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L I F E
JOHN MILTO N.
F Rhire ca familiarderived his decent ; but he was
shire our Author derived his descent; but he was born at London in the year 1608. The publisher * of his works in prose (on whose veracity fome part of this narrative must entirely depend) dates his birth two years earlier than this : but contradicting himself afterwards in his own computation, I reduce it to the time that Monsieur Bayle hath assigned ; and for the fame reason which prevailed with him to aflign it. His father John Milton, by profession a scrivener, lived in a reputable manner on a competent estate, entirely his own acquisition, having been early disinherited by his parents for renouncing the communion of the church of Rome, to which they were zealously devoted. By his wife Sarah Caston he had likewise one daughter, named Anna, and another son, Christopher, whom he trained to the practice of the common law, who in the great rebellion adhered to the royal cause; and in the reign of King James II. by too eafy a compliance with the doctrines of the court, both religious and civil, he attained to the dignity of being made a judge of the common pleas ; of which he died divelted not long after the Revolution.
But John, the subject of the present Essay, was the favourite of his father's hopes, who, to cultivate the
* Mr. ToLAND.