Page images

Richard Powell, of Foresthill, near Shotover in Oxfbnlcnire, a justice of the peace, and a gentleman of good repute and figure in that county. But the had not cohabited with her husband above a month, before she was earnestly (elicited by her relations to come and spend the remaining part of the summer with then in the country. If it was not at her instigation that her friends made this request, yet at least it was agreeable to her inclination; ami she obtained her husband's consent upon a promise of returning at Michaelmas. And in the mean while his studies went on very vigorously; and his chief diversion, after the business of the day, was now and then in an evening to visit the Lady Margaret Lee, daughter of the Earl of Marlborough, Lord High Treasurer of England, and President of the Privy Council to King James I. This Lady, being a woman of excellent wit and understanding, had a particular honour for our author, and took great delight in his conversation; as likewise did her husband Captain Hobson, a very aecomplished gentleman. And what a regard Milton again had for her, he has left upon record in a sonnet to her praise, extant among his other poems.

Michoelmas was now come, but he heard nothing of his wife's return. He wrote to her, but received no answer. He wrote again letter aftor letter, but received no answer to any of them. He then despatehed a messenger with a letter, desiring her to return; but she positively refused, and dismissed the messenger with contempt. Whether it was, that she had conceived any dislike to her husband's person or humour; or whether she could not conform to his retired and philosophical manner of life, having been aecustomed to a house of much gaiety and company; or whether bring of a family strongly attached to the royal, she could not !iear her husband's republican principles; or whether she was overpersuaded by her relations, who possibly might repent of having matehed the eldest daughter of the family to a man so distinguished for taking the contrary party, the King's head-quarters being n their neighbourhood at Oxford, and his Majesty taving now some fairer prospect of suecess; wheher any or all of these were the reasons of this •xtraordinary behaviour; however it was, it so ,ighly incensed her husbsi'!, that he thought i' vould be dishonourable ever to receive her again Her such a repulse, and he determined to reputate her as she had in cffect repudiated him, and t consider her no longer as his wife. And to irtify this his resolution, and at the same time to utify it to the world, he wrote the Doctrine and 'iscipline of Divoree, wherein he endeavours to rove, that indisposition, unfitness, or contrariety f mind, proceeding from any unchangeable cause n nature, hindering and ever likely to hinder the

main benefits of conjugal society, whitn are solace and peace, are greater reasons of divoree than adultery or natural frigidity, especially if there be no children, and there be mutual consent for separation. He published it at first without hij name, but the style easily betrayed the author; and afterwards a second edition, much augmented, with his name; and he dedicated it to the Parliament of England with the Assembly of Divines, that as they were then consulting about the general reformation of the kingdom, they might also take this particular case of domestic liberty into their consideration. And then, as it was objected, that his doctrine was a novel notion, and a paradox that no body had ever asserted before, he endeavoured to confirm his own opinion by the authority of others, and published in It}44 the Judgment of Martin Bucer, etc.: and as it was still objected, that his doctrine could not be reconciled to Seripture, he published, in l645, his Tetrachordon, or Expositions Upon the four chief places in Scripture, which treat of marriage, or nullities in marriage. At the first appearing of the Doctrine and Discipline of Divoree the clergy raised a heavy outery against it, and daily solicited the Parliament to pass some censure upon it; and at last one of them, in a sermon preached before the Lords and Commons on a day of humiliation in August, I644, roundly told them that there was a book abroad, which deserved to be burned, and that among their other sins they ought to repent, that they had not yet branded it with eome mark of their displeasure. And Mr. Wood informs us, that upon Milton's publishing his three books of Divoree, the Assembly of Divines, that was then sitting at Westminster, took special notice of them; and notwithstanding his former services in writing against the bishops, Caused him to be summoned before the House of Lords: but that House, whether approving his doctrine, or not favouring his aecusers, soon dismissed him. He was attacked too from the press as well as from the pulpit, in a pamphlet entitled Divoree at Pleasure, and in another entitled an Answer to the Doctrine and Dis cipline of Divoree, which was licensed and recommended by Mr. Joseph Caryl, a famous Presbyterian divine, and author of a voluminous commentary on the book of Job: and Milton, in his Colasterion or Reply, published in I6l5, ex postulates smartly with the licenser, as well as handles very roughly the nameless author. And theso provocations, I suppose, contributed not a little to make him such an enemy to the Presbyterians, tu whom he had before distinguished himself a friend. He composed likewise two of his sonnets on the reception his book of Divoree met with, bm the latter is much the better of the two. To thw aecount it may be added from Antony Wjud tfsu after the Kind's restoration. when the mibjoc .•>

dm ro« wus under consideration with the Lords upon the aceount of John Lord Ross, or Roos, his separation from his wife Anne Pierpoint, eldest daughter to Henry, Marquis of Dorchester, he was consulted by an eminent member of that House, and about the same time by a chief officer of state, as being the prime person who was knowing in that affair.

