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blished himself in London, in his profession of a scrivener, he placed over his office door the device of an eagle displayed, an heraldic ensign, apparently challenging it as his hereditary right. This figure and the crest, hereafter mentioned, appear also on a seal still existing, which on very sufficient evidence, is said to have formerly belonged to the poet. On what authority the elder Milton depicted this figure on his sign is not known; but it is a remarkable fact that the eagle displayed is the armorial insignia of Mitton, a Shropshire family, whose name is radically different from Milton, though approaching so near to it in its orthography. See for Mitton's claim to parti per pale azure and gules, an eagle displayed with two heads or, the Visitation of London of 1633 and 1634. Yet still the Miltons seem to have had an authentic claim to this bearing, since in the volume of Sir William Segar's Grants, which has been lately obtained for the British Museum, is a notice of a grant, recognition or confirmation, for it does not appear which it was, that argent a double-headed eagle displayed gules, beaked and membered azure, is the coat of Mylton of the county of Oxford, with the crest, out of a wreath a lion's gamb couped and erect argent, grasping an eagle's head erased gules. There is no date in the manuscript, but Sir William Segar held the office of Garter from 1616 to 1632, nor is any thing said of the person at whose instance the recognition took place, but it can hardly be


doubted that it was at the instance of the father of the poet.*

These details, if they fail in establishing the truth respecting the origin of this great poet, and leave it still in a degree of obscurity, establish however the fact, how extremely difficult it is in this country to recover genealogical truth respecting families who were not of the class of those who appeared at the Heralds' Visitations, though they might be but just below many who did so appear and entered themselves on record, thus evincing the extreme importance, if it is thought an object of importance at all to hand down accurate information on such a subject as this to our posterity, of not trusting to the possible chance of discovering the truth by the search of parish registers, wills, and the other assistance in genealogical investigations, but seizing the opportunity which is always open to every one of entering the facts of this kind which can be proved in the books of the Heralds.

What has now been said seems to be all that comes legitimately within the scope of this inquiry, and yet I am induced to trespass further in bringing forward a few facts respecting other persons of the name of Milton living in the forest-country, who may seem to be in some kind of connection with the family which boasts this eminently illustrious


There was living in the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and in the reign of King James the First, near to

*This MS. of Segar's Grants is among the manuscripts called “Additional," No. 12,225, and the entry respecting the arms of Milton may be found at f. 162.

the Hundred of Bullington, but not within it, a Nicholas Milton, to whose name we find the addition of "Gentleman," and who may therefore be assumed to have been a Milton who claimed a right to coat-armour. This Nicholas resided at Appleton in Berkshire, a place about equally distant from Abington and Oxford. He was living there in the 31st, 32nd and 39th of Elizabeth, when his assessments were upon goods of the annual value of £10. He was living as late as the 10th of James I. at which time he was owner of lands at Appleton. A Nicholas Milton, who was certainly the same person, was assessed at Natley-Scures, in the Hundred of Basingstoke, in 1590 and 1599, and at Mettingham, in the Hundred of Blackheath, in 1598 and 1607. He was evidently a person of a better condition than the Miltons of the immediate neighbourhood of Shotover.

One Thomas Milton was a "Sworn Regarder and Preservator of all the Queen's Majesty's Woods within Battell's Bailiwick, parcel of the Park of Windsor." He and his two associates make answer to certain articles given them in charge by John Norris and Richard Stafferton, Esquires, verdurers of the said Forest of Windsor, dated March 10, 1571. Sonning-hall Park, Folie-John Park, and Cranburn Chace were within their division. In 1576 this Thomas Milton had a grant of a tenement called La Rolfe, with two gardens, in New Windsor. In 1624 there was a Robert Milton of Sonning Hall, who had lands in Windsor Forest.


Further, in 1523 there was a William Milton among inhabitants of Oxford: in 1559 a person of the same name living at Newbury in Berkshire, and a Richard Milton at Warfield. In the reign of Philip and Mary there was a William Milton, a Collector of Customs in the Port of

London. There was a Somerset family of the name who were farmers of the tithe of Upton, and several Miltons in the Hundred of Brexon in Cheshire, to which county some persons have sought to trace the poet's ancestry.

II. THE POET'S FATHER.-If Aubrey is here to be depended upon, who says that he was able to read without spectacles at eighty-four, and that he died about 1647, he could not be born later than 1563, so that he must have been between thirty and forty when Richard Milton of Stanton was so severely fined for his recusancy, and forty-five at the time when his son the poet was born. But Aubrey may have represented him as older than he really was.

We are told that he was sent by his father to Christ Church, but no trace of him as a member of that house is now to be found; and if any such trace existed it could hardly have escaped the research of two such men as Anthony Wood and Dr. Philip Bliss. He was settled as a Scrivener in Bread Street, near Cheapside, before the close of the reign of Elizabeth. This is proved by the copy of a bond for the payment of money to John Sanderson, an eminent Turkey merchant, in the manuscript book of his transactions now at the Museum.* The date of the bond is March 4, 1602: the money being to be paid on May 5 following, "at the new shop of John Milton, scrivener, in Bread Street, London." He was a witness to the signature of the persons who gave the bond, namely, Thomas Heigheham, of Bethnal Green, Esquire, and Richard Sparrow, citizen and goldsmith of London. He had thus early in his career respectable clients.

* Lansdowne MSS. No. 241.

This it is believed is the earliest date that has hitherto been discovered in the life of the poet's father. It was a

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new shop," as if then only lately opened by him. Some time must have been passed in the practice of the profession before that date; some time also in preparation for it, and yet there seems to be several years to be accounted for between his leaving the University and engaging in this profession; and to those years when he was living without any definite plan of life before him is to be referred his cultivation of his musical talent, and some, if not most, of the compositions which are attributed to him. Morley's "Oriana," to which he was one of the contributors, was published as early as 1601. As the other known contributors to the Oriana were nearly all musicians by profession, it seems but a reasonable conjecture that the elder Milton might have once thought of taking up music as a profession.

Other musical compositions of his are, however, to be found in later collections, as in Sir William Leighton's "Tears of a Sorrowful Soul," 1614, and Slatyer's Psalms, 1643. Probably everything has been collected on this subject by Warton, Hawkins, and Burney. Warton's conjecture, that he was the John Melton, author of a book printed in 1609, entitled "A Six-fold Politican," requires better proof.

No other literary composition in print has ever, I believe, been attributed to him; and that he had much regard for literature is not quite so apparent as Mr. Todd would have us suppose: "Of whose attachment to literature, the Latin verses of his son, addressed to him with no less elegance than gratitude, are an unequivocal proof." I own they do not appear to me to support this opinion. It is true that they shew the father permittin his son to forsake the law,

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