Biographies of the Leading Levellers (and others)

Levellers: Henry Ireton | John Lilburne | Richard Overton | Thomas Rainborow | Edward Sexby | John Streeter | William Walwyn | John Wildman
Others: James Harrington | Andrew Marvell | John Milton | Marchamont Needham | William Prynne | Algernon Sidney

Critics: Sir Robert Filmer


Note: See the collection of Leveller Tracts.

[Created: 22 Dec. 2020]
[Updated: January 31, 2023 ]


Henry Ireton (1611–1651)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, ”Ireton, Henry” Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 37-43. <,_1885-1900/Ireton,_Henry>

IRETON, HENRY (1611–1651), regicide, baptised 3 Nov. 1611, was the eldest son of German Ireton of Attenborough, near Nottingham. His father, who settled at Attenborough about 1605, was the younger brother of William Ireton of Little Ireton in Derbyshire (Cornelius Brown, Worthies of Nottinghamshire, p. 182). Henry became in 1626 a gentleman-commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, and took the degree of B.A. in 1629. According to Wood, ‘he had the character in that house of a stubborn and saucy fellow towards the seniors, and therefore his company was not at all wanting’ ( Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 298). In 1629 he entered the Middle Temple (24 Nov.), but was never called to the bar ( The Trial of Charles I, with Biographies of Bradshaw, Ireton, &c., in Murray's Family Library, 1832, xxxi. 130).

At the outbreak of the civil war Ireton was living on his estate in Nottinghamshire, ‘and having had an education in the strictest way of godliness, and being a man of good learning, great understanding, and other abilities, he was the chief promoter of the parliament's interest in the county’ (Hutchinson, Memoirs of Col. Hutchinson, ed. 1885, i. 168). On 30 June 1642 the House of Commons nominated Ireton captain of the troop of horse to be raised by the town of Nottingham ( Commons' Journals, ii. 664). With this troop he joined the army of the Earl of Essex and fought at Edgehill, but returned to his native county with it at the end of 1642, and became major in Colonel Thornhagh's regiment of horse (Hutchinson, i. 169, 199). In July 1643 the Nottinghamshire horse took part in the victory at Gainsborough (28 July), and shortly afterwards Ireton ‘quite left Colonel Thornhagh's regiment, and began an inseparable league with Colonel Cromwell’ (ib. pp. 232, 234). He was appointed by Cromwell deputy governor of the Isle of Ely, began to fortify the isle, and was allowed such freedom to the sectaries that presbyterians complained it was become ‘a mere Amsterdam’ ( Manchester's Quarrel with Cromwell, Camden Soc., 1875, pp. 39, 73). He served in Manchester's army during 1644, with the rank of quartermaster-general, and took part in the Yorkshire campaign and the second battle of Newbury. Although Ireton, in writing to Manchester, represented the distressed condition of the horse for want of money ( Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. pt. ii. p. 61), he was anxious that Manchester should march west to join Waller, and after the miscarriages at Newbury supported Cromwell's accusation of Manchester by a most damaging deposition ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644–5, p. 158).

Ireton does not appear in the earliest list of the officers of the new model, but directly the campaign began he obtained the command of the regiment of horse to which Sir Michael Livesey had been at first appointed ( Lords' Journals, viii. 278; Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, p. 331). The night before the battle of Naseby he surprised the royalists' quarters, ‘which they had newly taken up in Naseby town,’ took many prisoners, and alarmed their whole army. Next day Fairfax, at Cromwell's request, appointed Ireton commissary-general of the horse and gave him the command of the cavalry of the left wing. The wing under his command was worsted by Rupert's cavaliers and partially broken. Ireton, seeing some of the parliamentary infantry hard pressed by a brigade of the king's foot, ‘commanded the division that was with him to charge that body of foot, and for their better encouragement he himself with great resolution fell in amongst the musketeers, where his horse being shot under him, and himself run through the thigh with a pike and into the face with an halbert, was taken prisoner by the enemy.’ When the fortune of the day turned Ireton promised his keeper liberty if he would carry him back to his own party, and thus succeeded in escaping ( ib. pp. 36, 39, 42). He recovered from his wounds sufficiently quickly to be with the army at the siege of Bristol in September 1645 ( ib. pp. 99, 106–18). The letter of summons in which Fairfax endeavoured to persuade Rupert to surrender that city was probably Ireton's work.

Ireton was one of the negotiators of the treaty of Truro (14 March 1646), and was afterwards despatched with several regiments of horse to block up Oxford, and prevent it from being provisioned ( ib. pp. 229, 243). The king tried to open negotiations with him, and sent a message offering to come to Fairfax, and live wherever parliament should direct, ‘if only he might be assured to live and continue king.’ Ireton refused to discuss the king's offers, but wrote to Cromwell begging him to communicate the king's message to parliament. Cromwell blamed him for doing even that, on the ground that soldiers ought not to touch political questions at all (Cary, Memorials of the Civil War, i. 1; Gardiner, Great Civil War, ii. 470). Ireton took part in the negotiations which led to the capitulation of Oxford, and married Bridget, Cromwell's daughter, on 15 June 1646, a few days before its actual surrender. The ceremony took place in Lady Whorwood's house at Holton, near Oxford, and was performed by William Dell [q. v.], one of the chaplains attached to the army (Carlyle, Cromwell, i. 218, ed. 1871).

Though the marriage was the result of the friendship between Cromwell and Ireton, rather than its cause, it brought the two men closer together. The union and the confidence which existed between them was during the next four years a factor of great importance in English politics. Each exercised much influence over the other. ‘No man,’ says Whitelocke, ‘could prevail so much, nor order Cromwell so far, as Ireton could’ ( Memorials, f. 516). Ireton had a large knowledge of political theory and more definite political views than Cromwell, and could present his views logically and forcibly either in speech or writing. On the other hand, Cromwell's wider sympathies and willingness to accept compromises often controlled and moderated Ireton's conduct.

On 30 Oct. 1645 Ireton was returned to parliament as member for Appleby; but there is no record of his public action in parliament until the dispute between the army and the parliament began ( Names of Members returned to serve in Parliament, i. 495). His justification of the petition of the army, which the House of Commons on 29 March 1647 declared seditious, involved him in a personal quarrel with Holles, who openly derided his arguments. A challenge was exchanged between them, and the two went out of the house intending to fight, but were stopped by other members, and ordered by the house to proceed no further. On this basis Clarendon builds an absurd story that Ireton provoked Holles, refused to fight, and submitted to have his nose pulled by his choleric opponent ( Clarendon MSS. 2478, 2495; Rebellion, x. 104; Ludlow, ed. 1751, p. 94; Commons' Journals, 2 April 1647). Thomas Shepherd of Ireton's regiment was one of the three troopers who presented the appeal of the soldiers to their generals, which Skippon on 30 April brought to the notice of the House of Commons. In consequence Ireton, Cromwell, Skippon, and Fleetwood, being all four members of parliament, as well as officers of the army, were despatched by the house to Saffron Walden ‘to employ their endeavours to quiet all distempers in the army.’ The commissioners drew up a report on the grievances of the soldiers, which Fleetwood and Cromwell were charged to present, while Skippon and Ireton remained at headquarters to maintain order. Ireton foresaw a storm unless parliament was more moderate, and had little hope of success. In private and in public he had at first discouraged the soldiers from petitioning or taking action to secure redress, but when an open breach occurred he took part with the army ( Clarke Papers, i. 94, 102; Cary, Memorials of the Civil War, i. 205, 207, 214). When Fairfax demanded by whose orders Joyce had removed the king from Holdenby, Ireton owned that he had given orders for securing the king there, though not for taking him thence (Huntingdon's reasons for laying down his commission, Maseres, Tracts, i. 398). From that period his prominence in setting forth the desires of the army and defending its conduct was very marked. ‘Colonel Ireton,’ says Whitelocke, ‘was chiefly employed or took upon him the business of the pen, … and was therein encouraged and assisted by Lieutenant-general Cromwell, his father-in-law, and by Colonel Lambert’ ( Memorials, f. 254).

The form, if not the idea, of the ‘engagement’ of the army (5 June) was probably due to Ireton, and the remonstrance of 14 June was also his work (Rushworth, vi. 512, 564). He took part in the treaty between the commissioners of the army and the parliament, and when the former decided to draw up a general summary of their demands for the settlement of the kingdom, the task was entrusted to Ireton and another ( Clarke Papers, i. 148, 211). The result was the manifesto known as ‘The Heads of the Army Proposals.’ By it Ireton hoped to show the nation what the army would do with power if they had it, and he was anxious that no fresh quarrel with parliament should take place until the manifesto had been published to the world. He hoped also to lay the foundation of an agreement between king and parliament, and to establish the liberties of the people on a permanent basis ( ib. pp. 179, 197). But, excellent though this scheme of settlement was, it was too far in advance of the political ideas of the moment to be accepted either by king or parliament. Ireton was represented as saying that what was offered in the proposals was so just and reasonable that if there were but six men in the kingdom to fight to make them good, he would make the seventh (‘Huntingdon's Reasons,’ Maseres, i. 401). In his anxiety to obtain the king's assent he modified the proposals in several important points, and consequently imperilled his popularity with the soldiers. When the king rejected the terms offered him by parliament, Ireton vehemently urged a new treaty, and told the house that if they ceased their addresses to the king he could not promise them the support of the army (22 Sept. 1647). Pamphlets accused him of juggling and underhand dealing, of betraying the army and deluding honest Cromwell to serve his own ambition, and of bargaining for the government of Ireland as the price of the king's restoration ( Clarke Papers, i. Preface, xl–xlvi; A Declaration of some Proceedings of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburn, 1648, p. 15). In the debates of the council of the army during October and November 1649, Sexby and Wildman attacked him with the greatest bitterness. Ireton passionately disavowed all private engagements, and asserted that if he had used the name of the army to support a further application to the king, it was because he sincerely believed himself to be acting in accordance with the army's views. He had no desire, he said, to set up the king or parliament, but wished to make the best use possible of both for the interest of the kingdom ( Clarke Papers, i. 233). In resisting a rupture with the king he urged the army, for the sake of its own reputation, to fulfil the promises publicly made in its earlier declarations ( ib. p. 294). With equal vigour he opposed the new constitution which the levellers brought forward, under the title of ‘The Agreement of the People,’ and denounced the demand for universal suffrage as destructive to property and fatal to liberty, although for a limitation of the duration and powers of parliament and a redistribution of seats he was willing to fight if necessary ( ib. p. 299). He wished to limit the veto of the king and the House of Lords, but objected to the proposal to deprive them altogether of any share in legislation.

Burnet represents Ireton as sticking at nothing in order to turn England into a commonwealth; but in the council of the army he was in reality the spokesman of the conservative party among the officers, anxious to maintain as much of the existing constitution as possible. The constitution was always in his mouth, and he detested and dreaded nothing so much as the abstract theories of natural right on which the levellers based their demands ( ib. Preface, pp. lxvii–lxxi; Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1833, i. 85).

On 5 Nov. the council of the army sent a letter to the speaker, disavowing any desire that parliament should make a fresh application to the king, and Ireton at once withdrew from their meetings, protesting that unless they recalled their vote he would come there no more ( Clarke Papers, p. 441). But the flight of the king to the Isle of Wight (11 Nov.) led to an entire change in his attitude. The story of the letter from Charles to the queen, which Cromwell and Ireton intercepted, is scarcely needed to account for this change. Without it Ireton perceived the impossibility of the treaty with Charles, on which he had hoped to rest the settlement of the kingdom (Birch, Letters between Colonel Robert Hammond, General Fairfax, &c., 1764, p. 19). He held that the army's engagements to the king were ended, and when Berkeley brought the king's proposals for a personal treaty to the army, received him with coldness and disdain, instead of his former cordiality (29 Nov. 1647; Berkeley, Memoirs; Maseres, i. 384). Huntingdon describes him as saying, when the probability of an agreement between king and parliament was spoken of, ‘that he hoped it would be such a peace as we might with a good conscience fight against them both’ ( ib. i. 404). When Charles refused the ‘Four Bills,’ Ireton urged parliament to settle the kingdom without him (Walker, History of Independency, i. 71, ed. 1661). As yet he was not prepared to abandon the monarchy, and for a time supported the plan of deposing the king and setting the Prince of Wales or Duke of York on the throne ( ib. p. 107; Gardiner, Great Civil War, iii. 294, 342).

In the second civil war Ireton served under Fairfax in the campaigns in Kent and Essex. After the defeat of the royalists at Maidstone he was sent against those in Canterbury, who capitulated on his approach (8 June 1648) (Rushworth, vii. 1149; Lords' Journals, x. 320). He then joined Fairfax before Colchester, and was one of the commissioners who settled the terms of its surrender (Rushworth, vii. 1244). To Ireton's influence and to his ‘bloody and unmerciful nature’ Clarendon and royalist writers in general attribute the execution of Lucas and Lisle ( Rebellion, xi. 109; Mercurius Pragmaticus, 3–10 Oct. 1648; Gardiner, Great Civil War, iii. 463). Ireton approved the decision of the council of war which sentenced them to death, and defended its justice both in an argument with Lucas himself at the time and subsequently as a witness before the high court of justice. There is no foundation for the charge that the sentence was a breach of the capitulation [see Fairfax, Thomas, third Lord Fairfax].

The fall of Colchester (28 Aug.) was followed by a renewal of agitation in the army, and Ireton's regiment was one of the first to petition for the king's trial (Rushworth, vii. 1298). Already a party in the parliament was anxious that the army should interpose to stop the treaty of Newport, but Ludlow found Ireton strongly opposed to premature action. He thought it best ‘to permit the king and the parliament to make an agreement and to wait till they had made a full discovery of their intentions, whereby the people, becoming sensible of their danger, would willingly join to oppose them’ (Ludlow, Memoirs, p. 102). About the end of September Ireton offered to lay down his commission, and desired a discharge from the army, ‘which was not agreed unto’ (Gardiner, Great Civil War, iii. 473–5). For a time he left the headquarters and retired to Windsor, where he is said to have busied himself in drawing up the army remonstrance of 16 Nov. 1648 (reprinted in Old Parl. Hist. xviii. 161). All obstacles to agreement among the officers of the army were removed by the king's rejection of their last overtures. ‘It hath pleased God,’ wrote Ireton to Colonel Hammond, ‘to dispose the hearts of your friends in the army as one man … to interpose in this treaty, yet in such wise both for matter and manner as we believe will not only refresh the bowels of the saints, but be of satisfaction to every honest member of parliament.’ He conjured Hammond, in the national interest, to prevent the king from escaping, and endeavoured to convince him that he ought to obey the army rather than the parliament (Birch, Letters to Hammond, pp. 87, 97). In conjunction with Ludlow he arranged the exclusion of obnoxious members known as ‘Pride's Purge’ ( Memoirs, p. 104). In conjunction with Cromwell he gave directions for bringing the king from Hurst Castle; he sat regularly in the high court of justice, and signed the warrant for the king's execution (Nalson, Trial of Charles I, 1684).

During December 1648 the council of the army was again busy considering a scheme for the settlement of the kingdom, which resulted in the ‘Agreement of the People’ presented to the House of Commons on 20 Jan. 1649 ( Old Parl. Hist. xviii. 516). The first sketch of the ‘Agreement’ was not Ireton's, but by the time it left the council of war it had been revised and amended till it substantially represented his views. While a section in the council held that the magistrate had no right to interfere with any man's religion, Ireton claimed for him a certain power of restraint and punishment. Lilburne complains that Ireton ‘showed himself an absolute king, against whose will no man must dispute’ ( Legal Fundamental Liberties, 1649, 2nd ed. p. 35). Outside the council of war his influence was limited. The levellers hated him as much as they did Cromwell, and denounced both in the ‘Hunting of the Foxes by five small Beagles’ (24 March 1649) and in Lilburne's ‘Impeachment of High Treason against Oliver Cromwell and his son-in-law, Henry Ireton’ (10 Aug. 1649). With the parliament he was, as the chief author of the ‘Agreement,’ far from popular, and though he was added by them to the Derby House Committee (6 Jan. 1649) they refused to elect him to the council of state (10 Feb. 1649).