But while he was engaged in this controversy of divorce, he was not so totally engaged in it, but he attended to other things; and about this time published his Letter of Education to Mr. Samuel 11 ml In ,. who wrote some things about husbandry, and was a man of considerable learning, as appears from the letters which passed between him and the famous Mr. Mede, and from Sir William Petty's and Pell the mathematician's writing to him, the former his Treatise for the Advancement of some particular parts of Learning, and the latter his Idea of the Mathematies, as well as from this letter of our author. This letter of our author has usually been printed at the end of his poems, and is as I may say the theory of his own practice; and by the rules which he has laid down lor education, we see in some measure the method that he pursued in educating his own pupils. And in 1644, he published hu Areopagitica, or Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing to the Parliament of England. It was written at the desire of several learned men, and is perhaps the best vindication that has been published at any time or in any language, of that liberty which is the basis and support of all other liberties, the liberty of the press: but alas, it had not the desired effect; for the Presbyterians were as fond of exercising the licensing power, when they got it into their own hands, as they had been clamorous before in inveighing against it, while it was in the hands of the prelates. And Mr. Toland is mistaken in saying," that such was the effect of this piece, that the following year Mabol, a licenser, offered reasons against licensing; and at his own request was discharged that office." For neither was the licenser's name Mabol, but Gilbert Mabbot; neither was he discharged from his office till May, 1640, about five years afterwards, though probably he might be swayed by Milton's arguments, as every ingenuous person must, who peruses and considers them. And in 1645, was published a collection of his poems, Latin and English, the principal of which are on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, L'Allegro, II Penseroso, Lveidas, the Mask, &c. &r.: and if he had left no other monuments of his poetical genius behind nim, these would have been sufficient to have rendered his name immortal.

But without doubt his Doctrine of Divorce and the maintenance of it principally engaged his thoughts .u this period; and whether others were

'. convinced or not at his arguments, he was cettnt'.'ily convinced himself that he was in the right; arw as a proof of it he determined to marry again, and made his addresses to a young lady of great wit | and beauty, one of the daughters of Dr. Davis. But intelligence of this coming to his wife, and the then declining state of the King's cause, and consequently of the circumstances of Justice Powell's family, caused them to set all engines on work to restore the wife again to her husband. And his friends too for diflerent reasons seem to have been as desirous of bringing about a reconciliation as her's, and this method of effecting it was concerted between them. He had a relation, one Blackborough, living in the lane of St. Martin's Le Grand, whom he often visited; and one day when he was visiting there, it was contrived that the wife should be ready in another room; and as he was thinking of nothing less, he was surprised to see her, whom he had exacted never to have seen any more, falling down upon her knees at his feet, and imploring his forgiveness with tears. At first he showed some signs of aversion, but he continued not long inexorable; his wife's intreatiee, and the intercession of friends on both sides, soon wrought upon his generous nature, and procured a happy reconciliation with an act of oblivion of all that was past. But he did not take his wife home immediately; it was agreed that she should remain at a friend's, till the house that he had newly taken was fitted for their reception; for some other gentlemen of his acquaintance, having observed the great suceess of his method of education, had recommended their sons to his care; and his. house in Aldersgate-street not being large enough, he had taken a larger in Barbican: and till this could be got ready, the place pitehed upon I for his wife's abode was the widow Webber's house I in St. Clement's Churchyard, whose second daughter had been married to the other brother many years before. The part that Milton acted in this whole affair, showed plainly that he had a spirit capable of the strongest resentment, but yet more inclinable to pity and forgiveness: and neither in this was any injury done to the other lady, whom he was courting, for she is said to have been always averse from the motion, not,daring I suppose to venture in marriage with a man who was known 'to have a wife still 1'ving. He might not think himself too at liberty as before, while his wife coniMmrti obstinate; for his most plausible argument for divorce proceeds upon a supposition, that the thing be done with mutual consent.

After his wife's return his family was increased not only with children, but also with his wife's relations, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters, coming to live with him in the general distress and ruin of the royal party: and he was so | far from resenting their former ill treatmet.. of him.

