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was a book abroad, which deferved to be burnt, and that among their other fins they ought to repent, that they had not yet branded it with some mark of their difpleasure. And Mr. Wood informs us, that upon Milton's publishing his three books of Divorce, the Assembly of Divines, that was then fitting at Westminster, took fpecial notice of them; and notwithstanding his former fervices in writing against the Bishops, caused him to be fummoned before the House of Lords: but that House whether approving his doctrin, or not favoring his accufers, foon dismissed him. He was attacked too from the prefs as well as from the pulpit, in a pamphlet intitled Divorce at pleasure, and in another intitled an Answer to the Doctrin and Difciplin of Divorce, which was licenced and recommended by Mr. Joseph Caryl, a famous Prefbyterian Divine, and author of a voluminous commentary on the book of Job: and Milton in his Colasterion or Reply published in 1645 expoftulates smartly with the licencer, as well as handles very roughly the namelefs author. And these provocations, I suppose, contributed not a little to make him fuch an enemy to the Presbyterians, to whom he had before diftinguished himfelf a friend. He composed likewise two of his fonnets on the reception his book of Divorce met with, but the latter is much the better of the two. To this account it may be added from Antony Wood, that after the King's restoration, when the fubject of divorce was under confideration with the Lords upon the account of John Lord Ross or Roos his feperation from his wife Anne Pierpoint eldest daughter to Henry Marquis of Dorchester, he was consulted by an eminent member of that House, and about the fame time by a chief officer of ftate, as being the prime person who was knowing in that affair.
But while he was engaged in this controverfy of divorce, he was not fo totally engaged in it, but he attended to other things; and about this time published his Let
ter of Education to Mr. Samuel Hartlib, who wrote some things about husbandry, and was a man of confiderable learning, as appears from the letters which paffed between him and the famous Mr. Mede, and from Sir William Petty's and Pell the mathematician's writing to him, the former his treatise for the Advancement of fome particular parts of learning, and the latter his Idea of the Mathematics, as well as from this letter of our author. This letter of our author has usually been printed at the end of his poems, and is as I may fay the theory of his own practice; and by the rules which he has laid down for education we see in some measure the method that he pursued in educating his own pupils. And in 1644 he published his Areopagitica or Speech for the liberty of unlicenced printing to the Parlament of England. It was written at the defire of feveral learned men, and is perhaps the best vindication, that has been published at any time or in any language, of that liberty which is the basis and support of all other liberties, the liberty of the press: but alas it had not the defired effect; for the Prefbyterians were as fond of exercifing the licencing power, when they got it into their own hands, as they had been clamorous before in inveighing against it, while it was in the hands of the Prelates. And Mr. Toland is mistaken in saying, “that such was the effect of this piece, that the following year Mabol a licencer offered reasons against licen"cing; and at his own request was discharged that office." For neither was the licencer's name Mabol, but Gilbert Mabbot; neither was he discharged from his office till May 1649, about five years afterwards, tho' probably he might be fwayed by Milton's arguments, as every ingenuous perfon must, who perufes and confiders them. in 1645 was published a collection of his poems, Latin and English, the principal of which are On the morning of Chrift's nativity, L'Allegro, Il Penferofo, Lycidas, the Mafk &c &c: and if he had left no other monuments of
his poetical genius behind him, these would have been fufficient to have rendered his name immortal.