On 15 June 1649 Ireton was selected to accompany Cromwell to Ireland as second in command, and set sail from Milford Haven on 15 Aug. His division was originally intended to effect a landing in Munster, but the design was abandoned, and he disembarked at Dublin about the end of the month ( Commons' Journals, vi. 234; Murphy, Cromwell in Ireland, p. 74). During Cromwell's illness in November 1649, Ireton and Michael Jones commanded an expedition which captured Inistioge and Carrick, and in February 1650 he took Ardfinnan Castle on the Suir (Carlyle, Cromwell's Letters, cxvi. cxix.). On 4 Jan. 1650 the parliament appointed him president of Munster ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, pp. 476, 502; Commons' Journals, vi. 343). When Cromwell was recalled to England he appointed Ireton to act as his deputy (29 May 1650). Parliament approved the choice (2 July), and appointed Ludlow and three other commissioners to assist Cromwell in the settlement of Ireland ( ib. vi. 343, 479). All Connaught, the greater part of Munster, and part of Ulster still remained to be conquered. Ireton began by summoning Carlow (2 July 1650), which surrendered on 24 July. Waterford capitulated on 6 Aug. and Duncannon on 17 Aug. Half Athlone was taken (September) and Limerick was summoned (6 Oct.), but as the season was too late for a siege it was merely blockaded. Ireton's army went into winter quarters at Kilkenny in the beginning of November (Gilbert, Aphorismical Discovery, iii. 218–25; Borlase, Hist. of the Irish Rebellion, ed. 1743, App. pp. 22–46). The campaign of 1651 opened late. On 2 June Ireton forced the passage of the Shannon at Killaloe, and the next day came before Limerick, which did not capitulate till Oct. 27. In announcing the fall of Limerick he congratulated the parliament that the city had not accepted the conditions tendered it at the beginning of the siege. This obstinacy, he said, had served to the greater advantage of the parliament ‘in point of freedom for prosecution of justice—one of the great ends and best grounds of the war;’ and also ‘in point of safety to the English planters, and the settling and securing of the Commonwealth's interest in this nation’ (Gilbert, iii. 265). Twenty-four persons were excepted from mercy, some on account of their influence in prolonging the resistance, others as ‘original incendiaries of the rebellion, or prime engagers therein’ ( ib. p. 267). Seven of the excepted were immediately hanged, and others reserved for future trial by civil or military courts. Ireton's severity, however, was not indiscriminate. His ‘noble care’ of Hugh O'Neill, the governor of Limerick, is praised by the author of the ‘Aphorismical Discovery’ (iii. 21). He cashiered Colonel Tothill for breaking a promise of quarter made to certain Irish prisoners, and executed two other officers for ‘the killing one Murphy, an Irishman’ (Borlase, App. p. 34; Several Proceedings in Parliament, 31 July–7 Aug. 1651). The distinction he drew between the different classes among his opponents is clearly set forth in his letter of summons to Galway (7 Nov. 1651; Mercurius Politicus, p. 1401). Ireton's policy as to the settlement of Ireland was a continuation of Cromwell's. He regarded the replantation of the country with English colonists as the only means of permanently securing its dependence on England. He ordered the inhabitants of Limerick and Waterford to leave those towns with their families and goods within a period of from three to six months, on the ground that their obstinate adherence to the rebellion and the principles of their religion rendered it impossible to trust them to remain in places of such strength and importance. He promised, however, to show favour to any who had taken no share in the massacres with which the rebellion began, and to make special provision for the support of the helpless and aged (Borlase, p. 345). Toleration of any kind he refused, believing that the catholics were a danger to the state, and that they claimed not merely existence but supremacy. He forbade all officers and soldiers under his command to marry catholic Irishwomen who could not satisfactorily prove the sincerity of their conversion to protestantism (1 May 1651; Several Proceedings in Parliament, p. 1458; Ludlow, Memoirs, p. 145).

In the civil government of Ireland and in the execution of his military duties Ireton's industry was indefatigable. Chief-justice Cooke describes him ‘as seldom thinking it time to eat till he had done the work of the day at nine or ten at night,’ and then willing to sit up ‘as long as any man had business with him.’ ‘He was so diligent in the public service,’ says Ludlow, ‘and so careless of everything that belonged to himself, that he never regarded what clothes or food he used, what hour he went to rest, or what horse he mounted’ ( ib. p. 143). Immoderate labours and neglect of his own health produced their natural result, and after the capture of Limerick Ireton caught the prevailing fever, and died on 26 Nov. 1651. On 9 Dec. parliament ordered him a funeral at the public expense ( Commons' Journals, vii. 115). His body was brought to Bristol, and conveyed to London, where it lay in state at Somerset House, and was interred on 6 Feb. 1652 in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey (Chester, Westminster Abbey Registers, p. 522; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651–2, pp. 66, 276). His funeral sermon was preached by John Owen, and published under the title of ‘The Labouring Saint's Dismission to his Rest’ (Orme, Life of Owen, p. 139). An elegy on his death is appended to Thomas Manley's ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici’ (12mo, 1652). A magnificent monument was erected with a fervid epitaph, which is printed in Crull's ‘Antiquities of Westminster’ (ed. 1722, ii. App. p. 21). ‘If Ireton could have foreseen what would have been done by them,’ writes Ludlow, ‘he would certainly have made it his desire that his body might have found a grave where his soul left it, so much did he despise those pompous and expensive vanities, having erected for himself a more glorious monument in the hearts of good men by his affection to his country, his abilities of mind, his impartial justice, his diligence in the public service, and his other virtues, which were a far greater honour to his memory than a dormitory amongst the ashes of kings' ( Memoirs, p. 148). On 4 Dec. 1660 The House of Commons ordered the 'carcasses' of Cromwell, Ireton, Bradshaw, and Pride to be taken up, drawn on a hurdle to Tyburn there to be hanged up in their coffins for some time, and after that buried under the gallows ( Commons' Journals, viii. 197). This sentence was carried into effect on 26-30 Jan. 1661 [see Cromwell, Oliver].

The royalist conception of Ireton's character is given by Sir Philip Warwick ( Memoirs, p. 354) and by Clarendon ( Rebellion, xiii. 175). The latter describes him as a man 'of a melancholic, reserved, dark nature, who communicated his thoughts to very few, so that for the most part he resolved alone, but was never diverted from any resolution he had taken, and he was thought often by his obstinacy to prevail over Cromwell, and to extort his concurrence contrary to his own inclinations. But that proceeded only from his dissembling less, for he was never reserved in the communicating his worst and most barbarous purposes, which the other always concealed and disavowed.' According to Ludlow, Ireton was in the last years of his life 'entirely freed from his former manner of adhering to his own opinion,' which had been observed to be his greatest infirmity' ( Memoirs, p. 144). Ludlow's panegyric on the lord deputy expresses the general opinion of his companions in arms. 'We that knew him,' wrote Hewson, 'can and must say truly we know no man like-minded, most seeking their own things, few so singly mind the things of Jesus Christ, of public concernment, of the interest of the precious sons of Zion' ( Several Proceedings in Parliament, 4-11 Dec. 1651). John Cooke describes Ireton's character at length in the preface to 'Monarchy no Creature of God's making' (12mo, 1652), dwelling on his industry, self-denial, love of Justice, godliness, and extraordinary learning. Ireton's disinterestedness was undoubted. On the news that parliament had voted him a reward of 2,000 l. a year he said 'that they had many just debts, which he desired they would pay before they made any such presents; that he had no need of their land, and therefore would not have it, and that he should be more contented to see them doing the service of the nation than so liberal in disposing of the public treasure.' 'And truly,' adds Ludlow, 'I believe he was in earnest' ( Memoirs, p. 143; Commons' Journals, vii. 15). This disinterestedness, combined with the rigid republicanism attributed to Ireton, led to the belief that he would have opposed Cromwell's usurpation, and made him the favourite hero of the republican party (Clarendon, Rebellion, xiii. 175; Life of Col. Hutchinsoh, ii. 185). Portraits of Ireton and his wife by Robert Walker, in the possession of Mr. Charles Polhill, were numbers 785 and 789 in the National Portrait Exhibition of 1866. Engraving are given in Houbraken's 'Illustrious Heads,' and Vandergucht's illustrations to Clarendon's 'Rebellion.' A royalist newspaper, in a pretended hue and cry after Ireton, thus describes his person: ' A tall, black thief with bushy curled hair, a meagre envious face, sunk hollow eyes, a complection between choler and melancholy, a four-square Machiavellian head, and a nose of the fifteens' ( The Man in the Moon, 1-15 Aug. 1649).

Ireton's widow, Bridget Cromwell, married in 1652 General Charles Fleetwood [q. v.], and died in 1662. By her Ireton left one son and three daughters: (l) Henry, married Katharine, daughter of Henry Powle, speaker of the House of Commons in 1689, became lienteuant-colonel of dragoons and gentleman of the horse to William III. He left no issue; (2) Elizabeth, born about 1647, married in 1674 Thomas Polhill Otford, Kent; (3) Jane, born about 1648, married in 1668 Richard Lloyd of London; (4) Bridget, born about 1650, married in 1669 Thomas Bendish (Noble, House of Cromwell, ed. 1787;. ii. 324-46; Waylen, House of Cromwell, 1880, pp. 58, 72; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. vi. 391, and art. supra Bendish, Bridget).

John Ireton (1615-1689), brother of the general, was lord mayor of London in 1658, and was knighted by Cromwell. After the Restoration he was excepted from the Act of Indemnity, and for a time imprisoned in the Tower. In 1662 he was transported to Scilly, was released later, and imprisoned again in 1685 (Noble, i, 445; Cat. State Papers, Dom. 1661-2, p. 460). Another brother, Thomas Ireton, captain in Colonel Rich's regiment in 1645, was seriously wounded at the storming of Bristol (Sprigge, pp. 121, 131).

[Lives of Ireton are contained in Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ad. Bliss, iii. 298; Noble's House of Cromwell, ed. 1787. ii. 319; and Cornelius Brown's Worthies of Notts, 1882, p. 181. The fullest biography is that appended to the Trial of Charles I and of some of the regicides, vol. xxxi. of Murray's Family Library, 1832. Letters by Ireton are printed in Cary's Memorials of the Civil War, 1842; Birch's Letters to Colonel Robert Hammond, 1764; and Nicholls's Original Letters and Papers addressed to Oliver Cromwell, 1743. Borlase's History of the Irish Rebellion, ed. 1743, has a valuable supplement, containing a number of Ireton's letters derived from the papers of his secretary, Mr. Cliffe. For other authorities on his services in Ireland see the bibliography of the article on Oliver Cromwell. The Clarke Papers, published by the Camden Society (vol. i. 1891), throw much light on Ireton's career, and contain reports of his speeches in the council of the army. The Memoirs of Ludlow and the Life of Colonel Hutchinson are of special value for Ireton's Life.]



John Lilburne (1614?–1657)


See some pamphlets by John Lilburne.

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, "Lilburne, John," Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), vol. 33, pp. 243-50.,_1885-1900/Lilburne,_John

LILBURNE, JOHN (1614?–1657), political agitator, was the son of Richard Lilburne ( d. 1667) of Thickley Puncherdon, Durham, by Margaret, daughter of Thomas Hixon, yeoman of the wardrobe to Queen Elizabeth ( Visitation of Durham, 1615, p. 31; Foster, Durham Pedigrees, p. 215). His father signalised himself as one of the last persons to demand trial by battle in a civil suit (Rushworth, vii. 469). Robert Lilburne [q. v.] was his elder brother. A younger brother, Henry, served in Manchester's army, was in 1647 lieutenant-colonel in Robert Lilburne's regiment, declared for the king in August 1648, and was killed at the recapture of Tynemouth Castle of which be was governor (Rushworth, vii. 1226; Clarke Papers,i. 142,368,419; Carlyle Cromwell, Letter xxxix.) A cousin, Thomas, son of George Lilburne of Sunderland, was a staunch Cromwellian while the Protector lived, but in 1660 assisted Lord Fairfax against Lambert, and thus forwarded the Restoration (Thurloe, vii, 411,436; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659-60 p. 294, 1663-4 p. 445; Le Neve, Monumenta Anglieana, ii, 108).

Lilburne was born at Greenwich ( Innocency and Truth Justified, 1645, p. 8). At the close of a letter appended to that pamphlet and dated 11 Nov. 1638, he describes himself as then in his twenty-second year; in the portrait prefixed to another he is described as twenty-three in 1641 ( An Answer to Nine Arguments written by T. B., 1645). The 'Visitation' appears to prove that in each case his age was understated. He was educated at Newcastle and Auckland schools, and then apprenticed by his father to Thomas Hewson, a wholesale cloth merchant in London, with whom he remained from about 1630 to 1636 ( The Legal Fundamental Liberties of the People of England, 1649, 2nd edit., p. 25; Innocency and Truth Justified, p.8). In his spare time he read Foxe's 'Book of Martyrs' and the Puritan divines, and about 1636 became acquainted with John Bastwick, then a prisoner in the Gatehouse. Lilburne'a connection with Bastwick, whose 'Litany' he had a hand in printing, obliged him to fly to Holland. The story that he was Prynne's servant seems to be untrue (Bastwick, Just Defence; Prynne, Liar Confounded, 1646, p. 2; Lilburne, Innocency and Truth, p. 7). On his return from Holland, Lilburne was arrested (11 Dec. 1637) and brought before the Star Chamber on the charge of printing and circulating unlicensed books, more especially Prynne's 'News from Ipswich.' In his examinations he refused to take the oath known as the 'ex-officio' oath—on the ground that he was not bound to criminate himself, and thus called in question the court's usual procedure (see Gardiner, History of England, viii. 248; Stephens, History of the Criminal Law , i. 343). As he persisted in his contumacy, he was sentenced (13 Feb. 1638) to be fined 500 l ., whipped, pilloried, and imprisoned till he obeyed (Rushworth, ii. 463-6; State Trials , iii. 1315-67). On 18 April 1638 Lilburne was whipped from the Fleet to Palace Yard. When he was pilloried he made a speech denouncing the bishops, threw some of Bastwick's tracts among the crowd, and, as he refused to be silent, was finally gagged. During his imprisonment he was treated with great barbarity (Lilburne, The Christian Man's Trial , 1641; A Copy of a Letter written by John Lilburne to the Wardens of the Fleet , 4 Oct. 1640; A True Relation of the Material Passage of Lieutenant-Colonel John Lilburne's as they were proved before the House of Peers , 13 Feb. 1645; State Trials, iii. 1315). He contrived, however, to write and to get printed an apology for separation from the church of England, entitled 'Come out of her, my people' (1639), and an account of his own punishment styled 'The Work of the Beast' (1638).

As soon as the Long parliament met, a petition from Lilburne was presented by Cromwell, and referred to a committee ( Commons' Journals, ii. 24; Memoirs of Sir Philip Warwick, p. 247). On 4 May 1641 the Commons voted that Lilburne's sentence was 'illegal and against the liberties of the subject,' and also 'bloody, wicked, cruel, barbarous, and tyrannical ( ib. ii. 134). The same day Lilburne, who had been released at the beginning of the parliament, brought before the House of Lords for speaking words against the king, but as the witnesses disagreed the charge was dismissed ( Lords' Journals, iv. 233).

When the civil war broke out, Lilburne, who had in the meantime taken to brewing, obtained a captain's commission in Lord Brooke's foot regiment, fought at the battle of Edgehill, and was taken prisoner in the fight at Brentford (12 Nov. 1642; Innocency and Truth Justified, pp. 41, 65). He was then put on his trial at Oxford for high treason in bearing arms against the king, before Chief-justice Heath. Had not parliament, by a declaration of 17 Dec. 1642, threatened immediate reprisals, Lilburne would have been condemned to death (Rushworth, v. 93; A Letter sent from Captain Lilburne, 1643; The Trial of Lieutenant-Colonel John Lilburne, 24-36 Oct. 1619, by Theodorus Varax, pp. 33-9). In the course of 1643 Lilburne obtained his liberty by exchange. Essex gave him 300 l. by way of recognition of his undaunted conduct at his trial, and he says that he was offered a place of profit and honour, but preferred to fight, though it were for eight pence a day, till he saw the peace and liberty of England settled ( Legal Fundamental Liberties, p. 27). Joining Manchester's army at the siege of Lincoln, he took part as a volunteer in its capture, and on 7 Oct. 1643 was given a major's commission in Colonel King's regiment of foot. On 16 May 1644 he was transferred to Manchester's own dragoons with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He left the army on 30 April 1645), finding that he could not enter the new model without taking the covenant.

Lilburne had gained a great reputation for courage and seems to have been a good officer, but his military career was unlucky. He spent about six months in prison at Oxford, was plundered of all he had at Rupert's relief of Newark (22 March 1644), was shot through the arm at the taking of Walton Hall, near Wakefield (3 June 1644), and received very little pay. His arrears when he left the service amounted to 880 l. ( Innocency and Truth Justified, pp. 25, 43, 46, 69; The Resolved Man's Resolution, p. 32). He also succeeded in quarrelling, first with Colonel King and then with the Earl of Manchester, both of whom he regarded as lukewarm, incapable, and treacherous. He did his beet to get King cashiered, and was one of the authors of the charge of high treason against him, which was presented to the House of Commons by some of the committee of Lincoln in August 1644 ( Innocency and Truth, p.43; England's Birthright 1645, p. 17, The Just Man's Justification ). The dispute with Manchester was due to Lilburne's summoning and capturing Tickhill Castle against Manchester's orders, and Lilburne was one of Cromwell's witnesses in his charge against Manchester ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644- 1645, p. 146; England's Birthright, p. 17; Legal Fundamental Liberties, p. 30).

