Page images

even in minds of the highest purity or power; since Hatred, though it may enter the field of contest under the banner of justice, yet generally becomes · so blind and outrageous, from the heat of contention, as to execute, in the name of virtue, the worst purposes of vice. Hence arises that species of calumny the most to be regretted, the calumny lavished by men of talents and worth on their equals or supes riours, whom they have rashly and blindly hated for a difference of opinion. To such hatred the fervid and opposite characters, who gave rise to this observation, were both more inclined, perhaps, by naturo and by habit, than Christianity can allow, The freedom of these remarks on two very great, and equally devout, though different writers, may possibly offend the partizans of both: in that case my consolation will be, that I have endeavoured to speak of them with that temperate though undaunted sincerity, which may satisfy the spirit of each in a purer state of existence.”

The circumstances of Milton were never very affluent. The estate left him by his father was but small. In the civil war he is said to have sustained the loss of a considerable sum, which he had lent to the Parliament. As Secretary to the Council he

enjoyed, while without an associate in the office, the annual sum of nearly three hundred pounds; a

€ See the different sums, in the preceding orders of council, which were officially allowed him, pp. 157. 169.

sum, which was lowered, when Philip Meadowes and Andrew Marvell were his fellow-secretaries. He is said to have possessed an estate also, or rather perhaps an allowance out of the estates, of about sixty pounds a year, which belonged to the plundered Abbey of Westminster. It was not uncommon, during the Usurpation, to portion, out of the lands of deans and chapters and other ecclesiasticks, individuals with pensions. Of these revenues, as well as two thousand pounds which he had placed in the excise-office, he was deprived at the Restoration. He had before lost two thousand pounds by entrusting the sum to a scrivener; and, in the fire of London, his. house in Bread-street was burnt, To Milton, however, the deficiency of wealth was little disappointment. Of his unsubdued spirit the following anecdote has been related. “ f Soon after the Restoration,” he is said to have borrowed fifty pounds of Jonathan Hartop, of Aldborough, near Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire, who died in 1791, at the great age of 138. He “ returned the loan with honour, though not without much difficulty, as his circumstances were very low. Mr. Hartop would have declined receiving it; but the pride of the poet was equal to his genius, and he sent the money with an angry letter, which was found among the curious possessions of that yenerable old man.”

Easton's Human Longevity, printed at Salisbury, 1799, pp. 241, 242. This curious anecdote had appeared in the Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser of Mar. 31, 1790, Mr. Hartop being then living, and the letter described as extant, The paucity of Milton's wants, and the frugal management of what he retained, enabled him indeed to live without distress. Of the property, which he left, the publication of his Nuncupative Will has rectified the mistaken accounts, given by all his biographers before Mr. Hayley. And of this curious document with the interesting notes of Mr. Warton who first published it, and with some important additions, the next section of the present biography consists.

Of Milton's family I will here subjoin a brief account. All his biographers notice his younger brother, Christopher, and his sister, Anne. Of two other sisters the existence has never been related. I have found, however, in the register of All-hallows Bread-street, the s births of Sarah and Tabitha Milton, and the death only of Sarah, to be there recorded.

Christopher was a royalist, and became, long after his brother's death, a judge. In the Rebellion he had compounded for his estate ; and among the

« The xvth daye of July 1612 was baptized Sara, the dawghter of John Mylton, scrivener. She was buried the vih of August following in the church.

“ The xxxth of January, 1613, [that is 1613-14,] was bap: tized TABITHA, the dawghter of Mr. John Mylton.

“ The third daye of December 1615 was baptized ChristoPher, the sonne of John Mylton of this pishe, scrivenor." Extracts from the Register.

• Second Series, vol. xiv. No. 732.

Royalists' Composition-Papers, in his Majesty's StatePaper-Office, his fine and the circumstances attending it, as in the case of Milton's i father-in-law, are left upon record, and are too curious to be omitted.

: “ Christopher Milton, of Reddinge in the County of Berks Esq". Councellor at Lawe. His Delinquency, that he was a Commissioner for the Kinge, under the Great Seale of Oxford, for sequestringe the Parliament's friends of three Countyes; and afterwards went to Excester, and lived there, and was there at the tyme of the surrender, and is to have the benefitt of those Articles, as by the Deputy Governor's Certificate of that place of the 16th of May 1646 doth appeare. He hath taken the Nationall Covenant before William Barton Minister of John Zacharies the 20th of April 1646, and the Negative Oath heere the 8th August 1646. He compounds upon a Perticular delivered in under his hand, by which he doth submit to such fine &c. and by which it doth appeare: • ..“ That he is seized in fee, to him and his heirs in possession, of and in a certain Messuage or Tenement scituate in St. Martin's Parish Ludgate, called the Signe of the Crosse Keys, and was of the Yeerely Value, before theis troubles, 401. Personal estate he hath none.



Fine at 3d is 2001.

[ocr errors][merged small]

5 25th August, 1646.


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

To the Honorable Committee for Compositions with Delinquents sittinge at Goldsmith's Hall.

“ The humble Petition of Christopher Milton of Reddinge in the County of Berks Esq". Shewinge,

“ That he executed a Commission of Sequestrations under the Great Seale at Oxford for three Countyes, and was at Exeter at the tyme of the Surrender thereof late made unto the Parliamente. And humbly prayes, that he may be admitted to compound, and to receive the benefitt of those Articles.

“ And he shall pray, &c. (Signed) “ CHRISTOPHER MILTON. 19 August 1646. “ Refer'd to the Sub-Committee.

“ A true Perticular of all the Estate, reall and personall, of me Christopher Milton of Reddinge in the County of Berks, a Councellor at Lawe.

“ That I am seized in fee, to mee and my heires in possession, of and in a certaine Messuage or Tenemente scituate, standinge, and beinge within St. Martin's Parish Ludgate, called the Signe of the Cross Keyes, and was of the Yeerely value before theis troubles 401. Personal estate I have none but what hath bin seized and taken from mee, and converted to the use of the State.

“ This is a true Perticuler of all my estate, reall and personall, for which I onely desire to compound to free it out of sequestration; and doe submitt unto, and undertake to satisfye and pay, such fine as by

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »