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guished for taking the contrary party, the King's head-quarters being in their neighbourhood at Oxford, and his Majesty having now some fairer prospect of success; whether any or all of these were the reafons of this extraordinary behaviour; however it was, it so highly incensed her husband, that he thought it would be dishonourable ever to receive her again after such a repulse, and he determined to repudiate her, as she had in effect repudiated him, and to consider her no longer as his wife. To fortify this his refolution, and at the same time to justify it to the world, he wrote The doctrine and dicipline of divorce; wherein he endeavours to prove, that indifpofition, unfitness, or contrariety of mind, proceeding from any un. changeable cause in nature, hindering and ever likely to hinder the main benefits of conjugal society, which are folace and peace, are greater reafons of divorce than adultery or natural frigidity, especially if there be no children, and there be mutual consent for separation. He published it at first without his name ; but the style easily betrayed the author; and afterwards a second edition, much augmented, with his
This book he dedicated to the parliament of England, with the assembly of divines, that as they were then consulting about the general reformation of the kingdom, they might also take this particular case of domestic liberty into their confideration. And then, as it was objected that his doctrine was a novel notion, and a paradox that no body had ever asserted before, he endeavoured to confirm his own opinion by the authority of others, and published, in 1644, The judgment of Martin Bucer, &c. And as it was still objected, that his doctrine could not be reconciled to Scripture, he publifhed in 1645 his Tetrachordon; or, Expositions upon the four chief places in Scripture, which treat of marriage, or nullities in marriage. At the first appearing of The doctrine and discipline of divorce, . the clergy raifed a heavy outcry againit it, and daily folicited the parliament to pass fome censure upon it. At last one of them, in a fermon preached before the Lords and Commons, on a day of humiliation, in Au
gust 1644, roundly told them, that there was a book abroad which deserved to be burnt; and that among their other fins they ought to repent, that they had not yet branded it with some mark of their displeafure. Mr. Wood informs us, that upon Milton's publishing his three books of divorce, the assembly of divines, then fitting at Weltminster, took special no. tice of them; and notwithstanding his former services in writing against the Bishops, caused him to be fummoned before the house of Lords : But that house, whether approving his dodrine, or not favouring his accusers, foon dismissed him. He was attacked also from the press, in a pamphlet, intitled, Divorce at pleasure ; and in another, intitled, An answer to the doctrine and discipline of divorce, which was licensed and recommended by Mr. Joseph Caryl, a famous Presbyterian divine, and author of a voluminous commentary on the book of Job. Milton, in his Colasierion, or Reply, published in 1645, expoftulates smartly with the licenser, as well as handles very roughly the nameless author. These provocations, I suppose, contributed not a little to make him such an enemy to the Presbyterians, to whom he had before diftinguished himself a friend. He composed likewise two fondets on the reception his book of divorce met with, but the latter is much the better of the two: Mr. Wood says, that after the King's restoration, when the subject of divorce was under consideration with the Lords, upon account of John Lord Ros or Roos's separation from his wife Anne Pierpoint, eldest daughter to Henry Marquis of Dorchester, he was consulted by an eminent member of that house, and about the fame time by a chief officer of state, as being the primne person who was knowing in that affair:
But while he was so closely engaged in this controversy of divorce, he nevertheless attended to other things. About this time he published his letter of education to Mr. Samuel Haartlib, who wrote fone things about husbandry, and was a man of confiderable learning. This letter, which has been usually printed at the end of his poems, is, as I may fay, the B 6
theory of his own practice; and by the rules which he has laid down for education, we see in some measure the method that he pursued in educating his own pupils. In 1644 he published his Areopagitica; or, Speech for the liberty of unlicensed printing to the parliament of England. It was written at the desire of several learned men, and is perhaps the best vindication that has been published at any time, or in any language, of that liberty which is the basis and support of all other liberties, the liberty of the press. But it had not the delired effect; for the Presbyterians were as fond of exercising the licensing power, when they got it into their own hands, as they had been clamorous before in inveighing against it, while it was in the hands of the prelates. And Mr. Toland is mistaken in faying, " that such was the effect of this piece, that the fol
lowing year Mabol a licenser offered reasons against “ licensing; and, at his own request, was discharged " that office.” For neither was the licenser's name Mabol, but Gilbert Mabbot; neither was he discharged from his office till May 1649, about five years afterwards; though probably he might be fwayed by Milton's arguments, as every ingenious person must, who peruses and confiders them. In 1645 was published a collection of his poems, Latin and English; and if he had left no other monuments of his poetical genius behind hiin, these would have been sufficient to have rendered his name immortal.
