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which he so sedulously imparted to persons, more remotely connected with him. On the supposition, therefore, which is by no means supported by sufficient testimony, of his neglecting to summon his family to regular and formal prayer, I am far from certain that he can be convicted of any violent omission of duty; for, having impressed their minds with a just sense of the relation in which they stood to their Creator, he might allowably withdraw his interference, and leave them to adjust their homage and their petitions to their own feelings and their own wants.
From the materials, which have been left to us on the subject, we have now completed the history of JOHN MILTON,—a man in whom were illustriously combined all the qualities that could adorn, or could elevate the nature to which he belonged;-a man, who at once possessed beauty of countenance, symmetry of form, elegance of manners, benevolence' of temper, magnanimity and loftiness of soul, the brightest illumination of intellect, knowledge the most various and extended, virtue that never loitered in her career nor deviated from her course:a man, who, if he had been delegated as the representative of his species to one of the superior worlds, would have suggested a grand
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idea of the human race, as of beings affluent in moral and intellectual treasure-raised and distinguished in the universe as the favourites and heirs of Heaven.
The greatness of Milton imparts an interest to every thing, which is connected with him; and naturally points our curiosity to the fortunes of his descendants. Of the three daughters, whom he left, and who were by his first wife, Anne the eldest, who with a handsome face was deformed, married a master builder, and died, with her child, in her first lying-in: of Mary, the second, we know nothing more than that she discovered the least affection for her father, and died in a single state; and Deborah the youngest, leaving her father's house, in consequence of some disagreement with herstep-mother, three or four years before his decease, accompanied a lady, of the name of Merian, to Ireland, and afterwards married Abraham Clarke, a weaver in Spittlefields. The distress, into which she fell, experienced some late and imperfect relief from the liberality of Addison, and the less splendid munificence of Queen Caroline, from the former of whom she received a handsome donation, with a promise, which death prevented him from accomplishing, of a permanent provision;
and from the latter, a present, improperly called royal, of fifty guineas. She strongly resembled her father's portrait, and possessed good sense with genteel manners. By the affection, also, which she discovered for her father, many years after his death, she seems to have been intitled to that partial regard with which he is reported to have distinguished her.
Of her seven sons and three daughters, two only left any offspring; Caleb, who, marrying in the East Indies, had two sons, whose history cannot be traced; and Elizabeth, who married Thomas Foster, of the same profession with her father, and had by him three sons and four daughters, who all died young and without issue. In penury and age, she was discovered in a little chandler's shop, and brought forward to the public notice by the active benevolence of Doctor Birch and Doctor Newton. In consequence of this awakened attention to the grand-daughter of Milton, Comus was acted for her benefit, and Johnson, associated, at that time as he was, in the injurious labours of the infamous Lander, did not hesitate to supply the occasional prologue. The produce of this benefit was only
m April 5th 1750.
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apone hundred and thirty pounds; and, with this small sum between her and her former wretchedness, she relapsed into indigence and the obscurity of her shop. She died, as I am informed by a paragraph TM in one of the contemporary newspapers, on the 9th of may, 1754; and with her, as it is highly probable, expired the last descendant of the immortal Milton.
Some of the little information, which she Csupplied respecting her grandfather and his family, seems to have been erroneous. For the fact of his second wife's dying in childbed we have the testimony, not only of Philips but, of Milton himself, who in the sonnet on her death makes a direct "allusion to its cause; and yet Mrs. Foster affirmed that this lady died of a consumption, at a period of more than three months after her lyingin. When Mrs. Foster mentioned France, as the birth place of our author's father, she was also mistaken; and she was again un
This paragraph which is preserved in the " Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, Esq. (v.i. p. 114.) shall here be transcribed.
"On Thursday last, (may 9, 1754) died at Islington, in the 66th year of her age, after a long and painful illness, which she sustained with Christian fortitude and patience, Mrs. Elizabeth Foster, granddaughter of Milton.
"Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of childbed taint, Purification, in the old law did save," &c. Son. xxiii.
questionably wrong if she affirmed, as it is said, that her mother and her aunts had not been taught, and were unable to write. When she mentioned, however, that her grandfather seldom went abroad during the latter years of his life, and was, at that time, constantly visited by persons of distinction among his countrymen and foreigners, her relation is supported by its probability and by the concurrence of his contemporary biographers. She spoke of three portraits of her great ancestor, which had been painted at different periods of his life; the first when he was at school; the second when he was about the age of twenty-five, and the last when he was advanced in years.
The first of these portraits is that painted in 1618, by Cornelius Jansen, which we have noticed in one of the first pages of our works. It is a half-length picture of the boy Milton; and, having been first purchased by Mr. Charles Stanhope from the executors of Milton's widow, became, at the sale of Mr. Stanhope's effects, the property of the late Mr. Hollis, with whose family it remains. Of the two other portraits, unless the last be that crayon drawing by Fairthorne, for which Milton sate in his sixty-second year and which is reported to have the most strongly