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receiving the necessary information from Mr. Thurloe, and then either dictating the required document on the spot, or returning home to compose it more at leisure. Whatever Weckherlin and others did to help, all the more important despatches were still expected from Milton himself, and at receptions of ambassadors and other foreign agents he was still the proper official.
Salmasius, who had been in Sweden when Milton's Answer to him appeared, had returned to Holland in no enviable state of mind. He had been vowing revenge, and was even rumoured to have a Reply ready for the press; but none was forthcoming. Meanwhile several attacks on Milton in his behalf by other persons were published abroad anonymously and in Latin. One of these, a very poor thing, attributed at the time to the Irish ex-Bishop Bramhall, but really by a refugee English preacher named Rowland, was handed over by Milton for answer to his younger nephew, John Phillips. The result was " Joannis Philippi Angli Responsio ad Apologiam anonymi cujusdam tenebrionis” (1652), a pamphlet so revised and touched by Milton that it may be accounted partly his. He reserved wholly for himself the task of replying to a far more formidable and able attack made upon him by an anonymous friend of Salmasius under the title * Regii Clamor ad Cælum adversus Parricidas Anglicanos ” (“Cry of the King's Blood to Heaven against the English Parricides”). Published at the Hague late in 1652, this book contained such charges against Milton's personal character that he could not let it pass; but the Answer was deferred. For the rest, the literary relics of the last fifteen months of his Secretaryship to the Commonwealth consist only of three Latin Familiar Epistles, two of them to foreigners, and the following two Sonnets :Sonnet, “To the Lord General Cromwell” (Sonnet XVI.).
May 1652. Sonnet, “To Sir Henry Vane the younger" (Sonnet XVII.).
Put into Vane's hands July 3, 1652.
CROMWELL'S DICTATORSHIP AND PROTECTORATE (April 1653-Sept. 1658) :— The Sonnets to Cromwell and Vane were written just at the time when these two chiefs of the Republic were coming to an irreconcileable difference. Cromwell, and the whole Army at his back, had made up their minds that the time had come for a more regular Government of the Commonwealth than the anomalous makeshift by the Rump of the Long Parliament, consisting of about a hundred and twenty persons at the utmost, surviving out of a House of five hundred that had been returned by English constituencies as far back as 1640. The question of a dissolution and the election of a new and complete Parliament on a reformed system of popular suffrage, including all that would be faithful to the Commonwealth, had again and again been discussed, and a rather distant day for a dissolution at last fixed. There were, however, misunderstandings on the subject, with signs that Vane and others were bent on a policy antagonistic to the views of Cromwell and the Army. On the 20th of April 1653 Cromwell concluded the business by going to the House with a company of musketeers, turning out Vane and the other fifty-two members who were then sitting, locking the doors, and giving the key and the mace into the keeping of one of his colonels. He dissolved the Council of State the same day. The Commonwealth proper being thus at an end, there ensued the five years and four months of Cromwell's supremacy. It was divided into (1) what may be called his Interim Dictatorship (April-Dec. 1653), when he governed, still as “ Lord General Cromwell," by the aid of a Council of his officers, waiting the issue of the special Parliament of select persons from England, Scotland, and Ireland, which he had summoned for the emergency; and (2) his Protectorate (Dec. 1653-Sept. 1658), when he ruled with the title of “ Lord Protector.” The Protectorate itself passed through two phases. Till May 1657 Cromwell was still in a manner but the elected head of a Republic
but thence to his death, Sept. 3, 1658, he was virtually King.
Though all England, Scotland, and Ireland were obliged to acquiesce in Cromwell's supremacy, and though in the course of his powerful rule he succeeded in winning general respect, and especially in making the entire population of the British Islands proud of the position asserted for them in Europe by his magnanimous foreign policy, yet the Oliverians, as his more express and thorough adherents were called, were but a section of the former Army-men and Republicans. Milton, whose admiration for Cromwell had all along been immense, was decidedly one of those Oliverians. He had approved even of Cromwell's forcible dissolution of the Parliament and the Council of State which he himself served ; and he regarded Cromwell's Dictatorship and Protectorate as the best possible embodiment for the time of the principles of real Republicanism. It need be no matter for surprise, therefore, that Milton was continued in his Latin Secretaryship. There was conjoined with him, indeed, in 1653 a Philip Meadows, entitled also “ Latin Secre. tary ;” Milton's friend Andrew Marvell was brought in at a later time to give some assistance; and there was some fluctuation of Milton's salary in the course of the Protectorate. In 1655, on a general reduction of official salaries, it was ordered that Milton's should be reduced to 150l. per annum, but that the same should be settled on him for his life. Actually, however, this sum seems to have been raised to 2001. a year (worth about 700l. a year now); with which salary, and with Meadows as his coadjutor, doing all the routine work, Milton remained the Latin Secretary Extraordinary.
