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by the love of plunder; but, in times of extreme difficulty, amidst circumstances generally doubtful, and often almost desperate, excited to vindicate their country from oppression; and prompt, not only in the safety of the senate-house, to wage a war of words, but to join battle with the enemy in the field. If we will then renounce the idleness of never-ending and fallacious expectation, I see not in whom, if not in them, and such as these, we can place reliance and trust. Of their FIDELITY we have the surest and most indisputable proof in the readiness which they have discovered even to die, if it had been their lot, in the cause of their country: of their PIETY, in the devotion with which, having repeatedly and successfully implored the protection of Heaven, they uniformly ascribed the glory to Him from whom they had solicited the victory; or of their JUSTICE in not exempting even the king from trial and execution; or of their MODERATION, in our own experience, and in the certainty that, if their violence should disturb the peace which they have established, they would themselves be the first to feel the resulting mischiefs, themselves would receive the first wounds in their own bodies, while they were again doomed to struggle for all their fortunes and honours now happily secured; of their FORTITUDE, lastly, in that none ever received their liberty with more bravery or effect,
to give us the assurance that none will watch over it with more solicitous attention and care.”
This most interesting work concludes with the following striking paragraphs:
"For myself, whatever may be the final result, such efforts as in my own judgment were the most likely to be beneficial to the commonwealth, I have made without reluctance, though not, as I trust, without effect: I have wielded my weapons for liberty, not only in our domestic scene, but on a far more extensive theatre; that the justice and principle of our extraordinary actions, explained and vindicated, both at home and abroad, and confirmed in the general approbation of the good, might be unquestionably established, as well for the honour of my compatriots as for precedents to posterity. That the conclusion prove not unworthy of such a commencement, be it my countrymen's to provide. It has been mine to deliver a testimony, I had almost said to erect a monument, which will not soon decay, to deeds of greatness and of glory almost transcending human panegyrick; and if I have accomplished nothing farther, I have assuredly discharged the whole of my engagement. As the bard, however, who is denominated Epic, if he confine his work a little within certain canons of composition, proposes to himself, for a subject of poetical embellishment, not the whole life of his hero, but some
single action, (such as the wrath of Achilles, the return of Ulysses, or the arrival in Italy of Æneas,) and takes no notice of the rest of his conduct; so will it suffice either to form my vindication, or satisfy my duty, that I have recorded in heroic narrative one only of my fellow-citizen's achievements. The rest I omit for who can declare all the great actions of a whole people? If, after such valiant exploits, you fall into gross delinquency, and perpetrate any thing unworthy of yourself, posterity will not fail to discuss and to pronounce sentence on the disgraceful deed. The foundation they will allow indeed to have been firmly laid, and the first (nay, more than the first) parts of the superstructure to have been extended with success; but with anguish they will regret that there were none found to carry it forward to completion; that such an enterprise and such virtues were not crowned by perseverance; that a rich harvest of glory and abundant materials for heroic achievement were prepared; but that men were wanting for the illustrious opportunity, while there wanted not a man to instruct, to urge, to stimulate to action,— a man who would call fame as well upon the acts as the actors, and could spread their celebrity and their names over land and seas to the admiration of all future ages.
This work, with an accompanying letter, was
presented to the Protector by Andrew Marvell, Esq. at Eton. His letter, informing the Author of the manner in which it was received, is dated Eton, June 2nd. 1654, and is directed, "For my honoured friend, JOHN MILTON Esq. Secretary for the Foreign Affairs, at his house in Petty France, Westminster."*
In this house he had lost his first wife, with whom, so far as appears, he had from the period of their reconciliation, lived in comfort. Here also, in 1655, he lost his second, Catharine, the daughter of Captain Woodcock of Hackney, who is designated "a zealous sectarist." This lady, of whom MILTON appears to have been passionately fond, died in childbed with a daughter, about a year after their marriage. The sorrows of his heart on this melancholy event, were vented in the following most touching Sonnet:--
ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.
"Methought I saw my late espoused saint
And such, as yet once more I trust to have
* Simmons's Life of MILTON, note, p. 456.
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind!
But Oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
In the year 1656, he dedicated to the newlycalled parliament, "A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes; showing that it is not lawful for any Power on earth to compel in matters of Religion."
It thus begins:
"To the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, and the Dominions thereof:-I have prepared, supreme Council, against the expected time of your sitting, this Treatise, which, though to all Christian magistrates equally belonging, and therefore to have been written in the common language of Christendom, natural duty and affection hath confined and dedicated first to my own nation; and in a season wherein the timely reading thereof, to the easier accomplishment of your great work, may save you much labour and interruption: of two parts usually proposed, Civil and Ecclesiastical, recommending Civil only to your proper care, Ecclesiastical to them only from whom it takes its name and nature.
"In regard that your power is but for a time,