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a woman of good sense, and genteel behaviour, and to bear the inconveniences of a low fortune with decency and prudence. Milton says, in his will, that he spent the greatest part of his estate in providing for his children in his life time; I presume that he speaks of the expense of their education, and their maintenance on a separate establishment, while learning curious and ingenious sorts of manufacture, 68 and embroidering in gold and silver. The story of their surreptitiously selling their father's books during his life, rests on the testimony of a maid-servant alone, whom the biographers are disinclined to believe: but that they were undutiful and unkind children, careless of him when blind, and deserting him in his age, we have unfortunately the authority of Milton himself.54

The last known survivor of the Poet's family was Elizabeth, the daughter of this Deborah Clark,55 who married Thomas Foster, a weaver, in Spitalfields. She kept a small chandler's shop near Shoreditch Church. In 1750, April 5th, Comus was played for her benefit. The profits of the night were only a hundred and thirty pounds.56 of this sum, says Johnson, twenty pounds were given by Tonson, a man who is to be praised as often as he is named; one hundred pounds were placed in the funds, the rest augmented their little stock, with which they removed to Islington. Johnson closes his Life of Milton by informing us that he had the honour of contributing the Prologue to the play. Mrs. Foster died, aged 66, in the year 1754.57

the engraver, to Mr. Christian (Aug. 12, 1721), in Gent. Mag. May, 1831, p. 419.

53 Anne Milton is lame, but hath a trade, and can live by, the same, which is the making of gold and silver lace, and which the deceased bred her up to.' Eliz. Fisher's Deposition.

54 See Todd's Life, p. 290. Philips's Life, p. lxvi. ed. Pickering. It appears that his daughters lived quite apart from their father the last four or five years of his life: and that he knew little about them, nor whether they frequented church or not. See Christopher Milton's Deposition, p. 274, ed. Todd.

55 Caleb Clark, her son, was parish clerk of Madras. His children were the last descendants of the Poet, but of them nothing farther is known. Dr. Birch narrates the conversation he held with Mrs. Foster, who told him that Milton's second wife did not die in childbed, as Philips and Toland assert, but about three months after, of a consumption. v. p. lxxvii. 56 The above account by Dr. Johnson is not quite correct. The receipts of the house were £147. 14s. 6d. from which £80 were deducted for expenses. Such is the statement of Mr. Is. Reed. Some accounts of circumstances that led the public attention towards Milton's granddaughter may be seen in Hollis's Mem. p. 116. An advertisement of Johnson's first suggested some plan of relief.

It only now remains to give a short account of a Treatise of Theology, bearing the name of Milton, lately discovered. Toland, in his Life of Milton, had informed us that he compiled a system of divinity, but whether intended for public view, or collected merely for his own use, he could not determine ; and Aubrey affords further particulars, by mentioning that Milton's Idea Theologiæ was in manuscript in the hands of Mr. Skinner, a merchant's son in Mark Lane. Wood mentions Cyriack Skinner as the depositary of this work, which he calls The Body of Divinity,' at that time, or at least lately in the hands of Milton's acquaintance Cyriack Skinner. It is well known that this treatise was discovered with

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67 On Thursday last, May 9, 1754, died at Islington, in the 66th year of her age, after a long and painful illness, which she sustained with christian fortitude and patience, Mrs. Elizabeth Foster, granddaughter of Milton. This paragraph from a contemporary newspaper, is preserved in the Memoirs of T. Hollis, v. i. p. 114.

the name of Milton attached to it, by Mr. Lemon, in the State Paper Office, a few years since. It appears, that Mr. Daniel Skinner commenced a correspondence with the celebrated Elzevir the printer at Amsterdam, on the subject of the State Letters, and the Theological Treatise of Milton. Skinner was at that time fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Of the Letters, and of the first one hundred and ninety-six pages of the Treatise, he had been the copyist. He is supposed also to have been one of those whom Milton had daily about him to read to him. On inspection of the manuscript, Elzevir was alarmed at the freedom of the political and theological opinions advanced in it, and declined printing it. Skinner took away the manuscript, which had by this time attracted the attention of the government. Isaac Barrow, then master of Trin. Coll. sent a peremptory order to Skinner to repair immediately to college, and warned him against publishing any writing mischievous to the church and state. It is not known with exactness when Skinner returned to England, but he had an interview with Sir Joseph Williamson, secretary of state ; and it is supposed that he delivered up the manuscripts to him. The remainder of the treatise is written in a female hand, the same which transcribed the sonnet,

