Thomas, Earl of Ailesbury (Roxburghe Club); Boyer's Annals, 1735, pp. 244, 291, 338, 358, 538, 607; Burnet's Own Time; Oldmixon's History of England, vol. iii.; Tindal's Continuation of Rapin; Wyon's Queen Anne, i. 497, ii. 163, 352; Macaulay's Hist. of England; Luttrell's Brief Hist. Relation, vols. v. vi. passim; Dalton's English Army Lists, passim, s.v. ‘Colchester;’ Coxe's Marlborough i. 475, iii. 6; Marlborough's Despatches, ed. Murray, v. 637; Parnell's War of Succession in Spain, pp. 207–8; Lamberty's Mémoires, 1740, vol. xiv. passim; Harris's William III, p. 162; Swift's Works, ed. Scott, vol. ii. iii. passim; Pope's Works, ed. Elwin and Courthope, iv. 48; Hearne's Collectanea.]
SAVAGE, RICHARD (d. 1743), poet, was, according to his own statement, the illegitimate son of Richard Savage, fourth earl Rivers [q. v.] He claimed as his mother Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Mason of Sutton, Surrey, and wife of Charles Gerard, second earl of Macclesfield (1659?–1701) [q. v.] It is known that Lady Macclesfield, while separated from her husband, had two children by Lord Rivers, and that consequently Lord Macclesfield obtained a divorce on 15 March 1698. Of Lady Macclesfield's illegitimate children the elder, a girl, died in infancy; the younger was baptised as Richard Smith in Fox Court on 18 Jan. 1696–7 by the minister of St. Andrew's, Holborn, in the presence of Lord Rivers, of Newdigate Ousley, his godfather, and of Dorothea Ousley, his godmother (St. Andrew's Register). The child can be traced in the same year to the care of Anne Portlock, a baker's wife, living in Covent Garden. It is probable that he died young. At all events, he was not again heard of until Richard Savage advanced his claim to identity with him in 1718.
According to public statements made by Savage's supporters, his mother conceived a great aversion for him, and determined to disown him. She committed him to the care of a poor woman, who brought him up as her son; but his grandmother, Lady Mason, and his godmother, Mrs. Lloyd, took an interest in him, and the former sent him to a small grammar school near St. Albans. Mrs. Lloyd, however, died when he was nine, and his mother, who had married Henry Brett [q. v.], continued her hostility towards him. She prevented Lord Rivers from leaving him a bequest of 6,000l., by informing him that his son was dead. She vainly endeavoured to have him kidnapped to the West Indies, and, when that scheme failed, apprenticed him to a shoemaker, that he might be brought up in obscurity and forgotten. But about that time his nurse died, and, looking through her papers, Savage discovered the secret of his birth. At once breaking his indentures, he endeavoured to enforce his claims on his mother.
There are four contemporary accounts of Savage's early life, all supporting this story; but all were inspired by Savage himself. The first was published in 1719 in Curll's ‘Poetical Register.’ The second was inserted by Aaron Hill in his periodical, ‘The Plain Dealer,’ in 1724. The third was an anonymous life which appeared in 1727, and was said by Johnson to be written by Beckenham and another. The last was avowedly by Savage himself, and appeared as a preface to the second edition of his ‘Miscellanies’ in 1728. From these and from the poet's own statements Dr. Johnson compiled that ‘Life of Savage’ (1744) which made the story classical.
No documents in support of Savage's pretensions have been produced, not even those letters from which he himself claimed to make the discovery. All the details are vague, lacking in names and dates; they cannot be independently authenticated, and long intervals in his early life are left unaccounted for. Research has been unable to confirm the existence of Mrs. Lloyd. In the register of St. Andrew's he is only allotted one godmother, Dorothea Ousley, who married Robert Delgardno at St. James's, Westminster, on 24 Sept. 1698 (Harleian Society Publications, xxvi. 323). There is no record of any communication between Savage and Lady Mason, the alleged guardian of his childhood, though she did not die till 1717. Newdigate Ousley, his godfather, who lived till 1714 at Enfield in Middlesex, was unknown to him. Lord Rivers's will is dated fourteen months before his death, and contains no codicil, though Savage asserted that he revoked the legacy to him on his deathbed. His reputed mother (Mrs. Brett) steadily maintained that he was an impostor. When to these considerations is added the fact that Savage, very late in life, contradicted essential details in the published story in a letter to Elizabeth Carter on 10 May 1739, the falsity of his tale seems demonstrated (cf. Mr. Moy Thomas's able series of articles in Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 361, 385, 424, 445).
The chief points in his favour are that Lord Tyrconnel, Mrs. Brett's nephew, after Savage had published his story, received him into his household, and that one at least of Lord Rivers's children, whom he styles his sister, recognised his claim, and corresponded with him in his later years (Gent. Mag. 1787, ii.