favour of the Roman catholics, Savile brought in a bill to secure the protestant religion from any encroachments of popery (Parl. Hist. xxi. 714–15, 717, 724–5), which passed through the House of Commons but was thrown out by the lords. He strongly opposed North's ill-considered loan of 12,000,000l., and unsuccessfully moved, on 26 March 1781, for a select committee of inquiry.
On 12 June 1781 Savile supported Fox's motion for a committee to take into consideration the state of the American war, and on 7 May 1782 he warmly supported Pitt's motion for parliamentary reform (ib. xxii. 1429–30). While supporting a similar motion on 6 May 1783, Savile was compelled by sudden illness to break off his speech (ib. xxiii. 846). It does not appear that he ever spoke again in the house. He resigned his seat in November on account of the state of his health. He died at Brompton in the arms of his friend, David Hartley, on 10 Jan. 1784, aged 57, and was buried in the family vault in Thornhill church in the West Riding of Yorkshire on the 24th.
Savile was a staunch whig of unimpeachable character and large fortune. He devoted the whole of his time to public affairs, and was greatly respected by his contemporaries for his unbending integrity and his unostentatious benevolence. In person he was slightly above the average height. He had a slender figure, a sallow complexion, and a feeble voice. Though destitute of oratorical power, his speeches were clear, forcible, and persuasive. When Fox was asked by Lord Holland who had been the best speaker in his time who had never held office, he is said to have answered, ‘Sir George Savile and Mr. Windham.’ Lord Rockingham relied greatly upon his judgment for guidance in political matters. Burke describes him as ‘a true genius, with an understanding vigorous, and acute and refined, and distinguishing even to excess; and illuminated with a most unbounded, peculiar, and original cast of imagination’ (Works, 1815, iii. 392). ‘He had a head,’ Horace Walpole says, ‘as acutely argumentative as if it had been made by a German logician for a model,’ while he shrewdly adds: ‘Though his reason was sharp, his soul was candid, having none of the acrimony or vengeance of party; thence was he of greater credit than service to that in which he listed’ (Memoirs of the Reign of George III, i. 279).
Savile was a fellow of the Royal Society, vice-president of the Society of Arts and Sciences, and colonel of the first battalion of the West Riding militia. He was presented with the freedom of the town of Nottingham in July 1776, and was a warm supporter of the Yorkshire Association. He never married. The baronetcy became extinct on his death. He devised the Brierley estate in Yorkshire, and the whole of his Irish estates, which were chiefly in co. Fermanagh, to his niece, Mrs. Foljambe, daughter and heir of his elder sister, Arabella (d. 1767). The bulk of his property in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire (including Rufford and Thornhill) he left to the Hon. Richard Lumley, a younger son of his sister Barbara, wife of Richard Lumley Saunderson, fourth earl of Scarborough, who thereupon assumed the additional surname of Savile [see Savile, John, Baron Savile, (1818–1896)].
Savile was the author of ‘An Argument concerning the Militia’ [anon.], London? 1762? 4to. His papers and correspondence are in the possession of the Right Hon. F. J. Savile-Foljambe at Osberton, near Worksop. A number of his letters on the subject of political and economical reform, will be found in Wyvill's ‘Political Papers’ (vols. i.–iii.), and some few are printed in Lord Albemarle's ‘Memoirs of the Marquis of Rockingham.’ Dr. Newton Ogle, dean of Winchester, who promised to write Savile's life (Wyvill, Political Papers, vi. 338–40), appears to have abandoned his self-imposed task.
There are portraits of Savile by Wilson at Osberton and at Rufford. Another portrait by Richard Wilson, R.A., was lent to the loan collection of national portraits at South Kensington in 1867 by the Trinity House, Hull (Cat. No. 490). There are engravings of Savile by Basire after Wilson, and by Bartolozzi after Fisher. A marble statue of Savile was erected in York Cathedral by public subscription, and his bust adorns the mausoleum erected to the memory of Lord Rockingham in Wentworth Park.
[Lord Mahon's History of England, 1858, vols. v. vi. vii.; Wraxall's Historical and Posthumous Memoirs, 1884, ii. 96, 98, 109, 442–3, iii. 74, 245; Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice's Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, 1875–6, ii. 205, 207, 248–9, iii. 59, 71; Political Memoranda of Francis, fifth Duke of Leeds (Camden Soc.), pp. 32, 73; Chatham Correspondence, 1838–40, iv. 125–6, 131; Memoirs of the Life of Sir Samuel Romilly, 1840, i. 121, 144; Georgian Era, 1832, i. 542–3; Nineteenth Century, xv. 1023–36; Allen's History of Yorkshire, 1828, i. 307; White's Nottinghamshire, 1844, pp. 646–7; Wheatley and Cunningham's London Past and