Savage, Samuel Morton (DNB00)

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SAVAGE, SAMUEL MORTON (1721–1791), dissenting tutor, was born in London on 19 July 1721. His grandfather, John Savage, was pastor of the seventh-day baptist church, Mill Yard, Goodman's Fields. Savage believed himself to be the lineal descendant and heir male of John Savage, second earl Rivers (d. 1654). He was related to Hugh Boulter [q. v.], archbishop of Armagh; hence his friends expected him to seek a career in the church. He first thought of medicine, and spent a year or two with his Uncle Toulmin, an apothecary, in Old Gravel Lane, Wapping. Through the influence of Isaac Watts he entered the Fund Academy, under John Eames [q. v.] In 1744, while still a pupil, he was made assistant tutor in natural science and classics by the trustees of William Coward [q. v.], a post which he retained till the reconstruction of the academy in 1762; from the time of his marriage (1752) the lectures were delivered at his house in Wellclose Square.

Meanwhile, in December 1747, Savage became assistant minister at Duke's Place, Bury Street, St. Mary Axe, to the independent congregation of which Watts had been pastor. He was ordained there as co-pastor to Samuel Price in 1753, and became sole pastor on 2 Jan. 1757. In addition he held the office of afternoon preacher (1759–1766) and Thursday lecturer (1760–7) to the presbyterian congregation in Hanover Street under Jabez Earle, D.D. [q. v.] He was Friday lecturer (1761–90) at Little St. Helen's, and afternoon preacher (1769–75) at Clapham.

On the death of David Jennings, D.D. [q. v.], the Coward trustees removed the academy to a house in Hoxton Square, formerly the residence of Daniel Williams [q. v.], founder of the well-known library. Savage was placed in 1762 in the divinity chair, his colleagues in other branches being Andrew Kippis, D.D. [q. v.], and Abraham Rees, D.D. [q. v.] The experiment illustrates the transitional condition of the old liberal dissent. Savage was a Calvinist, Rees an Arian, Kippis a Socinian. They worked harmoniously together; but the academy was not viewed with much favour. Kippis resigned in 1784. Savage, who had been made B.D. by King's College, Aberdeen, on 28 April 1764, and D.D. by Marischal College, Aberdeen, in November 1767, held on till midsummer 1785, when the Hoxton academy was dissolved.

Like Jennings, Savage, though orthodox, was a non-subscriber; he was one of the originators of the appeal to parliament in 1772 which resulted in the amendment (1779) of the Toleration Act, substituting a declaration of adhesion to the scriptures in place of a subscription to the doctrinal part of the Anglican articles. He resigned his congregation at Christmas 1787; his ministry, though prolonged and solid, had not been popular. A bookish man, he avoided society, and buried himself in his ample library. He died on 21 Feb. 1791 of a contraction of the œsophagus; unable to take food, he was starved to a skeleton. He was buried in Bunhill Fields, where there is a tombstone to his memory. He married first, in 1752, the only daughter (d. 1763) of George Houlme, stockbroker, of Hoxton Square; secondly, in 1770, Hannah Wilkin, who survived him. By his first marriage he left two daughters. He published eight single sermons (1757–82), including ordination discourses for William Ford (1757) and Samuel Wilton (1766), and funeral discourses for David Jennings (1762) and Samuel Wilton (1778). A posthumous volume of ‘Sermons,’ 1796, 8vo, was edited, with life, by Joshua Toulmin, D.D. He has been confused with Samuel Savage, dissenting minister at Edmonton, who died in retirement before 1766.

[Gent. Mag. February 1791, p. 191; Funeral Oration by Thomas Towle, 1791; Life by Toulmin, 1796 (also, somewhat abridged, in Protestant Dissenters' Mag. May 1796); Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, 1808, i. 320 sq.; Bogue and Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, 1833, ii. 519; Jones's Bunhill Memorials, 1849, p. 249; Pike's Ancient Meeting Houses, 1870, p. 261; Jeremy's Presbyterian Fund, 1885, p. 55.]

A. G.