Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

or the frequent business of the human mind; and we ought not,” he adds, “to turn off attention from life to nature; as if we were placed here to watch the growth of plants or the motions of the stars !” That a violent shock had been given in the fixteenth century to certain time-honoured dogmas by writers more slightingly called “watching the motions of the stars !” was an historical fact with which such persons were of course familiar, but if it had been adduced to prove that they who exercise their reasoning powers in interpreting the great book of nature, are conftantly arriving at new truths, and were occasionally required to modify preconceived opinions, or that when habitually engaged in such discipline, they often acquire independent habits of thought, applicable to other departments of learning, such arguments would by no means have propitiated the critic, or have induced him to moderate his disapprobation of the proposed innovation. In the mind of Johnson there is a leaning to superstition, and no one was more content to leave the pupil to tread for ever in the beaten pathway, and to cherish extreme reverence for authority, for which end the whole fystem then in vogue in the English schools and colleges was admirably conceived. First it confined the studies of young men up to the age of twenty-two, as far as possible to the non-progressive departments of knowledge, to the ancient models of classical elegance, whether in verse or prose, to the history and philosophy of the ancients rather than the moderns, and to pure mathematics, rather than their application to physics. No modern writer was freer from fear of inquiry, more anxious to teach the million to think and reason for themselves, no other ever looked forward more enthusiastically to the future growth and development of the human mind, than Channing. If his own education had not been cast in an antique mould, he would have held up Milton as a model for imitation, not only for his love of classical lore and poetry, but for his wish to cultivate a knowledge of the works of nature. Lyell's Second visit to the United States, vol. i. p. 203. P. xlvii

. .“ Obadiah Sedgwick, though a noted Puritan, was deeply imbued with classical learning. In the next generation, the Puritans in general undervalued human learning, but in the early part of the seventeenth century they could exhibit a greater number both of eminent mathematicians and of distinguished scholars than those who under Laud wished to approximate to Rome.”-v. Lord Campbell's Lives of the Chief Justices, vol. i. p. 513.

P. xlviii. Bishop Gauden addressed three letters, Jan. 25, Feb. 20, March 6, 1661, to Lord Clarendon, in which he lays claim for services in the royal cause; in one of his letters he says, “ Nor do I doubt but I shall, by y' Lordship’s favor, find the fruits as to something extraordinary, since the service was foe; not as to what was known to the world under my name, in order to vindicate the crowne and the church, but what goes under the late blessed king's name, the Eixwv, or portraiture of hys majesty in hys folitudes and sufferings. This work and figure was wholly and only my invention, making and designe; in order to vindicate the King's wifdome, honor, and piety. My wife indeed was conscious to it, and had an hand in disguising the letters of that Copy which I sent to the King in the Isle of Wight, by favour of the late Marquise of Hertford,” &c. In answer to which, Lord Clarendon writes, March 13,

1661. “I do assure you I am more afflicted with you, and for you, then I can expreffe ; and the more sensibly, that it is the only charge of that kind is laid upon me, which in truth I do not think I do deserve. The particular which you often renewed, I do confesse was imparted to me under secrecy, and of which I did not take myself to be at liberty to take notice; and truly when it ceases to be a secret, I know nobody will be gladd of it but Mr. Milton; I have very often wished I had never been trusted with it.Edinb. Rev. vol. xliv. art. 1. In one of the MS. Journals of Carte the historian, there is a curious story of Gauden’s wife's knowledge of the authorship of this book.

P. xlix. Since the prelent Life of Milton has been printed, the writer has seen Mr. Joseph Hunter's learned Tract “ Milton, a Sheaf of Gleanings,” &c. being No. iii. of his Critical and Historical Tracts, &c. He begs to refer the reader to it, particularly for the curious and interesting investigations relating to the Milton family-to the family of Milton's mother, and that of his three wives. These genealogical investigations conducted with Mr. Hunter's knowledge and care, will well repay the perusal. There is a note also, pp. 50-51, on the expression“ Bayonna's hold” in Lycidas which may be consulted with advantage.

P. lii. On Milton's sonnet of " Tetrachordon," see Scott's Legend of Montrose, in Tales of my Landlord, third series, vol. iv. p. 148, note.

