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head-akes and disorders, and had such a weakness in her eyes, that she was forced to make use of spectacles from the age of eighteen; and fhe herself, fhe fays, has not been able to read a chapter in the Bible these twenty years: that she was mistaken in informing Mr. Birch, what he had printed upon her authority, that Milton's father was born in France; and a brother of hers who was then living was very angry with her for it, and like a true born Englishman resented it highly, that the family fhould be thought to bear any relation to France: that Milton's fecond wife did not die in childbed, as Mr. Philips and Toland relate, but above three months after of a confumption; and this too Mr. Birch relates upon her authority; but in this particular fhe muft be mistaken as well as in the other, for our author's fonnet on his deceafed wife plainly implies that fhe did die in childbed. She knows nothing of her aunt Philips or Agar's defcendents, but believes that they are all extinct: as is likewife Sir Chriftopher Milton's family, the last of which, she says, were two maiden fifters, Mrs. Mary and Mrs. Catharine Milton, who lived and died at Highgate; but unknown to her, there is a Mrs. Milton living in Grosvenor street, the grandaughter of Sir Chriftopher, and the daughter of Mr. Thomas Milton before mentioned: and fhe herself is the only furviver of Milton's own family, unless there be some in the Eaft Indies, which fhe very much queftions, for fhe used to hear from them fometimes, but has heard nothing now for several years; so that in all probability Milton's whole family will be extinct with her, and he can live only in his writings. And fuch is the caprice of fortune, this grandaughter of a man, who will be an everlasting glory to the nation, has now for fome years with her husband kept a little chandler's or grocer's fhop for their subsistence, lately at the lower Holloway in the road between Highgate and London, and at present in Cock Lane not far from Shoreditch Church. Another
thing let me mention, that is equally to the honor of the prefent age. Tho' Milton received not above ten pounds at two different payments for the copy of Paradise Loft, yet Mr. Hoyle author of the treatife on the Game of Whift, after having difpofed of all the first impreffion, fold the copy to the bookfeller, as I have been informed, for two hundred guineas.
As we have had occafion to mention more than once Milton's manufcripts preferved in the library of Trinity College in Cambridge, it may not be ungrateful to the reader, if we give a more particular account of them, before we conclude. There are, as we faid, two draughts of a letter to a friend who had importuned him to take orders, together with a fonnet on his being arrived to the age of twenty three: and by there being two draughts of this letter with feveral alterations and additions, it appears to have been written with great care and deliberation; and both the draughts have been published by Mr. Birch in his Hiftorical and Critical Account of the life and writings of Milton. There are alfo feveral of his poems, Arcades, At a folemn music, On time, Upon the circumcifion, the Mask, Lycidas, with five or fix of his fonnets, all in his own hand writing: and there are some others of his fonnets written by different hands, being most of them compofed after he had loft his fight. It is curious to see the first thoughts and subsequent corrections of so great a poet as Milton: but it is remarkable in these manuscript poems, that he doth not often make his stops, or begin his lines with great letters. There are likewise in his own hand-writing different plans of Paradise Lost in the form of a tragedy: and it is an agreeable amufement to trace the gradual progress and improvement of fuch a work from its firft dawnings in the plan of a tragedy to its full luftre in an epic poem. And together with the plans of Paradife Loft there are the plans or fubjects of several other intended tragedies, fome taken from
the Scripture, others from the British or Scottish hiftories: and of the latter the last mentioned is Macbeth, as if he had an inclination to try his ftrength with Shakespear; and to reduce the play more to the unities he propofes beginning at the arrival of Malcolm at Macduff; the "matter of Duncan may be expreffed by the appearing "of his ghoft." These manufcripts of Milton were found by the learned Mr. Profeffor Mafon among fome other old papers, which, he fays, belonged to Sir Henry Newton Puckering, who was a confiderable benefactor to the library: and for the better prefervation of fuch truly valuable reliques, they were collected together, and handfomely bound in a thin folio by the care and at the charge of a perfon, who is now very eminent in his profeffion, and was always a lover of the Mufes, and at that time a fellow of Trinity College, Mr. Clarke, one of his Majefty's counfel.