Page images

solecism by an expression in itself grofily folecistical, when for one of those supposed blunders, he says, as Ker, and I think some one before him, has remarked, propino te grammatistis tuis vapulandum. From vapulo, which has a paffive sense, vapulandus can never be derived. No man forgets his original trade : the rights of nations, and of kings, fink into questions of grammar, if gramarians discuss them.

Milton, when he undertook this answer, was weak of body and dim of sight; but his will was forwarded, and what was wanting of health was supplied by zeal. He was rewarded with a thousand pounds, and his book was much read; for paradox, recommended by spirit and elegance, easily gains attention ; and he who told every man that he was equal to his King, could hardly want an audience.

That the performance of Salmasius was not dispersed with equal rapidity, or read with equal eagerness, is very credible. He taught only the stale doctrine of authority, and the unpleasing duty of submission ; and he had been so long not only the monarch but the VOL. I.



tyrant of literature, that almost all mankind were delighted to find him defied and insulted by a new name, not yet considered as any one's rival. If Christina, as is said, commended the Defence of the People, her purpole must be to torment Salmasius, who was then at her court; för neither her civil station nor her natural character could dispose them to favour the doctrine, who was by birth a queen, and by temper despotick.

That Salmafius was, from the appearance of Milton's book, treated with neglect, there is not much proof; but to a man so long accustomed to admiration, a little praise of his antagoniít would be sufficiently offensive, and might incline hiin to leave Sweden, from which however he was dismissed, not with any mark of contempt, but with a train of attendance scarcely less than regal.

He prepared a reply, which, left as it was imperfect, was published by his fon in the year of the Restauration. In the beginning, being probably most in pain for his. Latinity, he endeavours to defend his use of the word perfonæ ; but, if I remember right, he miffes 4

a better

a better authority than any that he has found, that of Juvenal in his fourth satire :

-Quid agis cum dira & fædior omni
Crimine persona est ?

As Salmasius reproached Milton with losing his eyes in the quarrel, Milton delighted himself with the belief that he had shortened Salmasius's life, and both perhaps with more malignity than reason. Salmafius died at the Spa, Sept. 3, 1653; and, as controvertists are commonly said to be killed by their last dispute, Milton was flattered with the credit of destroying him.

Cromwell had now dismissed the parliament by the authority of which he had de stroyed monarchy, and commenced monarch himself, under the title of Protector, but with kingly and more than kingly power. That his authority was lawful, never was pretended; he himself founded his right only in necessity ; but Milton, having now tasted the honey of publick employment, would not return to hunger and philosophy, but, continuing to exercise his office under a manifest usurpation, betrayed to his power that liberty M2


TO N. which he had defended. Nothing can be more just than that rebellion should end in Navery ; that he who had justified the murder of his king, for some acts which to him seemed unlawful, should now sell his services, and his flatteries, to a tyrant, of whom it was evident that he could do nothing lawful.

He had now been blind for some years ; but his vigour of intellcct was such, that he was not disabled to discharge his office of Latin secretary, or continue his controversies. His mind was too eager to be diverted, and too strong to be subdued.

About this time his first wife died in childbed, having left him three daughters. As he probably did not much love her, he did not long continue the appearance of lamenting her; but after a short time married Catherine, tlie daughter of one captain Woodcock of Hackney; a wom:! doubtless educated in opinions like his own. She died, within a var, of childbirt', or fome distemper that followed it; and lier husband honoured her memory with a poor fonnet.


The first Reply to Milton's Defensio Populi was published in 1651, called Apologia pro Rege & Populo Anglicano, contra Johannis Polypragmatici (alias Miltoni) defensionem destructivam Regis & Populi

. Of this the author was not known; but Milton and his nephew Philips, under whose name he published an answer so much corrected by him, that it might be called his own, imputed it to Bramhal; and, knowing him no friend to regicides, thought themselves at liberty to treat him as if they had known what they only suspected.

Next year appeared Regii Sanguinis clamor ad Coelum. Of this the author was Peter du Moulin, who was afterwards prebendary of Canterbury ; but Morus, or More, a French minister, having the care of its publication, was treated as the writer by Milton in his Defenfio Secunda, and overwhelmed by such violence of invective, that he began to shrink under the tempest, and gave his persecutors the means of knowing the true author. Du Moulin was now in great danger; but Milton's pride operated against his malignity;


M 3

« PreviousContinue »