“ Milton only,” he says, “ intends to ridicule the barbarism of Scottish names in general, and quotes incidentally that of Gillespie, one of the Apostles of the Covenant, and that of Colkitto and M Donnel (both belonging to one person), one of its bitterest enemies. Milton's book called Tetrachordon,' had been ridiculed by the divines assembled at Westminster and others, on account of the hardness of the title, and Milton in his Sonnet retaliates upon the barbarous Scottish names which the Civil War had made familiar to English ears."

P. liv. “ It was the usual practice of Marchmont Needham, a

[ocr errors]

great crony of Milton, to abuse Salmafius in his public Mercury, called Politicus (as Milton had done before him in his Defensio), by saying, among other things, that Christina, Queen of Sweden, had cashiered him her favour, by understanding that he was 'a pernicious parasite and promoter of tyranny."”-Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. col. 484.

P. lxii. The Licensing Act, which had inadvertently been suffered to expire in 1679, and had been revived by James the Second's Parliament in 1685, was in 1692 continued till the end of the next Session of Parliament. Was the experiment to be made, of trusting to the punishment of such as publish anything dangerous to the public, or injurious to individuals ? William, who had known the harmlessness of a free press in his own country, took the liberal side ; but the few Tory members of the cabinet very plausibly urged that prevention was better than punishment, and that it was the duty of the state to restrain, as far as possible, from the publication of libels as from the commission of other crimes. Somers prevailed by pointing out not only the vexatiousness, but the utter inefficiency of the desired regulations, in spite of which there had been more libels published upon the government and on private character since the Revolution, than during any former period of our history. Unlicensed printing was then for ever established in England, and now we have only to be watchful that the press be not itself formed into an engine of tyranny. (See Hallam’s Conftitutional History, vol. iii. p. 236.)

P. Ixiv. Miscellaneous Notes by T. Park in Milton's Poems, 1645. Marshall's engraving before the poems, 1645, is the first head of Milton, says Mr. Granger, ever published. Salmafius, in his Defenfio Regia, calls it “ comptulam Iconem,” and declares that it gave him a more advantageous idea of his person than he ever had before. But it appears from the Greek verses underneath, that Milton himself was not pleased with it. - Biog. Hift. vol. ii. p. 295. 1775.

“ Will any say that this portrait was the work of an ingenious hand; my very friends looking at my own natural countenance know not whom it represents, and laugh at the awkward imitation of the idiotic artist.”—Translation.

Milton was undoubtedly far from being pleased, or he would not have directed the unwitting artist to stamp a satirical brand on the forehead of his own work. Nor is it natural to suppose that Milton, who at college was reputed eminently beautiful, could be gratified by seeing himself depicted like a furly featured old fellow at the age of thirty-fix. Hard study might, however, have induced a severity of aspect beyond what time had otherwise produced.

m

Moseley's “Address to the Reader” is entitled to praise for its early and confident estimation of Milton's poetic powers, and would have merited more distinction, had not a similar laud been lavished upon Cartwright, before whose Poems, in 1651, is a copy of verses addressed to the stationer by Jo. Leigh, enumerating the various English poets whose works had been published by Moseley, but omitting to name those of Milton.

R. Fletcher seems to glance in the opposite passage in a Preface before his “ Exotio negotium,” 1656. “ I am not of that number that dares challenge the sharpe fighted cenfure of the times; and conceive their papers as their persons, beyond fault or defection.”

1660, Jan. 31, Hum. Moseley, the bookseller, died in St. Paul's Churchyard; buried, 4 Feb. Smith’s Catalogue.

At the sale of Sir Wm. Musgrave's duplicates, in Feb. 1798, this head of Milton, by Marshall, fold for 41. 18s. Manson is said to have purchased it for the collection of Mr. Towneley. See Warton's description of this print in Milton's Poems, p. 529.

P. 23. Picture of Marchioness of Winchester and her husband, are in the dining-room at the Duke of Bolton's, Hackwood, Hants. See Warton's Milton, p. 301.

Epitaph on him by Dryden ; on her by Milton.

