« הקודםהמשך »
the benefit of the air; and there he remained eight years, from 1652 till within a few weeks of the King's restoration. In this house he had not been settled long, before bis first wife died in childbed. But, after a proper interval of time, he married a second wife, Katharine daughter of Captain Woodcock of Hackney. She too died in childbed within a year af. ter their marriage, and her child, a daughter, died a month after. Her husband has done honour to her memory in one of his sonnets.
Two or three years before his second marriage he had totally lost his fight: And his enemies triumphed in his blindness, and imputed it as a judgment upon him for writing againīt the King. But his fight had been decaying several years before, through his close application to study, and the frequent head-achs to which he had been subject from his childhood, and his continual tampering with phyfic, which perhaps was more pernicious than all the rest. Milton him. felf informs us in his Second Defence, that, when he was appointed by authority to write his defence of the people against Salmafius, he had almoft loft the fight of one eye, and the phyficians, declared to him, that, if he undertook that work, he would also lose the light of the other. But he was nothing difcou. raged, and chofe rather to lose both his eyes, than defert what he thought his duty. His blindness however did not disable liim entirely from performing the business of his office. An asistant was allowed him, and his falary as Secretary Atill continued.
And there was farther occasion for his service besides dicating of letters: for the controversy with Salmafius did not die with him. There was publithed at the Hague, in 1652, a book, intitled, The Cry of the King's blood; &c. Regii fanguinis Clamor ad cælum ada verfus parricidas Anglicanos. The true author of this book was Peter du Moulin the younger, afterwards Prebendary of Canterbury. He transmitted his papers to Salmafius ; Salmafius intrusted them to he care of Alexander Morus, a French minister; and Morus published them with a dedication to King
Charles II. in the name of Adrian Ulac the printer, from whence he came to be reputed the author of the whole Morus was the son of a learned Scotsman, Prefident of the college which the Protestants had for. merly at Caltres in Languedoc. He is said to have been a man of a molt haughty difpofition, immoderately addicted to women, halty, ambitious, full of himfélf and his own performances, and satirical upon all others. He was however elteemed one of the most eminent preachers of that age among the Protestants : But, as M. Bayle observes, his chief talent must have confifted in the gracefulness of his delivery, or in those fallies of imagination, and quaint turns and allusions, whereof his fermons are full; for they retain not those charms in reading, which they were said to have formerly in the pulpit. Against this man therefore, as the reputed author of Regii fanguinis clamor, &c. Mil. ton published by authority his Second Defence of the people of England, &c. Defenfin Secundo pro populo Anglicano, in 1654. He treats Morus with such severity as nothing could have excused, if he 'had not been provoked to it by so much abute poured upon himfelf. He had wrote a piece of wit, which had been published before in the news papers at London, a diftich upon Morus for getting Pontia the maid-fervant of his friend Salmafius with child.
Galli ex concubita gravidam te, Pontia, Mori
Quis bene moratam morigeramque neget? Upon this Morus published his Fides Publica, in anfwer to Milton, in which he inserted several testimoDies of his orthodoxy and morals, figned by the confistories, academies, fynods, and magiftrates of the places where he had lived, and disowned his being the author of the book imputed to him, and appealed to two gentlemen of great credit with the parliamentparty, who knew the real author. This brought Du Moulin, then in England, into great danger : but the government suffered him to escape with impunity, rather than publicly contradict the great patron of their cause ; for Milton ftill perfifted in his accusa
tion, and endeavoured to make it good in his Defence of himself, &c. Autoris pro fe Defenso, published in 1655, wherein he opposed to the testimonies in favour of Morus other testimonies against him; and Morus replied no more.
This controversy being ended, he was at leisure a. gain to pursue his own private studies, viz. the History of England before mentioned, and a new Thesaurus of the Latin tongue, intended as an improvement upon that by Robert Stephens; a work, which he had been long collecting from the best and purest Latin authors, and continued at times almost to his dying day: but his papers were left so confused and imperfect, that they could not be fitted for the press, though great use was made of them by the compilers of the Cambridge Dictionary, printed in 1693. These papers are said to have consisted of three large voJuines in folio ; and it is a great pity that they are Jost, and no account is given what is become of the manufcript. It is commonly said too, that at this time he began his famous poem of Paradise Lost; and it is certain, that he was glad to be released from those controversies, which detained him so long from following things more agreeable to his natural genius and inclination, though he was far from ever repent. ing of his writings in defence of liberty, but gloried in them to the last.
