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was again briefly refuted by Milton in a piece he called" Authoris ad Alexandri Mori Supplementum Responsio :-The Author's Answer to the Supplement of Alexander More ;” and so ended the controversy.
More was so alarmed during the course of it, as to give up the real author. Du Moulin, being at that time in London, now thought himself in great danger ; but, according to his own account, he was saved by the pride of Milton, who disdained to acknowledge himself in an error, and so prevailed upon the government not to notice him. But it appears from Bourdeaux's letter, and particularly from the internal evidence of the Defence of Himself; that Milton knew perfectly that More was not the author, but was certain that he was the publisher, and the writer of the dedication. He chose, therefore, to persist in his attack upon him; and particularly, as he was aware that More was a man of the greater celebrity and consideration of the two.
The Second Defence was presented to the protector by Andrew Marvell ; but of its reception by Cromwell nothing is known, except that Marvell says, in a letter to his friend; “ I assure myself and you, that he did then witness all respect to your person, and as much satisfaction concerning your work, as could be expected from so cursory a review, and so sudden an account as
he could then have of it from me." But it is probable from the tendency of Milton's opinions, that Milton, though he continued secretary, was not among the usurper's boson friends.
Milton's Defence of Himself is a most vehement and eloquent philippic against More ; and will be read with interest and advantage by lawyers and senators. Both the Second Defence, and the Defence of Himself, may be considered as admirable examples of forensic oratory. In both, he discovers great acuteness and ingenuity, and a power of eloquence hardly to be surpassed. Sometimes he has all the vehemence and fire of Demosthenes; and at other times he displays all the beautiful and magnificent amplitude of Cicero.
On the death of Cromwell, the current of popular opinion ran strongly again towards monarchy. The protestations of Monk, indeed, with the existence of a parliament, in which was only an inconsiderable number of royalists, still continued to sustain some faint hopes in the republicans. But Milton, in a letter to a friend concerning the ruptures of the commonwealth, dated Oct. 20th, 1659, expresses his indignation at the outrages and insolence of the army, and his apprehensions for the future. Soon after, he addressed to General Monk a letter entitled “ The present Means and brief Delineation of a free
Commonwealth." Both of these letters make no more than six or
seven pages, not of sufficient importance to merit insertion.
But, a few months after, he addressed to Monk, now the apparent arbiter of the fate of the nation, “ The ready and easy Way to establish a free Commonwealth.” His prime object was to show the evils of a relapse into monarchy. This pamphlet was answered both seriously and sportively. The serious answer was entitled-2". The Dignity of Kingship asserted, in answer to Mr. Milton's Ready and Easy Way,” &c. The other was called—“ The Censure of the Rota upon Mr. Milton's book, • The Ready and Easy Way,'” &c. pretending to proceed from Harrington's republican club.
The last of Milton's controversial productions was his brief notes on the sermon of Dr. Griffiths, one of the late king's chaplains, who, desirous to ingratiate himself with coming powers, preached a sermon at Mercers Hall, on Proverbs 24. ver. 21. “My son, fear the Lord and the king, and meddle not with them that are given to change.” These notes are chiefly remarkable as showing the consistency of Milton, and his spirit, avowing republicanism on the very eve of the restoration. To these notes L'Estrange wrote a reply, insolently
entitled “ No Blind Guides :" and here the con
I have extracted nothing from these notes : for there is little in them that is much deserving of attention. “ The ready and easy Way” closes the present collection. In this production, Milton is led into various inconsistencies, which will be easily observed, and as easily excused, when we consider the danger to himself and party, if they suffered the royalists once more to get possession
There is much, however, to commend; and the earnestness with which he endeavours to terrify the people from restoring the king, gives birth to some very striking description of the corruptions of a court, and of the inevitable evils which must ensue on the “ re-admission of kingship."
The unfortunate issue of this contest brought discredit, for awhile, on the exertions of the constitutionalists; and the high republican spirit of these writings of Milton 'no doubt tended 10 prevent their subsequent popularity. But at this distance of time, we can look at the transactions of that memorable period with a dispassioned eye. There is no reason to suppose that, before the commencement of the civil wars, the parliament had any intention of establishing a republican form of government. If Charles's proud, impe
rious temper could have stooped to a popular administration, there can be no donbt that a temperate reforın only would have been introduced. But after the war was begun, the popular party was urged onward to a bolder system of reformation. Opposition to the crown had been ineffectual. Such was the influence, power, and resources of the king; such his artifices to elude the controul of the legislature, and undermine the privileges of the people, that to apply any effectual restraint seemed hopeless; and it was now that republican doctrines began first to be propagated. It was proposed by sume entirely io abolish the old constitution, together with the regal power. The general principles of government began to be canvassed, with the different political systems which had yet appeared in the world. The minds of men were roused and, kindled by the commotions of the times. A spirit of activity, of enquiry and enterprize was called forth, which never fails to present an interesting and instructive spectacle.
Milton was not of a temper to stand an idle spectator of such scenes; and he took up his pen with the united zeal of an apostle of religion and of liberty, prepared “ to cast derision and scorn upon perverse and fraudulent seducers.” His writings breathe the most ardent spirit of freedom—the noblest enthusiasm for the welfare of the human race. They display a power of reason