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for publication, I had no intention of giving even a single translation. But finding little for an editor to do, I thought I might as well translate the tract which Milton published under the name of his nephew Philips, and which was, in fact, the Second Defence of the People of England. The First Defence had been translated many years before; the other recently, by Mr. Fellowes of Oxford. I then looked at Milton's Defence of Himself, which I also determined to translate; the supplement to which I likewise turned into English, as completing the series.
The copy-right of the translation of the Second Defence belonged, of course, either to Mr. Fellowes, or to the booksellers concerned in the octavo edition. I had no right to print it entire ; and I proceeded to mark off certain passages for rejection. But on a review, I found the parts which could have been rejected so few, and altogether bearing so small a proportion to the entire piece, that the end of not pirating another man's property could scarcely have been said to be answered; notwithstanding which, the piece would have appeared so miserably garbled, that few readers would have thought it of much value. I therefore considered myself as under the necessity of giving a new version of it; and the more, as, on many accounts, it is one of the most interesting of Milton's prose compositions.
That the reader may form some judgment of the contents of these two small volumes, as compared with the other edition in seven vols. octavo, I may mention the titles of the pieces not to be found in the present collection: 1. Familiar Epistles:-translated by Mr. Fellowes. 2. Observations on the Articles of Peace between James Earl of Ormond, for King Charles I. on the one hand, and the Irish Rebels and Papists, on the other, &c. &c. 3. Accedence commenced Grammar :being a Latin Grammar for Beginners. 4. The History of Britain, &c. to the Norman conquest: -this may be considered as curious, rather than valuable, as we have now much fuller and better histories of the same period; and it is besides written in a rough and disagreeable style. 5. A Brief History of Moscovia:-which is a mere summary, and a very short one, of the accounts of various voyagers and travellers, prior to the author's time, and merits not the title of a history. 6. A Declaration, or Letters Patent for the Election of John III. King of Poland, &c. &c.-This cannot be properly called a production of Milton. 7. Letters of State, &c. during his Secretaryship. -These letters have been translated by several hands. I cannot say that I have found any thing remarkable in any of them. I had intended inserting a few; but have contented myself with the manifesto of the Lord Protector against the
Spaniards, known to have been written by Milton. This will be found at the end of our first volume. 8. Oratorical Prolusions:-written at Cambridge as Exercises. 9. An Art of Logic, according to the method of Ramus; with a brief life of Ramus. These two last articles still re
main in the original Latin.
From this list, it will be seen, that there is little, of much consequence, in the larger edition, which is not comprized in the present small one; and besides, that there are several new translations not contained in the large edition.
I had intended an introduction of a little more importance than what will be found prefixed. But situated as I have been, at a distance from any library of consequence, I found this to be impracticable. Little more is intended, therefore, than a brief historic account of the several pieces contained in this collection, and which is given in the order of the arrangement, as being perhaps somewhat more convenient to the reader. And even this would have been unnecessary, but for the popular form in which the publication appears.
THE biography of Milton is so generally known, that little will be required to be said on the present occasion. Yet as the prose works of our great poet have never been popularised-as their notoriety bears no sort of proportion to their intrinsic merit, to their former efficacy, or to the celebrity of the author, a slight sketch of the history of the pieces contained in the present collection, with a few interspersed observations, may be thought no improper introduction to them. A mere glance also at those leading circumstances in the previous state of the country, which tended to produce the civil wars, and consequently to call forth these writings, may not be irrelevant.
"No government (says Harrington-one of the few who could reason calmnly amidst the tumult of the civil wars)-no government is of so accidental or arbitrary an institution, as people are b