The only interruption now of his private studies was the business of his office. In 1655 there was published in Latin a writing in the name of the Lord Pro. tector, setting forth the reasons of the war with Spain. This piece is rightly adjudged to our author, both on account of the peculiar elegance of the style, and because it was his province to write such things, as Latin Secretary; and it is printed among his other prose works in the last edition. For the same reasons I am inclined to think, that the famous Latin verfes to Christina Queen of Sweden, in the name of Cromwe were made by Milton, rather than Andrew Marvel. In those days they had admirable intelligence in the Secretary's office; and Mr. Philips relates a me
morable instance or two upon his own knowledge. The Dutch were sending a plenipotentiary to England to treat of peace ; but the emissaries of the go. vernment had the art to procure a copy of his instructions in Holland; which being delivered by Milion to his kinfman, then with him, to be translated for the use of the council, before the plenipotentiary had taken shipping for England, an answer to all that he had in charge was prepared, and lay ready for him before he made his public entry into London. Another time a person came to London with a very sumptuous train, pretending himself an agent from the Prince of Conde, then in arms against Card. Mazarine: but the government, suspecting him, set their instruments to work fo fuccessfully, that in a few days they received intelligence from Paris, that he was a spy em. ployed by Charles II. Whereupon the very next morning Milton's kinsman was sent to him with an order of council, commanding him to depart the kingdom within three days, or expect the punishment This kinsman was probably Mr. Philips or his brother; and one or both of them were assistant to him in his office. His blindness no doubt was a great hindrance and inconvenience to him in his business, thçugh sometimes a political use might be made of it, as mens natural infirmities are often pleaded in excuse for not doing what they have no great inclination to do. Thus when Cromwell for some reasons delayed artfully to sign the treaty with Sweden, and the Swedish ambassador inade frequent complaints of it, the excuse was, that Mr. Milton, on account of his blindness, proceeded flower in bufiness, and had not yet put the articles of the treaty into Latin. The ambassador was greatly surprised, that things of such consequence should be intrusted to a blind man; for he must necessarily employ an amanuenfis, and that amanuensis might divulge the articles; and said it was very wonderful, that there should be only one man in England who could write Latin, and he a blind one. But his blindness had not diminished, but rather increased the vigour of his mind. His state-let
ters will remain as authentic memorials of those times, to be admired equally by critics and politicians; thofe particularly aboat the sufferings of the poor ProteItants in Piedmont, who can read without sensible emotion? He had this fubje&t very much at heart, for he was an utter enemy to all sorts of persecution; and he wrote a moft excellent fonnet on that occasion.
But Oliver Cromwell being dead, and the government weak and unsettled in the hands of Richard and the parliament, he thought it a seasonable time to offer his advice again to the public. He therefore in 1659 published A Treatise of civil power in ecclefiaftical caufes, and another tract, intitled, Gonfiderations touching the likeliest means to reinove hirelings out of the church, both addressed to the parliament of the commonwealth of England. After the parliament was dissolved, he wrote a letter to fone statesman, with whom he had a serious discourse the night before concerning the ruptures of the commonwealth, and another, as it is supposed, to Gen. Monk, being a brief Delineation of a free commonwealth, easy to be put in radlice, and without delay. These two pieces were first printed in the edition of our author's profe works in 1698. But Milton, still finding that affairs were every day tending more and more to the subversion of the commonwealth, and the restoration of the royal family, published his Ready and easy way to establish a free commonwealth, and the excellence thereof, compared with the inconveniencies and dangers of re.
ce admitting king ship in this nation. We are informed by Mr. Wood, thit he published this piece in February 1659-60; and after this he published Brief Notes upon a late ferinon, intitled, The Fear of God and the King, preached by Dr. Matthew Griffith, at Mercers Chapel, March 25. 1660. So bold and resolute was he in declaring his sentiments to the last, thinking that his voice was the voice of expiring liberty.
A little before the King's landing, he was dischar. ged from his office of Latin Secretary, and was forced to leave his house in Petty France. Here he had lived eight years with great reputation, and had been