an immense expence," as he observes in his letter, he was at length removed to Newgate,
This expence 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 hinı 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 gaiety, 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 to, I suppose because he thought that he had before been too burthensome 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 medicant letters, he had too high a spirit, and determined only to write to sume ninisters 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 bis resolution to publish a pamphlet, 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 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 re* In a letter after his confinement. Dr. J. Letçer, Jan. 15.
sign himself to that as well as to other misfortunes, and lose the remembrance of it in his amusements and employnients.
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 agreeable 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, and if, instead of a Newgate-bird, I may be allowed to “ be a bird of the Muses, I assure you, Sir, I sing very freely in my cage : “ sometimes indeed in the plaintive notes of the nightingale; but at others « in the cheerful strains of the lark.”
In another letter be 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.
He was treated by Mr. Dagge, the keeper of the prison, with great humanity; was supported by him at his own table, without any certainty of recompence; had a room to himself, to which he could at any time retire from all disturbance; was allowed to stand at the door of the prison, and sometimes taken out into the fields ;* so that he suffered fewer hardships in prison than he had been accustomed to undergo in the 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 tiine of his imprisonment, to treat him with the utmost tenderness and civility.
Virtue is undoubtedly most laudable in that state which makes it most difficult; and therefore the humanity of a gaoler certainly deserves this public attestation; and the man, whose heart has not been hardened by such an employment, may be justly proposed as a pattern of benevolence. See this confirmed, Gent, Mag, vol. LVII, 1140. N.
If an inscription was once engraved “ to the honest toll-gatherer,” less hopours ought not to be paid “to the tender gaoler."
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 writing 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 friendt, that he was determined to print it with his name; but enjoined him not to communicate his intention to his Bristol acquaintance. The 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. To answer a question with a question, you ask me concerning “ London and Bristol, Why will I add delineated? Why did Mr. Woolaston “add the same word to his Religion of Nature? I suppose that it
was his will and pleasure to add it in his case ; and it is mine to do so in
my own. You are pleased to tell me, that you understand not why se. “ crecy is enjoined, and yet I intend to set my name to it. My answer is " --I have my private reasons, which I am not obliged to explain to any “one. You doubt my friend Mr. S- I would not approve of it-And “ 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. You say,
I “ seem to think so by not letting him know it-And suppose I do, what “ then? Perhaps I can give reasons for that disapprobation, very foreign “ from what you would imagine. You go on in saying, Suppose I should
not put my name io it--My answer is, that I will not suppose any such
thing, being determined to the contrary: neither, Sir, would I have you " suppose, that I applied to you for want of another press; nor would I have " you imagine, that I owe Mr. S- obligations which I do not."
Such was his imprudence, and such his obstinate adherence to his own resolutions, however absurd. A prisoner ! supported by charity! and, what.
• 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. * Mr. Strong, of the Post-office. N.
ever 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 resentment, and publish a satire, by which he might reasonably expect that he should alienate those who then supported him, and provoke those whom he could neither resist nor escape.
This resolution, from the execution of which it is probable that only his death could have hindered him, is sufficient to shew, how much he disregarded all considerations that opposed his present passions, and how readily he hazarded all future advantages for any immediate gratifications. Whatever was his predominant 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.
This performance was however laid aside, while he was employed in soliciting assistance 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 iinagined 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 hiinself 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 choict, he was often contented with the first that of fered; 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 fellowprisoners.
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 directed the keeper to enquire 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 him some allowance, if he was continued a prisoner, and, when on that occasion he appeared in the hall, was treated with very unusual respect. Sec Gent. Mag. vol. LVII. p. 1049;