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As we are now arrived at the close of Milton's public life, it may be as well for a moment to look back, and recollect the fyftem upon which he afferts his political career to have been conducted, and the end to which his writings were directed. He fays, when the outcry against the bishops commenced, and the model of our reformed church was to its difadvantage compared to others, he faw that a way was opening for the establishment of real liberty. That he perceived there were three fpecies of liberty effential to the happiness of focial life-religious, domestic, and civil. To promote the first, he wrote his Treatife on Reformation, &c.; and as he faw that the magistrates were active in obtaining the third, he therefore turned his attention to the fecond, or domeftic. This included three material queftions, first, the conduct of the conjugal tie; fecondly, the education of children; and, thirdly, the free publication of the thoughts. These queftions were feverally confidered by him in his Treatise on Divorce, his Tractate on Education, and his Areopagitica, or Liberty of unlicensed printing. With regard to civil affairs, he left them in the hands of the magiftrates, till it became neceffary to vindicate the right of lawfully dethroning," or deftroying tyrants (without any immediate or perfonal application to Charles), against the doctrine of the prefbyterian minifters. Such were the fruits of his private ftudies, which he had gratuitously prefented to church and state, and for which he was recompenfed by nothing but impunity. Though the actions themselves (he fays) procured me peace of confci
That her husband did not like him at all; but he would acknowledge him to be a man of great parts, and a learned man. Aubrey Lett. iii. 444. He had no intimacy with Cromwell, nor with those in power. He tells Heimbach that he cannot ferve him, " Propter pauciffimas familiaritates meas cum gratiofis." Ep. Fam. Dec. 18, 1657.
See Bowles's Life of Bishop Ken, vol. i. pp. 87 and 156.
ence, and the approbation of the good; while I exercised that freedom of difcuffion which I loved.
Difencumbered of the duties of fecretary, difgufted with the treachery of parties, and the failure of his fondeft wishes, Milton at length retreated from the changes. and turbulence of the times, and had now leisure to refume the great works which he had long destined for his future employment. He commenced a history of his native country, a dictionary of the Latin language," more copious and correct than that of Stephens; he framed a body of divinity out of the Bible; and, laftly he sketched the first outlines of his immortal poem. For the subject of his epic poem, fays Johnson, after much deliberation, long choofing, and beginning late, he fixed upon Paradise Loft,
design so comprehensive, that it could be justified only by success. He had once meant to celebrate the exploits of K. Arthur,56 as he has hinted in his Verses, " but," says Toland, "this particular fubject was reserved for the celebrated pen of Sir Richard Blackmore." Amidst the profecution of these great and laborious defigns, he found time during the year 1659 for fome humbler occupations.
35 Thefe collections confifted of three large volumes in folio. They were much difcompofed and deficient, but were used by the editors of the Camb. Dict. in 1693, 4to. See the Pref. to Ainsworth's Lat. TheJaurus. It was faid that Philips was the laft poffeffor of thefe collections. I have an extract from a bookfeller's catalogue by me-Dictionary, Latin and English, compiled from the works of Stephens, Cooper, Littelton, a large MS. in three volumes, of Mr. John Milton, 15s. 4to.
56 See Coleridge's Table Talk, vol. ii. p. 264. "In my judgment an epic poem must either be rational or mundane. As to Arthur, you cannot by any means make a poem on him natural to Englishmen. What have we to do with him. Milton faw this, and with a judgment at leaft equal to his genius treats a mundane theme,-one common to all mankind. His Adam and Eve are all men and women inclufively, &c."
He edited fome manufcript treatises of Sir Walter Raleigh. He published the foreign correspondence of the English parliament and of Cromwell: in which his urgent remonftrances to the Duke of Savoy in favour of the Protestants in Piedmont, do honour to the piety of the government:" he wrote (against the Prefbyterians) his "Confiderations to remove hirelings out of the Church;" and, alarmed at the profpect of a returning monarchy, he printed his "Ready and eafy way to establish a free Commonwealth." What he speaks, he fays, is the language of that which is not called amifs-" the good old cause." It appears from a paffage in this treatise, that commerce had much languished during the civil wars and ufurpation; 58 and that the trading community were all anxious for the return of a luxurious court, and the affiftance of regal prodigality.59
When the restoration of the king proved all his wishes fruitless, Milton withdrew to a friend's house in Bartholomew Close. This temporary concealment feems to have been neceffary to his fafety, for a particular profecution was directed against him.
