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who had so indignantly complained of restraints on the press, when imposed by prelacy, lost no time in subjecting it to the most rigorous censor. ship when it passed into their own hands. It was thus found, in the nervous language of Milton, that
“New Presbyter is but Old Priest writ large." In 1648-49, Milton published “The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates," in which he shows that the trial and execution of Charles I. was justifiable. Soon after this he began a new work, “ A History of England," but was prevented from labouring long in this department, by being, unerpectedly to himself, appointed Secretary of State, March, 1619: he therefore immediately applied himself to the duties of his new avocation.
About this time, soon after King Charles' death, a book appeared, under the title of Eikuv Bacidian, (Icon Basilike,) “ The Royal Image," or “ Portraiture of his Sacred Majesty in his Solitudes and Sufferings." It purported to have been written by the king himself,* and made a powerful impression on the public mind.t Milton was ordered by Parliament to answer it, and he did so in the Etkavoklaons, (ICONOCLAST, or “ Image Breaker.") This was considered, even by the prejudiced, as a triumphant refutation of the “Portraiture," and produced a conviction decidedly unfavourable to the royal party. It is indeed one of the very ablest of his controversial writings.
But a still greater triumph awaited him. Charles II., then in France, anxious to appeal to the world against the execution of his father, employed Claudius Salmatius, professor in the university of Leyden, and famed for his learning, to write a defence of the late king and monarchy; and before the close of the year 1619 the book appeared, under the titlo of Defensio Regia pro Carolo Primo ad Carolum Secundum. All eyes were now turned to Milton to answer it. By this time, his sight, which had for a long time been weak, had become greatly impaired, and he was forewarned by his physicians that total blindness would be the infallible resuit, if he should engage in any new literary labour; but, undeterred by this prediction, and unrestrained by bad health, he persevered in the work,-for, as he says himself, “I did not long balance whether my duty should be preferred to my eyes.” Early, therefore, in the year 1651, appeared his Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio contra Claudii Salmatii Defensionem Regiam. This work more than answered the expectations which were entertained of it. It was read with universal applause and admiration. The triumph of Milton was decisive, and the humiliation of bis adversary so great, that he lost favour even with those whom he sought to please--the crowned heads. So great, indeed, was his mortification, and so wounded was his pride, that ill health soon followed, and he died the next year.
In 1653, Milton lost his wife, and he was left with three motherless daughters, in domestic solitude and in almost total blindness. But such was the vigour of his intellect, that he continued to labour in defence of the commonwealth. Numerous replies to his “Defence" were sent forth by tho royalists, but all these ho left to perish in obscurity, excepting one that was published at the Hague, entitled Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Cælum adversus Parricidas Anglicanae. It was written by Peter du Moulin, a Frenchman, but afterwards Prebendary of Canterbury; but A. More, who had the charge of publishing it.-a Scotchman by birth, who had settled in France, was treated by Milton as the real author. A terriblo castigation awaited him; for, in 1654, appeared Milton's reply, under the titlo of Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano contra infamem * It i« now known to have been written by Gauden, Bishop of Exeter.
Read a most interesting and masterly account of the sulject in the Edinburgh Review, June, 1826. (Ixiv. 1.) writtan by Sir James Mackintosh.
| 48,500 copies of this book were sold,-a number which, when we look at thu times, and the scarcity and duurnoss of books then, is truly extraordinary.
Libelles anonymum exi Titulus, Pegii Sanguinis Clamor ad Cælum. Tois, on many accounts, is a more valuable work to us than the first; for, besides that be triumphantly and everywhere vindicates democratic pripciples.- laying down the broad truth that all legitimate gorernments zre scd most be from the people,-he has also, to refute the calumnies of bis enemies, given a sketch of many parts of his own history, and introduces us to a large oumber of his republican friends, and gives their etaraeters. The Address to Cromwell, notwithstanding Dr. Johnson's grer.* bas been generally admired, as ably portraying the character of that must remarkable man.
