תמונות בעמוד


ÍT has been observed in all ages; that the

advantages of nature or of fortune have contributed very little to the promotion of happiness; and that those whom the splendour of their rank, or the extent of their capacity, have placed upon the summits of human life, have not often given any just occasion to envy in those who look up to them from a lower station : whether it be that apparent fuperiority incites great designs, and great designs are náturally liable to fatal miscarriages; or that the general lot of mankind is misery, and the misfortunes of those whose `eminence drew upon them an universal attention, have been more carefully recorded, because they were more generally observed, and have in reality been only more conspicuous than

O 3



those of others, not more frequent, or more severe.

That affluence and power, advantages extrinsic and adventitious, and therefore easily separable from those by whom they are poffessed, should very often flatter the mind with expectations of felicity which they cannot give, raises no astonishment; but it seems rational to hope, that intellectual greatness Thould produce better effects; that minds qualified for great attainments should first endeavour their own benefit; and that they who are most able to teach others the

way to happiness, should with most certainty follow it themselves.

But this expectation, however plausible, has been very frequently disappointed. The heroes of literary as well as civil history have been very often no less remarkable for what they have atchieved; and volumes have been written only to enumerate the miseries of the learned, and relate their unhappy lives, and untimely deaths.

To these mournful narratives, I am about to add the Life of Richard Savage, a man


whose writings entitle him to an eminent rank in the classes of learning, and whose misfortunes claim a degree of compassion, not always due to the unhappy, as they were often the consequences of the crimes of others, rather than his own.

In the year 1697, Anne Countess of Macclesfield, having lived for some time upon very uneasy terms with her husband, thought a public confession of adultery the most obvious and expeditious method of obtaining her liberty; and therefore declared, that the child, with which she was then great, was begotten by the Earl Rivers. This, as may be imagined, made her husband no less defirous of a separation than herself, and he prosecuted his design in the most effectual manner; for he applied not to the ecclefiastical courts for a divorce, but to the parliament for an act, by which his marriage might be dissolved, the nuptial contract totally annulled, and the children of his wife illegitimated, This act, after the usual deliberation, he obtained, though without the approbation of some, who considered marriage as an affair only cognizable by ecclefiaf



tical judges*; and on March 3d was separated from his wife, whose fortune, which was very great, was repaid her; and who having, as well as her husband, the liberty of making another choice, was in' a short time married to Colonel Brett.

While the Earl of Macclesfield was prosecuting this affair, his wife was, on the roth of January 1697-8, delivered of a son, and the Earl Rivers, by appearing to confider him as his own, left none any reason to doubt of the sincerity of her declaration; for he was his godfather, and gave him his own name, which was by his direction inserted in the register of St. Andrew's parish in Holborn, but unfortunately left him to the care of his

This year was made remarkable by the dissolution of a marriage solemnized in the face of the church. SALMON'S Review.

The following proteft is registered in the books of the House of Lords.

Diffentient. Because we conceive that this is the first bill of that nature that hath passed, where there was not a divorce first obtained in the Spiritual Court; which we look upon as an ill prece. dent, and may be of dangerous consequence in the future. HALIFAX.



mother, whom, as she was now set free from her husband, he probablý imagined likely to treat with great tenderness the child that had contributed to so pleafing an event. It is not indeed easy to discover what motives could be found to over-balance that natural affection of a parent, or what interest could be promoted by neglect or cruelty. The dread of Thame or of poverty, by which fome wretches have been incited to abandon or to murder their children, cannot be supposed to have affected a woman who had proclaimed her crimes and solicited reproach, and on whom the clemency of the legislature had undeservedly bestowed a fortune, which would have been very little diminished by the expences which the care of her child could have brought upon her. It was there. fore not likely that she would be wicked without temptation, that she would look

upon! her son from his birth with a kind of resentment and abhorrence; and, instead of fupporting, assisting, and defending lim, delight to see him struggling with misery, or that she would take every opportunity of asgravating his misfortunes, and obstructing his resources, and with an implacable and


« הקודםהמשך »