SAVAGE, Francis (1769-1823), of Ardkeen and Hollymount, co. Down.
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Family and Education
b. Dec. 1769, 1st s. of Charles Savage of Ardkeen by Anne, da. and h. of Cromwell Price, MP [I], of Hollymount. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1786. m. (1) 31 Oct. 1795, Jane (bur. 14 Mar. 1797), da. of James Crawford of Crawfordsburn, 1da. d.v.p.; (2) 19 May 1806, Lady Harriet Butler, da. of Henry Thomas, 2nd Earl of Carrick [I], s.p. suc. fa. 1779.
MP [I] 1794-1800.
Trustee, linen board [I] 1795.
Sheriff, co. Down 1791-2, 1819-20.
Capt. co. Down militia 1793; commdt. Inch and Downpatrick vol. inf.
Savage, the first member of a family settled in county Down since the 15th century to enter Parliament, was returned for the county in 1794 with the support of the Marquess of Downshire, like whom he was an uncompromising opponent of the Union.1 At Westminster he voted with opposition almost at once against the Irish master of the rolls bill, 19 Mar., and on Grey’s censure motion, 25 Mar. 1801, but Lord Downshire’s death on 29 Sept. 1801 and his widow’s rapprochement with the Addington administration changed matters. On 4 July 1802 Lady Downshire informed the premier that she had secured his return for Down again, with Addington’s approbation as she thought:2
He had declared his firm attachment to your administration. He had been an unalterable friend to my family. He was the present Member and it would be the most likely method of preserving the peace of the county.
Subsequently there is no evidence of Savage’s opposition and he was at first believed to be a supporter of Pitt’s second ministry, though he did not reply to a circular late in 1804. James Fitzgerald* heard in January 1805 that Savage showed a ‘strong inclination to join the opposition. He seemed mortified at being considered under the direction of the Marchioness of Downshire. I do not know how he is accessible save by representing to him the possible advantage of an honourable adherence to the Prince.’ Despite this he voted against the Catholic claims, 14 May 1805. In July he was listed a doubtful Pittite. Like Lady Downshire, he was well disposed to the Grenville ministry and, at her promise, voted against their successors, 9 Apr. 1807.3
Thereafter he followed Lady Downshire’s opposition line, voting with them on the address, 26 June 1807, and on Whitbread’s critical motion of 6 July. On 25 May 1808 he voted for the Catholic claims; he did so again on 21 May 1810, 31 May 1811 and 24 Apr. 1812, after voting also for Morpeth’s motion on Ireland, 4 Feb. 1812. Not surprisingly, in view of Lady Downshire’s hostility to that minister, he voted for Castlereagh’s censure for corruption, 11 May 1809. He was in the opposition lobby on the Scheldt inquiry, 23 Feb., 5, 30 Mar. 1810, and on 21 May voted for parliamentary reform. He voted against the Regency bill, 21 Jan. 1811. On 17 May 1810 and 7 Feb. 1812 he voted against sinecures and offices in reversion. No speech by him is known.
In March 1812 the young Marquess of Downshire made it clear that he had no intention of trying to bring two Members in for Down in future and came to compromise terms with the Londonderry interest. This spelt Savage’s doom and, angry with his patron, he insisted on resigning at once. This certainly disobliged Castlereagh, who aspired to the seat and tried to delay Savage’s vacating it until the end of the session: but the new writ was issued on 8 May. There was no place for Savage in the Downshire scheme thereafter and nothing came of his bid two weeks later to put himself in the running as an independent, for the sheriff declined to allow him to disturb the peace of the county.4 Savage died 19 Sept. 1823.