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From his appointment as Secretary for Foreign Tongues, to the Restoration of King Charles the Second.
THE Book of Orders of the Council of State during the Usurpation, preserved in his Majesty's StatePaper Office, presents the poet addressed by a committee, appointed for the purpose of inviting him. into office, about six weeks after the martyrdom of the King.
"1648-9. March 13. Ordered, that Mr. Whitelocke, Sir Henry Vane, Lord Lisle, Earl of Denbigh, Mr. Martyn, Mr. Lisle, or any two of them, be appointed a committee to consider what alliances the Crowne hath formerly had with Forreigne States; and what those States are; and whether it will be fit to continue those allyances, or with how many of the said States; and how farr they should be continued, and upon what grounds; and in what man
a Now first presented to the publick eye, excepting three or four extracts embodied in Dr. Sumner's Introduction to his recent Translation of Milton's Treatise De Doctrina Christianá.
ner applications and addresses should be made for the said continuance.
"That it be referred to the same committee to speake with Mr. Milton, to know whether he will be employed as Secretary for the Forreigne Tongues; and to report to the Councell.
"1648-9. March 15. Ordered, that Mr. John Milton be employed as Secretary for Forreigne Tongues to this Councell; and that he have the same salarie, which Mr. Weckherlyn formerly had for the same service.
"1648-9. March 22. Ordered, that the letters, now read, to be sent to Hamburgh, in behalf of the Company of Merchant-Adventurers, be approved; and that they be translated into Latine by Mr. Milton.
"1649. March 26. Ordered, that the letters,
b Mr. Weckherlyn presently occurs as Secretary Assistant for the business of Foreign Affairs. He had been before employed as Secretary for Foreign Affairs from the first establishment of the Joint Committee of both kingdoms in Feb. 1643-4. What his salary was, has not been ascertained. This gentleman, who was of German extraction, Granger says, was Latin Secretary to King Charles I. He was the author of poems, and of other literary productions. See the Bodleian and the Brit. Mus. Catalogues, Art. George Rodolph Wecherlin, or Weckerlin. His only daughter, according to Granger, was first wife to William Trumbull, Esq. and mother of the noted Sir W. Trumbull, the friend of Pope.
now brought in by Mr. Milton to the Senate of Hamburgh, be approved; and that Mr. Isaac Lee, Deputy of the Company of Merchant-Adventurers there, shall be appointed agent for the delivering of them.
"1649. March 26. be appointed to make paper lately printed, called
Ordered, that Mr. Milton some observations upon a Old and New Chains.
"1649. March 28. Ordered, that Mr. Milton be appointed to make some observations upon the complication of interest which is now amongst the several designers against the peace of the Common
Of which paper the noted John Lilburne was the author. And, accordingly, it follows in the Council-Book, “Ordered, that Serjeant Dendy be appointed to make proclamation of the order of the House this day (March 27, 1649,) against the author of the booke called the New Chaines." And on the following day it is ordered, "that Lieut. Colonel John Lilburne be committed prisoner to the Tower, upon suspicion of high treason, for being the author, contriver, framer, or publisher, of a certayne scandalous and seditious booke printed, intituled England's New Chaynes discovered, &c." Wood says, that Lilburne divided his pamphlet into two parts, both published in 1648-9, the latter of which consisted only of one sheet. Whatever Milton's observations might have been upon this subject, if any there were, are unknown. Of Lilburne, a libeller and incendiary, and an oppositionist to every government under which he lived, a character. at large is drawn by Clarendon, Hist. Rebell. B. xiv. Judge Jenkins was used to say of him, in reference to his litigious disposition, that if the world was emptied of all but John Lilburne, Lilburne would quarrel with John, and John would quarrel with Lilburne.
wealth, and that it he made ready to be printed with the papers out of Ireland, which the House hath ordered to be printed.
"1649. May 18. Ordered, that the French letters, given in to the House by the Dutch ambassador, be translated by Mr. Milton; and the rest of the letters, now in the House, be sent for and translated.
"1649. May 30. Ordered, that Mr. Milton take the papers found with Mr. John Lee, and examine them, to see what may be found in them.
a The Articles of Peace between the Earl of Ormond and the Irish; a Letter sent by Ormond to Colonel Jones, Governor of Dublin; and a Representation of the Scotch Presbytery at Belfast: These, with his Observations, Milton now published; and not before he was Latin Secretary. See what is before said, p. 105. In a tone of unqualified severity Milton says, "Having seen those articles of peace granted to the papist rebels of Ireland, as special graces and favours from the late king, in reward, most likely, of their work done; and in his name and authority confirmed by James Earl of Ormond; together with his letter to Colonel Jones, full of contumely and dishonour both to the parliament and army; and on the other side an insolent and seditious representation from the Scots' Presbytery at Belfast, no less dishonourable to the state; there will be needful, as to the same slanderous aspersions, but one and the same vindication against them both. Nor can we sever them in our notice and resentment, though one part is entitled a Presbytery, and would be thought a Protestant assembly; since their own unexampled virulence hath wrapt them into the same guilt, and made them accomplices and assistants to the abhorred Irish rebels," &c.
"1649. June 23. Ordered, that Mr. Milton doe examine the papers of Pragmaticus, and report
what he finds in them to the Councell.
"1649. Nov. 12. Ordered, that Sir John Hippesley be spoken to, that Mr. Milton may be accommodated with those lodgings that he hath at Whitehall.
"1649, Nov. 19. Ordered, that Mr. Milton shall have the lodgings that were in the hands of Sir John Hippesley, in Whitehall, for his accommodation, as being Secretary to the Councell for Forreigne Languages.
"1649. Nov. 29. Ordered, that a letter be written to the Commissioners of the Customes to desire them to give order, that a very strict search may be made of such ships as come from the Netherlands for certaine scandalous bookes, which are there printed, against the government of this Commonwealth, entituled Defensio Regia, and which are designed to be sent over hither; and to desire them, that if any of them upon search shall be found, that they may be sent up to the Councill of State, with
The Mercurius Pragmaticus, a newspaper which made its first appearance in Sept. 1647. But the especial direction here points perhaps at the "Mercurius Pragmaticus for King Charles II. April 24, 1649." This newspaper was probably suppressed for a time. But we find "Mercurius Pragmaticus revived, No. 1. June 30, 1651." See Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vol. iv. p. 48.