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IT has been observed in all ages, that the ad
vantages of nature or of fortune have contributed very little to the promotion of happiness; and that those whom the splendor of their rank, or the extent of their capacity, have placed upon the summits of human life, have not often given any juft occafion to envy in those who look up to them from a lower station. Whether it be that apparent superiority incites great designs, and great designs are naturally 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 those of others, not more frequent, or more severe.
That affluence and power', advantages extrinfic and adventitious, alid therefore ewlily sépa
rable from those by whom they are poffefred, should very often flatter the mind with expec. tations of felicity which they cannot givc, raises no astonishment; but it seems rational to hope, that intellectual greatness fhould produce better effects ; that minds qualified for great attainments should first endeavour their ownı benefit ; and that they who are most able to tcach cthers the way to happiness, fhould with most certainty follow it themselves.
But this expectation, however plausible, has been very frequently disappointed. The heroes of literary as well as civil hiftory have been very often no less remarkable for what they have atchieved ; and volumes have been written only to enumerate the miscrics of the Icarned, 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 intitle him to an eminent rank in the claffes of learning, and whole misfortunes claim a degree of companion, not always due to the unhappy, as they'were often the confcqucnces of the crimes of others, rather than his own.
In the year 1697, Anne Countess of Maccleffield, having lived for some time upon very uncary terms with her husband, thoughít a public contcllion of adultery the most obvious and expediticus method of obtaining her liberty; and therefore declared, that the child, with which
the was then great, was begotten by the Earl Rivers. This, as may be easily imagined, made her husband no lefs defirous of a feparation than herself, and he prosecuted his design in the most effectual manner; for he applied not to the ecclefiaftical courts for a divorce, but to the parliament for an act, by which his marriage might be diffolved, 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 fome, who considered marriage as an affair only cognizable by ecclefiaftical 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 Breti
* This year was made remarkable by the diffolution of a marriage folemnized 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 paffed, where there was not a divorce firft obtained in the Spiritual Court; which we look upon as an ill preces dent, and may be of dangerous consequence in the future.
While the Earl of Macclesfield was profe cuting this affair, his wife was, on the roth of January 1697-8, delivered of a son, and the Earl Rivers, by appearing to consider him as his own, left none any reason to doubt of the fincerity 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 mother, whom, as she was now set free from her husband, he probably imagined likely to treat with great tenderness the child that had contributed to so pleasing an event. It is not indeed easy to discover what motives could be found to overbalance that natural affection of a parent, or what interest could be promoted by neglect or cruelty. The dread of shame or of poverty, by which some 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 undefervedly 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 therefore 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 abhorrencc; and,