Besides these feuds Lilburne soon engaged in a quarrel with two of his quondam fellow sufferers. On 7 Jan. 1645 be addressed a letter to Prynne, attacking the intolerance of the presbyterians, and claiming freedom of conscience and freedom of speech for the independents ( A Copy of a Letter to William Prynne upon his last book entitled 'Truth Triumphing over Error,' etc., 1645), Prynne, bitterly incensed, procured a vote of the Commons summoning Lilburne before the committee for examinations (17 Jan. 1645), When he appeared (17 May 1645) the committee discharged him with a caution ( Innocency and Truth Justified, p. 9; The Reasons of Lieutenant-Colonel Lilburne sending his Letter to Mr. Prynne, 1645). A second time (18 June 1645) Prynne caused Lilburne to be brought before the same committee, on a charge of publishing unlicensed pamphlets, but he was again dismissed unpunished. Prynne vented his malice in two pamphlets: 'A Fresh Discovery of prodigious Wandering: Stars and Firebrands, and 'The Liar Confounded,' to which Lilburne replied in 'Innocency and Truth Justified' (1645), Dr. Bastwick took a minor part in the same controversy.

Meanwhile Lilburne was ineffectually endeavouring to obtain from the House of Commons the promised compensation for his sufferings. He procured from Cromwell a letter recommending his case to the house. His attendance, wrote Cromwell, had kept him from other employment, and 'his former losses and late services (which have been very chargeable) considered, he doth find it a hard thing in these times for himself and his family to subsist' ( Innocency and Truth Justified, p. 63). Lilburne hoped also to attract the notice of parliament by giving them a narrative of the victory of Langport, which he had witnessed during his visit to Cromwell ( A more full Relation of the Battle fought between Sir T. Fairfax and Goring made in the House of Commons, 14 July 1645).

But all chance of obtaining what he asked was entirely destroyed by a new indiscretion. On 19 July he was overheard relating in conversation certain scandalous charges against Speaker Lenthall [see Lenthall, William]. King and Bastwick reported the matter to the Commons, who immediately ordered Lilburne's arrest ( Commons' Journals, iv. 213). Brought before the committee for examinations, Lilburne refused to answer the questions put to him unless the cause of his arrest were specified, saying that their procedure was contrary to Magna Charta and the privileges of a freeborn denizen of England ( Innocency and Truth, p. 13; The Liar Confounded, p. 7). In spite of his imprisonment Lilburne contrived to print an account of his examination and arrest, in which he attacked not only several members by name, but the authority of the Commons house itself ( The Copy of a Letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Lilburne to a friend, 1645). The committee in consequence sent him to Newgate (9 Aug.), and the house ordered that the Recorder of London should proceed against him in quarter sessions. The charge against the speaker was investigated, and voted groundless, but no further proceedings were taken against Lilburne, and he was released on 14 Oct. 1645 ( Commons' Journals, iv. 235, 237, 274, 307; Godwin, History of the Commonwealth, ii. 21).

Lilburne was for a short time comparatively quiet. He presented a petition to the Commons for his arrears, but, as he refused to swear to his accounts, could not obtain his pay. His case against the Star-chamber was pleaded before the Lords by Bradshaw, and that house transmitted to the Commons an ordinance granting him 2,000 l. in compensation for his sufferings ( A True Relation of the Material Passages of Lieutenant-Colonel John Lilburne's Sufferings, as they were represented before the House of Peers, 13 Feb. 1645–6; Lords' Journals, viii. 201). But the ordinance hung fire in the Commons, and in the meantime Prynne and the committee of accounts alleged that Lilburne owed the state 2,000 l., and Colonel King claimed 2,000 l. damages for slander. In this dilemma Lilburne wrote and printed (6 June 1647) a letter to Judge Reeve, before whom King's claim was to be tried, explaining his embarrassments and asserting the justice of his cause ( The Just Man's Justification, 4to, 1646). Incidentally he reflected on the Earl of Manchester, observing that if Cromwell had prosecuted his charge properly Manchester would have lost his head. Lilburne was at once summoned before the House of Lords, Manchester himself, as speaker, occupying the chair, but he refused to answer questions or acknowledge the jurisdiction of the peers (16 June). They committed him to Newgate, but he continued to defy them. To avoid obedience to their summons he barricaded himself in his cell, refused to kneel or to take off his hat, and stopped his ears when the charge against him was read. The lords sentenced him to be fined 4,000 l., to be imprisoned for seven years in the Tower, and to be declared for ever incapable of holding any office, civil or military ( Lords' Journals, viii. 370, 388, 428–32; The Freeman's Freedom vindicated; A Letter sent by Lieutenant-Colonel John Lilburne to Mr. Wollaston, keeper of Newgate; The Just Man in Bonds; A Pearl in a Dunghill, 4to, 1646).

On 16 June Lilburne had appealed to the Commons as the only lawful judges of 'a commoner of England,' or 'freeborn Englishman.' On 3 July accordingly the house appointed a committee to consider his case, before which Lilburne appeared on 31 Oct. and 6 Nov., but the business presented so many legal and political difficulties, that their report was delayed ( Anatomy of the Lords' Tyranny … exercised upon John Lilburne ). Lilburne looked beyond the House of Commons, and appealed to the people in a series of pamphlets written by himself, his friend Richard Overton [q. v.], and others ( A Remonstrance of Many Thousand Citizens; Vox Plebis; An Alarum to the House of Lords ). He found time also to attack abuses in the election of the city magistrates, to publish a bitter attack on monarchy, and to quarrel with his gaolers about the exorbitant fees demanded of prisoners in the Tower ( London's Liberty in Chains Discovered, 1646; Regal Tyranny Discovered, 1647; The Oppressed Man's Oppressions Declared, 1647). In the last-named he abused the Commons for delaying his release, and was therefore called before the committee for scandalous pamphlets (8 Feb. 1647). His attitude is shown in the title of a tract published on 30 April 1647: 'The Resolved Man's Resolution to maintain with the last drop of his heart's blood his civil liberties and freedom.' Despairing of help from the House of Commons, Lilburne now appealed to Cromwell and the army ( Rash Oaths Unwarrantable; Jonah's Cry out of the Whale's Belly ). The agitators took up his case and demanded Lilburne's release as one of the conditions of the settlement between the army and parliament ( Clarke Papers, i. 171). When the army marched through London and Fairfax was made lieutenant of the Tower, Lilburne's expectations of immediate release were again disappointed. Though the committee at last reported (14 Sept.), the Commons referred the report back to it again, and appointed a new committee specially to consider the legal questions involved (15 Oct.). Lilburne was allowed to argue his case before the committee (20 Oct.), and on 9 Nov. the Commons ordered that he should have liberty from day to day to come abroad, to attend the committee and to instruct his counsel, without a keeper ( The Grand Plea of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne; The Additional Plea; Commons' Journals, v. 301, 334). Before his release Lilburne offered, if he could obtain a reasonable proportion of justice from the parliament, to leave the kingdom and not to return as long as the present troubles lasted ( Additional Plea; Commons' Journals, v. 326; Tanner MSS. lviii. 549). But ever since June his suspicions of Cromwell had been increasing, and he now regarded him as a treacherous and self-seeking intriguer. The negotiations of the army leaders with the king, and the suggestions of royalist fellow-prisoners in the Tower, led him to credit the story that Cromwell had sold himself to the king ( Jonah's Cry; Two Letters by Lilburne to Colonel Henry Marten; The Jugglers Discovered, 1647). Cromwell's breach with the king, in November 1647, which Lilburne attributed solely to the fear of assassination, did not remove these suspicions, and the simultaneous suppression of the levelling party in the army seemed conclusive proof of Cromwell's tyrannical designs. Regardless of his late protestations, Lilburne, in conjunction with Wildman, with the 'agents' representing the mutinous part of the army, and with the commissioners of the levellers of London and the adjacent counties, drew up a petition to the commons, as 'the supreme authority of England,' demanding the abolition of the House of Lords and the immediate concession of a number of constitutional and legal changes. Emissaries were sent out to procure signatures, and mass meetings of petitioners arranged. Information of these proceedings was given to the House of Lords on 17 Jan. 1648, and on their complaint the House of Commons summoned Lilburne to the bar (19 Jan.), and after hearing his lengthy vindication committed him again to the Tower ( Lords' Journals, ix. 663–666; Commons' Journals, v. 436–8; Truth's Triumph, by John Wildman; The Triumph Stained, by George Masterson; A Whip for the present House of Lords, by Lilburne, A Declaration of some proceedings of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne and his associates; An Impeachment of High Treason against Oliver Cromwell and Henry Ireton, by Lilburne, 1649). Six months later the presbyterian leaders in the Commons, calling to mind the charge which Lilburne had brought against Cromwell at his last appearance before the house, resolved to set him free. On 27 July Sir John Maynard, one of the eleven members impeached by the army in 1647, set forth his case in a powerful speech. On 1 Aug. the Commons passed a vote for Lilburne's release, and next day the Lords not only followed their example but remitted the fine and sentence of imprisonment which they had imposed two years earlier ( A Speech by Sir John Maynard, 1648; Commons' Journals, v. 657; Lords' Journals, x. 407).

On the day of Lilburne's release Major Huntington laid before the lords his charge against Cromwell. Lilburne states that he was 'earnestly solicited again and again' to join Huntington in impeaching Cromwell, 'and might have had money enough to boot to have done it,' but he was afraid of the consequences of a Scottish victory, and preferred to encourage Cromwell by a promise of support ( Legal Fundamental Liberties, 1649 ed., ii. 32). Nevertheless all Lilburne's actions during the political agitation of the autumn of 1648 were marked by a deep distrust of the army leaders. He refused to take part in the king's trial, and, though holding that he deserved death, thought that he ought to be tried by a jury instead of by a high court of justice. He also feared the consequences of executing the king and abolishing the monarchy before the constitution of the new government had been agreed upon and its powers strictly defined. The constitutional changes demanded by Lilburne and his friends had been set forth in the London petition of 11 Sept. 1648 (Rushworth, vii. 1257), and he next procured the appointment of a committee of sixteen persons—representing the army and the different sections of the republican party—to draw up the scheme of a new constitution. But when the committee had drawn up their scheme, the council of officers insisted on revising and materially altering it. Lilburne, who regarded these changes as a gross breach of faith, published the scheme of the committee (15 Dec.) under the title of 'The Foundations of Freedom, or an Agreement of the People,' and addressed a strong protest to Fairfax ('A Plea for Common Right and Freedom,' 28 Dec. 1648). The council of officers also, on 20 Jan. 1649, presented their revised version of the scheme to parliament, also calling it 'An Agreement of the People' (Gardiner, Great Civil War, iii. 501, 528, 545, 567; Old Parliamentary History, xviii. 516; Legal Fundamental Liberties, pp. 32–42). The difference between the two programmes was considerable, especially with regard to the authority given to the government in religious matters. Moreover, while the officers simply presented the 'Agreement' to parliament for its consideration, Lilburne had intended to circulate it for signature among the people, and to compel parliament to accept it. He now appealed to the discontented part of the army and the London mob, in the hope of forcing the hands of parliament and the council of officers. On 26 Feb. he presented to the parliament a bitter criticism of the 'Agreement' of the officers, following it up (24 March) by a violent attack on the chief officers themselves ( England's New Chains Discovered, pts. i. ii.; answered in 'The Discoverer,' attributed to Frost, the secretary of the council of state). Parliament voted the second part of 'England's New Chains' seditious, and ordered that its authors should be proceeded against (27 March). Lilburne and three friends were brought before the council of state, and after refusing to own its jurisdiction, or answer questions incriminating themselves, were committed to the Tower, 28 March ( The Picture of the Council of State; Commons' Journals, vi. 183; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, p. 57). Immediately a number of petitions in Lilburne's favour were presented—one from London, another from ten thousand well-affected persons in the county of Essex, and a third from a number of women ( Commons' Journals, vi. 178, 189, 200). The leaders of the rising which took place in May 1649 threatened that if a hair of the heads of Lilburne and his friends were touched they would avenge it 'seventy times sevenfold upon their tyrants' (Walker, History of Independency, pt. ii. p. 171). Lilburne, whom it seems to have been utterly impossible to deprive of ink, fanned the excitement by publishing an amended version of his constitutional scheme, a vindication of himself and his fellow-prisoners, a controversial tract about the lawlessness of the present government, and a lengthy attack on the parliament ( An Agreement of the Free People of England, 1 May 1649; A Manifestation from Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne and others, commonly, though unjustly, styled 'Levellers,' 14 April; A Discourse between Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne and Mr. Hugh Peter, upon May 25, 1649; The Legal Fundamental Liberties of the People of England Vindicated, 8 June 1649). None the less on 18 July the house, at Marten's instigation, ordered Lilburne's release on bail on account of the illness of his wife and children ( Commons' Journals, vi. 164). A compromise of some kind seems to have been attempted and failed, and then on 10 Aug. Lilburne published 'An Impeachment of High Treason against Oliver Cromwell and his Son-in-law, Henry Ireton,' combining the accusations he had made against Cromwell in January 1648 with the charges brought by Huntington in August following. Of more practical importance was a tract appealing to the army to avenge the blood of the late mutineers, which Lilburne personally distributed to some of the soldiers quartered in London ( An Outcry of the Young Men and Apprentices of London, addressed to the Private Soldiers of the Army ). Its immediate result was the mutiny of Ingoldsby's regiment at Oxford in September 1649. On 11 Sept. the parliament voted the 'Outcry' seditious, and ordered immediate preparations for Lilburne's long-delayed trial ( The Moderate, 11–18 Sept. 1649; Commons' Journals, vi. 293). Three days later he was examined by Prideaux, the attorney-general, who reported that there was sufficient evidence to convict him ( Strength out of Weakness, or the Final and Absolute Plea of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, p. 314). Lilburne himself offered to refer the matter to a couple of arbitrators, or to emigrate to America provided that the money due to him from the state were first paid ( The Innocent Man's First Proffer, 20 Oct.; The Innocent Man's Second Proffer, 22 Oct.).

His trial at the Guildhall by a special commission of oyer and terminer lasted three days (24–26 Oct.) Lilburne began by refusing to plead, and contesting the authority of the court. He was indicted under two recent acts (14 May 1649, 17 July 1649), declaring what offences should be adjudged treason, and his defence was a denial of the facts alleged against him, and an argument that he was not legally guilty of treason. He carried on a continuous battle with his judges, and appealed throughout to the jury, asserting that they were judges of the law as well as the fact, and that the judges were 'no more but cyphers to pronounce their verdict.' Though Judge Jermyn pronounced this 'a damnable blasphemous heresy,' the jury acquitted Lilburne ( Trial of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne, by Theodorus Varax, 1649; State Trials, iv. 1270–1470; the legal aspects of the trial are discussed in Stephen, History of the Criminal Law, 1883, i. 356, Willis Bund Selections from the Slate Trials, 1879. i. 602, and Inderwick, The Interregnum, 1891, p. 275). Warned by the popular rejoicings, the council of state accepted the verdict, and released Lilburne and his associates (8 Nov. 1649).

So far as politics was concerned, Lilburne for the next two years remained quiet. He was elected on 21 Dec. 1649 a common councilman for the city of London, but on the 26th his election was declared void by parliament, although he had taken the required oath to be faithful to the commonwealth ( Commons' Journal, vi. 338; The Engagement Vindicated and Explained ). No disposition, however, was shown to persecute him. On 22 Dec, 1648 he had obtained an ordinance granting him 3,000 l, in compensation for his sufferings, from the Star-chamber, the money being made payable from the forfeited estates of various royalists in the county of Durham. As this source had proved insufficient, Lilburne, by the aid of Marten and Cromwell, obtained another ordinance (30 July 1650), charging the remainder of the sum on confiscated chapter-lands, and thus became owner of some of the lands of the Durham chapter ( Commons' Journals, i. 441, 447).

Now that his own grievance was redressed, he undertook to redress those of other people. Ever since 1644, when he found himself prevented by the monopoly of the merchant adventurers from embarking in the cloth trade, Lilburne had advocated the release of trade from the restrictions of chartered companies and monopolists ( Innocency and Truth Justified, p. 43; England's Birthright Justified, p. 9). He now took up the case of the soap-makers, and wrote petitions for them demanding the abolition of the excise on soap, and apparently became a soap manufacturer himself ( The Soapmaker' Complaint for the Loss of their Trade, 1650). The tenants of the manor of Epworth hold themselves wronged by enclosures which had taken place under the schemes fur draining Hatfield Chase and the Isle of Axholme. Lilburne took up their cause, assisted by his friend, John Wildman, and headed a riot (19 Oct. 1650), by means of which the commoners sought to obtain possession of the disputed lands. His zeal was not entirely disinterested, as he was to have two thousand acres for himself and Wildman if the claimants succeeded ( The Case of the Tenants of the Manor of Epworth, by John Lilburne, 18 Nov. 1650; Two Petitions from Lincolnshire against the Old Court Levellers; Lilburne Tried and Cast, pp. 83–90; Tomlinson, The Level of Hatfield Chace, pp. 91, 258–76; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1652–3. p. 373). John Morris, alias Poyntz, complained of being swindled out of some properties by potent enemies, with the assistance of John Browne, late clerk to the House of Lords. Lilburne, who had exerted himself on behalf of Morris as far back as 1648. now actively took up his cause again ( A Whip for the Present House of Lords, 27 Feb. 1647–8; The Case of John Morris, alias Poyntz, 29 June 1651).