Atoat 1656, Milton married his second wife, the daughter of Captain Wicoek, of Harkney, who died the next year. In one of his Sonnets, be bas paid an affectionate tribute to her memory. Soon after this event, be retired from the office of Seeretary of State, on an allowance of one hunired and fifty pounds a year. He occupied his time in completing bis History of England” to the Norman conquest; in the preparation of bis Theraurus Linguæ Latine, and doubtless in reflecting upon the subjeet of bis in mortal epic, the “ Paradise Lost.”.
In September, 1658, Cromwell, broken down by the cares and anxieties of government, finished his splendid career. His death, of course, gave do birtle an riety in the breast of Milton, lest the great cause of freedom, for which he had been contending, should suffer detriment, and intolerance and persecution return. He therefore published two treatises, devoted to the consideration of two evils. One of these was entitled “A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes;" and the other, “Considerations touching the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church.” In the first he asserts the entire liberty of conscience, maintaining that in Inauters purely religious, the civil magistrate has no right to interfere. In the second, he contends against all tithes; and that pastors should be supported by the voluntary contributions of their own flock. So wonderfally was this great man ahead of his times !
At the Restoration, he was of course in imminent peril, and he retired to the bouse of a friend in Bartholomew Close, f and there he lay concealed till the Act of Oblivion was passed, August 29, 1660. On his return to society, he took a house in Holborn, near Red Lion Square, and in 1662 removed to a house in the Artillery Walk, adjoining Bunhill Fields, where he continued during the remainder of his life. In 1665, Si ilton married his third wife, f Elizabeth Minshul, daughter of Sir Edward Minshul, of an ancient Cheshire family. She survived him above fifty years, and, retiring to N20 wich, in Cheshire, died there in 1727.
About this time, (1065,) Ellwood, the Quaker, desired to be introduced to Milton,-believing that, by reading to him, he would advance himself in classical knowledge, as well as materially aid the blind bard. The worthy and benevolent Quaker soon found in Milton a friend as well as an instructor; and when the plague began to rage in London, he had the poet and his family conveyed to a house near his own, at Chalfont, St. Gile:, Buckinghamshire. Hero Milton gave to Ellwood the manuscript of ** Paralise Lost” to read, desiring his opinion upon it. When Ellwood returned it, he expressed his great pleasure, and added—“Thou hast said
* Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Milton, seems to miss no opportunity of libelling his character. Indeed, we can hardly conceive of two men more opposite: the one w48 & Thement, the other a Tory in politics; the one a Congregationalist, the other a lighchurrbon in religion; the one highly imaginative, the other sensuous. of Jonson's life of the poet, Fletcher says. "It is the trail of a serpent over ull Milton's works: nothing eri apud the fang of detraction." 1 A very narrow close or passage, in London, entered from West Smithfield.
Thía step reemed to be really necessary, to protect the blind poet from the unfatural conduct of his daughters, who sold his books, and combined with the mridServant to cheat him in the marketing. His friendly physician, Dr. Paget, selected thi lady for him, who appears to have been such a helpmate as his circumstances required.
much here about Paradise Lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found !” That this remark was the means of our having the latter immortal poem, we have Ellwood's subsequent authority :-"Soon after be showed me his second Poem, called . Paradise Regained,' and in a pleasant tone said to me-“This is owing to you: for you put it into my head by the question you put to me at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of.” Newton remarks, that considering the difficulties “under which the author lay,--bis uneasiness at the public affuirs and his own, his age and infirmities, his not being now in circumstances to maintain an amanuensis, but obliged to make use of any hand that came next, to write his verses as he made them,-it is really wonderful that he should have had the spirit to undertake such a work, and much more that he should ever have brought it to perfection."
In 1670, Milton published his “ History of England,” continued only as far as the Norman conquest. In 1671, he gave to the world - Paradise Regained" and “Samson Agonistes.” But he did not disdain to perform what are considered humbler services to literature. Haring already published a book of Latin Accidence for children, he now, in 1672, supplied the more advanced student with a system of logic on the plan of Ramus, entitled, Artis Logicce plenior Institutio ad Petri Rami Methodum concinnata ; and in 1673 he published a short treatise, entitled “Of true Religion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration, and what best Means may be used against the growth of Popery."
