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Letter 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 passed 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 some 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 say 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 desire of several 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 bafis and support of all other liberties, the liberty of the press: but alas it had not the desired effect; for the Presbyterians were as fond of exercising 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 rea“ sons against licencing; and at his own request was dif“ charged 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 swayed by Milton's arguments, as every ingenious person must, who peruses and confiders them. And in 1645 was published a collection of his poems, Latin and English, the principal of which are On the morning of Christ's nativity, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Lycidas, the Mask &c. &c. and if he had left no other
monuments of his poetical genius behind him, these would have been sufficient to have rendered his name immortal.
But without doubt his Dodrin 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 cause, and consequently of the circumstances of Justice Powell's family, caused them to set all engins on work to restore the wife again to her husband. And his friends too for different reasons seem to have been as desirous 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 visited; 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 see 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 signs of aversion, but he continued not long inexorable; his wife's intreaties, and the intercession of friends on both sides soon wrought upon his generous nature, and procured a happy reconciliation with an aci 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 some other gentlemen of his acquaintance, having observed the great success of his method of education, had recommended their sons to his care; and his house in Aldersgate-street not being 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 widow Webber's house in St. Clement's Church-yard, whose second daughter had been married to the other brother many years before. The part that Milton, acted in this whole affair, showed 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 mar-, riage with a man who was known to have a wife still live ing. He might not think himself too at liberty as before, while his wife continued obstinate; for his most plausible argument for divorce proceeds upon a supposition, that the thing be done with mutual consent.
After his wife's return his family was increased not only with children, but also with his wife's relations, her fa. . ther and mother, her brothers, and fifters, coming to live with him in the general distress and ruin of the royal party: and he was so far from resenting their former ill treatment of him, that he generously protected them, and entertained them very hospitably, till their affairs were accommodated thro' his interest with the prevailing faction. And then upon their removal, and the death of his own father, his house looked again like the house of the Muses: but his studies had like to have been interrupted by a call to public business; for about this time there was a design of constituting him Adjutant General in the army under Sir William Waller; but the new modelling of the army soon following, that design was laid aside. 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 prosecuted his studies till the King's trial and death, when the Presbyterians declaming tragically against the King's execution, and as
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But it was not only in foreign dispatches that the government made use of his pen. He had discharged the business of his office a very little time, before he was called to a work of another kind. For foon after the King's death was published a book under his name intitled Eikon Basilike, or the royal image: and this book, like Cæsar's last will, making a deeper impression, and exciting greater commiseration in the minds of the people, than the King himself did while alive, Milton was ordered to prepare an answer to it, which was published by authority, and intitled Eikouoilastes or the image-breaker, the famous surname of many Greek emperors, who in their zeal against idolatry broke all superstitious images to pieces. This piece was translated into French; and two replies to it were published, one in 1651, and the other in 1692, upon the reprinting of Milton's book at Amsterdam In this controversy a heavy charge hath been alleged against Milton. Some editions of the King's book have certain prayers added at the end, and among them a prayer in time of captivity, which is taken from that of Pamela in Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia: and it is said, that this prayer was added by the contrivance and artifice of Milton, who together with Bradshaw prevailed upon the printer to insert it, that from thence he might take occasion to bring a scandal upon the King, and to blast the reputation of his book, as he hath attempted to do in the first section of his answer. This fact is related chiefly upon the authority of Henry Hills the printer, who had frequently affirmed it to Dr. Gill and Dr. Bernard his physicians, as they themselves have testified. But Hills was not himself the printer, who was dealt with in this manner, and consequently he could have the story only from hearsay: and tho' he was Cromwell's printer, yet after