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corded, in another place, the very month and year in which Milton crowned his humiliation by presenting Cromwell with a copy of his book.* He must have been less acquainted with the protector, than his opportunities of observation will suffer us to admit, if he did not know, that Cromwell would probably swallow all the flattery, and give his admonitions to the wind. Milton's present employment was attended with considerable dignity. He had a fixed salary; and was enabled to entertain all his visiters at the public expense. The office of schoolmaster was comparatively mean: the gains were more precarious: there could be no such thing as keeping a weekly table for the reception of foreign ministers, and persons of learning;' and the difference between the two stations was, perhaps, considered as cheaply purchased by the sacrifice of a little political consistency.
The servility of bowing to power, when once reconciled to a man's better feelings, will easily slide into a habit; and the restoration of the old republican parliament gave Milton another opportunity to display his skill at flattering the strongest party. Cromwell died in September, 1658. His son Richard immediately took his place; and parliament was ordered to meet in January, 1659. Milton “prepared, against the sitting,' says Mr. Godwin, a Treatise of Civil Powers in Ecclesiastical Ceuses ; showing, if we may believe the title page, that it is not lawful for any power on earth to compel in matters of religion. But, in May, 1659, Richard came down; and the long parliament resumed its functions. This event,' says Mr. Godwin ‘was a source
Johnson compares Cromwell to Cæsar'; who, says he, 'when he assumed the perpetual dictatorship, had not more servile or more elegant flattery. If Cromwell had known, as well as Cæsar, how to relish the elegance of classical latinity, the comparison would nat have been so inept.
* Godw. Phh. p. 27. May, 1654.
of great exultation to Milton; and accordingly gave, him new encouragement to proceed in his labours for the public good."* He seems, himself, to have had no doubt, and Mr. Godwin plainly intimates, that the downfal of Richard was the effect of the Treatise of Civil Power; and the triumphant wri. ter, resolving to follow up so salutary a blow, addressed to the long parliament a second part of his just plan' for a religious constitution, under the title of Considerations touching the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church. He calls the long parliament the supreme senate, whose magnanimous councils first opened and unbound the age from a double bondage under prelatical and regal tyranny; above our own hopes heartning us to look up at last like men and Christians from the slavish dejection wherein from father to son we were bred up and taught; and thereby deserving of these nations, if they be not barbarously ungrateful, to be acknowledged, next under God, the authors and best patrons of religious and civil liberty that ever these islands brought forth?' Yet, among other laudable works, it was for turning this same parliament out of doors, in 1653, that Cromwell was called, in Milton's Second Defence, the father of his country.'t
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* Godw. Phh. p. 86.
+ Warburton calls Milton a 'timeserver; and Mr. Hayley is upon the point of calling Warburton worse things; but he suddenly compassionates the poor pielate; and, stopping, like Neptune, at
quos ego- concludes to spare him for the present. 'Milton,' says he, a poet of the most powerful, and, perhaps, the most independent mind that was ever given to a mere mortal, insulted with the appellation of 8 time-server; and by whom? by Warburton, whose writings and whose fortunes-but I will not,' &c. Life of Miltou, 2d edit. Lond. 1796. Ded. p. 17. Mr. Hayley need not have told us who is the object of his poetical idolatry. Milton could not have been a timeserver, because he was a most powerful poet; and the fact of his having bowed to power, in whatever hands it came, is conclusively disproved by asserting that he had, p. shaps, the most independent mind ever given to mortal.' As Mr. Hayley tells us, he is a peaceful mon, not given to 'literary strife,' he may never
But this gifted assembly, from which Milton hoped so much, was soon destined to follow the protectorate of Richard Cromwell. The nation consisted chiefly of royalists and presbyterians; and the long parliament was equally detested by both these parties; who agreed to unite against this common enemy, and only wanted a leader to concentrate and guide their scattered powers. That leader was found in honest George Monk; who marched from Scotland to London with only 6000 men; and found his countrymen so weary of broils and revolutions, that they were willing to follow any body, and submit to any thing, for the sake of repose. For the present, however, the kingdom was in more con. fusion than ever. Monk would not tell the people, what he intended to do: he did not seem to know himself; and, while the nation was in a state of the most anxious suspense,-while every individual was almost in despair of public tranquillity, and those who had the power in their hands appeared to be utterly at a loss how they should use it, -Milton undertook to show, that it was a case of no difficulty, and published a treatise, called the Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth The first edition appeared early in February, 1660; and was designed for the edification of the new parliament, which Monk had ordered to be summoned. But, as the first writs of election were recalled, and the time of meeting necessarily postponed, a second edition, much enlarged, was soon after published.*
have been engaged in logomachies enough to know the meaning of petilio principii.-What does he mean, when he afterwards says, that to praise appears to have been an occupation peculiarly suited to Milton's spirit?' p. 93. Again, p. 129, he does not seem to deny, that his idol was a timeserver; and only contends, that he is just like all the rest of Parnassus.'. 'A poet,' he says, “is as apt to applaud a hero as a lover is to praise his mistress.'
