Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/224

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and an electoral crown, both set in diamonds, and by the elector with a huge basin and ewer of solid gold. He returned about the end of October, and had hardly communicated the results of the mission to the lords justices when he caught a fever, of which on 5 Nov. he died. He was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 14th. He left no lawful issue, and was succeeded by his brother, Fitton Gerard, who died a bachelor on 26 Dec. 1702, when the title became extinct (Luttrell, Relation of State Affairs, ii. 3, 274, 638, iii. 250, 267, 269, 280–2, 327–8, 331–2, 346, 352, iv. 26, 674, v. 58, 67, 105–6, 250; Lords' Journ. xv. 350 a; Burnet, Own Time, fol. ii. 271; Toland, Account of the Courts of Prussia and Hanover, 2nd ed., pp. 58, 65; Coll. Top. et Gen. viii. 13). Gerard married, in June 1683, Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Mason of Whitehall and Sutton in Surrey. The marriage proved unhappy, and on 2 March 1684–5 Gerard wrote his wife, then on a visit to her mother, a lengthy letter, in which he forbade her to return. While the countess was still living apart from her husband, she was delivered of two children, a girl in 1695, and a boy on 16 Jan. 1696–7, whose births she attempted to conceal. The girl was christened Ann Savage, and was put out to nurse, first at Walthamstow, and then at Chelsea, where she died. The boy was born at Fox Court, Gray's Inn Lane, entered on the register of St. Andrew's, Holborn, as ‘Richard, son of John Smith and Mary,’ and nursed first at Hampstead by a certain Mary Peglear, and then at Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, by a woman named Ann Portlock. Notwithstanding these precautions the facts came to the knowledge of the earl, who accordingly, in the summer of 1697, applied to the court of arches for a divorce a mensa et thoro. The application was strenuously resisted by the countess, and while the suit was still pending the earl in December 1697 instituted proceedings in the House of Lords for a divorce. In opposition, the countess alleged that she had been turned out of her husband's house during his absence by the late earl; that the earl owed his life to her intercession with the king when he lay under sentence of death in 1685; that nevertheless he had secluded her from his bed and board; and she urged that if the bill passed, her marriage settlement ought to be rescinded, and her fortune restored to her. The lords considering that a prima facie case was made out, a bill to dissolve the marriage and illegitimate the children was introduced by the Duke of Bolton on 15 Jan. 1697–8. It occasioned much animated debate, there being no precedent for a dissolution of marriage by act of parliament in the absence of a decree of a spiritual court. On 3 March 1697–8, however, the bill was read a third time, Halifax and Rochester alone protesting, and on 2 April it received the royal assent. It contained clauses settling an annuity on the countess, indemnifying the earl against her debts, and declaring her children illegitimate. That the father of both of them was Earl Rivers had been sworn in the ecclesiastical court; the House of Lords did not pronounce on the question; but while the bill was in progress it was matter of common talk that the boy went by the name of Savage, and that Rivers was the putative father. With this boy, whose history after 1698 is wrapped in obscurity, the poet Richard Savage [q. v.] sought in after years to establish his identity. Savage claimed to have discovered the fact from certain letters of Lady Mason, the mother of the countess, which he had found among the papers of his nurse on her death. The countess married soon after the divorce Colonel Henry Brett [q. v.], with whom she lived, apparently happily and virtuously, until his death. She survived him many years, dying on 11 Oct. 1753, upwards of eighty years of age.

[London Marriage Licenses, ed. Foster; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs, iv. 323, 332, 336, 362; Lords' Journ. xvi. 224; Parl. Hist. v. 1173–1174; Duke of Manchester's Court and Society from Elizabeth to Anne, ii. 98–9; Gent. Mag. 1753, p. 491; Johnson's Lives of the Poets (Savage). Savage's story is examined ably and in detail in four articles by Mr. W. Moy Thomas in Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 361–5, 386–9, 425–8, 445–8.]

J. M. R.

GERARD, Sir GILBERT (d. 1593), judge, was the eldest son of James Gerard of Ince, Lancashire, by Margaret, daughter of John Holcroft of Holcroft in the same county. After residing for some time at Cambridge he was admitted a member of Gray's Inn in 1537, where he was called to the bar in 1539. He became an ‘ancient’ of the inn in 1547, was elected reader in the autumn of 1554, and treasurer, jointly with Nicholas Bacon, on 16 May 1556. He was returned to parliament for Wigan in 1553, for Steyning, Sussex, in the following year, and again for Wigan in 1555. He was summoned to take the degree of serjeant-at-law by writ issued 27 Oct. 1558, and returnable in the Easter term following, which therefore abated by Queen Mary's death. Elizabeth preferred to make Gerard her attorney-general, which she did on 22 Jan. 1558–9. He thus never took the degree of serjeant-at-law. Dugdale states, on the authority of ‘credible tradition,’ that in the time of Queen Mary, ‘upon the Lady Elizabeth being questioned at the council