,tat he generously protected them, and entertatned them very hospitably, till their affairs were aceommodated through his interest with the prevailing

charged the business of hi , office a very little lime, before he was called to a work of another kind For soon after the king's death was published a

faction. And then upon their removal, and the book under his name, entitled E,un Bxnxuu, or tU death of his own father, his house looked again Royal Image: and this book, like Cesar's last 1ike the house of the Muses; but his studies had will, making a deeper impression, and exciting like to have been interrupted by a call to publicI greater commiseration in the minds of the people, business; for about this time there was a design than the king himself did while alive, Milton was of constituting him Adjutant General in the army | ordered to prepare an answer to it, which was under Sir William Waller; but the new modelling published by authority, and entitled EuunxxxffAc, of the army soon following, that design was laid or the Image-breaker, the famous surname of many aide. And not long afler, h:s great house in Bar- Greek emperors, who, in their zeal against idolabican being now too large for his family, he quit- I try, broke all superstitious images to pieces Thin ted it for a smaller in High Hdborn, which open- piece was translated into French; and two replies in! backward into Lincoln's Inn Fields, where he to it were published, one in 1651, and the oth,'r in prosecuted his studies till the King's trial and i 1692, upon the reprinting of Milton's book at death, when the Presbyterians declaiming tragi-| Amsterdam. In this controversy a heavy charge c&lly against the King's execution, and asserting: has been alleged against Milton. Some edition! that his person was saered and inviolable, provoked of the king's book have certain prayers added at him to write the Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, the end, and among them a prayer in time of capproving that it is lawful to call a tyrant to aceount | tivity, which is taken from that of Pamela in Sir and to depose and put him to death, and that they! Philip Sidney's Arcadia: and it is said, that this who of late so much blame deposing are the men prayer was added by the contrivance and artifice who did it themselves: and he published it at the: of Milton, who, together with Bradshaw, prevailbeginning of the year 1649, to satisfy and com- ed upon the printer to insert it, that from thence poae the minds of the people. Not long after this he might take oceasion to bring a scandal upon he wrote his Observations on the Articles of Peace i the king, and to blast the reputation of his book, between the Earl of Ormond and the Irish Rebels. | as he has attempte(l to do in the first section of hi) And in these and all his writings, whatever others answer. This fact is related chiefly U|xih the auof different parties may think, he thought himself | thority of Henry Hills the printer, who had freon advocate for true liberty, for ecelesiastical liber- quently affirmed it to Dr. Gill and Dr. Bernard, ty in his treatises against the bishops, for domestic his physicians, as they themselves have testified. liberty in his books of divorce, and for civil liberty But Hills was not himself the printer, who wot in his writings against the king in defence of the dealt with in this manner, and consequently he parliament and people of England. | could have the story only from hearsay: and

After this he retired again to his private studies; though he was Cromwell's printer, yet afterwards ind thinking that he had leisure enough for such he turned papist in the reign of James II, in order a work, he applied himself to the writing of a His- to be that King's printer, and it was at that time tory of England, which he intended to deduce that he used to relate thisstory; so that I think, little fiom the earliest aceounts down to his own times: eredit is due to his testimony. And indeed I can and he had finished four books of it, when neither not but hope, and believe, that Milton had a soul courting nor expecting any such preferment, he above being guilty of so mean an action, to serve was invited by the Council of State to be their so mean a purpose; and there is as little reason for Ij,tin Seeretary for foreign affairs. And he served fixing it-upon him, as he had to traduce the king in the same capacity under Oliver, and Richard, for profaning the duty of prayer " with the pollutand the Rump, till the Restoration; and without ed trash of Romances." For there are not many doubt a better Latin pen could not have been found finer prayers in the best books of devotion; and in the kingdom. For the Republic and Cromwell the king might as lawfully borrow and apply it to scorned to pay that tribute to any foreign Prince, his own oceasions, as the Apostle might make which is usually paid to the French king, of ma- quotations from Heathen poems and plays: and it naging their affairs in his language; they thought become Milton the least of all men to bring such it an indignity and meanness to which this or any an aceusation against the king, as he wai himselt free nation ought not to submit; and took a noble particularly fond of reading romance, and nas resolution neither to write any letters to any foreign made use of them in some of the best and latest itates, nor to receive any answers from them, but of his writings.

in the Latin tongue, which was common to them But his most celebrated work in prase Is his L).. all . fence of the people of England against SiHinasui^

But it was not only in foreign dispatehes that .Defensio pro populo Anglicano eiii:t,., CTiulii •he government made use of his pen. Helmddis- Anonymi, alias Salmasia, Dele •si'jneu. i>>-giaui B

