Page images


appears like a cruel ftep-mother to others, feems to have been a fostering parent to you; and after the most strenuous attempts to have at last produced a progeny of pure gold. I would invoke you, Chriftina! as the only child of the renowned and victorious Adolphus, if your merit did not as much eclipfe his, as wifdom excels ftrength, and the arts of peace the havoc of war. Henceforth, the queen of the fouth will not be alone renowned in history; for there is a queen of the north, who would not only be worthy to appear in the court of the wife king of the Jews, or any king of equal wifdom; but to whofe court others may from all parts repair to behold fo fair a heroine, so bright a pattern of all the royal virtues; and to the crown of whofe praise this may well be added, that neither in her conduct nor her appearance, is there any of the forbidding referve, or the oftentatious parade of royalty. She herself feems the leaft confcious of her own attributes of fovereignty; and her thoughts are always fixed on fomething greater and more fublime, than the glitter of a crown. In this respect, her example may well make innumerable kings hide their diminished heads. She may, if fuch is the fatality of the Swedish nation, abdicate the fovereignty, but she can never lay aside the queen; for her reign has proved, that she is fit to govern, not only Sweden, but the world.a


This tribute of praife, to fo highly meritorious a queen, there is I truft, no one who will not applaud; and which if others did not pay, I could not have withheld, without the imputation of the most heinous ingratitude. For, whether it be owing to the benign afpects of the planets, or to the fecret fympathies and affinities of things, I cannot too much extol my good fortune, in having found, in a region fo remote, a patron fo impartial and fo kind, whom of all I least expected, but of all the most desired. But now we will return, from this digreffion, to a quite different theme. You fay, that "we were thrown into the most furious commotion on hearing of the royal defence, and that we looked around for fome fervile pedagogue, who might employ his venal pen in the vindication of the parricides." This is the mere effufion of your spite; for you must recollect, that, when the royalists


were in fearch of a hawker for their lies, and a retailer of their malice, they applied to the grammarian Salmafius, who if he were not a menial, could never refist a bribe; who not only readily fold them his present work, but his good intentions for the future. And you must remember, that when Salmafius was anxioufly ruminating, how he might re-establish his ruined character, and obliterate his fhame, he was, by a certain retributive fatality, directed to you, who were then not officiating as a minister at Geneva, from which place you had been expelled, but as a worshipper of Priapus, of whose lascivious rites you made his house the fhrine. Hence, naufeating those praises, which you had bestowed with fo much extravagance, and which he had purchased with fo much dif grace, his friendship was converted into the most inve terate hoftility, and he curfed his panegyrift even in his dying hour. They fixed upon one John Milton, a great hero truly, to oppose Salmafius." I did not know that I was a hero, though you perchance may be the progeny of fome frail heroine, for you are nothing but a compound of iniquity. When I confider the good of the commonwealth, I may indeed lament, that I alone was felected to defend the people of England, though I could not readily have endured an affociate in the fame. You fay, that it is a matter of uncertainty who, and whence I am. The fame uncertainty attached to Homer and Demoftenes. Indeed, I had been early taught to hold my tongue and to fay nothing; which Salmafius never could; and I accordingly buried those things within my breast, which if I had pleased to disclose, I could then have obtained as much celebrity as I now poffefs. But I was not eager to haften the tardy steps of fame; nor willing to appear in public till a proper opportunity offered. For I did not regard the fame of any thing fo much, as the proper time for the execution. Hence it happened, that I had not long been known to many, before Salmafius begun to know himself. "Whether he be a man or a worm!" Truly, I would rather be a worm in the way that David expreffes it, ("I am a worm and no man,") than that my bosom, like yours, fhould be the feat of a never-dying worm. You fay, that "the fellow, having been expelled from the univerfity of Cam



