« PreviousContinue »
now brought in by Mr. Milton to the Senate of Hamburgh, be approved; and that Mr. Isaac Lee, Deputy of the Company of Merchant-Adventurers there, shall be appointed agent for the delivering of them.
“ 1649. March 26. . Ordered, that Mr. Milton be appointed to make some observations upon a paper lately printed, called o Old and New Chains.
“ 1649. March 28. Ordered, that. Mr. Milton be appointed to make some observations upon the complication of interest which is now amongst the several designers against the peace of the Common
order of the House the New Chaines.",
in Lilburne be com
c Of which paper the noted John Lilburne was the author. And, accordingly, it follows in the Council-Book, “ Ordered, that Serjeant Dendy be appointed to make proclamation of the order of the House this day (March 27, 1649,) against the author of the booke called the New Chaines.” And on the following day it is ordered, “ that Lieut. Colonel John Lilburne be committed prisoner to the Tower, upon suspicion of high treason, for being the author, contriver, framer, or publisher, of a certayne scandalous and seditious booke printed, intituled England's New Chaynes discovered, &c.”, Wood says, that Lilburne divided his pamphlet into two parts, both published in 1648-9, the latter of which consisted only of one sheet. Whatever Milton's observations might have been upon this subject, if any there were, are unknown. Of Lilburne, a libeller and incendiary, and an oppositionist to every government under which he lived, a character at large is drawn by Clarendon, Hist. Rebell. B. xiv. Judge Jenkins was used to say of him, in reference to his litigious disposition, that if the world was emptied of all but John Lilburne, Lilburne would quarrel with John, and John would quarrel with Lilburne.
wealth, and that it he made ready to be printed with the papers out of Ireland, which the House hath ordered to be printed.
“ 1649. May 18. Ordered, that the French letters, given in to the House by the Dutch ambassador, be translated by Mr. Milton; and the rest of the letters, now in the House, be sent for and translated,
“ 1649. May 30. Ordered, that Mr. Milton take the papers found with Mr. John Lee, and examine them, to see what may be found in them.
d The Articles of Peace between the Earl of Ormond and the Irish ; a Letter sent by Ormond to Colonel Jones, Governor of Dublin ; and a Representation of the Scotch Presbytery at Belfast : These, with his Observations, Milton now published ; and not before he was Latin Secretary. See what is before said, p. 105. In a tone of unqualified severity Milton says, “ Having seen those articles of peace granted to the papist rebels of Ireland, as special graces and favours from the late king, in reward, most likely, of their work done; and in his name and authority confirmed by James Earl of Ormond ; together with his letter to Colonel Jones, full of contumely and dishonour both to the parliament and army; and on the other side an insolent and seditious representation from the Scots’ Presbytery at Belfast, no less dishonourable to the state; there will be needful, as to the same slanderous aspersions, but one and the same vindication against them both. Nor can we sever them in our notice and resentment, though one part is entitled a Presbytery, and would be thought a Protestant assembly; since their own unexampled virulence hath wrapt them into the same guilt, and made them accomplices and assistants to the abhorred Irish rebels,” &c.
.“ 1649. June 23. Ordered, that Mr. Milton doe examine the papers of Pragmaticus, and report what he finds in them to the Councell.
.“ 1649. Nov. 12. Ordered, that Sir John Hippesley be spoken to, that Mr. Milton . may be accommodated with those lodgings that he hath at Whitehall..
“ 1649. Nov. 19. Ordered, that Mr. Milton shall have the lodgings that were in the hands of Sir John Hippesley, in Whitehall, for his accommodation, as being Secretary to the Councell for Forreigne Languages.
: “ 1649. Nov. 29. Ordered, that a letter be written to the Commissioners of the Customes to desire them to give order, that a very strict search may be made of such ships as come from the Netherlands for certaine scandalous bookes, which are there printed, against the government of this Commonwealth, entituled Defensio Regia, and which are designed to be sent over hither; and to desire them, that if any of them upon search shall be found, that they may be sent up to the Councill of State, with
e The Mercurius Pragmaticus, a newspaper which made its first appearance in Sept. 1647. But the especial direction here points perhaps at the “ Merourius Pragmaticus for King Charles II. April 24, 1649.” This newspaper was probably suppressed for a time. But we find “ Mercurius Pragmaticus revived, No. 1. June 30, 1651.” See Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vol. iv. p. 48.
II. April 2e. But we find your hols's Lit. An
out suffering any of them to be otherwise disposed of upon any pretence whatsoever. ,
“ That a warrant be directed to the Master and Wardens of the Company of Stationers, to the purpose aforesaid. :
“ That the like letter be directed to Mr. Thomas Bendish, an officer in the port of Yarmouth, to take care of searching for the abovesaid booke, which is expected to come out of Holland.
“ 1649-50. Jan 8. Ordered, that one hundred pounds bee paid to Mr. Thomas Waring for his paines and charge in compiling of a booke containing severall examinations of the Bloody Massacre in Ireland.
“ That Mr. Milton doe confer with some printers : or stationers concerning the speedy printing of this booke, and give an accompt of what he hath done therein to the Councell..
“ That Mr. Milton doe prepare something in an- , swer to the booke of Salmasius, and when he hath done itt bring itt to the Councell.”
The Orders of Council have thus brought before us the great poet receiving directions to answer the
Nothing is known of such an employment by Milton. . . .
Defensio Regia of Salmasius, But it is remarkable that no preceding command, or request, is found in these memorials, respecting the answer which Milton produced, in the latter part of 1649, to the Icón Basilikè, or Portraiture of the late King in his Solitudes and Sufferings. And yet these orders commence their date within six weeks after the martyrdom of Charles ; at a time too, when the impression made upon the publick mind by the appearance of the Icôn was very great, and new editions of it were weekly if not daily passing through the press. That he was however desired, or invited, by the Council, (perhaps verbally,) to notice this popular publication, there can be no doubt. But he seems to have undertaken it upon his own terms : “ 8 I take it upon me," he says, “ as a work assigned, rather than by me chosen or affected; which was the cause both of beginning it late, and finishing it so leisurely in the midst of other employments and diversions.” So that the phrase which has been bestowed upon him, with other calumnies, of " a "mercenary Iconoclast,” yet remains to be verified. If he was to be paid for this especial employment, the paymasters would hardly have allowed him to begin late, and finish leisurely, what some have pretended was immediately requisite; namely,
& Iconoclastes, Pref. · So Milton was called by Dr. R. Watson in his Fuller Answer to Elymas the Sorcerer. See An Attempt towards the Character of King Charles I. 1738, p. 68. .