Salmasius, \iy jirth a Frenchman, suceeeded the | sader from the Duke of Parma to the Frenr.h kin«

famous Scnliger as honorary Professor of the university of Leyden, and had gained great reputation by his Plinian Exercitations on Solinus, and by his critical remarks on several Latin and Greek authors, and was generally esteemed one of the greatest and most consummate scholars of that age: and is commended by Milton himself in Ins Reason of Church Government, and called the learned Salmasius. And besides his great learning he had extraordinary talents in railing. "This prince of scholars, as somebody said of him, seemed to have erected his throne upon a heap of stones, that he might have them at hand to throw at every one's head who passed by." He wan, therefore, courted by Charles II, as the most able man to write a defence of the lute king, his father, and to traduce his adversaries, and a hundred Jacobuses were given him for that purpose, and the book was published in 1649, with this title, Defensio Regia pro Carolo I. ad Carolum II. No sooner did 1his book appear in England, but the Council of State unanimously appointed Milton, who was then present, to answer it: and he performed the task with amazing spirit and vigour, though his health at that time was such, that he could hardly endure the fatigue of writing, and being weak in body he was forced to write by piece-meal, nnd to break off almost every hour, as he says himself in the introduction. This necessarily oceasioned some delay, so that his Defence of the people of England was not made public till the beginning of the year 1651: and they who can not read the original, may yet have the pleasure of jpading the English translation by Mr. Washington, of the Temple, which was printed in 1692, and is inserted among Milton's works in the two last editions. It was somewhat extraordinary, that Salmasius, a pensioner lo a republie, should pretend to write a defence of monarchy, but the States showed their disapprobation by publicly condemning his book, and ordering it to be suppressed. And, on the other hand, Milton's book was burnt at .Paris. and at Toulouse, by the hands of the common hangman; hut this served only to procure it the more readers:

[blocks in formation]

the court of Christina, Queen of Sweden, who had invited thither several of the most learned men of all countries: but when Milton's Defence of the People of England was brought to Sweden, and was read to the Queen at her own desire, he sunk immediately in her esteem, and the opinion of every body; and though he talked big at first, and vowed the destruction of Milton and the Parliament, yet finding that he was looked upon with coldness, he thought proper to take leave of the court; and he who came in honour, was dismissed with contempt. He died some time afterwards at Spa, in Germany, and, it is said, more of a broken heart than of any distemper, leaving a posthumous reply to Milton, which was not published till after the Restoration, and was dedicated to Charles II. by his son Claudius; but it has done no great honour to his memory, abounding with abuse much more than argument.

Isaac Vossius was at Stockholm, when Milton's hook was brought thither, and in some of his letters to Nicholas Heinsius, published by Professor Burman in the third tome of his Sylloge Epistoisruin. he says, that he had the only copy of Milton's book, that the Queen borrowed it of hun, and was very much pleased with it, and commended Milton's wit and manner of writing in the presence of several |K-rsons, and that Salmasius was very angry, and very busy in preparing his answer, wherein he abused Milton as if he had been one of the vilest catamites in Italy, and also enlicised his Latin poems. Heinsius writes again to Vossius from Holland, that he wondered that only one copy of Milton's book was brought to Stockholm,

•I was read and talked of every where, and even when three were sent thither, one to the Queen, they who were of different principles, yet could another to Vossius which he had received, and the nut but acknowledge that he was a good defender third to Salmasius; that the book was in every of o bad cause; and Salmasius's book underwent body's hands, and there had been four editions in mdy one impression, while this of Mtlton passed a few months besides the English one; that a through several editions. On the first appearance Duteh translation was handed about,and a French of it, he was visited or invited by all the foreign one was expected. And afterwards he writes from ministers at London, not excepting even those of Venice, that Holstenius had lent him Milton's erowned henda; and was parlicularly honoured Latin poems; that they were nothing, compared and esteemed by Adrian Paaw, ambasssador from with the elegance of his Apology; that he had the States of Holland. He was likewise highly offended frequently against prosody, and here was "•>:.T|diniinltid by letters from the most learned and a great opening for Salmasius'eriticism: but as to ngenious persons in France and Germany; and Milton's having been a catamite in Italy, he Bays. Leonard Phitaras. an Athenian born, and ambas- that it was a mere calumny; o I the contrary, bs was disliked hy the Italians, for the severity of his manners, and for the freedom of his discourses against popery. And in others of his letters to

and there his third child, a svn was born, am. named John, who through the ill usage or bad constitution of the nurse died an infant. His owr

