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giving them £100 apiece.* She retired to her native county, where she survived her husband fifty-three years. She died in 1727, the same year as her stepdaughter Deborah, in the eighty-ninth year of her age. She was a member of the Baptist society.
Hard things have been said of Mrs. Milton, but we doubt if with much foundation of truth. Mrs. Foster said that it was her ill-treatment made her mother
to Ireland with Mrs. Merian ; but surely the prospect of residing in the house of a lady, of perhaps some fashion, with a promise of being provided for, may have been inducement enough for her taking this step, without the additional stimulus of ill-usage at home. Besides, it is very probable that Deborah was at that time living with her sisters, and not at her father's. Again, Phillips says of his uncle's wife that “she persecuted his children in his lifetime, and cheated them at his death.” By this last assertion is meant of course that she induced him to make a will in her favour; but he knows little of Milton who suspects him of uxoriousness at any period of his life, and the vigour of his faculties remained unimpaired to the last. In this matter he acted, as we have seen, on the principles of justice, leaving his property to the person whom he deemed to have the highest claim on him. We are also to recollect that Phillips did not write till twenty years after his uncle's death, and that therefore his recollection of circumstances may not have been very accurate ; and he may have adopted the prejudices of his cousins, and visited the iniquity of their mother's family on their father's widow. The last charge made against Mrs. Milton is by Richardson, who says that she used frequently to teaze him for his carelessness and ignorance
* See Note I. at end of this Part.
about money-matters, and adds that she was a termagant. This however is totally opposed to the account of her given by Aubrey, who knew her; and we must confess we prefer his testimony to that of the lively painter, who then assures us that an offer was made of re-appointing her husband to the office of Latin Secretary, and that she urged him vehemently to accept of it, whereupon he made reply: “Thou art in the right. You, as other women, would ride in your coach ; for me, my aim is to live and die an honest man.” We do not regard this anecdote either as very probable, though office was offered to Thurloe, Cromwell's secretary.
EDWARD AND JOHN PHILLIPS.
The last of Milton's family of whom it appears necessary to give an account are his two nephews, the sons of his sister Anne, Edward and John Phillips. As the former, who became his biographer, tells us that he himself was ten, and his brother nine years old when they went to live with their uncle in 1641, we may presume that the former was born in 1631, and the latter in 1632.
In March, 1648, Edward Phillips went to Magdalen College in Oxford. It is not certain whether he remained with his uncle up to that period or not; but as he says himself that he was five or six years with him, he may have left him a couple of years before that time. He remained at Oxford till 1651, and then left it without having graduated. We hear nothing further of him till 1656, when he published an edition of the Poems of Drummond of Hawthornden, and a translation of Montalvo's pastoral romance, The Shepherd of Filidas, from the Spanish. Two years later we find him appearing as the author of a work which one might not have expected from the pupil of Milton. It was named Mysteries of Love and Eloquence, etc., the Art of Wooing as managed in the Spring Garden, Hyde Park, the New Exchange, etc. In 1659 he published a dictionary, named A New World of Words. He was also about this time employed to edit and continue Sir Richard Baker's Chronicle, a task which he continued to discharge for every successive reprint for many years. We may here observe, that both he and his brother had adopted political principles the very opposite of those held by their uncle, and had joined the ranks of the Royalists. How often in life is this phenomenon presented to us, of men quitting the religious or political principles in which they have been sedulously nurtured! The usual cause is, the reins of discipline having been tightened too much; and perhaps this may have been the case in this instance also.
After the Restoration, in the period from 1660 to 1666, we find Edward Phillips employed as tutor to the son of the celebrated John Evelyn ; and as his pupil distinguished himself at the University, we may presume that he had been well instructed. Phillips then accepted a similar employment in the family of the Earl of Pembroke ; and when he had finished there, he entered that of the Popish Earl of Arlington, as reader to himself and tutor to his daughter and heiress, the Lady Isabella, and her cousin Henry Bennet.* During this period, as we * “Oct. 24, 1663. Mr. Edward Phillips came to be
preceptor. This gentleman was nephew to Milton, who wrote against Salmasius' Defensio, but was not at all infected with his principles, though brought up by him."
“Feb. 24, 1665. Mr. Phillips, preceptor to my son, went to be with the Earl of Pembroke's son, my Lord Herbert.”
“Sept. 18, 1677. I proposed Mr. Phillips, nephew of Milton, to the service of my Lord Chamberlain [Arlington] who wanted a scholar to read to and entertain him sometimes.”—Evelyn's Diary.
have seen, he used to visit his uncle regularly, and give him any
aid he could in revising the manuscripts of his works. In 1675 he published his Theatrum Poetarum, or account of the principal ancient and modern, but chiefly English, poets. He did various literary jobs for the booksellers, such as translations, etc.; and from a passage in his Life of Milton, we might infer that he kept a school in his later years. In 1694 he published a translation of his uncle's Latin Letters, to which he prefixed the well-known and precious piece of biography so often quoted in these pages. He probably died not long after, for he was no longer living when Toland wrote his Life of Milton in 1698. The character of Edward Phillips appears to have been that of an amiable, honourable, learned, and industrious man of letters.
John Phillips was superior to his brother in talent, but far below him in moral worth. We have seen that in 1651 he was deputed by his uncle to answer one of the assailants of his Defence. He was probably at that time acting as clerk to him in his public office. He could hardly have been so when, in 1655, he published his witty but licentious poem, the Satire against Hypocrites; in which he describes a Sunday, a- Christening, and a Wednesday-Fast as they were held by the rigidly righteous of those days. This poem went through several editions. In 1659 he published Montelion, or the Prophetical Almanac, in ridicule of the noted Lilly the Astrologer, who was then in high repute ; and next year, a mock romance on the Royalist side, and ridiculing the Commonwealth's-men. It was named Don Lamberto, from General Lainbert; and Sir Harry Vane and others figure in it. In thus attacking men under persecution he showed alike his want of taste and want of feeling.
In 1672 he published a travestie of the fifth and sixth books of the Æneis ; he also published a licentious translation of Don Quixote,* and various other things. After the Revolution he became the conductor of a monthly journal, called the Monthly Mercury. He is supposed to have lived till the year 1705, and to have continued writing to the last. Wood,—but his dicta are not to be received implicitly,-says of him : “A man of very loose principles, atheistical, forsakes his wife and children, makes no provision for them."
* “The translation of Don Quixote, published in 1682, may also be specified as incredibly vulgar, and without the least perception of the tone which the original author has preserved.” (Hallam, Lit. of Europe, iii. 553.) Mr. Hallam was apparently ignorant of the name of the translator. He is speaking of the slang which then prevailed in English literature.