Much more serious in its consequences was Lilburne's adoption of the quarrel of his uncle, George Lilburne, with Sir Arthur Hesilrige. In 1649, Lilburne had published a violent attack on Hesilrige, whom he accused of obstructing the payment of the money granted him by the parliamentary ordinance of 28 Dec. 1648 ( A Preparative to an Hue and Cry after Sir Arthur Haslerig, 18 Aug, 1649). George Lilburne's quarrel with Hesilrige was caused by a dispute about the possession of certain collieries in Durham—also originally the property of royalist delinquents— from which he had been ejected by Hesilrige in 1649. In 1651 the committee for compounding delinquents' estates had confirmed Hesilrige's decision. John Lilburne intervened with a violent attack on Hesilrige and the committee, terming them 'unjust and unworthy men, fit to be spewed out of all human society, and deserving worse than to be hanged' ( A just Reproof to Haberdashers' Hall, 30 July 165l). He next joined with Josiah Primat—the person from whom George Lilburne asserted that he had bought the collieries—and presented to parliament, on 23 Dec. 1651, a petition repeating and specifying the charges against Hesilrige. Parliament thereupon appointed a committee of fifty members to examine witnesses and documents; who reported on 16 Jan. 1653, that the petition was 'false, malicious, and scandalous.' Lilburne was sentenced to pay a fine of 3,000 l, to the state, and damages of 2,000 l, to Hesilrige, and 500 l. apiece to four members of the committee for compounding. In addition he was sentenced to be banished for life, and an act of parliament for that purpose was passed on 30 Jan. ( Commons' Journals, vii. 55, 71, 78; Calendar of the Proceedings of the Committee for compounding, pp. 1917, 2127, An Anatomy of Lieutenant-colonel J. Lilburne's Spirit, by T. M. 1649; Lieutenant-colonel J. Lilburne Tried and Cast, 1653; A True Narrative concerning Sir A. Hesilrige's possessing of Lieutenant-colonel J. Lilburne's estate, 1653).

Lilburne spent his exile in the Netherlands at Bruges and elsewhere, where he published a vindication of himself, and an attack on the government ( Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne's Apologetical Narrative, relating to his illegal and unjust sentence, Amsterdam, April 1652 printed in Dutch and English; As you were, May 1652). In his hostility to the army leaders Lilburne had often contrasted the present governors unfavourably with Charles I. Now he frequented the society of cavaliers of note, such Lords Hopton, Colepeper, and Percy. If he were furnished with ten thousand pounds, he undertook to overthrow Cromwell, the parliament, and the council of state, within six months. 'I know not.' he was heard to say, 'why I should not vye with Cromwell, since I had once as great a power as he had, and greater too, and am as good a gentleman.' But with the exception of the Duke of Buckingham, non of the royalists placed any confidence in him. ( Several informations taken concerning Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne, concerning his apostacy to the party of Charles Stuart, 1653; Malice detected in printing certain Information, etc.; Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne received ; Cal. Clarendon Papers , ii. 141, 146, 213). The news of the expulsion of the Rump in April 1653 excited Lilburne's hopes of returning to England. Counting on Cromwell's placable disposition, he boldly applied to him for a pass to return to England, and, when it was not granted, came over without one (14 June). The government at once arrested him, and lodged him in Newgate, whence he continued to importune Cromwell for his protection, and to promise to live quietly if he might stay in England ( A Defensive Deceleration of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne, 22 June 1653; Mercurius Politicus, pp. 2515, 2525, 2529; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1652-3, pp. 410, 415, 436). His trial began at the Old Bailey on 13 July, and concluded with his aquittal on 20 Aug. As usual Lilburne contested every step with the greatest pertinacity. 'He performed the great feat which no one else ever achieved, of extorting from the court a copy of his indictment, in order that he might put it before counsel, and be instructed as to the objections he might take against it' (Stephen, History of the Criminal Law , i. 367; State Trials , v. 407-460, reprints Lilburne's own account of the trial, and his legal pleas; see also Godwin, iii. 554). Throughout the trial popular Sympathy was on his side. Petitions on his behalf were presented to parliament, so strongly worded that the petitioners were committed to prison. Crowds flocked to see him tried; threats of a rescue were freely uttered; and tickets were circulated with the legend:

And what, shall then honest John Lilburne die?
Three-score thousand will know the reason why.

The government filled London with troops, but in spite of their officers, the soldiers shouted and sounded their trumpets when they heard that Lilburne was acquitted ( Commons' Journals, vii. 285, 294 ; Thurloe Papers, i. 367,429, 435, 441; Clarendon, Rebellion, xiv. 52; Cal. Clarendon Papers, ii. 237, 246). The government, however, declined to leave Lilburne at large. T0.0he jurymen were summoned before the council of state, and the council of state was ordered to secure Lilburne. On 28 Aug. he was transferred from Newgate to the Tower, and the lieutenant of the Tower was instructed by parliament to refuse obedience to any writ of Habeas Corpus ( Commons' Journals, vii. 306, 309, 358; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1653-4, pp. 98-102; A Hue and Cry after the Fundamental Laws and Liberties of England ). Consequently Lilburne's attempt to obtain such a writ failed ( Clavis Aperiendum Carceris, by P. V., 1654). On l6 March 1654, the council ordered that he should be removed to Mount Orgueil Castle, Jersey; and he was subsequently transferred to Elizabeth Castle, Guernsey. Colonel Robert Gibbon, the governor, complained that he gave more trouble than ten cavaliers. The Protector offered Lilburne his liberty if he would engage not to act against the government, but he answered that he would own no way for his liberty but the way of the law ( Cal. Sate Papers, Dom. 1654, pp. 33,46; Thurloe Papers, iii. 512, 629). Lilburne's health suffered from his confinement, and in 1654 his death was reported and described ( The Last Will and Testament of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne ). His wife and father petitioned for his release, and in Oct. 1655 he was brought back to England and lodged in Dover Castle ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1655, pp. 263, 556), Immediately after his return, he declared himself a convert to the tenets of the Quakers, and announced his conversion in a letter to his wife. General Fleetwood showed a copy of this letter to the Protector, who was at first inclined to regard it merely as a politic device to escape imprisonment. When Cromwell was convinced that Lilburne really intended to live peaceably, he released him from prison, and seems to have continued till his death the pension of 40's'. a week allowed him for his maintenance during his imprisonment ( The Resurrection of John Lilburne, now a prisoner in Dover Castle , 1656 Cal. Stat Papers , Dom. 1656-7, p.21). He died at Eltham 29 Aug. 1657, and was buried at Moorfields, 'in the new churchyard adjoining to Bedlam' ( Mercurius Politictus, 27 Aug.-3 Sept, 1657).

Lilburne married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Dewell. During his imprisonment in 1649 he lost two sons, but a daughter and other children survived him ( Biographia Britannica, p. 2957; Thurloe, iii. 512). On 21 Jan. 1659 Elizabeth Lilburne petitioned Richard Cromwell for the discharge of the fine imposed on her husband by the act of 30 Jan. 1652, and her request was granted. Parliament on a similar petition recommended the repealing of the act, and the recommendation was carried by the restored Long parliament, 15 Aug. 1659 ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1658-9, p. 260; Commons' Journals, vii. 600, 608, 760).

Lilburne's political importance is easy to explain. In a revolution where others argued about the respective rights of thing and parliament, he spoke always of the rights of the people. His dauntless courage and his powers of speech made him the idol of the mob. With Coke's 'Institutes' in his hand he was willing to tackle any tribunal. He was ready to assail any abuse at any cost to himself, but his passionate egotism made him a dangerous champion, and he continually sacrificed public causes to personal resentments. It would be unjust to deny that he had a real sympathy with sufferers from oppression or misfortune; even when he was himself an exile he could interest himself in the distresses of English prisoners of war, and exert the remains of his influence to get them relieved ( Letter to Henry Marten, 8 Sept. 1652, MSS of Captain Loder-Symonds, but cf. The Upright Man's Vindication, 1 Aug. 1653; Lieut.-col. John Lilburne Tried and Cast ). In his controversies he was credulous, careless about the truth of his charges, and insatiably vindictive. He attacked in turn all constituted authorities—lords, commons, council of state, and council of officers—and quarrelled in succession with every ally. A life of Lilburne published in 1657 supplies this epitaph:

Is John departed, and is Lilburne gone!
Farewell to Lilburne, and farewell to John...
But lay John here, lay Lilburne here about,
For if they ever meet they will fall out.

A similar saying is attributed by Anthony Wood to 'magnanimous Judge Jenkins.'

There are the following contemporary portraits of Lilburne; (1) an oval, by G. Glover, prefixed to 'The Christian Man's Trial.' 1641. (2) the same portrait republished in 1646, with prison bars across the face to represent Lilburne's imprisonment. (3) a full length representing Lilburne' pleading at the bar with Coke's 'Institutes' in his hand; prefixed to 'The Trial of Lieut.-col. John Lilburne, by Theodorus Varax,' 1649.

[A bibliographical list of Lilburne's pamphlets compiled by Mr. Edward Peacock, is printed in Notes and Queries for 1898. Most of them contain autobiographical matter. The earliest life of Lilburne is The Self-Afflicter lively Described, 8vo, 1657; the beat is that contained in Biographia Britannica, 1760, v. 2337-61. Other lives are contained in Wood's Athenæ Oxon. and Guizot's Portraits Politiques des Hommes des differents Partis, 1651. Godwin, in his History of the Commonwealth, 1824, traces Lilburne's career with great care. Other authorities are cited in the text.]



Richard Overton (fl. 1646)

See some pamphlets by Richard Overton.

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, "Overton, Richard," Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), vol. 42, pp. 385-87. <,_1885-1900/Overton,_Richard>

OVERTON, RICHARD ( fl. 1646), pamphleteer, was probably a relative of Henry Overton, a printer, who began to publish in 1629, and had in 1642 a shop in Pope's Head Alley, London (Arber, Stationers' Register, iv. 218, 494; Lemon, Catalogue of Broadsides in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries ). Richard Overton probably spent part of his early life in Holland (B. Evans, Early English Baptists, i. 254). He began publishing anonymous attacks on the bishops about the time of the opening of the Long parliament, together with some pungent verse satires, like 'Lambeth Fayre' and 'Articles of High Treason against Cheapside Cross,' 1642.

Overton turned next to theology, and wrote an anonymous tract on 'Man's Mortality,' 4to, 1643. This he described as 'a treatise wherein 'tis proved, both theologically and philosophically, that whole man (as a rational creature) is a compound wholly mortal, contrary to that common distinction of soul and body: and that the present going of the soul into heaven or hell is a mere fiction; and that at the resurrection is the beginning of our immortality, and then actual condemnation and salvation, and not before.' Eccl. iii. 19 is quoted as a motto, and the tract is signed 'R. O.,' and said to be 'printed by John Canne' [q. v.] at Amsterdam. According to Thomason's note in the British Museum copy, it appeared on 19 Jan. 1643–4, and was really printed in London (Masson, Life of Milton, iii. 156). The tract made a great stir, and a small sect arose known as 'soul sleepers,' who adopted Overton's doctrine in a slightly modified form (Pagitt, Heresiography, ed. 1662, p. 231). On 26 Aug. 1644 the House of Commons, on the petition of the Stationers' Company, ordered that the authors, printers, and publishers of the pamphlets against the immortality of the soul and concerning divorce should be diligently inquired for, thus coupling Overton with Milton as the most dangerous of heretics (Masson, iii. 164; Commons' Journals, iii. 606). Daniel Featley [q. v.] in the 'Dippers Dipt' and Thomas Edwards (1599–1647) [q. v.] in 'Gangræna' (i. 26) both denounced the unknown author, the latter asserting that Clement Wrighter [q. v.] 'had a great hand in the book.'

Meanwhile Overton had commenced a violent onslaught against the Westminster assembly, under the pseudonym of 'Martin Marpriest,' who was represented as the son of Martin Marprelate, the antagonist of the Elizabethan bishops. The series of tracts he issued under this name, of which the chief are 'The Arraignment of Mr. Persecution,' 'Martin's Echo,' and 'A Sacred Synodical Decretal,' were published clandestinely in 1646, with fantastic printers' names appended to them. The 'Decretal' is a supposed order of the Westminster assembly for the author's arrest, purporting to be 'printed by Martin Claw-Clergy, printer to the reverend Assembly of Divines, for Bartholomew Bang-priest, and are to be sold at his shop in Toleration Street, at the sign of the Subjects' Liberty, right opposite to Persecuting Court.' Prynne denounced these tracts to the parliament as the quintessence of scurrility and blasphemy, and demanded the punishment of the writer, whom he supposed to be Henry Robinson ( A Fresh Discovery of some Prodigious New Wandering Blazing Stars, 1645, p. 9). Overton's authorship was suspected, but could not be proved ( A Defiance against all Arbitrary Usurpations, 4to, 1646, p. 25). He did not own his responsibility till 1649, when the assembly of divines had come to an end ( A Picture of the Council of State, 4to, 1649, p. 36).

In 1646 Overton, who had been concerned in printing some of Lilburne's pamphlets, took up his case against the lords, and published 'An Alarum to the House of Lords against their Insolent Usurpation of the common Liberties and Rights of this Nation, manifested in their Attempts against Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne,' 4to, 1646. For this he was arrested by order of the house on 11 Aug. 1646, and, refusing to acknowledge their jurisdiction, was committed to Newgate ( Lords' Journals, viii. 457; Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. pp. 46, 130). But, in spite of his confinement, he contrived to publish a narrative of his arrest, entitled 'A Defiance against all Arbitrary Usurpations,' and a still more violent attack on the peers, called 'An Arrow shot from the Prison of Newgate into the Prerogative Bowels of the Arbitrary House of Lords.' His wife Mary and his brother Thomas were also imprisoned for similar offences ( ib. p. 172; Lords' Journals, viii. 645, 648; The Petition of Mary Overton, Prisoner in Bridewell, to the House of Commons, 4to, 1647).

The army took up the cause of Overton and his fellow prisoners, and demanded that they should be either legally tried or released ( Clarke Papers, i. 171; Old Parliamentary History, xvi. 161). He was unconditionally released on 16 Sept. 1647 ( Lords' Journals, ix. 436, 440). This imprisonment did not diminish Overton's democratic zeal. He had a great share in promoting the petition of the London levellers (11 Sept. 1648). He was also one of those who presented to Fairfax on 28 Dec. 1648 the 'Plea for Common Right and Freedom,' a protest against the alterations made by the council of the army in Lilburne's draft of the Agreement of the People. On 28 March 1649 he was arrested, with Lilburne and two other leaders of the levellers, as one of the authors of 'England's new Chains Discovered.' Overton, who refused to acknowledge the authority of the council of state or to answer their questions, was committed to the Tower ( A Picture of the Council of State, 1649, pp. 25–45; Commons' Journals, vi. 174, 183; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, pp. 57–9). In conjunction with his three fellow-prisoners he issued on 1 May 1649 the 'Agreement of the Free People of England,' followed on 14 April by a pamphlet denying the charge that they sought to overthrow property and social order ( A Manifestation from Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne, Mr. Richard Overton, and others, commonly, though unjustly, styled Levellers, 4to, 1649).

On his own account he published on 2 July a 'Defiance' to the government, in the form of a letter addressed 'to the citizens usually meeting at the Whalebone in Lothbury, behind the Royal Exchange,' a place which was the headquarters of the London levellers. The failure of the government to obtain a verdict against Lilburne involved the release of his associates, and on 8 Nov. Overton's liberation was ordered ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, p. 552). The only condition was that he should take the engagement to be faithful to the Commonwealth, which he probably had no hesitation in doing. In September 1654 Overton proposed to turn spy, and offered his services to Thurloe for the discovery of plots against the Protector's government. In the following spring he was implicated in the projected rising of the levellers, and fled to Flanders in company with Lieutenant-colonel Sexby. There, through the agency of Sir Marmaduke (afterwards Lord) Langdale [q. v.], he applied to Charles II, and received a commission from him. Some months later he returned to England, supplied with Spanish money by Sexby, and charged to bring about an insurrection ( Thurloe State Papers, ii. 590, vi. 830–3; Cal. Clarendon Papers, iii. 55; Egerton MS. 2535, f. 396). Overton's later history is obscure. He was again in prison in December 1659, and his arrest was ordered on 22 Oct. 1663, apparently for printing something against the government of Charles II ( Commons' Journals, vii. 800; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1663–4, p. 311).

