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Smollett's* Account of the origin of the Civil War.-
Presbyterians oppose the execution of the King.–Tes-
* The writer, by mistake, has in this Chapter used the name of
Oliver Cromwell appointed Lord Protector. Milton's
The Duke of Savoy persecutes the Waldenses.-Crom-
Restoration of Charles II.-Milton secretes himself.-Son-
and character.—His will.-His widow
Animadversions on Dr. Johnson's Life of Milton-Pro-
clamation against Milton.—Extracts from Council Book
respecting Milton. Page 349--397.
LIFE OF MILTON.
This most extraordinary man, this prince of English poets, this consistent champion of civil and religious liberty, was the son of John Milton and Sarah Caston; they had two other children, ANNA, who married Edward Philips; and CHRISTOPHER, bred to the common law,
Mr. John MILTON was born in Bread-street, in the City of London, December 9, 1608,* descended of an ancient family of that name at Milton, near Abingdon, in Oxfordshire, where it had been a long time settled, as appears from the monument still to be seen in the church of Milton ; till one of the family having taken the unfortunate side in the contest between the houses of York and Lancaster, was sequestered of all his estate, except what he held by his wife. The
*«The 20th day of December, 1608, was baptised John, the son of John Mylton, scrivener.”—Extract from the Registry of All-hallows, Bread-street.
poet's grandfather, whose name also was John Milton, was under ranger, or keeper, of the forest of Shotover, near Horton, in Oxfordshire, he being a zealous papist. His father was a polite man, a great master of music, and, by profession, a scrivener, in which calling, through his diligence and honesty, he got a competent estate in a short time; for he was disinherited by his bigoted parents for embracing the Protestant religion, and abjuring the popish idolatry. He lived at the sign of the Spread Eagle, (the armorial bearings of the family,) in Bread-street. Of his mother, it is said, “she was a woman of incomparable virtue and goodness. JOHN MILTON was destined to be a scholar: and partly under domestic tutors, (whereof one was THOMAS Young,* to whom the first of his familiar letters is inscribed; and afterwards, Dr. Gill, the chief master of Paul's School, to whom, likewise, the fifth of the same letters is inscribed,) he made an incredible progress in the knowledge of words and things, his diligence and inclination outstripping the care of his instructors; and after he was twelve
years of age, such was his insatiable thirst for learning, that he seldom went to bed before midnight. Being thus initiated into several
* He was afterwards chaplain to the English merchants at Hamburgh. His pupil dedicated a poem to him. Aubrey calls him « Puritan in Essex, who cutt his hair short.”