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Johannis Miltoni Angli pro Populo Anglicano Defensio, contra Claudii Anonymi, alias Salmasii, Defensionem Regiam. And the other in answer to a book entituled, The Portraiture of his Sacred Majesty in his Solitude and Sufferings. In both which are contained sundry treasonable passages against us and our Government, and most impious endeavours to justify the horrid and unnatural murder of our late dear Father of Glorious Memory,

And whereas, John Goodwin, late of Coleman-street, London, clerk, hath also published in print, a book entituled, The Obstructors of Justice, written in Defence of his said late Majesty. * And whereas the said John Milton and John Goodwin are both iled, or so obscure themselves, that no endeavours used for their apprehension can take effect, whereby they might be brought to legal tryal, and deservedly receive condign punishment for their treasons and offences.

Now, to the end that our good subjects may not be corrupted in their judgments, with such wicked and traitorous principles, as are dispersed and scattered throughout the before-mentioned books, We, upon the motion of the Commons in Parliament now assembled, do hereby strictly charge and command, all and every person and persons whatsoever, who live in any City, Burrough, or Town Incorporate within this our Kingdom of England, the Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed; in whose hands any of those books are, or hereafter shall be, that they, pon pain of our high displeasure, and the consequence thereof, do forthwith, upor. publication of this our command, or within ten days immediately following, deliver or cause the same to be delivered, to the Mayor, Bailiffs, or other chief officer or Magistrate, in any of the said Cities, Borroughs, or Towns Incorporate, where such person or persons do live; or if living out of any City, Burrough, or Town Incorporate, then to the next Justice of Peace adjoining to his or their dwelling, or place of abode; or if living in either of Our Universities, then to the Vice-Chancellor of that University, where he or they do reside.

And in default of such voluntary delivery, which We do expect in observance of our said command, That then, and after the time before limited, expired, the said Chief Magistrate of all and every the said Cities, Burroughs, or Towns Incorporate, the Justices of the Peace in their several counties, and the Vice-Chancellors of Our said Universities respectively, are hereby commanded to seize and take, all and every the Books aforesaid, in whose hands or possession soever they shall be found, and certify the names of the Offenders unto Our Privy Council.

And We do hereby give special charge and command to the said Chief Magistrates, Justices of the Peace and Chancellors respectively, that they cause the said Books which shall be so brought unto any of their hands, or seized or taken as aforesaid, by virtue of this Our Proclamation, to be delivered to the respective Sheriffs of those counties, where they respectively live, the first and next assizes that shall after happen. And the said Sheriffs are hereby also required, in time of holding such assizes, to cause the same to be publickly burnt by the hand of the common hangman.

And We do further straightly charge and command, that no man hereafter presume to print, sell, or disperse any of the aforesaid books, upon pain of our heavy displeasure, and of such further punishment, as for their presumption in that behalf, may any way be inflicted upon them by the laws of this Realm.

[Given at Our Court at Whitehall, the 13th day of August,

in the 12th year of our Reign, 1660.j There must here be some mistake in the Proclamation, but so it is printed.

In obedience to this order of the libertine despot, “several copies" of the proscribed books, as Mr. Mitford observes, were committed to the flames on the 27th of August, and on the 29th the Act of indemnity passed. Notwithstanding this, however, Milton lived in perpetual terror of being assassinated : and well he might, remembering he was in the bands of those who had murdered Dorislas, and three other public functionaries, in the discharge of their duties abroad. In the British Museum is preserved an incomplete printed list of those murdered men, and Milton's name is added, probably to incite some loyal subject to augment the number of the victims. Dr. Symmons has quoted from Richardson a copy of verses, written perhaps by some poet of Whitehall, “ Upon John Milton's not suffering for his Traitorous Book when the Tryers were executed, 1660.”