It is difficult to give a complete list of Overton's works, as many are anonymous. The chief are the following: 1. 'New Lambeth Fair newly Consecrated, wherein all Rome's Relics are set at sale' (a satire in verse), 1642. 2. 'Articles of High Treason exhibited against Cheapside Cross, with the last Will and Testament of the said Cross' (a satire in verse), 1642. 3. 'Man's Mortality,' Amsterdam, 1643; a second and enlarged edition was published in 1655, in 8vo, entitled 'Man wholly Mortal.' 4. 'The Arraignment of Mr. Persecution … by Reverend young Martin Marpriest,' 1645. 5. 'A Sacred Synodical Decretal for the Apprehension of Martin Marpriest,' 1645. 6. 'Martin's Echo; or a Remonstrance from his Holiness, Master Marpriest' [about 1645]. 7. 'An Alarum to the House of Lords,' 1646. 8. 'A Defence against all arbitrary Usurpations, either of the House of Lords or any other,' 1646. 9. 'An Arrow against all Tyrants or Tyranny,' 1646. 10. 'The Commoners' Complaint,' 1646. 11. 'The Outcries of oppressed Commons' (by Lilburne and Overton jointly), 1647. 12. 'An Appeal from the Degenerate Representative Body, the Commons of England, assembled at Westminster, to the … Free People in general, and especially to his Excellency, Sir Thomas Fairfax,' 1647. 13. 'The Copy of a Letter written to the General from Lieutenant-colonel Lilburne and Mr. Overton on behalf of Mr. Lockyer,' 1649. 14. 'A Picture of the Council of State' (by Overton and three others), 1649. 15. 'A Manifestation of Lieutenant-colonel Lilburne and Mr. Overton, etc.,' 1649. 16. 'An Agreement of the Free People of England tendered as a Peace-offering to this distressed Nation, by Lieutenant-colonel Lilburne, Mr. Overton, etc.,' 1649. 17. 'Overton's Defiance of Act of Pardon,' 1649. 18. 'The Baiting of the Great Bull of Bashan,' 1649. There are also a number of petitions addressed by Overton to the two houses of parliament.

[Brit. Mus. Cat.; authorities cited in the article.]



Thomas Rainborow (or Rainborowe, or Rainsborough) ( d. 1648)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, “Rainborow, Thomas” Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 172-73. <,_1885-1900/Rainborow,_Thomas>

RAINBOROW, RAINBOROWE, or RAINSBOROUGH, THOMAS ( d. 1648), soldier, was the son of Captain William Rainborow [q. v.] One sister, Martha, married Governor John Winthrop [q. v.], and Judith, another sister, married Governor Winthrop's fourth son, Col. Stephen Winthrop. A brother William was major in the parliamentary army. Thomas was brought up to the sea. At the outbreak of the civil war he served in the parliamentary fleet, is mentioned as commander of the Swallow, a ship of 34 guns, in 1643, and captured a ship conveying reinforcements to the king (Penn, Memorials of Sir William Penn, i. 66; Commons' Journals, iii. 137). Rainborowe next assisted Lord Fairfax in the defence of Hull, and was taken prisoner in the sally which forced the Marquis of Newcastle to raise the siege. On this occasion he is described as colonel, and he now definitely entered the land service ( ib. iii. 302; Report on the Portland MSS. i. 138). In December 1644 he recaptured Crowland (Vicars, Burning Bush, p. 76). The regiment which he raised in the Earl of Manchester's army was largely officered by returned emigrants from New England (Winthrop, History of New England, ii. 300). At the formation of the new model army Rainborowe was given the command of a regiment. On 1 June 1645 he captured Gaunt House, near Oxford. He fought at Naseby and at the sieges of Bridgwater, Sherborne, and Bristol; took Nunney Castle on 20 Aug. and Berkeley Castle on 25 Sept. In December 1645 Rainborowe's regiment was sent to blockade Oxford, and on 26 April 1646 Woodstock surrendered to him (Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, pp. 25, 41, 77, 100, 116, 130, 174, 253). Charles attempted to utilise the negotiations for the surrender of Woodstock to treat for his own reception by the army, but Rainborowe refused to meddle, and simply reported the king's proposals to the speaker (Archæologia, xlvi. 18). After the capitulation of Oxford, Rainborowe was charged to besiege Worcester, and was recommended by Fairfax to parliament to be made governor of that city (Sprigge, p. 291; Cary, Memorials of the Civil War, i. 137).

In 1646 Rainborowe entered the House of Commons as member for Droitwich. In May 1647 parliament appointed him to command the forces designed for the recovery of Jersey, but at the end of the month his regiment mutinied and joined the rest of the army in the opposition to disbandment ( ib. i. 221; Commons' Journals, v. 159, 184, 193; Clarke Papers, i. 105). When the army marched on London, Rainborowe commanded the forces which occupied Southwark (Rushworth, vii. 750, 752). In the political discussions held in the council of the army he was the leader of the republican section among the officers, opposed any further negotiations with the king, and advocated manhood suffrage. The ‘honest men of England,’ he argued, had fought for their liberties, and at any risk it was the army's duty to secure them those liberties. ‘It is a poor service,’ he said, ‘to God and the kingdom to take their pay and decline their work’ ( ib. vol. i. pp. lxxiv, 246, 320). At the rendezvous at Ware (15 Nov. 1647) Rainborowe was active in promoting the agreement of the people, and on the complaint of Fairfax was summoned by the commons to answer for his conduct. Two months earlier (27 Sept. 1647) he had been appointed vice-admiral, and ordered to take command at once of the ships appointed for the winter guard; but his political escapades hindered his employment. On 10 Dec. the House of Commons, by 61 to 58 votes, negatived a proposal for his despatch to sea. At the end of the month a general reconciliation took place among the opposing factions in the army. Rainborowe expressed penitence, and promised, according to report, to be henceforth guided by Cromwell and Ireton. At the desire of the council of the army Fairfax urged the commons to send him to sea, and on 24 Dec. the House, by 88 to 66 votes, reversed its former order. The lords still resisted, but the commons overrode their opposition, and on 1 Jan. 1648 Rainborowe proceeded to his command ( Commons' Journals, v. 378, 403; Rushworth, vii. 943; Thurloe Papers, i. 96).

Rainborowe's vice-admiralship lasted only five months. He was accused of being rough and imperious, and he was unpopular as having deserted the sea for the land service. Of his officers many were hostile to him as a nominee of the independents and a reputed adherent of the levellers. On 27 May the squadron lying in the Downs declared for the king, and refused to allow Rainborowe to come on board ( Memorials of Sir William Penn, i. 256; Gardiner, Great Civil War, iv. 135). Parliament appointed the Earl of Warwick lord high admiral, thus practically superseding Rainborowe, and the latter returned again to his employment in the army. He took part in the siege of Colchester under Lord Fairfax: the contemporary map of the siege works shows a fort on the north side of the Colne called ‘Fort Rainsborough’ (ib. iv. 152). He was one of the commissioners who negotiated the capitulation on behalf of Fairfax (Rushworth, vii. 1244). In October 1648 Fairfax despatched Rainborowe to Yorkshire to take command of the siege of Pontefract Castle. The officer whom he superseded, Sir Henry Cholmley, complained bitterly of his supersession, and refused obedience to Rainborowe, who, retiring to Doncaster, left Cholmley to carry on the siege till parliament should determine the dispute. A party of cavaliers from Pontefract made their way through the besiegers and surprised Rainborowe in his quarters at Doncaster. Their object was to carry him off in order to exchange him for Sir Marmaduke Langdale, then a prisoner to the parliament; but he was not the man to surrender without a struggle, and was mortally wounded by his would-be kidnappers on 29 Oct. 1648. Captain Thomas Paulden [q. v.], one of the party, published many years later an account of the exploit (Somers Tracts, ed. Scott, vii. 7); contemporary accounts are collected in Mr. Peacock's ‘Life of Rainborowe’ ( Archæologia, xlvi. 48).

Rainborowe's body was buried at Wapping, and his funeral was marked by a great public demonstration on the part of the levellers. Many elegies were printed demanding vengeance on the royalists for his death ( The Moderate, 7–14 Nov. 1648; A New Elegy in Memory of Col. Rainsborough.) There is also a ballad entitled ‘Col. Rainsborowe's Ghost’ ( Cat. of Prints in Brit. Mus., ‘Satires,’ i. 398).

Rainborowe's widow, Margaret, was granted an annuity of 200l. a year until lands should be settled by parliament on herself and her son ( Commons' Journals, vi. 429; Report on the Portland MSS. i. 138). A portrait of Rainborowe is in the Sutherland collection of portraits illustrating Clarendon's ‘History’ in the Bodleian Library.

[A careful memoir of Rainborowe, containing many of his letters, was contributed to Archæologia in 1881 by Mr. Edward Peacock (xlvi. 9–64). His speeches are printed in the Clarke Papers (vol. i.), Camden Society, 1891; cf. Journal of First and Second Sieges of Pontefract Castle, 1844–5 (Surtees Society, pp. 93, 108, 111, 116); Notes and Queries, 6th ser. v. 180. A pedigree of the Rainborowe family is printed in Archæologia (xlvi. 64). Both Thomas Rainborowe and his brother, Major William Rainborowe, are frequently mentioned in the Winthrop Correspondence.]



Edward Sexby (d. 1658)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, "Sexby, Edward," Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), vol. 51, pp. 292-93. <,_1885-1900/Sexby,_Edward>

SEXBY, EDWARD ( d. 1658), conspirator, was a native of Suffolk, and entered Cromwell's regiment of horse about 1643. In 1647, being still a private in the same regiment, now commanded by Fairfax, he took a leading part in the movement against disbanding the army, and was one of the three soldiers charged with the letter from the army to their generals which Skippon brought before the House of Commons on 30 April 1647 (Rushworth, vi. 474; Clarke Papers, i. 430). He became one of the leaders of the 'agitators,' and acted as their chief spokesman in the debates of the army council in October 1647 ( ib. i. 83). His speeches were very vigorous and effective, opposing all compromise with the king and demanding the immediate establishment of manhood suffrage ( ib. i. 227, 322, 329, 377).

Sexby appears to have left the army about the close of 1647, but happening to be present at the battle of Preston, with a letter from John Lilburne to Cromwell, he was entrusted with a despatch from Cromwell to the speaker announcing his victory. The House of Commons voted him 100 l. as a reward ( ib. ii. 254; Commons' Journals, v. 680). In February 1649 parliament entrusted him with the duty of arresting the Scottish commissioners, for which he was ordered 20 l. ( ib. vi. 152). He was also appointed governor of Portland, is henceforth described as Captain Sexby, and was more than once charged with commissions requiring courage and dexterity ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, pp. 135, 155, 531). In June 1650, at Cromwell's suggestion, he was charged to raise a foot regiment for service in Ireland, but when completed it was ordered to Scotland. Sexby, who held the rank first of lieutenant-colonel and then of colonel, took part with his regiment in the siege of Tantallon Castle in February 1651 ( ib. 1650, pp. 206, 332, 352; Mecurius Politicus, p. 621). In June 1651 he was tried by court-martial for detaining the pay of his soldiers, and lost his commission ( Clarke MSS.)

A few months later Cromwell and the intelligence committee of the council of state sent Sexby on a mission to France. He was charged to give an account of the political condition and the temper of the people. He negotiated with the Prince de Conti and the Frondeurs of Guienne, to whom he proposed an adaptation of the 'Agreement of the People' as the basis of a republican constitution for France, and with the Huguenots of Languedoc. One of his emissaries was captured, and Sexby had a narrow escape himself, if Ludlow is to be trusted (Ludlow, Memoirs, i. 415; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1654, p. 160; Journal of Joachim Hane, 1896, pp. xiv–xvii). He returned to England about August 1653, and on 23 Aug. 1654 was ordered 1,000 l. for his expenses during his mission.

Sexby was eager for an Anglo-Spanish league against France, and hoped to obtain the command of the levies which it was proposed to send to the support of the Frondeurs. Cromwell's abandonment of the projects against France, and still more his assumption of the protectorate, caused a breach between Sexby and the Protector. The former allied himself with the disaffected republicans, disseminated pamphlets against the Protector, and took a leading part in the schemes for a joint rising of royalists and levellers in the spring of 1655 (Thurloe, vi. 694, 829). In February 1655 Cromwell's officers in the west of England were in hot pursuit of Sexby, but he succeeded in escaping to Flanders (ib. iii. 162, 165, 195). At Antwerp he made the acquaintance of Colonel Robert Phelips (son of Sir Robert Phelips [q. v.]) and other royalists, to whom he described Cromwell as a false, perjured rogue, and affirmed that, if proper security for popular liberties were given, he would be content to see Charles II restored ( Nicholas Papers, i. 299, 340, 347).

Sexby also sought an interview with Count Fuensaldanha, the governor of the Spanish Netherlands, to whom he revealed all he knew of Cromwell's foreign plans and of the expedition to the West Indies, and from whom he asked a supply of money and the assistance of some of the Irish troops in the Spanish service in order to raise an insurrection in England. Fuensaldanha sent Sexby to Spain that his proposals might be considered by the Spanish council (June 1655), and he returned again about December with supplies of money and conditional promises of support ( Clarendon State Papers, iii. 271). Father Peter Talbot [q. v.], who acted as interpreter in Sexby's dealings with Fuensaldanha, communicated his proposals to Charles II, urging the king to come to an agreement with Spain, and to utilise Sexby and his party ( ib. iii. 281). In December 1656 Sexby presented a paper of proposals to Don John of Austria, offering to raise a civil war in England, and requesting a thousand Irish foot and four hundred horses (for which he undertook to provide troopers). The royalists were to assist, but he stipulated 'that no mention be made of the king before such time Cromwell be destroyed, and till then the royalists that shall take arms shall speak of nothing but the liberty of the country, according to the declaration whereof I have spoken with the King of England's ministers' ( ib. iii. 315).

The Protector's government through its agents abroad was kept well informed of Sexby's negotiations with Spain, and a number of his intercepted letters, written under the assumed names of 'Brookes' and 'Hungerford,' were in its hands (Thurloe, State Papers, v. 37, 349, vi. 1, 33, 182). In Cromwell's speech at the opening of his second parliament (17 Sept. 1656), he informed them of Sexby's plot, terming him 'a wretched creature, an apostate from religion and all honesty' (Carlyle, Cromwell's Speech, p. 5). The assassination of Cromwell was an essential preliminary to the success of the rising. Sexby sent over 'strange engines' for the purpose, but his agents missed their opportunities, and in January 1657 an attempt to fire Whitehall led to the arrest of their leader, Miles Sindercombe [q. v.] ( Cromwelliana, p. 160; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 325, 327). Still confident, Sexby devised new plots. 'Be not discouraged,' he wrote to Father Talbot, 'for so long as Sexby lives there is no danger but Cromwell shall have his hands full, and I hope his heart ere long, for I have more irons in the fire for Cromwell than one. … Either I or Cromwell must perish' (ib. iii. 331, 335, 339). Under the name of William Allen he drew up an apology for tyrannicide, entitled 'Killing no Murder,' which he ironically dedicated to Cromwell himself, printed in Holland, and sent over to England about May 1657 ( ib. iii. 343; Thurloe, vi. 311). In June he followed his pamphlet to England, to concert measures for carrying out its principles, and on 24 July, just as he was embarking for Flanders again, he was arrested 'in a mean habit disguised as a countryman' ( Cromwelliana, p. 168; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 357, 362). He died in the Tower on 13 Jan. 1658, 'having been a while distracted in his mind and long sick' ( Cromwelliana, p. 169).

'Killing no Murder' was answered by Michael Hawke of the Inner Temple in 'Killing is Murder and no Murder,' 1657, 4to. Sexby's authorship of the former is proved by internal evidence, and by his own confession made in the Tower (Thurloe, vi. 560). Captain Silas Titus [q. v.], who was intimate with Sexby, and may perhaps have given him some assistance in writing it, was, after the Restoration, reputed its author (Wood, Athenæ, iv. 624). It is reprinted in the 'Harleian Miscellany,' ed. Park, iv. 289, and by Professor Henry Morley in his 'Famous Pamphlets.'

[Authorities given in the article.]



