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Clarke, the son of Caleb (i.e. a great-great-granddaughter of Milton, actually born while Milton's widow was still alive at Nantwich); but there is just a possibility that there was other and farther descent from Milton in these Indian Clarkes. Otherwise, the direct descent from Milton ended in his granddaughter Elizabeth Clarke, the youngest daughter of Deborah. She married a Thomas Foster, a Spitalfields weaver; she afterwards kept "a small chandler's shop" in Holloway; she removed thence to Shoreditch, where she and her husband had some little dispute in 1750 as to the investment of about £130, the proceeds of a performance of Comus which Dr. Johnson and others had got up for her benefit; and she died in Islington in 1754. She struck those who visited her as "a good, plain, sensible woman," in very infirm health. Seven children of hers had all died in infancy.-Christopher Milton, the poet's lawyer-brother, but who had always been opposite to him in politics, was not only a bencher of the Inner Temple at the time of his brother's death, but also Deputy-Recorder of Ipswich. In the reign of James II., having pushed his compliance so far as to turn Roman Catholic, he became Sir Christopher Milton, Knt., and a judge. At the Revolution he retired into private life at or near Ipswich; where he died in 1692, in his seventy-seventh year. He left a son, Thomas Milton, and two or three daughters, who are traced some way into the eighteenth century.- -So far as is known, the Milton pedigree was transmitted farthest and most respectably in the descent from Milton's sister Anne, who was first Mrs. Phillips and afterwards Mrs. Agar, and who seems to have died some years before the poet, leaving Mr. Agar still alive. Her two sons by the first marriage, Edward and John Phillips, Milton's two nephews, and educated by him (John wholly, but with two years at Oxford added in Edward's case), can hardly, indeed, be reckoned among fortunate men. They struggled on cleverly and industriously, but never very prosperously, in private tutorship, schoolmastering, and hack-authorship; and their numerous publications in prose and verse, lists of which have been made out, are among the curiosities of the minor literature of England in the latter half of the seventeenth century. Edward died not long after 1694, in which year he had published his brief but valuable Life of Milton, prefixed to an English translation of Milton's State Letters; John,
who seems to have been the less reputable in his life, and the more reckless in the spirit and style of his writings, was alive till 1706. Their families have not been traced. Meanwhile, their half-sister, Ann Agar, their mother's only surviving child by her second marriage, had carried the pedigree, in more flourishing circumstances, into another line, with another change of name. Her father, Mr. Thomas Agar, resuming his post of Deputy-Clerk of the Crown at the Restoration, had come to be a man of some wealth; and, before his death in 1673 (when he was succeeded in his office by Thomas Milton, the son of Christopher), she had married a David Moore, of Sayes House, Chertsey, in the county of Surrey, Esq. From this marriage came a Thomas Moore of Sayes House, who was knighted in 1715; and from him have descended, branching out by intermarriages, a great many Moores and Fitzmoores, traceable in the squirearchy, the church, or the public service of England, to the present day. All these are related to Milton in so far as they are descended from his sister, the mother of the "Fair Infant" of his early Elegy.
In 1681, seven years after Milton's death, there was published a thin tract of a few pages, entitled Mr. John Milton's Character of the Long Parliament and Assembly of Divines, professing to be a passage which had been omitted from his History of Britain, when that work was published by himself in 1670. It is now generally inserted into that work within brackets. In 1682 there was published from Milton's manuscript a compilation called "A Brief History of Moscovia, and of other less known countries lying eastward of Russia as far as Cathay." The collections he had made towards a Latin Dictionary went into the hands of Edward Phillips, were used by Phillips in some compilations of his own, and have been embodied in subsequent Dictionaries. Two packets of manuscript left by Milton about the fate of which he was somewhat anxious were his Latin System of Divinity drawn direct from the Bible, and dictated to various amanuenses, and his Latin Letters of State to Foreign Powers, written in his Secretaryship to the Commonwealth and Protectorate. These packets he had intrusted to one of his latest amanuenses, a young Cambridge man, Daniel Skinner, a relative of his friend Cyriack. They were conveyed by Skinner to Amsterdam for publication by Daniel Elzevir;
but, the English Government having heard of them, the publication was stopped, and they were sent back to London in a brown paper parcel, which was thrown aside in the State Paper Office. This was in 1677; but in the previous year, 1676, a London bookseller, who had somehow obtained imperfect copies of the Latin State Letters, had published a surreptitious edition of them, entitled Litera Pseudo-Senatus Anglicani, necnon Cromwelli, nomine et jussu Conscriptæ. A better edition was printed at Leipsic in 1690, and Phillips's English translation appeared in 1694. Quite different from these Milton State Letters, though sometimes called The Milton Papers, is a thin folio edited in 1743 by John Nickolls, and consisting of Letters and Addresses to Cromwell, and other intimate Cromwellian documents, from 1650 onwards, which had somehow been in Milton's keeping, and which were afterwards in possession of the Quaker Ellwood. Finally, in 1823, attention having been at last called to the brown paper parcel that had been lying in the State Paper Office since 1677, Milton's long lost treatise De Doctrina Christiana, part of the contents of the parcel, was published, in 1825, by Dr. Sumner, afterwards Bishop of Winchester, with the addition of an English translation in the same year.