Among his preserved Latin State Letters, besides about half a dozen written in the latter part of 1653 for Cromwell's Council of Officers or the special Parliament he had called in his Dictatorship, there are as many as eighty belonging to the Protectorate itself, and despatched as Cromwell's own letters, with his signature, “ OLIVERIUS, Angliæ, Scotia, Hibernia, &C., Protector.” Most famous perhaps among these now are the Letters written in 1655 on the subject of the inassacre of the Vaudois Protestants (see Introd. to Sonnet xvi.). All in all, though Milton's secretarial services under the Protectorate must have been confined mainly to such eloquent expression in Latin of the Protector's more important messages to Foreign Powers, it is a memorable fact in the history of England that he was one of Cromwell's faithful officials to the last, often in colloquy with him, and sometimes in ceremonial attendance at his Court. For any colloquy, Milton, with his clear vague eyes, would be led into the room where Cromwell was; and at any Court Concert, or the like, Milton, if he came, would be conducted gently to a seat.
In 1653 or 1654 Milton's wife died, still a very young woman, leaving him, at the age of forty-five, a widower with three daughters, Anne, Mary, and Deborah. The eldest, who was somewhat deformed, was but in her eighth year; the second was in her sixth; the
youngest was a mere infant. A son, born in Scotland Yard between the second daughter and the third, had not survived. How the motherless little creatures were brought up in the house in Petty France, under the charge of their blind father, no one knows. It may have been a happy chance for them when he married again, Nov. 12, 1656. But the second wife, known merely as Catherine Woodcock, daughter of a Captain Woodcock of Hackney, died in childbirth Feb. 10, 1657-8, only fifteen months after the marriage, the child dying also (Sonnet XXIII. and Introduction to it); and thus, in the last year of Cromwell's Protectorate, Milton, in his fiftieth year, was again a widower, with his three motherless girls, the eldest not twelve years old. Fancy, in the house in Petty France, the blind father, a kind of stern King Lear, mostly by himself, and the three young things pattering about, as noiselessly as possible, at their own will
or in the charge of some servant ! It was to be tragic in the end both for him and them.
What of Milton's independent literary activity through the five years of Cromwell's Protectorate? For a blind man it was considerable.-Besides fourteen of his Latin Familiar Epistles, most of them to foreign friends, there belong to the period of the Protectorate two of Milton's most substantial Latin pamphlets. The first, which appeared in 1654, was his Reply to that attack upon him, already mentioned, which had been published at the Hague in 1652 by some anonymous friend of Salmasius. While defending his own character in this Reply, Milton made it also a new defence of the English nation ; and hence it was entitled Joannis Miltoni Angli pro Populo Anglicano Defensio Secunda” (“Second Defence of John Milton, Englishman, for the English People ”). Both historically and autobiographically it is one of the most interesting of Milton's pamphlets. It contains a splendid panegyric on Cromwell, with notices of Fairfax, Bradshaw, Fleetwood, Lambert, Whalley, Overton, and others. Milton assumes throughout that the author of the book to which he was replying was a certain Alexander More (see Introduction to the lines De Moro, annexed to the Latin Elegies), and the license he gives himself in his personal abuse of this More is something frightful. More, who had only had a hand in the publication of the book that had given the offence (the real author of which was Peter Du Moulin, afterwards Prebendary of Canterbury), replied to Milton's attack, and so drew from him in 1655 another pamphlet, entitled “Joannis Miltoni Angli pro se Defensio contra Alexandrum Morum (“ Defence of John Milton, Englishman, for Himself, against Alexander More"), to which was annexed
Authoris ad Alexandri Mori Supplementum Responsio” (“The Author's Reply to Alexander More's Supplement"). This closed the controversy. - In the