John Streeter (or Streater) ( fl. 1650–1670)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, “Streater, John” Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 40-41. <,_1885-1900/Streater,_John>

STREATER or STREETER, JOHN ( fl. 1650–1670), soldier and pamphleteer, was from 1650 to 1653 quartermaster-general of the foot in the army of the Commonwealth in Ireland, and was also employed as engineer in sieges and fortifications. In April 1653 he came over to England on leave just before Cromwell dissolved the Long parliament, and, disapproving of that act, circulated among the officers a pamphlet of his own consisting of ‘Ten Queries’ respecting the consequences of the change. For this he was arrested, tried by court-martial, and cashiered. Six weeks later he was again arrested for publishing a book called ‘The Grand Politic Informer,’ showing the danger of trusting the military forces of the nation to the control of a single person. The council of state committed him to the Gatehouse (11 Sept. 1653), and the Little parliament also made an order for his confinement (21 Nov. 1653). Streater obtained a writ of habeas corpus, and his case was heard on 23 Nov. 1653; he pleaded his cause extremely well, but was remanded to prison again. At last, on 11 Feb. 1654, Chief-justice Rolle and Judge Aske ordered his discharge ( Clavis ad Aperiendum Carceris Ostia, or the High Point of the Writ of Habeas Corpus discussed, by T. V., 1653, 4to; Secret Reasons of State discovered … in John Streater's case, &c. 1659; Commons' Journals, vii. 353). After Streater's discharge the Protector made various attempts to arrest him, but Major-general Desborough stood his friend, and on engaging not to write any more against the government (18 Oct. 1654) he was allowed to keep his freedom ( Rawlinson MSS. A xix. 309; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1654).

Streater now seems to have gone into business as a printer ( ib. 1655–6 p. 289, 1656–7 p. 159, 1659–60 p. 596; Commons' Journals, vii. 878). In 1659, as a soldier who had suffered for the republic, he was once more employed. On 30 July the council of state voted him the command of the artillery train ( ib. vii. 714; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659–60, p. 52). In October, when Lambert interrupted the sittings of the Long parliament, Streater was again one of the officers who took the side of the parliament, and signed an expostulatory letter to Fleetwood (Thurloe, vii. 771). After the restoration of the parliament he was given the command of the regiment of foot late Colonel Hewson's (13 Jan. 1660), was recommissioned by Monck, and was stationed by him at Coventry ( Commons' Journals, vii. 810). To the situation of his regiment and to Monck's confidence in his fidelity Streater owed the very prominent part which he played in the suppression of Lambert's attempted rising (Baker, Chronicle, ed. 1670, pp. 702, 720). But in July 1660 the command of the regiment was given to Lord Bellasis, though Streater was continued as major until its disbanding in the autumn ( Clarke MSS.)

Streater was arrested on suspicion about November 1661, but immediately discharged. About the same time he petitioned for 528 l. due to him ‘for printing several things tending to the king's service at the Restoration’ ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1661–2, pp. 137, 151). In March 1663 he was again arrested, but released on signing an engagement to print nothing seditious and to inform against any one who did ( ib. 1663–4, pp. 82, 86, cf. 1665–6, p. 409). Nevertheless he was again in trouble in 1670 for writing a seditious libel called ‘The Character of a true and a false Shepherd’ ( ib. 1670, p. 332). Streater during the Dutch war made experiments in artillery, inventing a new kind of ‘fire-shot’ or granado ( ib. 1667–8, p. 135; Rawlinson MS. A cxcv. 114).

Streater wrote, besides the ‘Ten Queries’ published in 1653:

  1. ‘The Grand Politic Informer,’ 1653.
  2. ‘A Glimpse of that Jewel precious, just, preserving Liberty,’ 1654, 4to.
  3. ‘Observations upon Aristotle's Politics,’ 1654.
  4. ‘Secret Reasons of State discovered,’ 1659, and probably,
  5. ‘The Continuation of the Session of Parliament justified, and the action of this army touching that affair defended,’ by J. S., 1659.

[Authorities mentioned in the article.]



William Walwyn ( fl. 1649)


See some pamphlets by William Walwyn.

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, "Walwyn, William" Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 284-85.,_1885-1900/Walwyn,_William

WALWYN, WILLIAM ( fl. 1649), pamphleteer, baptised on 17 Aug. 1600 at Newland in Worcestershire, was the son of Robert Walwyn of that place, by Elizabeth, daughter of Herbert Westfaling [q. v.], bishop of Hereford. Being a younger son, Walwyn was bound apprentice to a silkman in Paternoster Row, and, having served his time, was made free of the Merchant Adventurers' Company, and set up in trade on his own account. He lived first in the parish of St. James, Garlick Hill, and afterwards in Moorfields ( The Charity of Churchmen, p. 10; Fountain of Slander, p. 2). Walwyn supported the cause of the parliament, and, being himself a freethinking puritan, though 'never of any private congregation,' became conspicuous by his advocacy of freedom of conscience ( Charity of Churchmen, p. 11; A Whisper in the Ear of Mr. Edwards, pp. 3–5). In 1646 Thomas Edwards attacked him in the first part of 'Gangræna,' accusing him of contemning the Scriptures, and describing him as 'a seeker, a dangerous man, a stronghead' ( ib. pp. 84, 96; cf. Masson, Life of Milton, iii. 153). Edwards amplified these charges in the second part of the same work, adding an enumeration of Walwyn's erroneous views in religion and politics (ii. 25–30). Walwyn published four or five pamphlets in answer, some serious arguments, others humorous attacks on Edwards.

In 1647 Walwyn connected himself with the rising party of the levellers, and was one of the promoters of the London petition of 11 Sept. 1647, which was burnt by order of the House of Commons ( Fountain of Slander, p. 7). As one of the representatives of the London branch of that party, he attended the conferences between the officers of the army and the levellers which led to the drawing up of the second 'agreement of the people' (Lilburne, Legal Fundamental Liberties, 1649, p. 34; Clarke Papers, ii. 257, 262). When the council of officers refused to accept in its integrity the constitutional scheme of the levellers, Walwyn joined John Lilburne [q. v.] in attacking the heads of the army and calling upon the soldiers to revolt. On 28 March 1649 Walwyn was arrested and brought before the council of state, who committed him to the Tower ( Fountain of Slander, p. 10; Lilburne, Picture of the Council of State, 1649, p. 2; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, p. 57). On 11 April 1649 parliament approved of the arrest, and ordered him to be prosecuted as one of the authors of the second part of 'England's New Chains Discovered,' though, according to Lilburne, Walwyn had not been present at any of the recent meetings of the levelling leaders (Lilburne, Picture of the Council of State, 1649, pp. 2, 14, 19; Commons' Journals, vi. 183). The levellers unsuccessfully petitioned for the release of Walwyn and his fellow prisoners, Lilburne, Overton, and Prince, and their confinement was made very strict ( ib. vi. 189, 196, 208). They contrived nevertheless to publish 'A Manifestation from Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne, Mr. William Walwyn, etc., and others commonly though unjustly styled Levellers' (14 April); 'An Agreement of the Free People of England, tendered as a Peace-offering to this distracted Nation' (1 May). These manifestoes were signed by all four prisoners: in the first they vindicated themselves from the charge of advocating communism, or seeking to abolish private property; in the second they set forth the nature of the constitution they demanded. All four prisoners were attacked by a government pamphleteer, supposed to be either John Canne or Walter Frost, in a tract called 'The Discoverer' (2 pts. 1649; see also Lilburne's Legal Fundamental Liberties, p. 53). This was answered in 'The Craftsmens Craft, or the Wiles of the Discoverers,' by H. B. Another author singled out Walwyn as being the subtlest intriguer and most dangerous writer of the four, accusing him of blasphemy, atheism, and immorality, and quoting a number of his sayings in support of the charges. It was alleged that he advocated suicide, justified the cause of the Irish rebels, recommended people to read Plutarch and Cicero on Sundays rather than go to sermons, and declared that there was more wit in Lucian's 'Dialogues' than in the Bible ( Walwyn's Wiles, or the Manifestators Manifested, 1649. This was attributed either to John Price or William Kyffin). Walwyn defended himself in 'The Fountain of Slander Discovered,' explaining what his views really were, and giving some account of his life. He was also vindicated by a friend in 'The Charity of Churchmen' ('by H. B. Med.'), and another answer was published by his fellow prisoner, Thomas Prince ('The Silken Independents Snare Broken:' all three pamphlets appeared in 1649).

In September 1649 Walwyn was allowed the liberty of the Tower, and on 8 Nov. following, after Lilburne had been tried and acquitted, his release was ordered by the council of state ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, pp. 299, 552). Of his subsequent history, excepting the fact that he published another pamphlet in 1651, nothing is known.

Besides the two tracts signed jointly by Lilburne, Prince, and Overton, Walwyn was the author of the following: 1. 'An Antidote against Mr. Edwards his Old and New Poison,' 1646. 2. 'A Whisper in the Ear of Master Thomas Edwards,' 1646. 3. 'A Word more to Mr. Edwards,' 1646. 4. 'A Prediction of Mr. Edwards's Conversion,' 1646. 5. 'A Parable or Consultation of Physicians upon Mr. Edwards,' 1646 (see Gangræna, iii. 292, and The Fountain of Slander Discovered, p. 7). 6. 'The Fountain of Slaunder Discovered,' 1649. 7. 'Juries Justified, or a Word of Correction to Mr. Henry Robinson,' 1651.

Walwyn mentions also two other tracts as written by himself, viz. 'A Word in Season' and 'A Still and Soft Voice' ( Fountain of Slander Discovered, p. 7). There is also attributed to him 'The Bloody Project' (see The Discoverer, i. 17, ii. 54); and he is said to have had a hand in the production of the first tract published in favour of liberty of conscience, referring probably to 'Liberty of Conscience, or the sole Means to obtain Peace and Truth,' 1643 [see Robinson, Henry, (1605?–1664?)].

Walwyn the leveller should be distinguished from William Walwyn (1614–1671), fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, who was ejected by the visitors of the university in 1648, made canon of St. Paul's in 1660, and published in that year a sermon on the restoration of Charles II, entitled 'God save the King,' and a 'Character of his Sacred Majesty' (Wood, Fasti, ii. 61; Burrows, Register of the Visitors of the University of Oxford, p. 549).

[Authorities given in the article; Notes and Queries, 9th ser. iv. 162.]



Wildman, John (161?–1693)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, "Wildman, John," Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 232-36. <,_1885-1900/Wildman,_John>

WILDMAN, Sir JOHN (1621?–1693), politician, born about 1621, was, according to Clarendon, 'bred a scholar in the university of Cambridge' ( Rebellion, xiv. 48). He seems to have served for a time in Sir Thomas Fairfax's lifeguards, probably about 1646, as it is hinted that he was not one of that body in the days of fighting, and had certainly ceased to belong to it by the autumn of 1647 (cf. The Triumph Stained, by G. Masterson, 1647, 4to, p. 15). In the autumn of 1647, when the soldiers of the new model became suspicious of their leaders for negotiating with Charles I, and some regiments appointed new 'agents' in place of the 'agitators' elected in the previous May, Wildman was the chief instigator and the spokesman of the movement. He published a violent attack on Cromwell and the chief officers, entitled 'Putney Projects,' and was probably the author of the manifesto called 'The Case of the Army Stated' (cf. Clarke Papers, i. 347, 356). At the meeting of the general council of the army at Putney, on 28 Oct. 1647, the five agents who represented the dissentient regiments were accompanied by Wildman and another civilian. The soldiers, explained Wildman, 'desired me to be their mouth,' and he argued on their behalf that the engagements entered into with the king should be cancelled, monarchy and the House of Lords abolished, and manhood suffrage established. He also demanded that the officers should accept the 'Agreement of the People' just put forth by the five regiments ( ib. vol. i. pp. xlviii, 240, 259, 317, 386).

On 18 Jan. 1648 Wildman and Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne [q. v.] were informed against by George Masterson, minister of Shoreditch, for promoting a seditious petition, and summoned to the bar of the House of Commons. The house committed both to Newgate. Bail was refused, and, in spite of frequent petitions for their release, they remained in prison until 2 Aug. 1648 ( A Declaration of the Proceedings of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburne and his Associates, 1648, 4to; Commons' Journals, v. 437, 469). Wildman's speech at the bar of the house was very ineffective, and the pamphlet he published in answer to Masterson's charges, entitled 'Truth's Triumph,' was derisively refuted by Masterson in the 'Triumph Stained.'

On the release of the two prisoners a meeting of the levellers took place at the Nag's Head tavern, in which, says Lilburne, 'the just ends of the war were as exactly laid open by Mr. John Wildman as ever I heard in my life,' and the party agreed to oppose the execution or deposition of the king till the fundamental principles of the future constitution were settled. To that end a new 'Agreement of the People' was drawn up by sixteen representatives of different parties, but, after long debates in the council of officers, it was so altered by the officers that Lilburne and other leaders of the levellers refused to accept it, and published in May 1649 a rival 'Agreement,' drawn up themselves. Wildman, however, was probably satisfied, for he abandoned further agitation. 'My old fellow rebel, Johnny Wildman, where art thou?' wrote his former associate, Richard Overton [q. v.] 'Behold, a mighty stone fell from the skies into the bottom of the sea, and gave a mighty plump, and great was the fall of that stone, and so farewell Johnny Wildman' (Overton, Defiance of the Act of Pardon, 1649, p. 7). About the beginning of 1649 Wildman was major in the regiment of horse of Colonel John Reynolds, but did not accompany it to Ireland in August 1649 ( Clarke MSS.) He preferred money-making to fighting, and became one of the greatest speculators in the forfeited lands of royalists, clergy, and papists. His purchases of land, either for himself or for others, were scattered over at least twenty counties ( Cal. of Committee for Compounding, pp. 1653, 1769, 3100, 2201; cf. Life of Colonel Hutchinson, ed. 1885, ii. 174). For himself he bought in 1655 the manor of Becket, near Shrivenham in Berkshire, and other lands adjoining it, from his friend Harry Marten (Lysons, Berkshire, p. 366). In 1654 Wildman was elected member for Scarborough, but he was probably one of those excluded for refusing the engagement not to attempt to alter the government ( Old Parl. Hist. xx. 305). By the end of 1654 he was plotting the overthrow of the Protector by means of a combined rising of royalists and levellers. Consequently he was arrested on 10 Feb. 1655, and sent prisoner first to Chepstow Castle, and afterwards to the Tower. At the moment when he was seized he was dictating to his servant a 'Declaration of the free and well-affected people of England now in arms against the tyrant Oliver Cromwell, esq.' (Thurloe, iii. 147; Whitelocke, Memorials, iv. 183). On 26 June 1656 a petition begging for Wildman's release was presented to the Protector by various persons engaged in business speculations with him, and on giving security for 10,000 l. he was provisionally set free ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1655–6, p. 387).

For the rest of the Protectorate Wildman kept out of prison, though he still continued to intrigue. He was in frequent communication with royalist agents, whom he contrived to persuade that he was working for the king's cause, and he signed the address presented to Charles II on behalf of the levellers in July 1656 (Clarendon, Rebellion, xv. 104; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 311, 315, 331, 336). It is pretty certain that Cromwell's government were aware of these intrigues, and it is probable that Wildman purchased impunity by giving information of some kind to Thurloe. For this reason he was not trusted by Hyde and the wiser royalists ( ib. iii. 408, 419; Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. vi. 197). His political object in this complicated web of treachery was probably to overthrow Cromwell, and to set up in his place either a republic or a monarchy limited by some elaborate constitution of his own devising.

In December 1659, when the army had turned out the Long parliament, Wildman was employed by the council of officers, in conjunction with Whitelocke, Fleetwood, and others, to draw a form of government for a free state (Whitelocke, Memorials, iv. 385). At the same time he was plotting to overthrow the rule of the army, and offered to raise three thousand horse if Whitelocke, who was constable of Windsor Castle, would declare for a free commonwealth. Whitelocke declined, and Wildman, seeing which way the tide was running, helped Colonel Henry Ingoldsby to seize the castle for the Long parliament. On 28 Dec. 1659 the house promised that the good service of those who had assisted Ingoldsby should be duly rewarded ( Commons' Journals, vii. 798; A Letter concerning the securing of Windsor Castle to the Parliament, 1659, 4to).

At the Restoration Wildman, thanks to these recent exploits and to his hostility to Cromwell, escaped untroubled, although an information against him was presented to parliament ( Commons' Journals, viii. 66). In 1661 complaints were made that the officials of the post office were his creatures, and he was accused of suspicious dealings with the letters ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1 p. 409, 1661–2 pp. 556, 560). He was also suspected of complicity in the republican plots against the government, and on 26 Nov. 1661 he was examined and committed to close imprisonment ( Egerton MS. 2543, f. 65; Kennet, Register, pp. 567–602). For nearly six years he was a prisoner, first in the Tower, then in St. Mary's Island, Scilly, and finally in Pendennis Castle ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1665–6, pp. 200, 288). His captivity was shared by his son, and, according to Burnet, he spent his time in studying law and physic. After the fall of Clarendon, on 1 Oct. 1667, Wildman was released on giving security to attempt nothing against the government ( ib. 1667, p. 502). In December it was even rumoured that he was to be a member of the committee of accounts about to be appointed by parliament, through the influence of the Duke of Buckingham. Sir William Coventry expressed his wonder at the proposal to Pepys, Wildman having been 'a false fellow to everybody,' and Sir John Talbot openly denounced Wildman to the House of Commons (Pepys, Diary, 8 Dec. and 12 Dec. 1667). The scheme fell through, and on 7 July 1670 Wildman obtained a license to travel abroad for his health with his wife and son ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1670, p. 322). But his intimacy with Buckingham continued, and he was one of the trustees in whom on 24 Dec. 1675 the unsold portion of Buckingham's estate was vested ( Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. vi. 218).