Vosssius and to J. Fr. Gronovius from Holland, . health was too greatly impaired; and for the beHeinsiuK mentions how angry Salmasius was with' nefit of the su, he removed from his apartment in him for commending Milton's book, and says that Scotland-Yard to a house in Petty-France West

Graswinkelius had written soinething against Milton, which was to have been printed by Elzever,

minster, which was next door to Lord Sciniahtore's, and opened into St. James' Park; and

but it was suppressed hy public authority. j there he remained eight years, from the year 1632

The firrt reply that appeared was published in' till within a few weeks of the King's restoration. 1661, and entitled an Apology for the king and; In this house he had not been settled long, before people, &c. Apologia pro rege et populo Angli- his first wife died in child-bed; and his condition

cano contra Johannis Polipragmatici (alias Milloni Angli) Defensionem destructivam regis et populi Anglican}. It is not known, who was the author of this piece. Some attribute it to one Janut, s lawyer of Gray's Inn, and others to Dr. John Bramhall, who was then. Bishop of Derry, and was made Primate of Ireland after the restoration: but it is utterly improbable, that so mean a performance, written in such barbarous Latin, and

requiring some care and attendance, he was easily induced after a pro|ier interval of time to marry a second, who was Catharine, daughter of Captain Woodeock, of Hackney: and she too died in childbed within a year after their marriage, and her child, who was a daughter, died in a month after her; and her husband has done honour to her memory in one of his sonnets.

Two or three years before this second marriage

to full of solecisms, should come from the hands he had totally l>*t' his sight. And his enemies

of a prelate of such distinguished abilities and learning. But whoever was the author of it, Milton did not think tt worth his while to animadvert

triumphed in his blindness, and imputed it as a judgment upon him for writing against the King: but his sight had been decaying several years be

upon it himself, but employed the younger of his fore, through his close application to study, and nephews to answer it; but he supervised and cor-. the frequent head-aches to which hejiad been reeted the answer so much before it went to the subject from his childhood, and his continual , impress, that it may in a manner be called his own. pering with physie, which perhaps was more perIt came forth in 1652 under this title, Johannis nicious than all the rest: and he himself has inPhilippi Angli Responsio ad Apulogiam anony- formed us in bis second Defence, that when he mi cujusdam tenebrionis pro rege ct populo An- was appointed by authority to write his Defence

of the people against Salmasius, he had almost lost the sight of one eye, and the physicians declared to him, that if he undertook that work, ho

uthe author of the Apology, thinking probably would also lose the sight of the other: but he was that so considerable an adversary would make the nothing discouraged, and chose rather to lose beth

flicano infanlissimam; and it is printed with Milton's works; and throughout the whole Mr. Philips treats Bishop Bramhall with great severity

answer more considerable.

Sir Robert Filmer likewise published some animadversions upon Milton's Defence of the people, in a piece printed in 1653, and entitled Observations concerning the original of government, upon Mr. Hobbes' Leviathan, Mr. Milton against Salmasius, and Hugo Grotius de Jure belli: but I do not find that Milton or any of his friends took any notice of it; but Milton's quarrel was afterwards sufficiently avenged by Mr. Locke, who wrote atpunst Sir Robert Filmer's principles of government, more I suppose in condescension to the prejudices of the age, than out of any regard to the •eight or importance of Filmer's arguments.

It is probable that Milton, when he was first made Latin Seeretary, removed from his house in High Holbom to be nearer Whitehall: and for wtne time he had lodgings at one Thomson's, next

his eyes than desert what he thought his duty. It was the sight of his left eye that he lost first: and at the desire of his friend Leonard Philaras, the Duke of Parma's minister at Paris, he "nt him a particular aceount of his case, and of l,,c manner of his growing blind, for him to consult Thevenot the physician, who was reckoned famous in cases of the eyes. The letter is the fifteenth of his familiar epistles, is dated September 28th, 1654; and is thus translated by Mr. Richardson.

"Since you advise me not to fling away all hopes of recovering my sight, for that you have a friend at Paris, Thevenot the physician, particularly famous for the eyes, whom you }fier t•• con. sull in my behalf if you receive from me nn aceount by which he may judge of the causes tnd symptoms of my disease, I will do what you idvicc ms

door to the Bull-head tavern at Charing Cross. to, that I may not seem to refuse any assimar:c* opening into Spring-garden, till the apartment, . that is offered, perhaps from God. appointed for him in Scotland-Yard, could be got "1 think it u about ten years, more or Ires sine* nwlv for his reception. He then removed thither; 11 began to perceive that iny rye-light grew wes»

« PreviousContinue »