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activity, and indefatigable energy. These and when it threatened to become dangerous were the very qualities which could not but to themselves. They had intended only to secure their triumph over their adversaries, wrench a powerful weapon from the hands of the Presbyterians, whom their previous suc the government and the Episcopal Church; cesses had rendered careless and lukewarm. and, although they themselves had established In a revolution, victory will always perch, at freedom of the press, they indulged in secret least for a time, on the banners of that party threats against the writers who openly eswbich acts with the utmost consistency, and poused the cause of the king. They dreaded shrinks from no measures, how hazardous so even more the Independents, who could not be ever they may be.

silenced so easily. The Presbyterians tremMilton himself, who naturally was not an bled before the spirit which they had called extremist, was forced, almost against his will, up, and resolved to chain it again. They by the course the Presbyterians pursued tow were not bold enough, however, to take this

ard him, to side with the Independents. One step backward in an open and high-handed i of the first acts of the Parliament had been

Under all sorts of vain pretexts the deliverance of the press from the restric- they tried to reëstablish the old restrictions tions with which it had been fettered by the imposed on the press, and to walk in the government of the king, particularly by the steps of the Star-Chamber, which they had so hateful Star-Chamber. All the laws interfer-furiously assailed. ing with the freedom of the press were re Great was the sensation and indignation pealed. London and the whole country were which this oppressive measure created. Milat once flooded with countless pamphlets con ton was profoundly grieved at this blow levveying from one end of England to the other elled at the press, which he justly regarded as the hopes and grievances of the Presbyterians, the bulwark of civil liberty in England. He who were in the ascendant in Parliament. was resolved to reconquer this natural right, Some of these passionate satirical papers cre so highly important to the people, and spare ated a great sensation, and became exceed no efforts to overthrow this new tyranny. He ingly popular. King Charles, who read them was obliged to assail the same Presbyterians all, and often replied to them, once paid ten with whom he had united to overthrow the pounds for a copy of a scurrilous pamphlet Episcopal Church, and establish liberty and which he was anxious to read. At this time the longed-for Parliament, from which Eng.

and especially the newspapers, ac- land had expected so many blessings. He did quired great importance, and became a for- so, with as much courage as sagacity. midable weapon in the hands of the parties. Milton went again to the Rota, the celeThe Mercurius Pragmaticus long defended the brated political club, where he had not been cause of the Presbyterians, while the Mer- for a long time past. His presence was no curius Aulicus, edited by Sir John Birkenhead, ticed immediately, and his friends and acquaintwas the organ of the court. None of these ances thronged about him. He denounced

journals were slow in deriding, and even slan- the restrictions recently imposed on the press; I dering their opponents. After a while, this and even some of the members of this club,

freedom of the press displeased the Presby- which was noted for its revolutionary spirit, terians, and, having availed themselves suffi were opposed to the freedom of the press. ciently of this auxiliary, they strove to de- One of the latter, the gloomy St. John, a disstroy it when they had no longer need of it, tinguished lawyer, said to Milton: “It is not

the press,

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possible that you can advocate entire and un of this world grow up together almost insepalimited freedom of the press."

rably; and the knowledge of good is so involved “ Certainly not,” replied Milton. “I deny and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and not but that it is of greatest concernment in in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be the Church and commonwealth, to have a vigi- discerned, that those confused seeds which lant eye how books demean themselves as well were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant laas men; and thereafter to confine, imprison, bor to cull out, and sort asunder, were not and do sharpest justice on them as malefac more intermixed. It was from out the rind tors; for books are not absolutely dead things, of one apple tasted, that the knowledge of good but do contain a progeny of life in them to be and evil, as two twins cleaving together, leaped as active as that soul was whose progeny they forth into the world. And perhaps this is that are: nay, they do preserve as in a vial the doom which Adam fell into of knowing good purest efficacy and extraction of that living in and evil. As therefore the state of man now tellect that bred them. I know they are as is, what wisdom can there be to choose, what lively, and as vigorously productive, as those continence to forbear, without the knowledge fabulous dragons' teeth; and being sown up of evil? He that can apprehend and consider and down, may chance to spring up armed Vice with all his baits and seeming pleasures,

And yet on the other hand, unless wari- and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet ness be good, as good almost kill a man as kill prefer that which is truly better, he is the true a good book : who kills a man kills a reason- warfaring Christian. I cannot praise a fugiable creature, God's image; but he who de- tive and cloistered Virtue unexercised and unstroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the breathed, that never sallies out and sees ber image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a adversary, but slinks out of the race, where man lives a burden to the earth; but a good that immortal garland is to be run for, not book is the precious life-blood of a master- without dust and heat.” spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose “You forget that all men are not strong to a life beyond life.”

enough to withstand temptation. Do you not “But license,” objected St. John, “is as old fear the infection that may spread ?” as literary production. So long as any books “ If you fear the infection that may spread, have been written, the state has had the right all human learning and controversy in religious of watching and suppressing them, when they points must remove out of the world; yea, the do more harm than good.”