“ That thou escaped’st that vengeance which o’ertook,

Milton, thy regicides, and thy own book,
Was clemency in Charles beyond compare:
And yet thy doom doth prove more grievous far-
Old, sickly, poor, stark blind, thou writ'st for bread;

So, for to live, thoud'st call Salmasius from the dead.” He would, I believe, have called Salmasius from the dead, or died himself, rather than have been author of such trumpery verses. Nine years after his death, (1683,) twenty-seven propositions from the writings of Milton, Hobbes, Buchanan, &c., were burnt at Oxford, says Mr. Mitford, as destructive to church and state. This transaction, he continues, is celebrated in Musæ Anglicanæ, called Decretum Oxoniense, vol. iii. p. 180.

“ Si similis quicunque hæc scripserit auctor,
Fato succubuisset, eodemque arserit igne:
In medià videas flanımà crepitante cre uari

Milionum cælo terrisque inamabile nomen.They would no doubt have liked to roast the old man at Oxford, as a person whose name was hateful to lieaven and earth. In the Vindiciæ Carolinæ, or a Defence of Eikon Basilike, published in 1692, we are told that “this Milton (the gall and bitterness of whose heart liad so taken away his taste and jurigment, that to write and be scurilous were the same with him) is dead, 't is true, and should have been toigotten by me, but that in this new impression he yet speaketh.” And will speak in repeated impressions, when his petty adversaries are buried in merited oblivion. The author admits that Milton “

was a person of large thought, and wanted not words to express those conceptions ; but never so truly, as when the argument and his depraved temper met together: witness his Paradise Lost, where lie makes the devil— who, though fallen, had not given heaven for lost-speak at that rate himself would have done of the son of this royal martyr, (upon his restoration,) had he thought it convenient; when in his Paradise Regained, he is so indifferent, poor, and staru

ling, as if he never expected any benefit by it!–No! he was condemned to another place by the charity of the royalists. This obscure Defence of the “king's book," as it was called, was written upon the reprinting of the Defence of the People of England, at Amsterdam.

In 1698, the earliest complete edition of Milton's Historical, Political, and Miscellaneous Works, with a Life of the Author, was published in Holland by J. Toland, in 3 vols. folio. Next year the Life was printed separately in London. Milton's Letters of State, from 1649 to 1659, with an account of his life, and catalogue of his works, had appeared in London 1694, no doubt by the care of Toland. No second edition of the complete works was called for during thirtyfive years; when, in 1733, they were published, with a new Life by Dr. Birch; who, twenty years afterwards, brought them out in quarto. Fifty-one years then elapsed—from 1753 to 1804-before a new edition of Milton's prose works again appeared. The latter year is the date of the edition of Dr. Symmons, who prefixed a Life, which has since been separately reprinted. Then ensued another interval of thirty years, when in 1834, the whole of the Prose Works were reprinted in one large and elegant volume, with an able introductory essay by Mr. Robert Fletcher, who deserves well of every admirer of Milton. From this account it would appear that, upon an average, an edition of Milton's complete works has been called for, from 1698 to the present day, onco in a little more than twentyseven years.

OF

THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND,

IN ANSWER TO

SALMASIUS'S DEFENCE OF THE KING. *

EDITOR'S PRELIMINARY REMARKS. So much has already been written on the history and character of this great work, that it would be altogether superfluous to travel again over the same ground. Milton's editors and biographers have displayed much zeal in excusing or palliating the faults into which he was betrayed by the vehemence of his own temper, and the spirit of his age. I shall not follow their example. Salmasius, no doubt, transgressed all the bounds of courtesy and decorum, in his attack upon the public of England ; and it was generally, in those times, considered part of a man's duty, when engaged in any important controversy, to blacken and ify his adversary to the utmost extent of his capacity ; but of a man so great and wise as Milton, better things might have been expected. He yielded, however, to the influence of example, and to the temptations of the subject ; and in defending the people of this country for the most extraordinary action recorded in their annals, condescended to chastise a pedantic sophist in a manner altogether unsuited to his own dignity.

