« הקודםהמשך »
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 the same day, they were removed in the night to Newgate, where they were however treated with some diftinction, 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 crõuded in a very unusual manner, and the public appeared to interest itself as in a cause of general concern.
The witnesses against Mr Savage and his friends
the woman wlio kept the house, which was a house of ill fáme, 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, that Merchant gave the provocation, which Savage and Gregory drew their swords to justify; that Savage drew 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 that the maid clung round him, and one of the company endeavoured to detain him, from whom he broke, by cutting the inaid on the head, but was afterwards taken in a court,
There was some difference in their depositions; one did not see Savage give the wound, another faw it given when Sinclair held his point towards the ground; and the woman of the town asserted, that she did not see Sinclair's sword at all: this difference however was very far from amounting to inconsiftency; 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
fome 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 any 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 thruft: 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 prevent 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 deelared, 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 multitude that thronged the court with the most attentive and refpectful silence; those who thought he ought pot 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, not inclined to broils, or to insolence, and who had, to that time, been only known for his misfortunes, and his wit.
Had his audience been his judges, he had undoubtedly been acquitted; but Mr. Page, who was then upon the bench, treated him with his usual insolence and severity, and when he had fummed up the evidence, endeavoured
to exasperate the jury, as Mr. Savage ufed to relate it, with this eloquent harangue:
greater man than
Gentlemen of the jury, you are to consider that Mr. Savage is a very great man, a much
or I, gentlemen • of the jury; that he wears very
fine clothes, « much finer clothes than you or I, gentle
men 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 kill you or me, gentlemen
of the jury?'
Mr. Savage, hearing his defence thus mifrepresented, and the men who were to decide his fate incited against him by invidious comparisons, resolutely asserted, that his cause was not 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 filent, and repeated his orders without effect, com5