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THE

NUNCUPATIVE WILL*

OF

JOHN MILTON.

WITH NOTES,

BY THE REVEREND T. WARTON, B. D.

MEMORANDUM, that JOHN MILTON, late of the parish of St. Giles Cripplegate in the Countie of Middlefex gentleman, deceased, at feverall times before his death, and in particular, on or about the twentieth day of July, in the year of our Lord God 1674, being of perfect mind and memorie, declared his Will and intent as to the difpofall of his eftate after his death, in these words following, or of like effect: " "The portion due to me from Mr. Powell, my former wife's father, I leave to the unkind children I had by her, having received no parte of it: but my meaning is, they fhall have no other benefit of my estate than the said portion, and what I have befides done for them; they having been very undutifull to me. All the refidue of my

* [From Mr. Warton's 2d edit. of Milton's Smaller Poems, 1791.]

a As propounded in the Prerogative Court.

VOL. I.

m

eftate I leave to [the] difpofall of Elizabeth my loving wife." Which words, or to the fame effect, were spoken in the presence of CHRISTOPHER MILTON. b

X [Mark of] ELIZABETH FISHER. © Nov. 23, 1674. ‘

JOHN MILTON's younger brother: a ftrong royalist, and a profeffed papift. After the civil war, he made his compofition through his brother's intereft. Being a practitioner in the law, he lived to be an ancient Bencher of the Inner Temple: was made a judge of the Common Pleas, and knighted by king James the fecond; but, on account of his age and infirmities, he was at length difmiffed from bufinefs, and retired to Ipfwich, where he refided all the latter part of his life.

A fervant-maid of JOHN MILTON.

Registr. Cur. Prærog. Cant. This Will was contested by Mary, Deborah, and Anne Milton, daughters of the poet's first wife Mary, daughter of Mr. Richard Powell, of Forefthill in Oxfordshire. The caufe came to a regular fentence, which was given against the Will; and the widow, Elizabeth, was ordered to take Adminiftration instead of a Probate. I muft add here, that this caufe, the fubject of which needed no additional luftre from great names, was tried by that upright and able ftatefman, Sir Leoline Jenkins, Judge of the Prerogative Court, and Secretary of State; and that the depofitions were taken in part before Dr. Trumbull, afterwards Sir William Trumbull, Secretary of State, and the celebrated friend of Pope. As a circumftantial and authentick history of this procefs, the following inftruments, which were otherwise thought too curious to be fuppreffed, are sub· joined.

.

I.

The Allegation propounding the Will, on which Allegation the Witneffes be examined. ©

Negotium Teftamentarium, five probacionis Teftamenti nuncupativi, five ultimæ Voluntatis, JOHANNIS MILTON, nuper dum vixit parochiæ S. Egidii Cripplegate London generofi, defuncti, habent. &c. promotum per Elizabetham MILTON Relictam, et Legatariam principalem no

f

Viz. Chriftopher MILTON, and JOHN MILTON's two fervant-maids Elizabeth and Mary Fisher. Witneffes on the part of the widow.

This was his third wife, Elizabeth Minfhull, of a gentle. man's family in Cheshire. He married her at the recommendation of his friend, and her relation, Dr. Paget, about the year 1661, and in his fifty-fourth year, foon after he had obtained his pardon from the restored king; being now blind and infirm, and wanting fome more conftant and confidential companion than a fervant to attend upon his perfon. The elder Richardfon infinuates, that this lady, being no poet or philofopher like her husband, used frequently to teaze him for his carelessness or ignorance about moneymatters, and that she was a termagant. He adds, that foon after their marriage, a royal offer was made to Milton of the resumption of his old department of Latin Secretary, and that, being ftrongly preffed by his wife to an acceptance, he fcornfully replied, "Thou art in the right; you, as other women, would ride in your Coach. My aim is to live and die an honest man." LIFE, &c. p. xcix. feq. edit. 1734. From thefe papers, however, it appears, that the confulted her husband's humours, and treated his infirmities with tenderness. After his death in 1674, fhe retired to Namptwich in Cheshire, where she died about 1729. Mr. Pennant fays, her father, Mr. Minfhull, lived at Stoke in that

minatam in Teftamento nuncupativo, five ultima Voluntate, dicti defuncti, contra Mariam, Annam, et Deboram MILTON, filias dicti defuncti.

THOMPSON. CLEMENTS.

Secundo Andreæ, A. D. 1674. Quo die.... Thompfon, nomine, procuratione, ac ultimus procurator legitimus, dictæ Elizabethæ MILTON, Omnibus melioribus et effectualioribus [efficacioribus] via, modo, et meliori forma, necnon ad omnem juris effectum, exhibuit Teftamentum nuncupativum dicti JOHANNIS MILTON defuncti, fic incipiens, "MEMORANDUM, that JOHN MILTON, late of the parish of S. Giles, Cripplegate, &c." Which words, or words to the fame effect, were spoken in the prefence of Chriftopher MILTON, and Elizabeth Fisher; et allegavit confimiliter, et dicens prout fequitur. I. Quod præfatus JOHANNEs Milton, dum vixit, mentis compos, ac in fua fana memoria exiftens, .... Teftamentum fuum nuncupativum modo in hoc negotio exhibitum ... tenoris fchedula.... teftamentariæ condidit, nun

neighbourhood. W. Tour, and Gough's Camden, Chefhire, P. 436.

The third edition of Paradife Loft was published in 1678; and this is the poet's widow, to whom the copy of that work was then to devolve by original agreement, but who fold all her claims to Samuel Simmons, his bookfeller, for eight pounds, according to her receipt given Decemb. 21, 1680.

cupavit, et declaravit; cæteraque omnia et fingula dedit, donavit, reliquit, et difpofuit, in omnibus, et per omnia, vel fimiliter in effectum, prout in dicto Teftamento nuncupativo continetur, ac poftea mortem obiit: ac Principalis Pars ifta proponit conjunctim, divifim, et de quolibet. II. Item, quod tempore conditionis, declarationis, nuncupationis Teftamenti, in hoc negotio exhibiti, præfatus JOHANNES MILTON perfecta fruebatur memoria; ac proponit ut fupra. &

II.

Interrogatories addreffed to the Witnefes examined upon the Allegation.

Decemb. 5, 1674. Interrogatoria ministrata et miniftranda ex parte Annæ, Mariæ, et Debora MILTON, teftibus ex parte Elizabethæ MILTON productis five producendis fequuntur.

Imprimis, Afke each witneffe, what relation to, or dependance on, the producent, they, or either of them, have; and to which of the parties they would give the victory were it in their power? Et interrogatur quilibit teftis conjunctim, et divifim, et de quolibet.

2. Item, Aske each witneffe, what day, and what time of the day, the Will nuncupative was declared; what pofitive words did the deceased

Regiftr. Cur. Prærog. Cant, ut fupr.

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