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to them from the English, and retired into Scotland, leaving the King to the custody of the English Parliament (January 1646-7). Confined by the Parliament at Holmby House in Northamptonshire, and still refusing to come to any definite treaty on the basis of nineteen Propositions which had been sent to him, Charles then watched the chances in his favour arising out of the contest between the Presbyterians and the Independents on the question whether the Army should be disbanded. The Presbyterians, as the war was over, and the expense of the army was great, insisted that it should ; but the Army itself refused to be disbanded, and the Independents abetted them, on the ground, among others, that there would be no security then for a right settlement with the King or for Liberty of Conscience in England. So violent grew the dispute that at last the Army disowned Parliamentary authority, moved about in revolt, and seized the King at Holmby (June 1647), with a view to come to an understanding with him in their own way. The indignation among the Presbyterians was then extreme ; and the Londoners, who were in the main zealous for Presbyterian uniformity, rose in tumult, stormed the Houses of Parliament, and tried to coerce them into a conflict with the Army for its forcible disbandment and the rescue of the King. But the excitement was brief. Fairfax marched the Army into London ; the tumults were quietly suppressed ; a few of the leading Presbyterians in Parliament, whom the Army regarded as its chief enemies, were expelled from their seats ; and the Parliament and the Army fraternised, and agreed to forget their differences (Aug. 1647). ——The Army in fact, had assumed the political mastery of England. It was a strange crisis for the country, but for the King it brought chances which were the best he ever had. Since the Army had taken him in charge they had treated him very generously, permitting him to reside where he liked, and pay visits and receive visits freely, only within military bounds. And now, restored to his own Palace of Hampton Court, with his episcopal chaplains and others of his old courtiers about him, he was more like a sovereign again than a prisoner, the Army only guarding him, or massed in his near vicinity, while their chiefs, Fairfax, Cromwell, and Ireton, held interviews with him, and tried to bring him to a compact. The terms they offered were more liberal than those of the Presbyterians. They were anxious to try the experiment of a restored Royalty with strong constitutional safeguards, and with an arrangement on the Church question which, while it should not disturb the Presbyterian establishment so far as it had been already set up, should save Charles's personal scruples in religion as much as possible, and guarantee to all non-Presbyterians a general liberty of belief and worship.
No man in England was more interested in all this than Milton in Barbican. Not only had a general system of Presbyterian Church-government been voted for England; but the system was by this time in actual operation in London and in Lancashire. Each London parish had its parochial Church Court; the parishes had been grouped into “classes” or Presbyteries, each with its Presbyterial Court; nay, the First Provincial Synod of all London had actually met (May 1647). Now, if this system had been as strict practically as it ought to have been by the theory of those who had set it up and those who administered it, Milton and all men like him would have fared rather badly. A marked heretic and sectary, whose name stood prominently in the black list again and again published by the London Presbyterians, he would have been called to account by the Church Courts and remitted by them to the Civil. Only the fact that the Presbytery set up was imperfect and tentative, with no real powers as yet over any but its voluntary adherents, prevented such consequences to Milton. Little wonder, then, that he followed with interest the movements of those whose activity stood between him and that Presbyterian domination which would have made such consequences inevitable. Little wonder that he approved heartily of all the Army had done, and regarded their march into London and seizure of the political mastery in August 1647 as not only a deliverance for England, but also a protection for himself.
With the exception of one Latin Familiar Epistle, dated April 1647, and addressed to his well-remembered friend, Carlo Dati of Florence, we can assign to Milton's two years in Barbican only the following pieces of writing :
In Effigiei ejus Sculptorem (Greek Verses). 1645.
Treatises” (Sonnet xi.) 1645.
Sonnet “On the Religious Memory of Mrs. Catherine Thomson, my
Christian Friend” (Sonnet xiv.) 1646. On the New Forcers of Conscience (among the Sonnets). 1646. Ad Joannem Rousium, Oxoniensis Academiæ Bibliothecarium
(among the Sylve). 1646-7. Apologus de Rustico et Hero (appended to Elegiarum Liber).
LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, HIGH HOLBORN, LONDON.
1647—1649: ætat. 39–41. It was just after the entry of the Army into London, Phillips tells us,-i.e, it was in September or October 1647, —that Milton, tired by this time of the drudgery of teaching, and desiring quiet for his own pursuits, “left his great house in Barbican, and betook himself to a smaller in High Holborn, among those that open backward into Lincoln's Inn Fields." The house cannot be distinguished, and is probably not now extant; but its site was somewhere in the present block between Great Turnstile and Little Turnstile. That was then a pleasant and airy neighbourhood.
