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the charter granted to this town, 36 Charles II. it may be added, he had been nominated and constituted the first and new deputy-recorder of it.
Anne, the sister of Milton, must have been elder than either of her brothers; for her birth is not to be found in the register already mentioned: She was probably the eldest child, and born before her father settled in Bread-street. Milton's Verses on her daughter, written in his seventeenth year, serve to corroborate this supposition. She was first married to Mr. Phillips, afterwards to Mr. Agar, a friend of her first husband, who succeeded him in the CrownOffice of the Court of Chancery. By her first husband she had two sons, Edward and John, whom Milton educated; by her second, two daughters. His brother, Christopher, had two daughters, Mary and Catherine; and a son, Thomas, who succeeded Mr. Agar in his office. Of Milton's children who survived him, and of his widow Elizabeth, the notes on the Nuncupative Will give a distinct, and, in some respects, a new account. The several branches of his family appear to be now extinct. The case of Deborah, the youngest, which Mr. Warton deplores with sensibility, was first noticed in a very feeling manner also, in Mist's Weekly Journal, April 29, 1727, and commended her to part of the little patronage which she obtained. While it has been ob
It is also printed in the European Magazine for 1787, p. 65.
served, that the Nuncupative Will of Milton presents indeed a melancholy picture of domestick connexions, and that his conduct towards his daughters has been feelingly defended even by an eminent female pen; it has not been noticed, that part of the charge brought against him, I mean his teaching his children to read and pronounce Greek and several other languages without understanding any but English, may be thought more strange and unaccountable, inasmuch as he appears to have been distinguished for the estimation in which he once held literary women; a circumstance which no biographer of Milton has hitherto recorded. Doctor Newton, indeed, facetiously tells us, that Milton used to say that one tongue was enough for a woman! But contemporary information will best illustrate this curious point in the history of the poet. We believe," says the answerer to his Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, you count no woman to due conversation accessible, AS TO YOU, except she can speak Hebrew, Greek, Latine, and French, and dispute against the Canon law as well as you, or at least be able to hold discourse with you. But other gentlemen of good qualitie are content with meaner and fewer endowments, as you know well enough."-I now recur to the defence of Milton by the distinguished lady, who speaking of the modern revolutionary spirit in families, and elegantly enforcing the subordination of domestick manners, argues "that,
"Answer to the Doct. and Disc. of Divorce, 1644, p. 16.
among the faults with which it has been too much the fashion of recent times to load the memory of the incomparable Milton, one of the charges brought against his private character (for with his political character we have here nothing to do) has been, that he was so severe a father as to have compelled his daughters, after he was blind, to read aloud to him, for his sole pleasure, Greek and Latin authors of which they did not understand a word. But this is in fact nothing more than an instance of the strict domestick regulations of the age in which Milton lived; and should not be brought forward as a proof of the severity of his individual temper. Nor indeed in any case should it ever be considered as a hardship for an affectionate child to amuse an afflicted parent, even though it should be attended with a heavier sacrifice of her own pleasure than in the present instance."
• Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education, by Mrs. Hannah More, vol. i. p. 147, 6th edit. 1799.
The Nuncupative Will of Milton: with Notes by the late Rev. Thomas Warton, and other Observations.
"b MEMORANDUM, that JOHN MILTON, late of the parish of St. Giles Cripplegate in the Countie of Middlesex Gentleman, deceased, at severall times before his death, and in particular, on or about the twentieth day of July, in the year of our Lord God 1674, being of perfect mind and memorie, declared his Will and intent as to the disposall of his estate after his death, in these words following, or of like effect: The portion due to me from Mr. Powell, my former wife's father, I leave to the unkind children I had by her, having received no parte of it: but my meaning is, they shall have no other benefit of my estate than the said portion, and what I have besides done for them; they having been very undutifull to me. All the residue of my estate I leave to [the] disposall of Elizabeth my loving wife. Which
a First published by Mr. Warton, in his edit. of Milton's Smaller Poems, 1791. TODD.
b As propounded in the Prerogative Court. WARTON.
words, or to the same effect, were spoken in the presence of CHRISTOPHER MILTON .
"X [Mark of] ELIZABETH FISHER d.
"Nov. 23, 1674.
The Allegation propounding the Will, on which Allegation the Witnesses be examined.
"Negotium Testamentarium, sive probacionis Tes
JOHN MILTON's younger brother: a strong royalist, and a professed papist. After the civil war, he made his composition through his brother's interest. Being a practitioner in the law, he lived to be an ancient Bencher of the Inner Temple: was made a judge of the Common Pleas, and knighted by king James the second; but, on account of his age and infirmities, he was at length dismissed from business, and retired to Ipswich, where he resided all the latter part of his life. WARTON. But see what I have said of him Milton, pp. 256, seq. TODD.
-d A servant-maid of John Milton.
in the preceding account of
Registr. Cur. Prærog. Cant. This Will was contested by Mary, Deborah, and Anne Milton, daughters of the poet's first wife Mary, daughter of Mr. Richard Powel, of Foresthill in Oxfordshire. The cause came to a regular sentence, which was given against the Will; and the Widow, Elizabeth, was ordered to take Administration instead of a Probate. I must add here, that this cause, the subject of which needed no additional lustre from great names, was tried by that upright and able statesman, Sir Leoline Jenkins, Judge of the Prerogative Court, and Secretary of State; and that the depositions were taken in part before Dr. Trumbull, afterwards Sir William Trumbull, Secretary of State, and the celebrated friend of Pope. As a circumstantial and authentick history of this process, the following instruments, which were otherwise thought too curious to be suppressed, are subjoined. WARTON.
Viz. Christopher MILTON, and JOHN MILTON's two ser