P. 27. “ The epitaph on the admirable dramatic poet, W. Shakespeare,” is the first of Milton's poems that was published: it was prefixed to the second folio of the plays, 1632, without name or initials.

P. 57. Jufta Edwardo King naufrago ab amicis mærentibus. Camb. 1638. 4to. This contains the first publication of Milton's Lycidas.

P. Ixv. “Mrs. Katharine Milton, wife to John Milton, Esq. was buried in St. Margaret's Church, in Westminster, Feb. 10, 1657. Reg. Book. Milton then lived in a new house in Petty France, when Mr. Harvey, son of Dr. Harvey, of Petty France, Westminster, told me, Nov. 14, 1770, that old Mr. Lownde afsured him, that when Mr. Milton buried his wife, he had the coffin shut down with twelve several locks, that had twelve several keys, and that he gave the keys to twelve several friends, and desired the coffin might not be opened till they all met together. Kennet.”Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. col. 486.

P. Ixvi. “ The late Reverend Mr. Thomas Bradbury, an eminent diffenting minister, used to say, that Jer. White, who had been chaplain to O. Cromwell, and whom he personally knew, had often told him that Milton was allowed by the Parliament a weekly table for the entertainment of foreign ministers and perfons of learning, such especially as came from Protestant ftates, which allowance was also continued by Cromwell.”—Hollis's Note, fee Newton's Life, p. lvi.

P. lxxii. On “ Alex. Morus ornatiffimus,” see Valcknaëri Opera Critica, vol. ii. p. III.

P. lxxiii. The fame unfounded calumny was spread regarding Christina's treatment of Descartes, as that which has been mentioned of Salmafius. Madame de Motteville in her Memoirs, vol. i. p. 309, says, “La Reine Christine au lieu de faire mourir d'amour les hommes, elle les faisoit mourir de dépit, et de honte ; et fut, disoit on, depuis cause que le grand Philosophe Descartes perdit la vie de cette sorte, parcequ'elle n'avoit pas approuvé sa manière de philofopher.”

« De pareils bruits étoient semés dans ce tems là, par les ennemis de Descartes. Le P. Sorbière rapporte dans deux de ses lettres qu'on soupçonnoit du poison dans la maladie de Descartes." v. No. lxxii. p. 539, 632.

I will now extract a few passages from some contemporary works relating to this subject, which ought not to have remained so long under great misconception, when so much evidence was at hand to remove it. “Avant que de quitter la Suède, la Reine lui (M. de Saumaise ) fit des offres avantageuses pour le retenir auprès d'elle, mais parcequ'il avoit donné la parole aux curateurs de l'université de Leyde d'y retourner, il partit de Stockholm au mois de Septembre 1651, comblé de graces, et de liberalités de Christine. Elle lui conserva dans la suite sa bienveillance, et voici en quels termes elle lui écrivit environ deux ans après son départ de Suède.” v. Arckenholtz, Mémoires de Christine, vol. i. p. 232.

The letter alluded to contained these expressions, - “ Vous apprendrez du Sr. Bourdelot l'état ou je me trouve pour le present. Il vous informera des sentimens d’estime que je conserve pour votre mérite. Je vous prie d'en être entièrement assuré, et de croire que les conserverai toute ma vie, comme vous les avez vû naitre par la connoissance que j'ai eüe de ce que vous valez. Conservez moi votre amitié, et foiez certain qu'il n'y a personne qui vous estime l'égal de moi. Stockholm, 6 Juin, 1653." Salmafius, it appears, was afraid of passing into England, in his way to Sweden. Boinebourgh also writes to Linker, “Manebit Salmafius in Suediâ quod propter defensionem regiam suam, nusquam tutus commorari poffe credatur nisi inter Reges.”—v. Commerc. Epift. Leibnitz. Graberi Anecd. Boinebourgh. i. 13. G. Patin says: “ Saumaise lui avoit repondu, qu'il faisoit trop froid en Suède, et trop chaud en Angleterre." v. Lettres, vol. i. p. 91 and 256.

It appears that Nic. Heinsius threw into the fire an Elegy which he had written against Salmasius. Patin says, “ Sive hoc

« AnteriorContinuar »