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according to their humour; and that for their sakes alone he should have reduced all mankind, whom he made after his own image, into the same condition with brutes.” These principles he fortifies according to his custom, not only by numerous quotations from classical literature, but by passages adduced with much reverence from the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, and adds to these, illustrations from the history of the middle ages, which exhibit an almost oppressive amount of erudition. These he intersperses with such withering denunciations of the base servility of his opponent, as no reader in the present day can regard but as blemishes on this incomparable performance, and ever and anon with reminiscent allusions to the circumstances of his own country, of singular power and beauty. Of these the following, occurring in the midst of an historical dissertation, may be taken as an example:— “Certainly if nature teaches us rather to endure the government of a king, though he be never so bad, than to endanger the lives of a great many men in the recovery of our liberty; it must teach us likewise not only to endure akingly government, which is the only one that you argue ought to be submitted to, but even an aristocracy and a democracy: nay, and sometimes it will persuade us, to submit to a multitude of highwaymen, and to slaves that mutiny. Fulvius and Rupilius, if your principles had been received in their days, must not have engaged in the servile war (as their writers call it) after the Praetorian armies were slain; Crassus must not have marched against Spartacus, after the rebels had destroyed one Roman army, and spoiled their tents; nor must Pompey have undertaken the Piratic war. But the state of Rome must have pursued the dictates of nature, and must have submitted to their own slaves, or to the pirates, rather than run the hazard of losing some men's lives. You do not prove at all, that nature has imprinted any such notion as this of yours on the minds of men: and yet you * Prose Works, vol. i. pp. 47–49.
cannot forbear boding us ill luck, and denouncing the wrath of God against us, (which may heaven divert, and inflict it upon yourself, and all such prognosticators as you!) who have punished as he deserved, one that had the name of our king, but was in fact our implacable enemy; and we have made atonement for the death of so many of our countrymen, as our civil wars have occasioned, by shedding his blood, that was the author and cause of them.” And again, in commenting on the expressed desire of Salmasius to see the secular domination of bishops re-established in England, he vents his indignation in the following language:—“O villain! have some regard at least to your own conscience; remember before it be too late, if at least this admonition of mine come not too late, remember that this mocking the Holy Spirit of God is an inexpiable crime, and will not be left unpunished. Stop at last, and set bounds to your fury, lest the wrath of God lay hold upon you suddenly, for endeavouring to deliver the flock of God, his anointed ones that are not to be touched, to enemies and cruel tyrants, to be crushed and trampled on again, from whom himself by a high and stretched-out arm had so lately delivered them; and from whom you yourself maintained that they ought to be delivered, I know not whether for any good of theirs, or in order to the hardening of your own heart, and to further your own damnation. If the bishops have no right to lord it over the church, certainly much less have kings, whatever the laws of men may be to the contrary. For they that know anything of the gospel know thus much, that the government of the church is altogether Divine and spiritual, and no civil constitution.”f The “Defence of the People of England” concludes with the following noble exhortation:—“And now I think, through God's assistance, I have finished the work I undertook, to wit, the defence of the noble actions of my countrymen at home and abroad, against the raging and envious madness * Prose Works, vol. i. pp. 118, 119. + Ibid. pp. 180, 181.
of this distracted sophister; and the asserting of the common rights of the people against the unjust domination of kings, not out of any hatred to kings, but tyrants: nor have I purposely left unanswered any one argument alleged by my adversary, nor any one example or authority quoted by him, that seemed to have any force in it, or the least colour of an argument. Perhaps I have been guilty rather of the other extreme, of replying to some of his fooleries and trifles, as if they were solid arguments, and thereby may seem to have attributed more to them than they deserved. One thing yet remains to be done, which perhaps is of the greatest concern of all, and that is, that you, my countrymen, refute this adversary of yours yourselves, which I do not see any other means of your effecting, than by a constant endeavour to outdo all men's bad words by your own good deeds. When you laboured under more sorts of oppression than one, you betook yourselves to God for refuge, and he was graciously pleased to hear your most earnest prayer and desires. He has gloriously delivered you, the first of nations, from the two greatest mischiefs of this life, and most pernicious to virtue, tyranny, and superstition; he has endued you with greatness of mind to be the first of mankind, who after having conquered their own king, and having had him delivered into their hands, have not scrupled to condemn him judicially, and, pursuant to that sentence of condemnation, to put him to death. After the performing so glorious an action as this, you ought to do nothing that is mean and little, not so much as to think of, much less to do, anything but what is great and sublime. Which to attain to, this is your only way: as you have subdued your enemies in the field, so to make appear, that unarmed, and in the highest outward peace and tranquillity, you of all mankind are best able to subdue ambition, avarice, the love of riches, and can best avoid the corruptions that prosperity is apt to introduce (which generally subdue and triumph over other nations,) to show as great justice, temperance, and moderation in the maintaining your liberty, as you have shown courage in freeing yourselves from slavery. These are the only arguments, by which you will be able to evince, that you are not such persons as this fellow represents you—traitors, robbers, murderers, parricides, madmen; that you did not put your king to death out of any ambitious design, or a desire of invading the rights of others; not out of any seditious principles or sinister ends; that it was not an act of fury or madness; but that it was wholly out of love to your liberty, your religion, to justice, virtue, and your country, that you punished a tyrant. But if it should fall out otherwise, (which God forbid); if as you have been valiant in war, you should grow debauched in peace, you that have had such visible demonstrations of the goodness of God to yourselves, and his wrath against your enemies; and that you should not have learned by so eminent, so remarkable an example before your eyes, to fear God, and work righteousness; for my part, I shall easily grant and confess (for I cannot deny it), whatever ill men may speak or think of you, to be very true. And you will find in a little time, that God's displeasure against you will be greater than it has been against your adversaries, greater than his grace and favour has been to yourselves, which you have had larger experience of than any other nation under heaven.”
DOMESTIC CHANGES-BIRTH OF TWO CHILDREN TO MILTON-DEATH OF
HIS WIFE-SUFFERS THE LOSS OF SIGHT-HIS LETTER TO LEONARDI
THE “ Defence of the People of England," written as it was in Latin, was received with unbounded admiration by the learned world, both at home and abroad. The most eminent men of the Continent, imbued with the growing spirit of freedom, showered their praises upon the conqueror of Salmasius, and all the ambassadors of foreign states in London waited upon him, to offer the tribute of their congratulation.
It is necessary now to revert to Milton's private history. On his appointment to the office of Foreign Secretary, he removed to a lodging at Charing Cross, and subsequently to apartments in Scotland-yard. Here his family was increased by the birth of a son, who died in his infancy, on the 16th of March, 1650. In 1652 he took a residence in Petty France, a site now occupied by Charles Street, Westminster, where he resided for eight years, till the crisis of the Restoration ;-a handsome house opening into St. James's Park, and adjoining to the mansion of Lord Scudamore. On the 2nd of May, in this year, his wife gave birth to his third daughter, Deborah, and died in her confinement.
The eyesight of Milton had been defective from a very early period in his life. He himself states, in one of the