On his return to England Wildman plunged once more into political intrigues, though keeping himself at first cautiously in the background. In the plots for armed resistance to the king which followed the dissolution of Charles II's last parliament in 1681 he appears to have played a considerable part. Wildman was closely associated with Algernon Sidney, both of whom were distrusted by the leaders of the Scottish malcontents, and by the English noblemen concerned, as too republican in their aims. Wildman drew up a manifesto to be published at the time of the intended insurrection, and, though not one of the 'public managers,' was privately consulted upon all occasions and applied unto as their 'chief oracle' ( Informations as to the Rye House Plot, p. 50 ed. 1696; Ferguson, Life of Robert Ferguson pp. 145, 434). He was also credited with suggesting the assassination of the king and Duke of York, 'whom he expressed by the name of stags that would not be impaled, but leapt over all the fences which the care and wisdom of the authors of the constitution had made to restrain them from committing spoils' (ib. pp. 78, 419, 434). On 26 June 1683 he was committed to the Tower for complicity in the Rye House plot, but allowed out on bail on 24 Nov. following, and finally discharged on 12 Feb. 1684 (Luttrell, Diary, i. 263, 292, 301; The Proceedings upon the bailing the Lord Brandon Gerrard … Major Wildman, &c., folio, 1683). The chief witness against him was William Howard, third lord Howard of Escrick [q. v.], who testified that Wildman undertook to furnish the rebels with some guns, which the discovery of two small field-pieces at his house seemed to confirm (Burnet, Own Time, ed. Airy, ii. 363; Sprat, Rye House Plot, ed. 1696, ii. 107).

When the reign of James II began, Wildman, undeterred by his narrow escape, entered into communication with Monmouth, and was his chief agent in England. He sent a certain Robert Cragg, alias Smith, to Monmouth and the English exiles in Holland. According to Cragg, Monmouth complained of Wildman's backwardness to provide money for the expedition, saying that he 'would govern everybody,' 'liked nothing of anybody's doing but his own,' and thought 'by keeping his own purse-strings fast and persuading others to do the same' he would hinder the expedition from coming till what he imagined the right season. Wildman, on the other hand, complained that Monmouth and a little knot of exiles were resolved 'to conclude the scheme of the government of the nation without the knowledge of any of the people in England, and that to this day they knew not what he intended to set up or declare' ( Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. vi. 394). Other depositions represent him as advising Monmouth to take upon him the title of king, and encouraging him by citing the example of the Earl of Richmond and Richard III ( The Secret History of the Rye House Plot, by Ford, Lord Grey, 1754, pp. 93, 114; cf. Macaulay, History of England, ii. 121, People's edit.) All accounts agree that he drew back at the last moment, did nothing to get up the promised rising in London, and refused to join Monmouth when he landed. At the beginning of June 1685 Wildman fled, and an order for his apprehension was published in the 'Gazette' for 4–8 June 1685, followed on 26 July by a proclamation summoning him and others to surrender. Wildman, who had escaped to Holland, remained there till the revolution, probably residing at Amsterdam. He was dissatisfied with the declaration published by the Prince of Orange to justify his expedition, regarding it as designed to conciliate the church party in England, and desiring to make it a comprehensive impeachment of the misgovernment of Charles and James. The Earl of Macclesfield, Lord Mordaunt, and others supported Wildman's view, but more moderate counsellors prevailed (Burnet, Reign of James II, ed. Routh, p. 351). With Lord Macclesfield Wildman embarked on the prince's fleet and landed in England. He wrote many anonymous pamphlets on the crisis, sat in the Convention parliament called in January 1689 as member for Wootton Bassett, and was a frequent speaker (cf. Grey, Debates, ix. 28, 70, 79, 193, 326).

In the proceedings against Burton and Graham, charged with subornation of evidence in the state trials of the late reign, Wildman was particularly active, bringing in the report of the committee appointed to investigate the case, and representing the commons at a conference with the lords on the subject (Boyer, Life of William III, App. ii. 19; Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep, vi. 261). On 12 April 1689 he was made postmaster-general ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1689, p. 59). But ere long loud complaints were made that he was using his position to discredit the tory adherents of William III by fictitious letters which he pretended to have intercepted; and there were also reports that he was intriguing with Jacobite emissaries (Dalrymple, Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, ed. 1790, iii. 77, 94, 131, 184). Accordingly he was summarily dismissed from his post about the end of February 1691 (Luttrell, Diary, ii. 187, 192). Wildman, however, had been made a freeman of London on 7 Dec. 1689, became an alderman, and was knighted by William III in company with other aldermen at Guildhall on 29 Oct. 1692 (Le Neve, Knights, p. 439; Luttrell, i. 615, ii. 603).

Wildman died on 2 June 1693 at the age of seventy-two (Luttrell, iii. 112), and was buried at Shrivenham, Berkshire. By his will, according to the epitaph on his monument in Shrivenham church, he directed 'that if his executors should think fit there should be some stone of small price set near to his ashes, to signify, without foolish flattery, to his posterity, that in that age there lived a man who spent the best part of his days in prisons, without crimes, being conscious of no offence towards man, for that he so loved his God that he could serve no man's will, and wished the liberty and happiness of his country and all mankind' (Lysons, Magna Britannia, 'Berkshire,' p. 367). Macaulay is less favourable. After describing a fanatical hatred to monarchy as the mainspring of Wildman's career, he adds: 'With Wildman's fanaticism was joined a tender care for his own safety. He had a wonderful skill in grazing the edge of treason. … Such was his cunning, that though always plotting, though always known to be plotting, and though long malignantly watched by a vindictive government, he eluded every danger, and died in his bed, after having seen two generations of his accomplices die on the gallows' ( Hist. of England, people's edit. i. 256; cf. Disraeli, Sybil, chap. iii.). There is an engraved portrait of Wildman, by Faithorne, with the motto 'Nil Admirari.'

Wildman married, first, Frances, daughter of Christopher, fourth lord Teynham (Collins, Peerage, vi. 85; cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 14th Rep. vi. 256); his second wife's name was Lucy; she petitioned in 1661 to be allowed to share her husband's imprisonment ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1661–2, p. 253). He had a son, John, who married Eleanor, daughter of Edward Chute of Bethersden, Kent, in 1676 (Chester, London Marriage Licenses, p. 1467; Le Neve, Knights, p. 439), and died without issue in 1710, leaving his estate at Becket, Berkshire, to John Shute (afterwards first Viscount Barrington) [see Barrington, John Shute-].

Wildman was the author of numerous pamphlets, nearly all of them either anonymous or published under pseudonyms: 1. 'Putney Projects; or the Old Serpent in a New Form. By John Lawmind,' 1647. 2. 'The Case of the Army stated,' 1647 ( Clarke Papers, i. 347, 356). 3. 'A Call to all the Soldiers of the Army by the Free People of England, justifying the Proceedings of the Five Regiments,' 1647 (anon.) 4. 'Truth's Triumph,' 1648 (answered by George Masterson in 'The Triumph Stained,' 1648). 5. 'The Law's Subversion; or Sir John Maynard's Case truly stated. By J. Howldin;' 1648 (cf. Lilburne, The Picture of the Council of State, 1649, pp. 8, 19). 6. 'London's Liberties; or a Learned Argument between Mr. Maynard and Major Wildman,' 1651. In the 'Twelve Collections of Papers relating to the Present Juncture of Affairs in England' (1688–9, 4to), there are several pamphlets probably written by Wildman, viz.: v. 8, 'Ten Seasonable Queries proposed by an English Gentleman at Amsterdam to his Friends in England;' vi. 3, 'A Letter to a Friend advising in this Extraordinary Juncture how to free the Nation from Slavery for ever;' and, viii. 5, 'Good Advice before it be too late, being a Breviate for the Convention.' Three tracts are attributed to Wildman, jointly with others, in 'A Collection of State Tracts, published on occasion of the late Revolution and during the Reign of William III' (1705, 3 vols. fol.), viz.: 'A Memorial from the English Protestants to the Prince and Princess of Orange' (i. 1); 'A Defence of the Proceedings of the Late Parliament in England,' anno 1689 (i. 209); and 'An Enquiry or Discourse between a Yeoman of Kent and a Knight of the Shire, upon the Prorogation of Parliament,' etc. (ii. 330).

[Authorities given in the article.]




James Harrington (1611–1677)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Leslie Stephen, “Harrington or Harington, James (1611-1677)”, Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, vol. 24. <,_1885-1900/Harrington,_James_(1611-1677)>

See the collection of his writings edited by John Toland (1771).



HARRINGTON or HARINGTON, JAMES (1611–1677), political theorist, eldest son of Sir Sapcotes Harrington of Rand, Lincolnshire, by his first wife, Jane, daughter of Sir William Samwell of Upton, Northamptonshire, was born at Upton on 7 Jan. 1611. The Harringtons were an old family, connected with many of the nobility. John, first lord Harington of Exton [q. v.], was his great-uncle. He entered Trinity College, Oxford, as a gentleman-commoner in 1629, and is said to have been a pupil of Chillingworth; Chillingworth, however, was soon afterwards converted to Catholicism, and went to Douay in 1630. Upon the death of his father, Harrington chose for his guardian his grandmother, Lady Samwell. He left Oxford without a degree and travelled to Holland, where he joined the court of the elector and electress' palatine [see Elizabeth, 1596-1662], then living in exile near Arnheim. Harrington's relation, Lord Harington, had been Elizabeth's guardian. He served in the regiment of William, lord Craven [q. v.], and once accompanied the elector to Denmark. He afterwards travelled through France to Rome, where he refused to kiss the pope's toe, excusing himself afterwards to Charles I for his rudeness by saying that he would not kiss the foot of any prince after kissing the king's hand. He visited Venice, where he was much impressed by the system of government, and collected many Italian books, especially upon politics.

Returning to England he brought up his younger brother, William, as a merchant, and superintended the education of his sisters, Elizabeth, afterwards married to Sir Ralph Ashton, and Anne, afterwards married to Arthur Evelyn. He devoted himself to study, and took no active part in the civil war. With Thomas (afterwards Sir Thomas) Herbert (1605-1682) [q. v.] he followed the king from Newcastle to Holmby House, where at the request of Charles they were both made grooms of the bedchamber in place of some discharged servants. Here, according to Toland, he translated Sanderson's 'De Juramenti … obligatione,' published in 1655. Wood (under 'Sanderson, Robert') and Herbert say that Charles himself made the translation. He was with Charles in the Isle of Wight, and discussed political and other questions with him. He accompanied Charles to Hurst Castle, but was shortly afterwards dismissed on account of an imprudent conversation with some officers, in which he showed sympathy with the king and argued for accepting his concessions (Herbert). According to Toland, he was even imprisoned for refusing to take an oath against assisting the king to escape, but released by Ireton's intercession. Toland and Aubrey further say that he saw the king afterwards and accompanied him to the scaffold. Although a republican in principle, he seems to have been attracted by Charles, whose death is said to have greatly shocked him.

Harrington resumed his studies and in 1656 produced the 'Oceana.' Toland gives a story that the manuscript was seized by Cromwell and restored through the intercession of Mrs. Claypoole, whom Harrington had playfully threatened with stealing her child unless her father would restore his. A smart controversy followed the publication and led to the issue of many tracts by Harrington, chiefly in 1659. Baxter attacked the 'Oceana' in his 'Holy Commonwealth.' During the confusion which followed Cromwell's death Harrington formed a club called the Rota, to discuss the introduction of his political schemes. It lasted from November 1659 to February 1659-60, and included his friend H. Nevill, Major Wildman, Roger Coke, Cyriack Skinner, John Aubrey, William Petty, and others. It ceased when Monck's action made the Restoration a certainty.

On 26 Nov. 1661 (Wood) Harrington was committed to the Tower. His sisters were allowed access to him upon matters of private business on 14 Feb. 1661-2, when he had been eleven weeks in confinement (State Papers, Dom.) On 23 April following a warrant was issued to the lieutenant of the Tower to take him into close custody for having endeavoured at several meetings to change the form of government (ib.) In the index to the State Papers he is not distinguished from his cousin Sir James Harrington, son of his father's elder brother, Sir Edward, who was on the commission for trying the king and afterwards member of the council [435] of state, and excepted from acts of pardon, for whose arrest warrants were issued at the same time. Sir James wrote 'Noah's Dove,' 1645, and a 'Holy Oyl,' attributed in the British Museum Catalogue to James. Noble fuses the two lives. James Harrington was examined before Lauderdale and others, and Clarendon accused him in a conference of the houses of being concerned in a plot (Toland). His sisters petitioned for a trial, and had obtained a writ of habeas corpus when he was suddenly sent off to St. Nicholas Island in Plymouth harbour. He was afterwards allowed to move to Plymouth, where he was kindly treated by the authorities. By the advice of a Dr. Dunstan he drank guaiacum in such quantities, it is said, as to injure his health and finally disorder his brain. He was released and allowed to come to London for advice. He was never quite cured, even by the Epsom waters, and a curious paper illustrating his illusions is printed by Toland. He fancied that diseases were caused by evil spirits, whom, according to Aubrey, he identified with flies. He married, however, a daughter of Sir Marmaduke Dorrel or Dayrell, to whom he behaved with the 'highest generosity,' though a temporary quarrel followed the discovery that her intentions were not quite disinterested. He suffered much from gout, and finally died of paralysis at Westminster on 11 Sept. 1677. He had lived since his release at the Little Ambry, looking into Dean's Yard, and was buried on the south side of the altar of St. Margaret's Church, next to Sir Walter Raleigh.

Aubrey describes him as of middling stature, strong, well-set, with 'quick-hot fiery hazell eie and thick moist curled hair.'

His 'Oceana' was long famous, and is noticed in Hume's 'Essays' ('Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth') as the 'only valuable model of a commonwealth' extant. Harrington's main principle is that power depends upon the balance of property, and normally of landed property. His scheme is expounded in an imaginary history of Oceana (England), in which Olphaus Megaletor (Oliver Cromwell) founds a new constitution. An 'agrarian' limits landed estates to a value of 3,000l. a year. The senate proposes laws, which are voted upon by the people, and the magistracy execute them. Elaborate systems of rotation and balloting are worked out in detail; and the permanence of the system is secured by the equilibrium of all interests. His republic is a moderate aristocracy. Machiavelli is his great authority, and Venice (as with many of his contemporaries) his great model. For an interesting account of his political theories see Professor Dwight in 'Political Science Quarterly' for March 1887.

His works are:

  1. 'The Commonwealth of Oceana,' folio, 1656.
  2. 'The Prerogative of Popular Government' (defence of 'Oceana' against Matthew Wren's 'Considerations,' Dr. Seaman, and Dr. Hammond).
  3. 'The Art of Lawgiving' (abridgment of 'Oceana') 1659.
  4. 'Valerius and Publicola,' 1659.
  5. 'Aphorisms Political' [1659].
  6. 'A System of Politics, delineated in Short and Easy Aphorisms' (first printed by Toland from manuscript).
  7. 'Seven Models of a Commonwealth,' 1659.
  8. 'Ways and Means whereby an equal Commonwealth may be suddenly introduced …,' 1659.
  9. The Petition of Divers well-affected Persons …' (presented to the House of Commons 6 July 1659, and printed with answer), 1659.

The above are included in Toland's edition of the 'Works,' 1 vol. folio, 1700. An edition by Millar in 1737 included in addition:

  1. 'Pian Piano' (answer to Henry Ferne [q. v.]), 1656.
  2. 'A Letter unto Mr. Stubs, in answer to his Oceana Weighed,' 1659.
  3. 'A sufficient Answer to Mr. Stubb,' 1659
  4. A Discourse upon this Saying: the Spirit of the Nation is not yet to be trusted with liberty …,' 1659.
  5. ' A Discourse showing that the Spirit of Parliaments … is not to be trusted for a settlement,' 1659.
  6. 'A Parallel of the Spirit of the People with the Spirit of Mr. Rogers,' 1659..
  7. 'Pour enclouer le Canon, or the Nailing of the Enemy's Artillery,' 1659.
  8. 'A Proposition in order to the Proposing of a Commonwealth,' s.s., 1659. (The last five and Nos. 4 and 5 were collected with a common title-page as 'Political Discourses,' 1660, with a portrait by Hollar, after Lely.)
  9. 'The Stumbling-block of Obedience and Rebellion, cunningly imputed by Peter Heylin to Calvin, removed …,' 1659.
  10. 'Politicaster, or a Comical Discourse in Answer to Mr. Wren' (i.e. to Wren's 'Monarchy Asserted'), 1659.
  11. 'A Proposition in order to the Proposing of a Commonwealth,' 1659.
  12. 'The Rota' (extracted from ' Art of Lawgiving '), 1660. 'A Censure of the Rota upon Mr. Milton's ready … Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth,' 1660, may also be his.