* Milton does not seem to have been entirely alone. Wood men. tions Rota, or a Molel of a Free State, which, he says, was published by some one in the beginning of February, 1659. About which
Mr. Todd mentions a Letter concerning the Ruptures of the Commonwealth, as having been written by Milton about this period.* A Brief Delineation of a Free Commonwealth, addressed to Monk, in 1659, was, it seems, unquestionably his; and Idia Democratica, or a Commonweal Platform, as well as a Modelofa Democratical Government, though anonymously printed, are also thought to betray their origin in the same source.f Nothing, at any rate, can be more thoroughly democratical than Milton's ideas of government. Both he and Mr. Godwin think, that one may rule his fel. lows, and yet walk the street as other men, and be spoken to freely, familiarly, friendly.' The Ame. ricans are the last persons to think governors a superior order of beings; but it is impossible, that men should maintain authority when they make themselves so cheap. In the same democratical -spirit, Milton wrote Brief Notes upon a sermon preached in March, 1660, by one Dr. Griffith; and was immediately answered by L'Estrange, in a pamphlet, illiberally styled No Blind Guides. Milton might have rejoined with a motto from Cicero; whose countrymen, he says, did not reject the advice of Drusus because he was blind; but, 'cum sua ipsa non videbant, cæcum adhibebant ducem.’s Wood says, that the Aphorisms of State, which appeared in 1661, and the Cabinet Council, or the Arts of Empire and Mysteries of State, published three years before, were both the productions of our author.ll. They are not mentioned by our predecessors.
Milton seems now to have become weary of polical discussion. He had written in vain, long enough; none of his plans had been adopted; and he had
time," he adds, John Milton published his Ready and Easy Way to
Ś Tusc. Quæst. l. T. 938.
finally got out of patience with mankind. In his opinion, there was no longer any hope for them; and, though, in the Ready and Easy Way, he was willing to make one more effort to set his countrymen in the right, he had, after all, but little expectation of their taking his advice. Stocks and stones, he said, could not be less inattentive; and, in the language of forlorn hope, he calls upon the earth to witness the stupidity of man, that could not see the right way, when it is so obvious in itself, and when it had been so often pointed out. Thus much I should perhaps have said,' he concludes, “though I were sure I should have spoken only to trees and stones; and had none to cry to, but with the prophet, О earth, earth, earth!' to tell the very soil itself, what its perverse inhabitants are deaf to: nay, though what I have spoken should happen (which thou suffer not, who didst create man free! and thou next, who didst redeem us from being servants of men!) to be the last words of our expiring liberty.' This, indeed, he fearfully forbodes; and, reconciling himself, as well as he can, to what he considers as the near approach of political death, he asks, for the last boon, that he may only have time to say his prayers. 'If,says he, their absolute determina. tion be to enthral us, before so long a lent of servitude, they may permit us a little shroving time first, wherein to speak freely, and take our leaves of liberty
Yet even this small favour could not be granted. The people and the parliament were tired of experiments : any government was better than anarchy; and, when it was known that Charles the second had landed in England, his subjects were nearly frantic for his restoration. The republicans fled away; and Milton hid himself in Bartholomew Close, near West Smithfield. The bodies of the leading regicides were dug up and hung as traitors; and the Iconoclates and Defensiones of Milton, with the Obstruc