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slandered nieces? He says, "that touching his deceased brother's displeasure with them, he only heard him say at the time of declaring his Will, that they were undutiful and unkind to him, not expressing any particulars:" as if Milton would have forborne to particularize the plunder of what had been collected with great expense perhaps as well as taste, and through the instrumentality of those who read to him or conversed with him could still be the solace of age and blindness. Toland indeed notices a diminution of his books made by himself. "Towards the latter part of his life he contracted his library, both because the heirs he left could not make a right use of it, and that he thought he might sell it more to their advantage than they could be able to do themselves." A provident determination, and a very probable
Whatever might be the sum he left at his death, three receipts bearing the signatures of the three daughters, on each receiving 1007. from their step-mother Elizabeth, were brought before the publick in 1825 at the sale of the books and manuscripts of my friend, the late James Boswell, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn. These payments were made as portions to them of the estate of their father; and were to be vested in rent-charges or annuities for their respective benefit with the approbation of their paternal and maternal uncles, Richard Powell and Sir Christopher Milton. Besides these receipts a copy of the Will of Elizabeth Milton, the poet's widow, together with some legal papers relating to her property, was at the same dispersion of literary curiosities sold. The Will is dated Aug. 27, 1727; and the probate appears to have been granted Oct. 10, 1727, by which her death in that year is established.
The profits for the grand-daughter by the performance of Comus appear to have been too highly rated by Mr. Warton ; for I was informed by the late Isaac Reed, Esq. that the receipts of the House were only 1477. 14s. 6d. from which the expences deducted were 801. TODD.
Of Compositions left by Milton in Manuscript, and particularly of his Treatise of Theology lately discovered.
To Aubrey we are first indebted for information upon this interesting part of Milton's history. He tells us, that the widow of the poet gave all his papers, among which was the dictionary already noticed, to his nephew; and that she had "a great many letters by her from learned men of his acquaintance, both of England, and beyond sea. But from this nephew, who has told us too so much of his uncle's friends as well as writings, we have derived no information of a correspondence so important. Aubrey also seems to have looked for what is elsewhere unnoticed, of which a discovery indeed would be to literature an acquisition of highest value," Mr. J. Milton's Life, writt by himselfe."
a The whole passage in Aubrey is this: "Qu. Mr. Allam, Edm. Hall. Oxon, of Mr. J. Milton's Life writt by himselfe."
Phillips relates that Milton had "prepared for the press an answer to some little scribbling quack in London, who had written a scurrilous libel against him; but whether by the dissuasion of his friends, or for what other cause he knew not, this answer was never published."
Toland, after reciting many publications of Milton, informs us, that "he daily expected more pieces of this accomplished gentleman from © James Tyrrel, who has the manuscript copies in his hands, and will not envy such a blessing to the nation." But to what was known this seeming goodly promise added nothing.
Of the Letters of State published after the death of Milton, and of his Dictionary in manuscript, accounts have been already given.
The Brief History of Moscovia, and of other less known countries lying eastward of Russia as far as Cathay, Milton had evidently designed for the press before he died. "What was scattered in many volumes," he says, "and observed at several times by eye-witnesses, with no cursory pains I laid toge
Life of Milton, ed. Hollis, p. 132.
• A professed and very learned Whig, who published a History of England, 1696-1704, which is extremely curious and valuable, and now also not of frequent occurrence.
See before, pp. 171, 181.
* Pref. to the Hist.
was living, that the manuscript of Milton at the close of the seventeenth century was then, or lately had been, in his hands. Cyriack was too discreet to undeceive others. The offence, which had been given, was pardoned; and the obnoxious treatise was reposed upon the shelves in the Old StatePaper Office at Whitehall, till in the year 1823 Mr. Lemon, the deputy-keeper of the State-Papers, in his indefatigable researches, discovered it loosely wrapped in two or three sheets of printed paper, which, it is curious to add, were proof-sheets of Horace, one of the publications of Daniel Elzevir. The State-Letters of Milton were in the same parcel. And the whole was enclosed in a cover directed, To Mr. Skinner, Mercht.
With respect to the real title of the manuscript, Aubrey and Wood are supposed to have been in error; because they call it Idea Theologiæ, and it now is, De Doctrina Christiana ex sacris duntaxat libris petita disquisitionum libri duo posthumi. Yet no doubt the title was at first, as Wood and Aubrey have given it. The Idea was adopted: in conformity to example; from Milton having seen, for instance, what was addressed to his friend Hartlib in 1651, the learned Pell's Idea of Mathematicks ; or, at a later period, from being informed of the opposition to Hobbes in Dr. Templer's Idea Theologia Leviathanis. An Idea Eloquentiæ also appeared about this time. The present title was probably chosen, after his death, by those into whose
hands the manuscript had passed, and whose endea
Your was to make it publick.
These are circumstances which illustrate the external evidence of the treatise as the work of Milton. We shall soon observe what would be conclusive as to this position, if such testimony had been wanting, I mean internal evidence.
The entrance of the treatise exhibits the great poet explaining his reason for compiling it. "I deemed it safest and most advisable to compile for myself," he says, by my own labour and study, some original treatise, which should be always at hand, derived solely from the Word of God itself." Wood appears to have been informed of this determination, as he mentions the poet's "framing a Body of Divinity out of the Bible." Perhaps not satisfied altogether with the systems of theology which he was wont to consult, Milton, so early as when he wrote his Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, could not forbear, in his remarks upon "custom and prejudice," sarcastically to describe " youth run ahead into the easy creek of a system or a medulla." And afterwards, in his Con-siderations how to remove hirelings out of the Church, he mentions, I had almost said in reference to his
Preface to the Treatise. I cite at present the translation of the work by Dr. Sumner for the benefit of every reader. And I may assure those, who understand not Latin, that the translation is exact and faithful.