But without doubt his Doctrin of Divorce and the maintenance of it principally engaged his thoughts at this period; and whether others were convinced or not by his arguments, he was certainly convinced himself that he was in the right; and as a proof of it he determined to marry again, and made his addresses to a young lady of great wit and beauty, one of the daughters of Dr. Davis. But intelligence of this coming to his wife, and the then declining state of the King's caufe, and confequently of the circumftances of Juftice Powell's family, caufed them to fet all engins on work to reflore the wife again to her husband. And his friends too for different reafons feem to have been as defirous of bringing about a reconciliation as her's, and this method of affecting it was concerted between them. He had a relation, one Blackborough, living in the lane of St. Martin's Le Grand, whom he often vifited; and one day when he was visiting there, it was contrived that the wife should be ready in another room; and as he was thinking of nothing less, he was surprised to fee her, whom he had expected never to have seen any more, falling down upon her knees at his feet, and imploring his forgiveness with tears. At first he showed some figns of averfion, but he continued not long inexorable; his wife's intreaties, and the interceffion of friends on both fides foon wrought upon his generous nature, and procured a happy reconciliation with an act of oblivion of all that was past. But he did not take his wife home immediately; it was agreed that she should remain at a friend's, till the house, that he had newly taken, was fitted for their reception; for fome other gentlemen of his acquaintance, having obferved the great fuccefs of his method of education, had recommended their fons to his care; and his houfe in Alderfgate-street not being large enough, he had taken a larger in Barbican:
and till this could be got ready, the place pitched upon for his wife's abode was the widdow Webber's house in St. Clement's Church-yard, whofe fecond daughter had been married to the other brother many years before. The pårt that Milton acted in this whole affair, fhowed plainly that he had a spirit capable of the strongest resentment, but yet more inclinable to pity and forgiveness: and neither in this was any injury done to the other lady, whom he was courting, for she is said to have been always averse from the motion, not daring I suppose to venture in marriage with a man who was known to have a wife ftill living. He might not think himself too at liberty as before, while his wife continued obftinate; for his most plausible argument for divorce proceeds upon a fuppofition, that the thing be done with mutual confent.
After his wife's return his family was increased not only with children, but also with his wife's relations, her father and mother, her brothers and fifters, coming to live with him in the general distress and ruin of the royal party: and he was fo far from refenting their former ill treatment of him, that he generously protected them, and entertained them very hofpitably, till their affairs were accommodated thro' his intereft with the prevailing faction. And then upon their removal, and the death of his own father, his houfe looked again like the house of the Muses: but his ftudies had like to have been interrupted by a call to public bufinefs; for about this time there was a defign of conftituting him Adjutant General in the army under Sir William Waller; but the new modelling of the army foon following, that defign was laid afide. And not long after, his great house in Barbican being now too large for his family, he quitted it for a smaller in High Holborn, which opened backward into Lincoln's Inn Fields, where he profecuted his studies till the King's trial and death, when the Prefbyterians declaming tragically against the King's execution, and af
ferting that his person was facred and inviolable, provoked him to write the Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, proving that it is lawful to call a tyrant to account and to depose and put him to death, and that they who of late fo much blame depofing are the men who did it themselves: and he published it at the beginning of the year 1649, to fatisfy and compofe the minds of the people. Not long after this he wrote his Observations on the articles of peace between the Earl of Ormond and the Irish rebels. And in these and all his writings, whatever others of different parties may think, he thought himself an advocate for true liberty, for ecclefiaftical liberty in his treatises against the bishops, for domestic liberty in his books of divorce, and for civil liberty in his writings against the king in defenfe of the parlament and people of England.
After this he retired again to his private ftudies; and thinking that he had leisure enough for fuch a work, he applied himself to the writing of a Hiftory of England, which he intended to deduce from the earliest accounts down to his own times: and he had finished four books of it, when neither courting nor expecting any fuch preferment, he was invited by the Council of State to be their Latin Secretary for foreign affairs. And he ferved in the fame capacity under Oliver, and Richard, and the Rump, till the Restoration; and without doubt a better Latin pen could not have been found in the kingdom, For the Republic and Cromwell fcorned to pay that tribute to any foreign Prince, which is usualy paid to the French king, of managing their affairs in his language; they thought it an indignity and meanness to which this or any free nation ought not to fubmit; and took a noble refolution neither to write any letters to any foreign states nor to receive any answers from them, but in the Latin tongue, which was common to them all. have been well, if fucceeding princes had
And it would followed their