Bible itself; for that ofttimes relates blasmust deny the correctness of this asser- pbemy not nicely: it describes the carnal sense tion. Neither the Greeks nor the Romans of wicked men not elegantly. The ancientest knew the licensing of books. Even during the fathers must next be removed, as Clement of first centuries after Christianity' had been es- Alexandria, and that Eusebian book of evantablished, the Church condemned only such gelic preparation, transmitting our ears through books as were directly immoral and attacked a hoard of heathenish obscenities to receive the the fundamental truths of religion. After the gospel. If you shut and fortify one gate against Nicene Council in the eighth century, the popes corruption, you will be necessitated to leave introduced a formal censorship, which is not others round about wide open. If you think only a disgrace to humanity, but an utterly to regulate printing, and thereby to rectify useless invention which never yet attained its manners, you must regulate all recreations and object. Good and evil, we know, in the field | pastimes, all that is delightful to man. No

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music must be heard, no song be set or sung, heres, he resigns the whole warehouse of his but what is grave and Doric. There must be religion, with all the locks and keys, into his licensing dancers, that no gesture, motion, or custody; and indeed makes the very person deportment be taught our youth, but what by of that man his religion; esteems his associattheir allowance shall be thought honest. It ing with him a sufficient evidence and comwill ask more than the work of twenty licen- mendatory of his own piety. So that a man sers to examine all the lutes, the violins, and may say his religion is now no more within the guitars in every house; they must not be himself, but is become a dividual movable, and suffered to prattle as they do, but must be li- goes and comes near him, according as that censed what they may say. And who shall good man frequents the house. He entertains silence all the airs and madrigals that whisper him, gives him gifts, feasts him, lodges him; softness in chambers ? The windows also, his religion comes home at night, prays, is and the balconies, must be thought on. The liberally supped, and sumptuously laid to sleep; villages also must have their visitors to inquire rises, is saluted, and after the malmsey, or what lectures the bagpipe and the rebec read, some well-spiced brewage, and better breakeven to the ballatry and the gamut of every fasted than He whose morning appetite would municipal fiddler. And even though you should have gladly fed on green figs between Bethany succeed in shutting all these gates against the and Jerusalem, his religion walks abroad at mind, what would you gain thereby ? Truth eight, and leaves his kind entertainer in the is compared in Scripture to a streaming foun- shop trading all day without his religion. tain ; if her waters flow not in a perpetual pro- These are the fruits which a dull ease and cesgression, they sicken into a muddy pool of con- sation of our knowledge will bring forth among formity and tradition.”

the people. No, no, we must not suffer this. “ To preserve the purity of truth is the duty The time demands freedom of thinking and of its servants, the ministers of the Church, writing for all. Whether all the storms of and Parliament.”

opinion will sweep at once through the world “I reply that a man may be a heretic in the or not, Truth is in the field and well able to truth; and if he believe things only because cope with Error. Truth indeed came once into his pastor says so, or the assembly so deter- the world with her divine Master, and was a mines, without knowing other reason, though perfect shape most glorious to look on; but his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds when He ascended, and His apostles after Him becomes bis heresy. A wealthy man, addicted were laid asleep, then straight arose a wicked to his pleasure and to his profits, finds religion race of deceivers, who, as that story goes of to be a traffic so entangled, and of so many the Egyptian Typhon with his conspirators, piddling accounts, that of all mysteries he can how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the not skill to keep a stock going upon that trade. virgin Truth, hewed her lovely form into a What should he do ? Fain he would have the thousand pieces, and scattered them to the four name to be religious, fain he would bear up winds. From that time ever since, the sad with his neighbors in that. What does he friends of Truth, such as durst appear, iritattherefore, but resolves to give over toiling, and ing the careful search that Isis made for the to find himself out some factor, to whose care mangled body of Osiris, went up and down and credit he may commit the whole managing gathering up limb by limb still as they could of his religious affairs; some divine of note find them. We have not yet' found them all, and estimation that must be. To him he ad- nor ever shall do, till her Master's second com






ing; He shall bring together every joint and Such was the fate of Harrington's “Oceana,'' member, and shall mould them into an immor- for even the republic did not protect the retal feature of loveliness and perfection. Suffer publicans. Milton's pamphlet, however, pronot these licensing prohibitions to stand at duced one effect which bore witness to its every place of opportunity forbidding and dis- sterling value: one of the censors of the press, turbing them that continue seeking, that con- named Gilbert Mabbot, resigned his office after tinue to do our obsequies to the torn body of reading the “ Areopagitica,” stating that his our martyred saint.”

office seemed to him illegal, dangerous, and Milton's speech was warmly applauded by injurious rather than useful. At the same all the members, and even the gloomy St. time he proposed that all authors who signed John admitted that he had refuted his argu their writings should be allowed to print them, ment. The noble defender of freedom of the on condition of being called to account by the press was requested to write a pamphlet on courts in case their books contained any thing the subject and publish it. He promised to contrary to law and morality. do so, and issued shortly after his “ Areopagitica, a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing," which he likewise dedicated to Parliament. The poet thus defended with manly courage one of the noblest boons of mankind,