It is from this Treatise of Christian Doctrine that Milton's theological and philosophical opinions at the close of his life, so far as they could be expressed in formal and systematic language, are to be most authentically learnt. The treatise shows him to have been an Anti-Trinitarian, in his later years at least, holding views as to the nature of Christ which were substantially those of high Arianism, as distinct from the lower Socinianism. It shows him also to have been, on the whole, Arminian and Anti-Calvinistic in his views of Free Will and Predestination. It contains, moreover, a very curious doctrine on the subject of Matter and Spirit, Soul and Body, which it is difficult to define otherwise than by calling it Materialistic Pantheism, or Pantheistic Materialism. While Deity himself is represented as One Infinite Spirit, and so Milton starts in his philosophical system with a pure Spiritualistic Theism, yet all that we call Matter or Creation, he avers, including angels and men, the animate and the inanimate, is originally a production or efflux out of the very substance of
God, separated from Him only in so far as He has implanted independence and free will into parts of it. Hence the ordinary distinction between soul and body in man is repudiated by Milton. Soul and body, he holds, are one and inseparable; Man is a body-soul or a soul-body, and is propagated as such from father to son. From this proposition it is one of his deductions that soul and body die together, or, in other words, that there is a total cessation or suspension of personal consciousness between Death and the Resurrection. In such a future Resurrection, or sudden and miraculous reawakening to life of all that have lived and died in the world, Milton declares himself a profound believer. He connects his hope thereof with the Millenarian doctrine of Christ's second coming and of a consequent day of universal judgment, a conflagration or destruction otherwise of the present cosmos, and the succession of a new and grander system of things, in which the perfectly glorified saints and the wicked shall have their several eternal portions, the wicked in some hell, and the saints in the empyrean heaven, or in some new heavens and earth created for them. All this and much more he professes to have derived from the Bible, which he declares again and again to be the sole external rule of Christian faith, to be studied and interpreted by every man for himself, and with texts from which, in masses and coagulations, his treatise is full from first to last. From the same authority he professes to have derived the system of ethics and of church policy which his treatise propounds. He regards the Decalogue as abolished with the rest of the Mosaic Law, and continued literal adhesion to it as inconsistent with true Christian liberty. Hence he is an anti-Sabbatarian, finding no authority for the substitution of the first day of the week for the Jewish Sabbath, and no higher reason for the observance of that day than Christian consent and general convenience. His views of Church discipline are those of Independency or Congregationalism, with a marked tendency to absolute Individualism, or to a kind of Quakerism in some things; and he goes with the Baptists or Anti-Pædobaptists in their particular tenet. He dissents positively from the Quakers in their extreme doctrine of peace or passivity, and in other matters, holding war to be often lawful, resistance by arms to tyranny to be lawful, and finding Scripture warrant also for prayers for curses and
calamities upon bad men and enemies. Perhaps the part of the treatise that most shocks modern opinion is that where, not content with repeating his old doctrine of the lawfulness of divorce in cases of mutual incompatibility, he inserts a defence or justification of polygamy. But the treatise generally, it will be seen, contains not a few heterodoxies.