In the latter part of his life, probably when Secretary of State, but at what particular time is not known, Milton employed a portion of his hours in preparing a Treatise on Divinity. It was written in Latin, and deposited in the hands of Cyriack Skinner, since which time all traces of it were lost until in the year 1923, when Mr. Lemon, the Deputy Keeper of the old State P: per Office in Whitehall, discovered it, loosely wrapped up in two or three sheets of printed paper, enclosed in a cover, and directed to Mr. Skinner, Merchant. There is not room here to give the evidence of this being Milton's long-lost work; suffice it to say that its genuineness is established beyond the shadow of a doubt. When it was discovered, it was placed in the hands of the Rev. Charles R. Sumner, M. A., since Archbishop of Canterbury, by whom it was carefully edited, and who also gave to the public a very elegant and exact translation. The work opens with a salutation, which, from any other man, would be presumption or affectation; but it was in perfect harmony with Milton's purity of character, loftiness of soul, extent of learning, and a whole life dedicated to the service of God and mankind, to adopt the style of an Apostle :“ JOHN MILTON, TO ALL THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST, AND TO ALL WHO PROFESS THE CHRISTIAN FAITII TUROT GHOUT THE WORLD, PEACE AND THE RECOGNITION OF THE TRUTH, AND ETERNAL SALVATION IN GOD THE FATHER, AND IN our LORD JESTS CHRIST." No work of this remarkable man shows more independence of thought than this. Ile discards all the old systems of theology, and tests every question by the authority of Scripture alone; and though some may hesitate to adopt every conclusion to which he arrives, all must acknowledge that this Treatise evinces in its author a calm and conscientious desire for truth, an humble and reverential feeling for the Book of God, a logical precision of reasoning, and an amount of learning and a familiarity with the Scriptures never united in any other man.
Milton's health was now declining fast, and the gout, which had for many years afflicted him, attacked him with a severity which prognosticated a fatal termination; yet such was the buoyancy of his spirits, that, even in the paroxysms of the disease, he would, according to Aubrey, "bo very cheerful, and sing." On Sunday, the 8th of November, 1674, be expired without pain, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, and was buried in the chancel of St. Giles, Cripplegate; "all his learned and great friends
vuly with our language:-the tide of his song will cease to flow only with
was required; often exquisitely harmonious where the occasion per-
In his yonth, Milton was remarkable for his beauty of person; so that at Cambridge he was called "the lady of Christ's College." His eyes were dark gray, but full of animation; and his hair, which was light brown, he wore parted at the top, and clustering, as he describes that of Adam, upon his shoulders. His person was middle size and well proportioned. His habits were those of a severe student, and his temperance was proverbial. In his youth he studied very late at night, but he afterwards corrected this practice, and retiring to bed at the early hour of nine, roze about five. The opening of his day was uniformly consecrated to religion. When he rose, he heard a chapter in the Hebrew Bible read, and then occupied himself till twelve in private meditation, in listening while some author was read to him, or in dictating as some friendly hand supplied him with its pen. At noon commenced his hour of exercise, which was succeeded by his early and frugal dinner; after which he either played on the organ or sang, or heard soine one else sing. From music he returned with fresh vigour to study or composition. At six he received the visita of his friends ; at eight he supped, and at nine, having drank a glass of water, retired to his repose. Such was the scheme of his daily life. Dr. Symmons, the learned editor of his prose works, thus concludes his life :-"We have now completed the history of John Milton,-a man in Thom were illustriously combined all the qualities that could adorn, or could elevate the nature to which he belonged ;-a man,
who at once possexued 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 idea of the human race, as of beings afluent in moral and intellectual treasure-raised and distinguished in the universe, as the favorites and heirs of heaven.” To these
, I will add the remarks of Sir Egerton Brydges, no less beautiful than just :-"lle had not only every requisite of the Muse, but every one of the highest order, and in the highest degree. His invention of pretical fable, and poetical imagery, was exhaustless, and always grand, and always consistent with the faith of a cultivated and sensitive mind. Sublimity was his primary and unfailing power.
