« הקודםהמשך »
manded that he should be taken from the bar by force.
The jury then heard the opinion of the judge, that good characters were of no weight against positive evidence, though they might turn the scale where it was doubtful; and that though, when two men attack each other, the death of either is only. manslaughter; but where one is the aggressor, as in the case before them, and, in pursuance of his first attack, kills the other, the law supposes the action, however sudden, to be malicious. They then deliberated upon their verdict, and determined that Mr. Savage and Mr. Gregory were guilty of murder, and Mr. Merchant, who had no sword, only of manNaughter.
Thus ended this memorable trial, which lasted eight hours. Mr. Savage and Mr. Gregory were conducted back to prison, where they were more closely confined, and loaded with irons of fifty pounds weight: four days afterwards they were sent back to the court to receive fentence; on which occasion Mr.
Savage made, as far as it could be retained in memory, the following speech.
“ It is now; my Lord, too late to offer any “ thing by way of defence or vindication ;
nor can we expect from your Lordships, in s this court, but the sentence which the law so requires you, as judges, to pronounce against
men of our calamitous condition.-But we are also persuaded, that as mere men, and out of this seat of rigorous justice, you are
susceptive of the tender passions, and too “ humane, not to commiserate the unhappy 6 situation of those, whom the law sometimes perhaps exacts---from
you to pronounce upon. No doubt you distinguish between " offences, which arise out of premeditation, " and a disposition habituated to vice or im“ morality, and transgressions, which are the « unhappy and unforeseen effects of casual “ absence of reason, and sudden impulse of “ pafsion: we therefore hope you will contri“ bute all you can to an extension of that
mercy, which the gentlemen of the jury “ have been pleased to thew Mr. Merchant, « who (allowing facts as sworn against us 6
“ the evidence) has led us into this our cala
mity. I hope this will not be construed, as if we meant to reflect upon that gentleman, or remove any thing from us upon
him, or that we repine the more at our fate, “ because he has no participation of it: No,
my Lord ! For my part, I declare nothing “ could more foften my grief, than to be “ without any companion in so great a mis« fortune *."
Mr. Savage had now no hopes of life, but from the mercy of the crown, which was very earnestly solicited by his friends, and which, with whatever difficulty the story may obtain belief, was obstructed only by his mother.
To prejudice the Queen against him, she made use of an incident, which was omitted in the order of time, that it might be mentioned together with the purpose which it was made to serve. Mr. Savage, when he had discovered his birth, had an incellant desire to speak to his mother, who always avoided
* Mr. Savage's Life.
him in publick, and refused him admission into her house. One evening walking, as it was his custom, in the street that she inhabited, he saw the door of her house by accident open ; he entered it, and, finding no person in the passage to hinder him, went up stairs to falute her. She discovered him before he could enter her chamber, alarmed the family with the most distressful outcries, and when she had by her screams gathered them about her, ordered them to drive out of the house that villain, who had forced himself in upon her, and endeavoured to murder her. Savage, who had attempted with the most fubmissive tenderness to foften her rage, hearing her utter fo detestable an accusation, thought it prudent to retire; and, I believe, never attempted afterwards to speak to her.
But, shocked as he was with her falshood and her cruelty, he imagined that she intended no other use of her lye, than to set herself free from his embraces and solicitations, and was very far from suspecting that she would treasure it in her memory, as an instrument of future wickedness, or that she would en
deavour for this fi&titious assault to deprive him of his life.
But when the Queen was solicited for his pardon, and informed of the severe treatment which he had suffered from his judge, she answered, that, however unjustifiable might be the manner of his trial, or whatever extenuation 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 the 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 of those who petitioned for his life.
Thus had Savage perished by the evidence of a bawd, a strumpet, and his mother, had VOL. III.