bridge, on account of his atrocities, had fled his country in disgrace and travelled into Italy.' Hence we may dif cern what little reliance can be placed on the veracity of thofe, from whom you derived your information; for all, who know me, know, that in this place, both you and they have uttered the most abominable falfehoods; as I fhall foon make more fully appear. But, when I was expelId from Cambridge, why fhould I rather travel into Italy, than into France or Holland? where you, though a minifter of the Gospel, and yet fo vile a mifcreant, not only enjoy impunity, but, to the great scandal of the church, pollute the pulpit and the altar by your presence. But why, Sir, into Italy? Was it that, like another Saturn, I might find a hiding-place in Latium? No, it was because I well knew, and have fince experienced, that Italy, instead of being, as you fuppofe, the general receptacle of vice, was the feat of civilization and the hofpitable domicile of every fpecies of erudition. "When he returned, he wrote his book on divorce." I wrote nothing more than what Bucer on the Kingdom of Chrift, Fagius on Deuteronomy, and Erasmus on the First Epiftle to the Corinthians, which was more particularly defigned for the instruction of the English, had written before me, for the most useful purposes and with the most difinterested views. Why, what was not reprehenfible in them, fhould constitute a charge of criminality against me, I cannot understand; though I regret that I published this work in English; for then it would not have been exposed to the view of those common readers, who are wont to be as ignorant of their own bleffings, as they are infenfible to others fufferings. But shall you, bafe mifcreant fet up a cry about divorce, who, having debauched Portia, under the most folemn affurances of marriage, afterwards divorced her in a manner the most unprincipled and inhuman? And yet this fervant of Salmafius is faid to have been an English woman, and a staunch royalist; fo that you seem to have wooed her as a piece of royalty, and to have deferted her as the image of a republic (res republica), though you were the author of her degradation to that state of publicity, and, after having allured her from the fervice of Salmafius, reduced her to the condition of a

public prostitute. In this manner, devotedly attached as you are, to royalty, you are faid to have founded many republics (res publicas) in one city, or to have undertaken the management of their concerns, after they have been founded by others. Such have been your divorces, or rather diverfions, after which you proceed, as a ruffian, to attack my character. You now return to the invention of fresh lies. "When the confpirators were debating on the capital punishment of the king, he wrote to them, and, while they were wavering and irrefolute, brought them over to determine on his death." But I neither wrote to them, nor could I have influenced the execution; for they had previously determined on the measure, without confulting me. But I will fay more on this fubject hereafter, as alfo on the publication of the Iconoclast. The fellow, (fhall I call him a man, or only the excrement of a man,) next proceeding from his adulteries with fervant maids and fcullions, to the adulteration of the truth, endeavoured, by artfully fabricating a series of lies, to render me infamous abroad. I must therefore crave the indulgence of the reader, if I have faid already, or fhall fay hereafter more of myself than I wish to fay; that, if I cannot prevent the blindness of my eyes, the oblivion, or the defamation of my name, I may at least rescue my life from that fpecies of obfcurity, which is the affociate of unprincipled depravity. This it will be neceffary for me to do on more accounts than one; first, that fo many good and learned men among the neighbouring nations, who read my works, may not be induced by this fellow's calumnies, to alter the favourable opinion which they have formed of me; but may be perfuaded that I am not one who ever difgraced beauty of fentiment by deformity of conduct, or the maxims of a freeman by the actions of a flave; and that the whole tenour of my life has, by the grace of God, hitherto been unfullied by enormity or crime. Next that thofe illuftrious worthies, who are the objects of my praise, may know that nothing could afflict me with more fhame than to have any vices of mine diminish the force or leffen the value of my panegyric upon them; and lastly, that the people of England, whom fate, or duty, or their own


virtues have incited me to defend, may be convinced from the purity and integrity of my life, that my defence, if it do not redound to their honour, can never be confidered as their difgrace. I will now mention who and whence I am. I was born at London, of an honeft family; my father was diftinguished by the undeviating integrity of his life; my mother by the esteem in which she was held, and the alms which the bestowed. My father destined me from a child to the purfuits of literature; and my appetite for knowledge was fo voracious, that, from twelve years of age, I hardly ever left my studies, or went to bed before midnight. This primarily led to my lofs of fight. My eyes were naturally weak, and I was fubject to frequent head-achs; which, however, could not chill the ardour of my curiofity, or retard the progrefs of my improvement. My father had me daily instructed in the grammar fchool, and by other mafters at home. He then, after I had acquired a proficiency in various languages, and had made a confiderable progress in philofophy, fent me to the University of Cambridge. Here I paffed feven years in the ufual courfe of inftruction and ftudy, with the approbation of the good, and without any ftain upon my character, till I took the degree of Master of Arts. After this I did not, as this mifcreant feigns, run away into Italy, but of my own accord retired to my father's houfe, whither I was accompanied by the regrets of most of the fellows of the college, who fhewed me no common marks of friendship and esteem. On my father's eftate, where he had determined to pass the remainder of his days, I enjoyed an interval of uninterrupted leisure, which I entirely devoted to the perusal of the Greek and Latin claffics; though I occafionally vifited the metropolis, either for the fake of purchafing books, or of learning fomething new in mathematics or in mufic, in which 1, at that time, found a fource of pleasure and amusement. In this manner I fpent five years till my mother's death, I then became anxious to vifit foreign parts, and particularly Italy. My father gave me his permiffion, and I left home with one fervant. On my departure the celebrated Henry Wootton, who had long been King James's ambassador at Venice, gave me a fignal VOL. VI.



« PreviousContinue »