In spite of these imperfections, “ The Defence of the People of England” is a work of extraordinary merit, full of learning and eloquence, and pervaded throughout by an ardent love of liberty, which diffuses a charm over investigations and discussions otherwise far from interesting. No other English writer, not even Algernon Sydney himself, pleads so warmly the cause of freedom. Living in revolutionary times, and breathing a republican atmosphere, all Milton's feelings and sympathies went with the people. The pride of genius rose in him against the pride of kings, and made him rejoice in being their antagonist. He, accordingly, does not apply himself languidly to refute the sophistries and fallacies put forward by the advocates of despotism, but enters the lists with passion and vehemence, and a fiery indignation, which seems absolutely to consume the arguments of his opponents like stubble. Hobbs, fond of giving utterance to epigrammatic remarks, observed of Milton and Salmasius, that he knew not whose style was the better, or whose arguments the worse ; and this absurd saying is still repeated with complacency by several writers. But whoever will be at the pains to read his own“ Behemoth,” may discover examples of much worse reasoning than the Leyden professor himself employs. Had the philosopher of Malmsbury ventured to enter the lists against Milton, he would speedily have found how much easier it is to vent a sarcasm than to wield a political argument. Milton would utterly have confounded his cold logic, and routed and annihilated all the resources of his sophistry.

This translation of the author's “Defensio pro Populo Anglicano" Mr. Toland ascribes to Mr. Washington, a gentleman of the Temple.

VOL. I.

B

It is greatly to be regretted that “ The Defence of the People of England” should have been written in Latin ; for though Washington's translation be faithful and vigorous, it can never be accepted as an adequate expression of Milton's ideas. Translation in the language of the present day would be more popular, because it would employ the technical political terms to which we are accustomed, and, in this way, render the force of the reasoning more apparent. But whoever has patience to penetrate beneath the surface, and be delighted with ideas rather than words, will find equal pleasure and instruction in the study of the Defence, more especially at the present day, when opinions like those of Milton are making the circuit of Europe, and agitating the whole fabric of society.

Dr. Symmonds, in his Life of Milton, suggests a comparison between Salmasius and Burke, and observes that the angry declamations of the latter against the French Republic strongly resembled in spirit, if not in form, the outpourings of the former against the Commonwealth of England. But France produced no Milton to refute Burke ; and “ The Reflections on the French Revolution ” have therefore descended to us with the reputation of being unanswerable, because they happen to have been left unanswered. Besides, in the midst of much that is intemperate, false, and deformed by prejudice, we meet with passages full of wisdom and true eloquence. But Burke, in spite of his errors and exaggerated apprehensions, was a statesman—a character to which Salmasius could make no pretensions; all his studies being those of a mere scholar intent on illustrating antiquity, and apparently destitute of the slightest sympathy for the great social and political movements of his own times. Milton, on the contrary, was a politician, learned indeed, but desirous of rendering his learning conducive to the interest of his country. While his adversary's work, therefore, is contemptuously consigned to oblivion, his will be more and more read in proportion as the nations of Christendom become more and more extensively impregnated by the spirit of liberty. The personalities, and other faults of the work, we can forgive; for though we cannot but feel them to be impediments in the way of our just appreciation of the reasoning, we must at the same time perceive and acknowledge that they are only triling blemishes in a performance replete with excellence, and breathing throughout the purest love of truth, and solicitude to promote the happiness of mankind.

Of all Milton's editors, Toland seems most fully to appreciate the character of his prose writings. Living near his own period, acquainted with his widow, his daughter, and his nephews, and sharing the traditional veneration which appears to have survived among his friends, he may almost be said to have inherited Milton's own spirit in politics. Accordingly his Life of the poet, though written on false principles, since he thought it beneath him to record many minute particulars which we should have been too happy to know, possesses much of that charm which we seek to express by the word originality. His ideas of the popularity of the Defence are exaggerated, since he predicts for it the same universal diffusion as is enjoyed by the writings of the Greeks and Romans.

Throughout the 18th century, Milton's religious and political opinions were completely out of vogue; but now, at length, the people of Europe seem disposed to accept freedom conjointly with religion, having ap

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