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the business of his office. In 1655 there was published in Latin a writing in the name of the Lord Protector, setting forth the reasons of the war with Spain: and 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. And for the same reasons I am inclined to think, that the famous Latin verses to Christina Queen of Sweden in the name of Cromwell were made by our author rather thạn Andrew Marvelp. In those days they had admirable intelligence in the Secretary's office; and Mr. Philips relates a memorable instance or two upon his own knowledge. The Dutch were sending a plenipotentiary to England to treat of peace; but the emissaries of the government had the art to procure a copy of his instructions in Holland, which were delivered by Milton to his kinsman who was then with him, to translate them for the use of the Council, before the said plenipotentiary had taken shipping for England: and 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, who was then in arms against Cardinal Mazarine: but the government suspecting him set their instruments to work so successfully, that in a few days they received intelligence from Paris, that he was a spy
P See the notes on Epigr. xiii. E.
employed 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 of a spy. This kinsman was in all probability Mr. Philips or his brother, who were Milton's nephews, and lived very much with him, 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, though sometimes a political use might be made of it; as men's natural infirmities are often pleaded in excuse for not doing what they have no great inclination to do. Thus when Cromwell, as we may collect from Whitlock, for some reasons delayed artfully to sign the treaty concluded with Sweden, and the Swedish ambassador made frequent complaints of it, it was excused to him, because Mr. Milton on account of his blindness proceeded slower in business, and had not yet put the articles of the treaty into. Latin. Upon which the ambassador was greatly surprised, that things of such consequence should be intrusted to a blind man, for he must necessarily employ an amanuensis, 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
But his blindness had not diminished, but rather increased the vigour of his mind; and his stateletters will remain as authentic memorials of those times, to be admired equally by critics and politicians; and those particularly about the sufferings of the poor protestants in Piedmont, who can read without sensible
emotion? This was a subject he had very much at heart, as he was an utter enemy to all sorts of persécution; and among his Sonnets there is a most excellent one upon the same 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; and in 1659 published a Treatise of civil power in ecclesiastical causes; and another tract entitled Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove hirelings out of the church; both addressed to the Parliament of the commonwealth of England'. And after the Parliament was dissolved, he wrote a letter to some statesman, with whom he had a serious discourse the night before, concerning the ruptures of the cominonwealth; and another as it is supposed to General Monk, being a brief Delineation of a free commonwealth, easy to be put in practice, and without delay. These two pieces were communi . cated in manuscript to Mr. Toland by a friend, whó
See Letters to the Duke of of State Papers, from the death Savoy, to the Prince of Transyl- of the King to the present period. vania, to the King of Sweden, to They were published in 1743, the States of Holland, Switzer- with the following title: “Oriland, and Geneva, to the Kings "ginal Letters and Papers of of France and of Denmark. “ State, addressed to Oliver Symmons.
“ Cromwell, concerning the AfThe former of these pieces, “ fairs of Great Britain. From says Dr. Birch in his Life of “ the year 1649 to 1658. Found Milton, p. xlii. ed. 1753, restored among the Political Collections him to the good opinion of some « of Mr. John Milton. Now first of his republican friends, who “ published from the originals. had before questioned his at “ By John Nickolls, jun. Memtachment to their principles. See “ber of the Society of AntiquaMr. Wall's Letter prefixed to the
“ries, London." They had been Iconoclastes. E.
once in the possession of Ellwood. Milton had collected a variety Todd.
a little after Milton's death had them from his nephew; and Mr. Toland gave them to be printed in the edition of our author's Prose 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 inconveniences and dangers of re-admitting kingship in this nation": We are informed by Mr. Wood, that he published this piece in February 1659-60; and after this he published Brief notes upon a late sermon entitled, the Fear of God and the King, preached by Dr. Matthew Griffifth 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 libertyt.
A little before the King's landing he was discharged from his office of Latin Secretary, and was forced to leave his house in Petty France, where he had lived eight years with great reputation, and had been visited by all foreigners of note, who could not go out of the country without seeing a man who did so much honour to it by his writings, and whose name was as well known and as famous abroad as in his own nation“; and by several
• This pamphlet, Dr. Johnson “ asserted; in answer to Mr. Mil. observes, was enough considered “ton's Ready and Easy Way, to be both seriously and ludi “ &c.; by G. G. a lover of loycrously answered. See Mr. War " alty," E ton's note on Sonnet xxi. ad t To these notes an answer dressed to Cyriac Skinner, for was written by L'Estrange, in a an account of the burlesque an- pamphlet entitled, “No Blind
The serious reply was “ Guides.“ E. published in May 1660, and en Either Toland, or his editor titled, “The dignity of Kingship Mr. Hollis, adds the following
persons of quality of both sexes, particularly the pious and virtuous Lady Ranelagh, whose son for some time he instructed, the same who was Paymaster of the forces in King William's time; and by many learned and ingenious friends and acquaintance, particularly Andrew Marvel, and young Laurence, son to the President of Oliver's Council, to whom he has inscribed one of his sonnets, and Marchamont Needham the writer of Politicus, and above all Cyriac Skinner, whom he has honoured with two sonnets. But now it was not safe for him to appear any longer in public, so that by the advice of some who wished him well and were concerned for his preservation, he fled for shelter to a friend's house in Bartholomew Close near West Smithfield, where he lay concealed till the worst of the storm was blown over. The first notice that we find taken of him was on Saturday the 16th of June, 1660, when it was ordered by the House of Commons, that his Majesty should be humbly moved to issue his proclamation for the calling in of Milton's two books, his Defence of the people, and Iconoclastes, and also Goodwyn's book entitled the Obstructors of justice, written in justification of the murder of the late King, and to order them to be burnt by the hands of the common hangman. And at the same time it was ordered, that the Attorney General should proceed by way of indict
note." The late Reverend Mr. “ liament a weekly table for the " Thomas Bradbury, an emi “ entertainment of foreign min"nent dissenting minister, used “ isters, and persons of learn" to say, that Jer. White, who “ing, such especially as came " had been chaplain to O. Crom “ from protestant states; which " well, and whom he personally “ allowance was also continued " knew, had often told him, that “by Cromwell.” E. "Milton was allowed by the Par