Of Milton's occupations during the eighteen months or so of his residence in this house we know little else than that he was busy over three prose enterprises he had projected long ago and had prosecuted at intervals. One was the collection of materials for a Latin Dictionary; a second was the preparation of a System of Divinity directly from the Bible; the third was the compilation of a History of Britain. It was while he was thus studiously engaged that the tragedy of the Reign of Charles came to a conclusion.
After Cromwell and the other Army chiefs had persisted in negotiating with Charles at Hampton Court till the Army had grown impatient, and had begun to suspect their chiefs, and to call out for a pure Democracy as the only fit consummation, Charles had himself precipitated matters by escaping from the negotiation and the Army at the same time, and taking refuge in the Isle of Wight (November 1647). Committed to safe keeping in Carisbrooke Castle, he was followed thither by commissioners from Parliament, charged to treat with him peremptorily on a severe recast of the old terms. He was still obdurate on the essential points, and Parliament formally decreed all negotiation with him at an end (January 1647-8). By that time he had made a
secret treaty with the Scots, from which he expected vast results. On his promise to confirm the Covenant and Presbyterian government in England, and to suppress Independency and all Sects and Heresies, the Scottish Government then in power had undertaken to invade England in his behalf, rouse the English Presbyterians, and restore him to his royal rights. Thus in May 1648 began the SECOND CIVIL WAR. Masses of the English Presbyterians, including the Londoners, forgetting all the past, and exulting only in the prospect of subduing the Independents, the Army, and the Sectaries, were hurried into a frenzy of Royalism in common with the Old Royalists or Cavaliers. There were risings in various districts, and threats of rising everywhere ; and, when the Scots did invade England under the Duke of Hamilton (July 1648), even the Parliament began to falter. Cromwell's marvellous defeat of the Scots in the three days' battle of Preston (August 17–19), and Fairfax's extinction of the insurrection in the South-Eastern Counties by the capture of Colchester after a six weeks' siege (August 28), ended the brief tempest and brought Charles to his doom. There was still a farther treaty with him in the Isle of Wight on the part of the Parliament, the Army looking on with anger, but reserving its interference to the last. The treaty having failed like all the rest, the Army, which had resolved in no case to be bound by it, did interfere. They brought Charles from the Isle of Wight; they purged the Parliament of some scores of its members, so as to reduce it to a body fit for their purposes; they compelled the Parliament so purged to set up a Court of High Justice for the trial of the King; and, though many even of the Independents shrank at the final moment, the sentence of this Court was executed, Jan. 30, 1648-9, in front of Whitehall. England then passed into the condition of a Republic, to be governed by the Rump of the Long Parliament,-i.e. by that fragment of the Commons House which the Army had left in existence, -in conjunction with a Council of State, consisting of forty. one members of the Rump chosen as a Ministry or Executive. Scotland, monarchical still, proclaimed Charles II., and sent envoys to him in Holland.
The pieces from Milton's pen in High Holborn during this rapid rush of events are few enough, but are character. istic :
Nine of the Psalms (Psalms Lxxx.—Lxxxvin.) done into Metre.
April 1648. Sonnet “On the Lord General Fairfax at the Siege of Colchester"
(Sonnet xv.) Sept. 1648.
AT CHARING CROSS, AND IN SCOTLAND YARD,
1649–1652 : etai. 4I-44. Milton at once adhered to the Republic, and in a very open and emphatic manner, by the publication (Feb. 1648-9) of his “ Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, proving that it is lawful, and hath been held so through all ages, for any who have the power, to call to account a Tyrant, or Wicked King, and, after due conviction, to depose and put him to death, if the ordinary Magistrate have neglected to do it.” It was a thoroughgoing Republican pamphlet, defending in every particular the recent proceedings of the English Army, and containing also a severe invective against the whole life and reign of Charles. It had been begun and almost finished before the King's death.
What more natural than that the Government of the new Commonwealth should seek to attach to its official service the author of such a pamphlet, who was moreover a man of such merits and antecedents otherwise ? Hardly, in fact, had the first Council of State been constituted, with Bradshaw for its President, when Milton was offered, and accepted (March 1649), the post of Secretary for Foreign Tongues to the Council. The salary was to be about £300 a year in the money of that day; which was equivalent to about £1050 a year now. The General Secretary to the Council, at a somewhat higher salary, was a Mr. Walter Frost, appointed by the Parliament; under whom was his son, Walter Frost, junior, as Assistant-Secretary, with the necessary clerks. The Secretaryship for Foreign Tongues, called also the Latin Secretaryship, was a special and independent office, instituted by the Council itself, chiefly in view of expected correspondence between the Commonwealth and Foreign Powers. It had been agreed that all letters from the Commonwealth to Foreign States and Princes should be in Latin ; but, as the replies might be in various foreign tongues, a knowledge of such tongues would be useful in the