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touching his will was in a very calm manner, only he complained, but without passion, that his children had been unkind to him, but that his wife had been very kind and careful of him. To the fourth, that he knoweth not how the parties ministering these interrogatories frequent the church, or what manner of life or conversation they are of, they living apart from their father four or five years last past; and as touching deceased's displeasure with them, he only heard him say at the time of declaring his will that they were undutiful and unkind to him, not expressing any particulars, but in former times he hath heard him complain that they were careless of him being blind, and made nothing of deserting him. To the sixth, that what is left to the parties ministering these interrogatories by the deceased's will is in the hands of persons of ability, able to pay the same, being their grandmother and uncle, and he hath seen the grandfather's will, wherein 'tis particularly directed to be paid unto them by his executors. To the seventh, that the respondent did draw up the very will executed in this cause, and write it with his own hand when he came to this Court about the 23rd November last, and at that time did read it over to Elizabeth Fisher ; that respondent also waited once on deceased's widow at Dr. Exton's chambers about this suit, at which time she wanted some half-crowns, and that he lent her then two half-crowns; and to the eighth interrogation he replies that Anne Milton is lame and helpless.
Mary Fisher deposed that she knew and was well acquainted with John Milton for about a twelvemonth before his death, who died about a month since, to the best of deponent's remembrance; that about two months since, as near as she can remember, this deponent being then in the kitchen of the house of the foresaid John Milton, situate against the Artillery Yard, near Bunhill Fields, and about noon of the same day, the deceased and Elizabeth his wife being then at dinner in the kitchen, he, the deceased, amongst other discourse to his wife did utter these words, viz. “Make much of me as long as I live, for thou knowest I have given thee all when I die at thy disposal ;" there being then present in the kitchen deponent's sister and contest (fellow-witness] Elizabeth Fisher, and the said deceased was at that time of perfect mind and memory, and talked and discoursed sensibly and well, and was very merry, and seemed to be in good health of body.
Elizabeth Fisher, by whom the will is signed, deposed that she was servant unto Mr. John Milton for about a year before his death, who died upon a Sunday the 15th of November last, at night. That she remembers in the month of July last the said deceased being in his lodging-chamber at dinner with his wife, and the said Elizabeth Milton having provided something for the deceased's dinner which he very well liked, he spoke to his said wife these or the like words, viz. “God have mercy, Betty ; I see thou wilt perform according to thy promise in providing me such dishes as I think fit, whilst I live; and when I die, thou knowest that I have left thee all.” To the second and third interrogations of the judge, the witness replied that these words were spoken in a Sunday on the afternoon, upon the deceased's wife providing such victuals for his dinner as he liked, and that he was then indifferent well in health, saving that sometime he was troubled with the pain of the gout, and that he was at that time very merry, and not in any passion or angry humour, neither at that time spoke anything against any of his children that this respondent heard. To the fourth, that she had heard the deceased declare his displeasure against his children, and particularly he had told her that a little before he was married to Elizabeth Minshull, a former servant of his told Mary his daughter that she heard the deceased was to be married, to which the said Mary replied that that was no news to hear of his wedding, but if she could hear of his death that was something; and the deceased further told this respondent that his children did combine together and counsel his maid servant to cheat him in her marketings, and that his children had made away some of his books, and would have sold the rest of his books to the dunghill women; and in reply to the eighth, the witness deposes that Anne Milton is lame, but hath a trade and can live by the same, which is the making of gold and silver lace, and which the deceased bred her up to.
Judgment was given against the will on the grounds that there had been no solemn bidding of the persons present to take notice that the words he was going to deliver were to be his will, and that the three witnesses (required to support a nuncupative will) did not declare to the identical words uttered at one and at the same time; and letters of administration to the widow were accordingly granted on the 25th of February, 1674-5. All that the daughters gained by the administration appears to have been 1001. each, vested in their behalf in rent-charges or annuities, with the approbation of their maternal and paternal uncles, Richard Powell and Christopher Milton.138
138 Todd's · Life of Milton,' ed. 1852, p. 183.
Born at Strensham in Worcestershire — Educated either at Oxford or
Cambridge -- Enters the service of the Countess of Kent — Employed by Selden, and acquires the friendship of Cooper the painter — Made Steward of Ludlow Castle - Marries — Sir Samuel Luke -- Publishes • Hudibras' in three parts — His poverty — Death and burial in St. Paul's, Covent Garden - Monument in Westminster Abbey - Works and Character.
Of the great author of · Hudibras' there is a “Life' prefixed to the latter editions of his poem, by an unknown writer, and therefore of disputable authority; and some account is incidentally given by Wood, who confesses the uncertainty of his own narrative; more, however, than they knew cannot now be learned, and nothing remains but to compare and copy them.
Samuel Butler was born in the parish of Strensham, in Worcestershire, according to his biographer, in 1612. This account Dr. Nash finds confirmed by the register. He was christened February 14.
His father's condition is variously represented. Wood mentions him as competently wealthy ; but Mr. Longueville, the son of Butler's principal friend,' says he was an honest farmer with some small estate, who made a shift to educate his son at the grammar school of Worcester, under Mr. Henry Bright, from whose care he removed for a short time to Cambridge ; but for want of money was never made a member of any college. Wood leaves us rather doubtful whether he went to Cambridge or Oxford; but at last makes him pass six or seven years at Cambridge, without knowing in what hall or college : yet it can hardly be imagined that he lived so long in either university
" It is not clear that Longueville said anything of the kind. Johnson is writing from Grey's 'Life,' 1744, and from Broughton's Life,' in the ‘Bio. Britannica,' fol. 1748, vol. ii. p. 1077. Both Grey and Broughton had communicated with young Mr. Longueville on the subject of Butler.