But without doubt his doctrine of divorce, and the maintenance of it, principally engaged his thoughts at this period; and whether others were convinced or not by his arguments, lie was certainly convinced himself that he was in the right; and as a proof of it he determined to marry again, and made his addresses to a young lady of great wit and beautý, one of the daughters of Dr. Davis. But intelligence of this coming to his wife, and the then declining state of the King's cause, and consequently of the circumstances of Justice Powell's family, caused them to fet all engines at work to restore the wife again to her husband. His friends too, for different reasons, seem to have
been as desirous of bringing about a reconciliation as her's; and this method of effe&ing it was concerted between them: He had a relation, one Blackborough, living in the lane of St. Martin's Le Grand, whom he often visited; and one day, when he was visiting there, it was contrived that the wife should be ready in another room. Accordingly, as he was thinking. of nothing less, he was surprised to see her, whom he had expected never to have feen any more, faling down
upon her knees at his feet, and imploring his forgiveness with tears *. At first he showed some signs of aversion, but he continued not long inexorable; his wife's intreaties, and the intercellion of friends on both sides, foon wrought upon his generous nature, and procured a happy reconciliation, with an act of oblivion of all that was past. But he did not take his wife home, till he had got a house he had hired in Barbican fitted up for his family, his house in Aldersgate-street not being large enough. The part that Milton acted in this whole affair, showed plainly that he had a spirit capable of the strongelt resentment, but yet more inclinable to pity and forgiveness. And neither in this was any injury done to the other lady whom he was courting; for the is said to have been always averse from the motion, not daring, I suppose, to venture in marriage with a man
* It is not to be doubted (says Mr. Fenton in his account of our author's life) but an interview of that nature, fo little expected, must wonderfully affect him : And perhaps the impressions it made on his imagination, contributed much to the painting of that pathetic feene in Paradise Lost, in which Eve addrefled herfelf to Adam for pardon and peace.
At the intercession of his friends who were prea sent, after a fhort reluctance, he generously sacrificed all his resensment to her tears.
-Soon bis heart relented.
P. L. X. 940. Mr. Thyer thinks there is little room to doubt but that the particular beauties of this charming fccne are owing to an interview of the fame nature which he had with his own wife, and that he is only here defcribing those generous and tender fentiments which he then felt and experienced
who was known to have a wife still living. He might not think himself too at liberty as before, while his wife continued obftinate; for his most plaufible argument for divorce proceeds upon a fuppofition, that the thing be done with mutual consent.
After his wife's return, his family was increased not only with children, but also with his wife's relations; her father and mother, her brothers and sisters, coming to live with him in the general distress and ruin of the royal party ; and he was so far from resenting their former ill treatment of hin, that he generously protected them, and entertained them very hospitably, till their affairs were accommodated through his intereft with the prevailing faction. Upon their removal, and the death of his own father, his house looked a. gain like the house of the Muses. But his studies had like to have been interrupted by a call to public business: For about this time there was a design of constituting him Adjutant-general in the army under Sir Wil. liam Waller; but the new-modelling of the army focn following, that design was laid afide. Not long afhis great
house in Barbican being now too large for his family, he quitted it for a smaller in High Holburn, which opened backward into Lincoln's-inn Fields, where he prosecuted his studies till the King's trial and death ; when the Presbyterians declaiming tragically against the King's execution, and asserting that his person was facred and inviolable, provoked him to write The tenure of kings and magiftrates, proza ing that it is lawful to call a tyrant to account, and to depose or put him to death; and that they who of late po much blame deposing, are the men who did it themselves. This book he published in the beginning of 1649, to satisfy and compose the minds of the people. Not long after, he wrote his Observations on the articles of peace between the Earl of Ormond and the Irish rebels. In these and all his writings, whatever others of different parties may think, he thought himself an advocate for true liberty; for ecclesiastical liberty in his treatises againit the bishops, for domestic liberty in his books of divorce, and for civil liberty in his writings