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that espouse a cause, and at the same time conceal aught belonging to its support. Such men may tell us that they love liberty, but I tell them that they love their bellies, their ease, their pleasures, their profits, in the first place. A man that will not hazard all for liberty, is unworthy to be named among its votaries, unworthy to participate its blessings.
Many circumstances at present loudly call upon us to exert ourselves. Venality and corruption have well-nigh extinguished all principles of liberty. The bad books also, that this age hath produced, have ruined our youth. The novels and romances, which are eagerly purchased and read, emasculate the mind, and banish every thing grave and manly. One remedy for these evils is, to revive the reading of our old writers, of which we have good store, and the study whereof would fortify our youth against the blandishments of pleasure and the arts of corruption. Milton in particular ought to be read and studied by all our young gentlemen as an oracle. He was a great and noble genius, perhaps the greatest that ever appeared among men; and his learning was equal to his genius. He had the highest sense of liberty, glorious thoughts, with a strong and nervous style. His works are full of wisdom, a treasure of knowledge. In them the divine, the statesman, the historian, the philologist, may be all instructed and entertained. It is to be lamented, that his divine writings are so little known. Very few are acquainted with them, many have never heard of them. The same is true with respect to another great writer contemporary with Milton, and an advocate for the same glorious cause; I mean Algernon Sydney, whose Liscourses on Government * are the most precious legacy to these nations,
All antiquity cannot show two writers equal to these. They were both great masters of reason, both great masters of expression. They had the strongest thoughts, and the boldest images, and are the best models that can be followed. The style of Sydney is always clear and flowing, strong and masculine. The great Milton has a style of his own, one fit to express the astonishing sublimity of his thoughts, the mighty vigour of his spirit, and that copia of invention, that redundancy of imagination, which no writer before or sinee hath equalled. In some places, it is confessed, that his periods are too long, which renders him intricate, if not altogether unintelligible to vulgar readers; but these places are not many. In the book before us his style is for the most part free and easy, and it abounds both in eloquence and wit and argument. I am of opinion, that the style of this work is the best and most perfect of all his prose writings. Other men have commended the style of his History as matchless and incomparable, whose malice could not see or would not acknowledge the excellency of his other works. It is no secret whence their aversion to Milton proceeds; and whence their caution of naming him
once a year, and after they were well warmed with strong beer, they sacrificed to the flames the author's Defensio pro Populo Anglicano, as also this treatise against the EIKIN. I have it in my power to produce more instances of the like sacerdotal spirit, with which in some future publication I may entertain the world.--Baron.
* These Discourses, which, wherever known, have been admired, are included among the Masterpieces intended to be published in the present series.
as any other writer than a poet. Milton combated superstition and tyranny of every form, and in every degree. Against them he employed his mighty strength, and like a battering ram, beat down all before him. But notwithstanding these mean arts, either to hide or disparage him, a little time will make him better known; and the more he is known, the more he will be admired. His works are not like the fugitive short-lived things of this age, few of which survive their authors: they are substantial, durable, eternal writings; which will never die, never perish, whilst reason, truth, and liberty have a being in these nations.
Thus much I thought proper to say on occasion of this publication, wherein I have no resentment to gratify, no private interest to serve: all my aim is to strengthen and support that good old cause, which in my youth I embraced, and the principles whereof I will assert and maintain whilst I live.
The following letter to Milton, being very curious, and nowhere published perfect and entire, may be fitly preserved in this place.
A Letter from Mr. Wall to John Milton, Esq. SIR, I RECEIVED yours the day after you wrote, and do humbly thank you, that you are pleased to honour me with your letters. I confess I have (even in my privacy in the country) oft had thoughts of you, and that with much respect, for your friendliness to truth in your early years, and in bad times. But I was uncertain whether your relation to the court* (though I think a commonwealth was mcre friendly to you than a court) had not clouded your former light, but your last book resolved that doubt. You complain of the non-proficiency of the nation, and of its retrograde motion of late, in liberty and spiritual truths. It is much to be bewailed; but yet let us pity human frailty. When those who made deep protestations of their zeal for our liberty both spiritual and civil, and made the fairest offers to be assertors thereof, and whom we thereupon trusted; when those, being instated in power, shall betray the good thing committed to them, and lead us back to Egypt, and by that force which we gave them to win us liberty hold us fast in chains; what can poor people do? You know who they were, that watched our Saviour's sepulchre to keep him from rising.t
Besides, whilst people are not free, but straitened in accommodations for life, their spirits will be dejected and servile: and conducing to that end, there should be an improving of our native commodities, as our manufactures, our fishery, our fens, forests, and commons, and our trade at sea, &c. which would give the body of the nation a comfortable subsistence; and the breaking that cursed yoke of tithes would much help thereto.
Also another thing I cannot but mention, which is, that the Norman conquest and tyranny is continued upon the nation without any thought of removing it; I mean the tenure of lands by copyhold, and holding for life under a lord, or rather tyrant of a manor ; whereby people care not to in prove their land by cost upon it,
* Milton was Latin Secretary.-Baron. | Soldiers; this is a severe insinuation against a standing army.- Baron.
not knowing how soon themselves or theirs may be outed it; nor what the house is in which they live, for the same reason: and they are far more enslaved to the lord of the manor, than the rest of the nation is to a king or supreme magistrate.
We have waited for liberty, but it must be God's work and not man's, who thinks it sweet to maintain his pride and worldly interest to the gratifying of the flesh, whatever becomes of the precious liberty of mankind.
But let us not despond, but do our duty; and God will carry on that blessed work, in despite of all opposites, and to their ruin, if they persist therein.
Sir, my humble request is, that you would proceed, and give us that other member of the distribution mentioned in your book ; viz. that hire doth greatly impede truth and liberty: it is like if you do, you shall find opposers: but remember that saying, Beatius est pati quam frui: or, in the apostle's words, James, v. 11, We count them happy that endure.
I have sometimes thought (concurring with your assertion of that storied voice that should speak from heaven) when ecclesiastics were endowed with worldly preferments, hodie venenum infunditur in ecclesiam : for to use the speech of Genesis iv. ult. according to the sense which it hath in the Hebrew," then began men to corrupt the worship of God." I shall tell you a supposal of mine, which is this: Mr. Drury has bestowed about thirty years time in travel, conference, and writings, to reconcile Calvinists and Lutherans, and that with little or no success. But the shortest way were,-take away ecclesiastical dignities, honours, and preferments, on both sides, and all would soon be hushed; the ecclesiastics would be quiet, and then the people would come forth into truth and liberty. But I will not engage in this quarrel; yet I shall lay this engagement upon myself to remain
Your faithful friend and servant, Causham, May 26, 1659.
From this letter the reader may see in what way wise and good men of that age employed themselves; in studying to remove every grievance, and to break every yoke. And it is matter of astonishment, that this age, which boasts of greatest light and knowledge, should make no effort toward a reformation in things acknowledged to be wrong ; but both in religion and in civil government be barbarian! Below Blackheath,