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every college there is or should be a register, in which are entered all orders for expulsion and ruftication of delinquents. This is necessary for the justification of the master and fellows against whom appeals and complaints are often lodged by the sufferers, either before the visitor or in Westminster-Hall. We have been informed, from the best authority, that there is an entry in the register of this very college, importing, that a candidate for a fellowship *, being rejected by the society, was, upon calling in the visitor t, established in his right, not without some severe expressions inserted
* The late Dr. Hutton, Archbishop of Canterbury. * Bishop Sherlock, then Vice-chancellor.
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in the sentence, which the visitor, upon application, refused to expunge..
If therefore the Registers of Christ's College are filent with respect to the expulsion of John Milton, it is not plain that he was either expelled or rusticated, not to mention that the ternis, vetiti' laris et exilium, may refer to twenty causes besides that assigned by the new Biographer. If Milton's return to college was voluntary, it would be invidious to afcribe his absence to compulsion, unlefs you will suppose that the prohibition was the effect of his father's ceconomy, which is by far most likely to have been the, case.
Milton however was certainly out of humour with the universities (except
perhaps with a few of his ingenious and.. judicious friends in them); and Dr.Johnson gives us our choice of two causes of it, the injudicious severity of his governors, and Milton's captious perverseness *. .
Had Milton left us nothing upon the subject but rude and indiscriminate abuse of the universities, Dr. Johnson's alternative in assisting us to account for it had been liberal and gracious. But the single letter of Milton to Hartlib shews that his objections were of another fort, and took their rise neither from any resentment against his governors for their severity, nor from any perverseness of his own temper. So far from blaming their severity, he reproves the idle vacancies * Life, p. 10.
given both to schools and universities, as a detrimental and improper indulgence ; with respect to his own disposition, nothing appears here but a desire to meliorate the mode of education, in which Hartlib was as hearty as himself; and it appears by our late academical reformations, that the authors of them were no: more in humour, with the methods of their predecessors than Milton himself.
It is true, Milton was zealous for. Re. formation in the church, and who can say: it was not wanted ? or who but Dr. Johnson will say it? Milton laid the errors and abuses in the church to the account of the bishops. The bishops countenanced and encouraged the universities; and it was but natural for the univerfi
ties in their turn to inculcate that fort of learning which tended to uphold the episcopal authority, and consequently to prevent the reformation Milton wished for.
“One of his objections," says the Doctor, “ to academical education, as it was “ then conducted, is, that men designed “ for orders in the church were per“ mitted to act plays, writhing and un“ boning their c'ergy limbs to all the antic “ and dishonest gestures of Trinculoes, “ beiffoons, and bawds, prostituting the « Jhame of that ministry, which either they “ had or were nigh having, to the eyes of “ courtiers and court-ladies, with their “ grooms and madamoiselles *.” * Apology for Smectymnus, p. 110. Birch's ed. D 4