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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 soon after the King's death was published a book under his name intitled Erxw Baordixen, or the royal image: and this book, like Cælar’s lait 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 Ereovornaçms 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 publithed, 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 hcarsay: and tho' he was Cromwell's printer, yet afterwards he turned papist in the reign of James II, in order to be that king's printer, and it was at that time that he used to relate this story; so that, I think, little credit is due to his testimony. And indeed I cannot but hope and believe, that Milton had a soul above being guilty of so mean an action to serve so mean a purpose; and there is as little reafon for fixing it upon him, as he had to traduce the King for profaning the duty of prayer “ with the " polluted trash of romances.” For there are not many finer prayers in the best books of devotion, and the King might as lawfully borrow and apply it to his own occasions, as the Apostle might make quotations from Heathen poems and plays: and it became Milton the least of all men to bring such an accusation against the King, as he was himself particularly fond of reading romances, and has made use of them in some of the best and latest of his writings.'
But his most celebrated work in prose is his Defense of the people of England against Salmasius, Defenfio pro populo Anglicano contra Claudii Anonymi, alias Salmasii, Defensionem Regiam. Salmafius, by birth a Frenchman, succeeded the famous Scaliger as honorary Professor of the university of Leyden, and had gained great reputation by his Plinian Exercitations on Solinus, and by his critical remarks on several Latin and Greek authors, and was generally esteemed one of the greatest and most consummate scholars of that age: and is commended by Milton himself in his Reason of Church Government, and called the
learned Salmafius. And besides his great learning he had extraordinary talents in railing. " This prince “ of scholars, as some body said of him, seemed to “ have erected his throne upon a heap of stones, w that he might have them at hand to throw at every “ one's head who passed by.” He was therefore courted by Charles II, as the most able man to write a defense of the late King his father and to traduce his adversaries, and a hundred Jacobuses were given him for that purpose, and the book was published in 1649 with this title Defenfio Regia pro Carolo I. ad Carolum II. No sooner did this book appear in England, but the Council of State unanimously appointed Milton, who was then present, to answer it : and he performed the talk with amazing spirit and vigor, tho' his health at that time was such, that he could hardly indure the fatigue of writing, and being weak in body he was forced to write by piece-meal, and to break off almost every hour, as he says himself in the introduction. This necessarily occasioned fome delay, so that his Defense of the people of England was not made public till the beginning of the year 1651: and they who cannot read the original, may yet have the pleasure of reading the English translation by Mr. Washington of the Temple, which was printed in 1692, and is inserted among Milton's works in the two last editions. It was somewhat extraordinary, that Salmasius, a pensioner to a republic, should pretend to write a defense of monarchy; but the States showed their disapprobation by publicly condemning his book, and ordering it to be suppressed. And on the other hand Milton's book was burnt at Paris, and at Tolouse by the
hands of the common hangman; but this served only to procure it the more readers: it was read and talked of every where, and even they who were of different principles, yet could not but acknowledge that he was a good defender of a bad cause; and Salmafius's book underwent only one impression, while this of Milton passed thro' several editions On the first appearance of it, he was visited or invited by all the foreign ministers at London, not excepting even those of crowned heads; and was para ticularly honored and esteemed by Adrian Paaw embassador from the States of Holland. He was likewise highly complimented by letters from the moft learned and ingenious persons in France and Germany; and Leonard Philaras, an Athenian born, and embassador from the Duke of Parma to the French king, wrote a fine encomium of his Defense, and sent him his picture, as appears from Milton's letter to Philaras dated at London in June 1652. And what gave him the greatest satisfaction, the work was highly applauded by those, who had defired him to undertake it; and they made him a prefent of a thousand pounds, which in those days of frugality was reckoned no inconfiderable reward for his performance. But the case was far otherwise with Salmasius. He was then in high favor at the court of Christina Queen of Sweden, who had invited thither several of the most learned men of all countries : but when Milton's Defense of the people of England was brought to Sweden, and was read to the Queen at her own defire, he funk immediately in her esteem and the opinion of every body; and tho' he talked big at first, and vowed the
destruction of Milton and the Parlament, yet finding that he was looked upon with coldness, he thought proper to take leave of the court; and he who came in honor, was dismissed with contempt. He died some time afterwards at Spa in Germany, and it is said more of a broken heart than of any distemper, leaving a posthumous reply to Milton, which was not published till after the Restoration, and was dedicated to Charles II. by his son Claudius; but it has done no great honor to his memory, abounding with abuse much more than argument.
Ifaac Vossius was at Stockholm, when Milton's book was brought thither, and in some of his letters to Nicolas Heinsius, published by Professor Burman in the third tome of his Sylloge Epistolarum, he fays, that he had the only copy of Milton's book, that the Queen borrowed it of him, and was very much pleased with it, and commended Milton's wit and manner of writing in the presence of several persons, and that Salmasius was very angry, and very busy in preparing his answer, wherein he abused Milton as if he had been one of the vileft catamites in Italy, and also criticized his Latin poems. Heinsius writes again to Voffius from Holland, that he wondered that only one copy of Milton's book was brought to Stockholm, when three were sent thither, one to the Queen, another to Vossius which he had received, and the third to Salmasius ; that the book was in every body's hands, and there had been four editions in a few months besides the English one; that a Dutch translation was handed about, and a French one was expected. And afterwards he writes from Venice, that Holstenius had lent