Methought I saw my late espoused saint, now among the manuscripts at Cambridge, and this scribe is supposed to have been his daughter Mary or Deborah. This part of the volume is interspersed with interlineations and corrections in a different and unknown hand. The whole treatise reposed on the shelves of the old State Paper Office in Whitehall till the year 1823, when

Mr. Lemon, the Deputy Keeper, discovered it, loosely wrapped up in two or three sheets of printed paper, which proved to be the proof sheets of Elzevir's Horace. The State Letters were in the same parcel, and the whole was inclosed in a cover directed to Mr. Skinner, Merchant.

The title of the work is De Doctrina Christiana, 68 ex sacris dumtaxat libris petita, disquisitionum libri duo posthumi;' but it is supposed to have been chosen after Milton's death, by those into whose possession the manuscript had passed. When it was discovered, it was placed in the hands of Dr. Sumner, then chaplain to his late majesty, by whom it was carefully edited; and who also gave to the public a very elegant and exact translation.

Milton, it seems, was dissatisfied with the bodies of divinity that were published, obscured by school terms and metaphysical notions, and he deemed it safest, and most advisable to compile for himself, by his own labour and study, some original treatise, which should be always at hand, derived solely from the word of God himself.' This work consists of two books, entitled • Of the Knowledge of God, and of the Service of God.' The first book is divided into thirty-three chapters, embracing mention of all the important doctrines of religious faith. The second book, consisting of seventeen chapters, includes a summary of the Duties of Man ; and the work opens with a dignified and impressive salutation. “ John Milton, to all

58 This treatise was written in Latin; he has expressed regret that his treatises on Divorce were not written in the same language; for Milton never courted public, or vulgar applause; his inscription on the tracts he gave to Trin. Coll. Dublin speaks his sentiments: •Paucis hujus modi lectoribus contentus.'


the churches of Christ, and to all who profess the Christian faith, throughout the world, peace, and the recognition of the truth, and eternal salvation in God the Father, and in our Lord Jesus Christ."

This treatise has fully proved what had been partially and reluctantly suspected before, that Milton had, in his later years, adopted the opi. nions of Arianism ; 59 and a minute inspection of his other works has shown their agreement, in sentiment and expression with this lamented heresy. It is generally allowed that this treatise is barren of recondite learning, 6 or ingenious disquisition ; and that it abounds more in scholastic subtleties than might be expected from one who was constantly censuring them in others; but that it is written in a tone of calmness and moderation, without any polemical fierceness, or personal hostility. Milton had sunk his animosities in the sanctity and importance of his subject; he was. now discussing matters of much higher moment than the downfall of a “luxurious hierarchy, or the structure of particular churches. He was “teaching over the whole book of sanctity and virtue.'

Milton, says one of his latest biographers, commenced his wanderings in religious belief, from Puritanism to Calvinism, from Calvinism to an


59 Is it not extraordinary that Dr. Symmons should assert that Milton's theological opinions were orthodox, and consistent with the creed of the church of England ? "The peculiarity of Milton's religious opinions had reference to church government, and the externals of devotion.' v. Life, p. 589. Johnson asserts the same, but undoubtedly he had not read Milton's works with that scrutiny and care, which have enabled later editors to discover the truth. Mr. Todd's words are a repetition of Johnson's, which of course he will now recall. See Bishop of St. David's ed. of Milton on True Religion, p. 1. Trapp had asserted that P. L. was ex omni parte orthodoxum,' or he would not have translated it. 60 See Todd's Life (second ed.), p. 307. VOL. I.


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