It is mentioned by his biographers that a mock funeral 60 was made for him, and that when matters were arranged, the carelefs and merry monarch laughed at the impofition. It was however ordered that his "Icono
claftes" and "Defenfio pro Populo Anglicano" should be burned by the common hangman, and that the attorney general should proceed against them by indictment, or otherwise.61 Of the profcribed books feveral copies on the 27th of Auguft 62 were committed to the flames. Within three days after this, the act of indemnity passed, and he was relieved from the neceffity of further concealment. When fubfequently he was in the custody of the ferjeant at arms, it is fuppofed that his pardon was obtained by the intervention of fome powerful friends.6 Whether the story of Davenant's affiftance is authentic, I am not able to say. The house on the 13th of December ordered his release: but how long he remained in cuftody is not known. Richardfon fays, that he lived in perpetual terror of being affaffinated, and that he was fo dejected, he could lie awake whole nights. It has been afferted, that Milton was offered the place of Latin fecretary to the king, an offer that it is obvious, he could not in honour or confcience accept, and that on his wife preffing his compliance, he said, "Thou art in the right, you as
61 On Milton and Goodwin being referred to as having written in vindication of the King's murder, see Long's Review of Baxter's Life, p. 66. See Chalmer's Suppl. Apology, p. 6, for the proclamation. See alfo Newton's Life, p. lviii.
62 In 1683 twenty-feven propofitions from the writings of Milton, Hobbes, Buchanan, &c. were burnt at Oxford, as destructive to Church and State. This tranfaction is celebrated in Mufæ Anglicanæ, called Decretum Oxoniense, vol. iii. P. 180.
Si fimilis quicunque hæc fcripferit auctor,
63 The most copious account of the circumstances attending Milton's pardon are in Richardfon's Life, p. 86, &c. communicated by Pope; who is also the authority for the affertion that Milton was offered the place of Latin fecretary to the king. See Newton's Life, p. lxviii. note.
other women, would ride in your coach, for me, my aim is to live and die an honeft man ;" and thus in this his parting scene in public life was exhibited a stability of conduct, an independence of principle, and a confiftency of affertion, that no one can deny.
In 1661 he published his "Accidence commenced Grammar," and alfo Sir W. Raleigh's Aphorifms of State, bending his great and comprehenfive mind to the conftruction of thofe humbler works which he confidered of advantage to education. He lived for a fhort time. in Holborn, near Red Lion Street, but foon removed to Jewin Street, by Alderfgate. In 1664, the year previous to the great fickness, he married his third wife, Elizabeth Minfhull, of a genteel family in Cheshire, a relation of his particular friend Dr. Paget.65 Mr. Todd confiders it worthy of obfervation, that Milton chofe his three wives out of the virgin ftate; while Sheffield duke of Buckingham felected his three from that of widowhood: but what inference the learned biographer would draw from their respective choices, is, from an entire ignorance on these subjects, to me unknown. Sheffield was probably looking out for a fplendid jointure, and Milton for a gentle, virtuous, and attached companion.
64 Mr. W. S. Landor fays on removing the anomalies of our language "nothing can be done without confulting Milton, his words excel in orthography thofe of any other writer." See Gebir, p. 9.
65 The poet's widow died at Nantwich, in Cheshire, in 1727, having furvived her husband fifty-two years, her funeral fermon, preached by the Rev. I. Kember, is published. "I remember," fays Dr. Newton, "to have heard from a gentleman who had feen his widow in Cheshire, that she had hair of this colour (golden treffes) it is more probable that he intended a compliment to his wife in the drawing of Eve, as he drew the portrait of Adam not without regard to his own perfon, of which he had no mean opinion." v. P. L. iv. 305. The Aubrey MSS. fay, she was a genteel perfon, a peaceful, and agreeable humour. v. Vol. iii. p. 442. See Gough's Camden (Chefhire) p. 436.