His characters were bew, surprising, gigantic, or beautiful; and full of instruction, such as bigh wisdom sanctioned.' Ilis sentiments were lofty, comprehensive, eloquent, consistent, holy, original; and an amalgamation of spirit, religion, intellect
, and marvellous learning. His languaye was his own: sometimes a little rough and unvernacular, but as magnificent as his mind: of pregDant thought; naked in its strength ; rich and picturesque, where imagery
Leestly, I must quote a few lines from Fletcher's “ Introductory Review" to Milton's Prose Works :-The name of Milton is a synonyme for vastmiss of attainment, sublimity of conception, and splendour of expression. His poetry is a fountain of living waters in the very heart of civilization.
Erfat people the seeds of virtue and public civility. They will be lost
that of time. Bat let us never think of Milton as a poet merely he was a citizen, alive to all that was due from man to man in all the Relations of life. He was invested with a power to mould the mind of a nation, and to lead the people into the glorious ways of truth and prosperous virtue.' He bebeld tyranny and intolerance trampling upon the most sacred prerogatives of God and man, and he was compelled by the nobility of his nature, by the obligations of virtue, by the loud summons of beleaguered truth, in short, by his patriotism as well as his piety, to lay down tbe lyre, and to adventure within the circle of peril and glory; and buckling on the controversial panoply, he threw it off only when the various works of this volume, surpassed by none in any sort of eloquence, became the record and trophy of bis achievements, and the worthy forerunners of those poems which a whole people “will not willingly let die.'”
But there are two points in Milton's character to which none of his biographers have done justice, for this plain reason-they have little sympathy with his sentiments : I mean his Politics and his Religion,t in both of which he was far ahead of his age. His political principles were purely republican, for he believed, and supported with an eloquence, logic, and learning unequalled, that all governments should be for the good of the governed, and should derive their power solely and directly from the people. Believing, also, that all true religion is the communing of the heart with God, he thought that an “established religion" was a contradiction of terms, and contended, with all his powers, that every man should have a perfect right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. As a natural conclusion from this, he maintained what is Dow called the “voluntary principle,"—the only one that obtains in our country,--that each church or congregation should elect its own pastor, and support him by voluntary contributions. From his youth an opponent to Prelacy, in the latter part of his life he opposed the Presbyterian forin of church government, and advocated Independency or Congregationalism, from conviction of its more seriptural order. He was also ahead of his age in contending for the unlimited freedom of the press; and bis great work on that subject is a rich armory, from wbich many defenders of this cause in later times, bave drawn their strongest weapons.
When, therefore, we survey Milton's character in all its parts :-when we view him as the great champion of civil and religious liberty, who looked so much farther and saw so much deeper than the men of his time ;-and when we contemplate the variety, extent, and accuracy of his learning, the sublimity of his imagination, the loftiness of his soul;--and, above all, when we see all these high intellectual endowments and such deep wisdom united to such moral purity and holiness of character as he possessed, --who can hesitate to place him at THE HEAD OF HIS RACE? I
* lis prose works, particularly bis controversial.
+ Imuy except Robert Fletcher, in his admirable "Introductory Review" to Milton's Prose Works; Edwin Paxton Blood, in his excellent little work, entitled, “John Milton, the Patriot and Poct;" and the writer of the article " Milton," in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
* Read Life by Ellwood, Toland, Fenton, Newton, Warton, Symmong, Mitford, and Brydyes. Also, an eloquent article in the 420 volume of the Edinburgh Review, liy Macaulay; and another, of glowing cloquence, in Dr. Channing's works, vol. 1. Coleridge and Hazlitt also have written upon Milton, each with his own peculiar power. Indeed, hardly any distinguished English scholar has not felt it a sort of duty as well as privilege, to cast in his mite in praise of this wonderful man.