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deputy keeper of the State-Papers, Robert Lemon, Esq., that as the official life of Milton was known only as to the fact of his having been Latin Secretary to the Council of State during the Usurpation, an investigation of the Orders of Council might discover new facts relating to the secretary. His searches were repaid with ample success. And his Extracts from the Council-Books were transmitted to me, with the kind approbation of the Right Hon. Mr. Secretary Peel, early in 1825. These Books, from which so much curious information is derived, contain the daily transactions of the Executive Government in England from February 1648-9 to September 1658, in uninterrupted succession ; and are particularly valuable from the dissolution of the Long Parliament in 1653 to the death of Cromwell, as, during the greater part of that period, the Council of State combined the executive and legislative functions of government; and these Order-Books, Mr. Lemon adds, are the authentick but hitherto unknown records of their proceedings. But besides these, in the same Office there exist other documents, entitled Royalists' Composition-Papers. They comprehend, Mr. Lemon says, two distinct series; the first consisting of petitions of Royalists to the Commissioners for
Sequestration, of the orders of those Commissioners respecting the sequestration of Estates, of the reports of their subordinate officers, and of the correspondence with sub-commissioners and other agents in every part of the kingdom : The second series exhibits the original particulars of property and estates, for which Royalists were permitted to compound on the payment of a fine. These papers are peculiarly valuable in illustrating the family history as well as the various property of individuals, throughout the kingdom, during the time of the Great Rebellion. Of these, by the continued industry and accurate attention of Mr. Lemon, no less than one hundred and sixty seven folio volumes had been recovered and arranged, when (in 1825 also) he transmitted to me from this invaluable collection, the sequestration-papers relating to Mr. Powell, the father of Milton's first wife, in which Milton himself is particularly concerned ; and to Sir Christopher Milton, the brother of the poet. Other papers and letters, from the same office, alike unknown till now, and of the greatest service to the biography of Milton, have since, at various times, been sent to me by this gentleman ; empowered as he was at all times so to do, from the very first exertion of his kindness, by the permission
of Mr. Secretary Peel : to whom, and to Mr. Under-Secretary Hobhouse, I acknowledge the greatest obligations, as well as to Mr. Lemon ; and to whose friendly and condescending instrumentality the publick is indebted for what is now told of the poet, of his family, and of some of his works, which never was before in print. What has been thus liberally supplied, might indeed by others have been arranged with elegance, and illustrated with taste ; but not with greater fidelity than the following pages exhibit. This with other anecdotes relating to the history of Milton's friends, of his works, and of his times, will plead for attention to an unadorned narration. A fac-simile of the poet's handwriting is also given from one of the documents in the State-Paper Office; and to the biography I have now added, as Hayley did to his Life of Milton, an Inquiry into the Origin of Paradise Lost.
May 1, 1826.