CHAPTER XIX. and up to the present time hardly any thing equal to this noble essay has been written on the same subject. It met, however, with vehement opposition. The learned Baxter, On a stormy day in February, Sir Kenelm perhaps the most eminent of the nonconformist Digby, attended by a man who, notwithstanddivines of this period, published a violent at-ing his concealed tonsure and careful disguise, tack on the freedom of the press, alleging that was evidently a Catholic priest, rode across it led to the publication of countless books one of those numerous bogs which extend for by bad and incompetent authors, and was many miles in the interior of Ireland. The decidedly injurious to the dissemination of ground had been softened by long-continued truth.

rain, and transformed into black mire. The “Better books must be written, then, and saturated soil trembled at every step of the you may be sure that, like the staff of Moses, horses, and the strong animals were in conthey will swallow the works of the impious,” stant danger of sinking into it. An icy breeze, replied Milton to him.

which dashed the large rain-drops mixed with Baxter went so far in his blind zeal, that he snow-flakes into the faces of the travellers, wished to die previous to the triumph of the added to the uncomfortable frame of their detested liberty of unlicensed printing. While minds. the Presbyterians were at the helm of govern “By the saints !” growled Sir Kenelm, “I ment, the press was fettered as heretofore. would we were already under shelter. Night During Cromwell's protectorate, it is true, the will soon set in, and then it will be impossible system of licensed printing was abolished, but for us to advance another step. Nothing would prosecutions of authors and printers were not remain for us but to encamp in the accursed unknown. Manuscripts were frequently taken bog, if we do not prefer perishing in it.” from authors while they were being printed. At these by no means encouraging words

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his pious companion heaved a deep sigh and which it subjects us? I am afraid it will in. crossed himself,

volve us in serious trouble." “Perhaps there is a cabin near by," he said, “You are mistaken on that head. What I “ where we might find shelter for the night. am doing, I do on my own responsibility. I Exert your eyes, dear friend. The snow-storm am first of all a good Catholic, and afterward has almost blinded mine."

a subject of his majesty. The Irish have risen “ I am afraid I shall not be able to see any in the name of the Catholic religion; their more than you, reverend father. Beautiful other motives do not concern me. Hence, Erin does not abound with habitable dwellings, I deem myself in duty bound to assist them and what few of them were left have been de- with my advice. The men who are at the stroyed by our dear friends, the Irish rebels.” head of the rebels need it, for Phelim O'Neale

" In majorem Dei gloriam," said the priest, has no more sense in his thick skull than the clasping his hands.

horse I am riding." “I would our hot-headed friends had done " And what do you purpose doing ? their work less thoroughly. Moreover, they “Above all things, I am going to obtain a should have deferred their insurrection for a clear insight into the whole situation. When time; but such are the Irish, always rash and I know the strength of the rebels, and the imprudent. Every thing was arranged in the means at their disposal, every thing else will most judicious manner, all necessary disposi- follow of itself.” tions were made, and Dublin would have fallen “And in what capacity are you going to ininto their hands without their striking a blow; troduce yourself to the leaders ? " but these men cannot wait, and want to pluck “ As Sir Kenelm Digby, as a zealous Caththe fruit from the tree before it is ripe.” olic, as a true friend of our oppressed Church.”

“You forget entirely that the conspiracy “ They would certainly bid you welcome, if was prematurely betrayed. That was not their you came as envoy of the king to negotiate fault."

with the Irish.” “And then the unnecessary massacre of the Sir Kenelm made no reply to the further Protestants, the cruelties committed against questions of his fellow-traveller, but acceleratinnocent women and children! I am entirely ed the step of his horse so far as the mire peropposed to bloodshed, and do not want our mitted him to do so. The day was drawing to just cause to be stained by such abominable a close, and twilight had set in. The situation outrages. As a matter of course, the king had of the two travellers became more and more to repudiate and attack them. He would have disagreeable. There was no house far and forfeited the last remnant of respect felt for near; not even a wretched hovel was to be him by the people of England, if he had not seen anywhere; only the black bog extended treated the rebels as enemies and traitors. Pol as far as the horizon, where it seemed to blend icy itself compelled him to adopt this course.” with the clouded sky. The road was almost

“But he is secretly negotiating with the invisible, and withal impassable. There were Irish. You know this better than any other places where the horses stuck in the mire, man, for what other object can your journey and could be extricated only after almost suto Ireland have, and why did you come to me perhuman efforts. Moreover, they feared lest and persuade me to take part in this journey, they should be attacked in this dismal region, which I have cursed already more than once which had become more unsafe than formerly, on account of the fatigues and privations to lowing to the civil war. Sir Kenelm, there

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