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But while he was engaged in this controversy of divoree, he was not so totally engaged in it, but he attended to other things; and about this time published his letter of Education to Mr. Samuel Hartlib, who wrote fome 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 lay the theory of his own e 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 basis 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 licensing 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 faying, “ that such was “ the effect of this piece, that the following year “ Mabol a licencer offered reasons against licencing; " and at his own request was discharged that office.” Vol. I,
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 argumenis, as every ingenuous 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 Penferoso, Lycidas, the Mask &c &c: and if he had left no other monuments of his poeticil genius behind him, these would have been sufficient 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 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 effecting 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
fee 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 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 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 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 widow Webber's house in St. Clement's Churchyard, 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 marriage with a man who was known to have a wife still living. 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 father and mother, her brothers and sisters, 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 bufiness; for about this time there was a defign of conftituting bim Adjutant General in the army under Sir William Waller'; but the new modeling of the army foon 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 Prefbyterians declaming tragically against the King's execution, and asserting that his person was sacred and inviolable, provoked him to write the Tenure of Kings and Magiftrates, 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 deposing are the men who did it themselves : and he published it at the beginning of the year 1649, to satisfy and compose the minds of the people. Not long after this he wrote his Obfervations 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 ecclesiastical 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 defense of the parlament and people of England.
After this he retired again to his private studies; and thinking that he had leisure enough for such a work, he applied himself to the writing of a History 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 such preferment, he was invited by the Council of State to be their Latin Secretary for foreign affairs. And he served in the same 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 scorned to pay that trie bute to any foreign prince, which is usually 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 submit; and took a noble resolution 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. And it would have been well, if succeeding princes had followed their example; for in the opinion of very wise men, the univerfality of the French language will make way for the univerfality of the French monarchy,