The above all refer to the 'Oceana.' He published also in 1658 a translation of 'two of Virgil's "Eclogues" and (the first) two of his "Æneis,"' and in 1659 the next four books of the 'Æneid.'

[Wood's Athenæ, iii. 1115-26; Life by John Toland, prefixed to Oceana and other works in 1700 (Toland received from Harrington's half-sister, Dorothy, wife of Allan Bellingham, a collection of Harrington's letters and papers, with [436] observations by his sister, Lady Ashton); Aubrey's Life in Letters by Eminent Persons, &c., 1813, pp. 370-6; Sir Thomas Herbert's Memoirs, 1813, pp. 21, 22, 29, 61, 63, 114, 119, 120, 128; Masson's Life of Milton, iii. 470, v. 482-6, 627-8; Wright's Antiquities of Rutland, p. 52; Noble's Regicides; Hallam's Literature of Europe, iii. 437-9.]



Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, “Marvell, Andrew (1621-1678)” Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 324-32. <,_1885-1900/Marvell,_Andrew_(1621-1678))>

MARVELL, ANDREW (1621–1678), poet and satirist, son of Andrew Marvell the elder [q. v.], was born on 31 March 1621 at Winestead in Holderness, Yorkshire, and was educated under his father at the grammar school of Hull. He matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, 14 Dec. 1633, as a sizar. A tradition, first recorded in Cooke's 'Life of Marvell' in 1726, states that shortly after entering the university he fell under the influence of some Jesuits, and was persuaded by them to leave Cambridge for London. His father discovered him in a book-seller's shop, and prevailed with him to return to the college (Cooke, Works of Andrew Marvell, ed. 1772, i. 5). He contributed two copies of verses to 'Musa Cantabrigiensis' in 1637, and on 13 April 1638 was admitted a scholar of Trinity College. He graduated B. A. in the same year, and the college records show that he left Cambridge before September 1641 (Grosart, Complete Works of Andrew Marvell, 1872, vol. i. pp. xxvii, xxxiii).

The next ten years of Marvell's life are extremely obscure. He spent four years abroad, probably 1642 to 1646, travelled in Holland, France, Italy, and Spain, and met and satirised Richard Flecknoe [q. v.] at Home. Two poems published in 1649, the one prefixed to the poems of Richard Lovelace [q. v.], the other in the collection on the death of Lord Hastings, afford evidence of his return to England. The lines to Lovelace, together with the stanzas on the execution of the king in the ' Horatian Ode,' and the satire on the death of Thomas May [q. v.], have been taken to prove that Marvell's early sympathies were with the royalist cause. They really show that he judged the civil war as a spectator rather than a partisan, and felt that literature was above parties.

Marvell first came into contact with the heads of the Commonwealth when Lord Fairfax engaged him as tutor to his daughter Mary, probably in 1650 or 1651. He lived for some time in Fairfax's house at Nun Appleton in Yorkshire, where he addressed to Fairfax his lines, 'Upon the Hill and Grove at Bilborow' and 'Upon Appleton House.' The poems on gardens and in praise of country life, and the translation from Seneca, in which the poet desires to pass his life 'in calm leisure' and 'far off the public stage,' belong to this period. By 1653 the delights of retirement had begun to pall, and Marvell sought for a post in the service of the Commonwealth. He had now become an ardent republican, and in his 'Character of Holland ' describes the new state as 'darling of heaven and of men the care.'

On 21 Feb. 1653 Milton, who was by this time totally blind, recommended Marvell's appointment as his assistant in the secretaryship for foreign tongues. He described him to Bradshaw, the president of the council of state, as 'a man, both by report and by the converse I have had with him, of singular desert for the state to make use of who also offers himself if there be any employment for him. … He hath spent four years abroad in Holland, France, Italy, and Spain, to very good purpose, as I believe, and the gaining of these four languages; besides, he is a scholar and well read in the Latin and Greek authors, and no doubt of an approved conversation, for he comes now lately out of the house of the Lord Fairfax, where he was entrusted to give some instruction in the languages to the lady his daughter. If, upon the death of Mr. Weckherlin, the Council shall think I need any assistance in the performance of my place … it would be hard for them to find a man so fit every way for that purpose as this gentleman' (Grosart, vol. i. p. xxxvii; Masson, Life of Milton, iv. 478; Hamilton, Milton Papers, p. 22). In spite, however, of this recommendation, Philip Meadows [q. v.] was appointed (October 1653). Meanwhile Marvell in a private capacity became connected with Cromwell, being chosen as tutor to Cromwell's ward, William Hut ton. With Dutton Marvell went to reside at Eton, in the house of John Oxenbridge, one of the fellows of the college. On 28 July 1653 he wrote thence to Cromwell, describing the character of his pupil, and thanking Cromwell for placing them both in so godly a family (Grosart, ii. 3; Masson, iv. 618; Nickolls, Papers and Letters addressed to Oliver Cromwell, 1743, p. 98). Oxenbridge, when his puritanism had lost him his English preferments, had been a minister in the Bermudas, and his experiences doubtless suggested Marvell's poem on those islands. In his epitaph on Mrs. Oxenbridge he celebrates the fidelity with which she had followed her husband 'ad incertam Bermudse insulam' (Grosart, ii . 6). At Eton Marvell learnt to know John Hales [q. v.] 'I account it no small honour,' he wrote in the 'Rehearsal Transprosed,' 'to have grown up into some part of his acquaintance, and conversed awhile with the living remains of one of the clearest heads and best prepared breasts in Christendom' ( ib. iii. 126). He kept up also his acquaintance with Milton, who sent him in 1654 a copy of his 'Defensio Secunda,' which Marvell praised for its ' Roman eloquence,' and compared to Trajan's column as a monument of Milton's many learned victories ( ib. ii. 11; Masson, iv. 620). In 1657, probably about September, Marvell was at last appointed Milton's colleague in the Latin secretaryship, at a salary of 200 l. a year. In the summer of 1658 he was employed in the reception of the Dutch ambassador and of the agent of the elector of Brandenburg (Thurloe, vii. 298, 373, 487; Masson, v. 374). He continued to act under the governments of Richard Cromwell and the restored Long parliament, and was voted lodgings in Whitenall by the council of state ( ib. v. 624; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659-60, p. 27).

Though Waller's 'Panegyric' gained more contemporary fame, Marvell is the poet of Cromwell and the Protectorate. In the summer of 1650 he had written the 'Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland,' first published in 1776. In 1653 he composed the Latin verses to be sent with Cromwell's portrait to Christina of Sweden. In 1655 he published, though anonymously, his poem on 'The First Anniversary of the Government under his Highness the Lord Protector,' which breathes unbounded admiration for Cromwell and complete confidence in his government. In November 1657 he celebrated the marriage of Mary Cromwell and Lord Fauconberg in two pastoral songs, in which the bride and bridegroom appear as Cynthia and Endymion,and the Protector as 'Jove himself,' Another poem written in the same year, describing Blake's victory at Santa Cruz, is throughout addressed to the Protector, and was probably presented to him by the poet himself. This series of Cromwellian poems closes with the elegy, 'Upon the Death of his late Highness the Lord Protector,' which of all the poems on that subject is the only one distinguished by an accent of sincerity and personal affection. Marvell gave Richard Cromwell the same unwavering support. 'A Cromwell,' he observes in the elegy, 'in an hour a prince will grow,' As member for Hull in Richard Cromwell's parliament he voted throughout with the government against the republican opposition. 'They have much the odds in speaking,' says one of his letters, 'but it is to be hoped our justice, our affection, and our number, which is at least two-thirds, will wear them out at the long run' (Aitken, Marvell's Poems, i. xxix).

At the Restoration, however, as Marvell's political poems were, with one exception, unpublished, his devotion to Cromwell and his house did not stand in his way. He was again elected member for Hull in April 1660, and for a third time in April 1661. Marvell owed his elections partly to his connection with various local families, and partly to his own efficiency as a representative of local interests. Hull kept up the old custom of paying its members, and the records of the corporation show that Marvell and his colleague, Colonel Anthony Gilby, regularly received their fee of 6 s. 8 d. per day 'for knights' pence, being their fee as burgesses of parliament 'as long as the sessions lasted (Grosart, ii. xxxv). Marvell, on his part, vigilantly guarded the interests of his constituents, and regularly informed the corporation of the progress of public affairs and of all private or public legislation in which they were concerned. A series of about three hundred letters of this nature is preserved among the Hull records, and has been printed by Dr. Grosart (Marvell, Works, vol. ii.)

Twice during the early part of the reign of Charles II Marvell was for some time absent from his parliamentary duties. In 1663 he was in Holland on business of his own; but though John, lord Belasyse [q. v.], the high steward of Hull, urged that a new member should be elected in his place, the corporation simply sent him 'a courteous and prudent' letter of recall ( ib. ii. 86). In July 1663, by leave of parliament and his constituents, Marvell accompanied Charles Howard, first earl of Carlisle, in his embassy to Russia, Sweden, and Denmark in the capacity of secretary. He did not return till January 1665, though the mission was originally intended to take only one year ( ib. ii. 93–7, i. xlviii). An account of the mission, containing Latin letters and speeches composed by Marvell, was printed in 1669, 'A Relation of three Embassies from his Sacred Majesty Charles II to the great Duke of Muscovy, &c, performed by the Earl of Carlisle in the Years 1663 and 16&4,' 8vo [by Guy Miège]; reprinted in Harris's 'Collection of Voyages,' 1705, vol. ii.; copious extracts are given by Grosart (ii. 100–82). In 1671 Marvell again contemplated absenting himself from parliament. 'I think it will be my lot,' he writes, 'to go on an honest fair employment to Ireland,' but the plan came to nothing ( ib. ii. 392).

As a member of parliament Marvell rarely intervened in debate, and as late as 1677 concludes a speech with the apology that he was not used to speak there, and consequently expressed himself with abruptness (Grey, Debates, 1763, iv. 324). He had some influence, however, and Edward Philips attributes Milton's impunity at the Restoration largely to Marvell, who in the House of Commons acted vigorously in his behalf and made a considerable party for him ( Letters of State, by Mr. John Milton, to which is added an Account of his Life, 1694, p. xxxviii). On 17 Dec. 1660 he complained to the house of the exorbitant fees which the serjeant-at-arms had exacted of Milton, and succeeded in getting the question referred to a committee ( Old Parliamentary History, xxiii. 54). In 1667 Marvell spoke twice during the discussions on Clarendon's impeachment, and also made a violent attack on Arlington (Grey, i. 14, 36, 70; cf. Bebington, Arlington's letters to Sir W. Temple, 1701, p. 226). His most important speech, however, was one delivered upon the second reading of the Bill for Securing the Protestant Religion, on 27 March 1677, in which he opposed the bill on the ground of the exorbitant power which it would give to the bishops if a catholic prince ascended the throne (Grey, iv. 321; cf. Grosart, iv. 338-53). The anger of the supporters of the bill is the best testimony to the effectiveness of this speech. Two days later, on the pretext that Marvell had struck another member and disputed the Authority of the speaker, it was moved that he should be sent to the Tower, but there proved to be so little foundation for the charge that the motion was dropped (Grey, iv. 328).

Marvell's political influence was due more to his writings than to his action in parliament, and the value of his parliamentary position consisted in the unequalled opportunities it gave him for observing contemporary politics. His letters to his constituents Are, as a rule, simply a colourless record of facts, but in a few to private friends he speaks out. He notes the king's continual demands for money and his squanderings of the public treasure. One of his happiest pieces of prose satire is a sham speech of Charles II on the state, of his finances (Grosart, ii. 431). In one letter he complains that all promotions, spiritual and temporal, pass under the cognisance of the Duchess of Cleveland; in another, that those ministers are most in favour who, like Lauderdale, deserved a halter rather than a garter. Abroad, he says, 'we truckle to France in all things to the prejudice of our honour;' at home 'the Court is at the highest pitch of want and luxury, and the people full of discontent. Never had any poor people so many complicated mortal incurable and dangerous diseases' ( ib. pp. 314, 390, 392, 395).

Parliament, which should have cured these ills, had become the subservient tool of the government. ' In such a conjuncture,' writes Marvell in 1670, ' what probability is there of my doing anything to the purpose ? ' He came to despair of effecting anything by parliamentary action. ' We are all venal cowards except some few,' The old 'country party,' which he had celebrated in his ' Last Instructions to a Painter ' (11. 240-306), was now broken up, and the ranks of the ' constant courtiers' had been so swelled by ' apostate patriots ' that it ' was a mercy they give not away the whole land and liberty of England' (Grosart, ii. 317, 320, 394).

Wrath at the degradation of his country and at the seeming hopelessness of the struggle explains the bitterness of Marvell's satires. Any weapon seemed legitimate, and every scandal was pressed into his verses. The satires show the development of his political opinions. In 1667 he attacked Clarendon and the court party, and hoped that with a change of ministers all would jet go well again. By 1674 he had discovered that the secret of the misgovernment of England was the king's character: 'for one man's weakness a whole nation bleeds.' In 1672 he held that Charles, with all his faults, was preferable to his bigoted brother, but in 1675 he had come to the conclusion that things would never be better till the reign of the house of Stuart was ended. Instead of constitutional monarchy he preached republicanism, and held up the republics of Rome and Venice as patterns to England.

Satires so outspoken were necessarily printed in secret or circulated in manuscript, but on one question Marvell found opportunity to appear more openly and reach a wider audience. The oppressive ecclesiastical policy of the government was notoriously the work of the ministers and the episcopal-cavalier party rather than the king, and it might be assailed with less danger and more prospect of success than civil tyranny. The most prominent champion of intolerance was Samuel Parker [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Oxford, who published in 1670 'A Discourse of Ecclesiastical Polity, wherein the Authority of the Civil Magistrate in matters of External Religion is asserted, the mischiefs and inconveniences of Toleration are represented, and all pretences pleaded in behalf of Liberty of Conscience fully answered.' This was followed by two other anti-non-conformist pamphlets, 'A Defence and Continuation of Ecclesiastical Polity,' 1671, and in 1672 by a preface to Bramhall's ' Vindication of himself and the Episcopal Clergy from the Presbyterian Charge of Popery.' Parker wrote, as Baxter complains, ' the most scornfully and rashly and profanely and cruelly against the nonconformists of any man that ever yet assaulted them.' Marvell undertook to answer Parker, and not to merely defend the principle of liberty of conscience, but, in Wood's phrase, ' to clip the wings ' of Parker for the future. With this intent he published in 1672 and 1673 the two parts of the 'Rehearsal Transprosed.' The title was suggested by the Duke of Buckingham's ' Rehearsal,' and Parker is throughout dubbed Mr. Bayes, on account of his supposed resemblance in character and style to the hero of Buckingham's play. In this, as in all Marvell's pamphlets, there are occasional passages of grave and vigorous eloquence, out in dealing with Parker he 'relied more on ridicule.' This pen-combat between our author and Marvell,' says Wood, 'was briskly managed, with as much smart cutting and satirical wit on both sides as any other perhaps of late hath been, they endeavouring by all the methods imaginable, and the utmost forces they could by any means rally up, to blacken each other's cause and to set each other out in the most ugly dress : their pieces in the meanwhile, wherein was represented a perfect trial of each other's skill and parts in a jerking, flirting way of writing, entertaining the reader with a great variety of sport and mirth, in seeing two such right cocks of the game so keenly engaging with sharp and dangerous weapons,' The buffoonery which had been so effective a weapon against solid divines like Baxter and Owen proved a weak defence against Marvell's wit, and all the laughers were on Marvell's side.

'From the king down to the tradesman,' adds Burnet, ' his books were read with great pleasure' (Wood, Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, iv. 231 : Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1836, p. 478). Marvell had handled the difference between the royal policy and the clerical policy with such discretion that Charles himself intervened on his behalf when the licenser wished to suppress the second edition of the first part ot the 'Rehearsal Transprosed.' 'Look you, Mr. l'Estrange,' said Lord Anglesey, 'I have spoken to his Majesty about it, and the King says he will not have it suppressed, for Parker has done him wrong, and this man has done him right ' (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. p. 618; cf. art, I/Estrange, Sir Roger), to some extent Marvell's object in writing was attained. Parker was effectually humbled. He made no attempt to answer the second part of the 'Rehearsal Transprosed,' and confined himself to posthumously libelling Marvell (Btshop Parker, History of his own Time, translated by Newlin, p. 332). Burnet goes so far as to say that Parker's party was humbled too.

Encouraged by his success, Marvell made two more essays in ecclesiastical controversy. In 1676 he defended Herbert Croft, bishop of Hereford, against some 'animadversions' on his pamphlet, 'The Naked Truth,' which had been published by Dr. Francis Turner, master of St. John's College, Cambridge. Turner was ridiculed much as Parker had been, and compared to Mr. Smirke the chaplain in Sir George Etheregea play ' The Man of Mode.' Croft wrote to thank Marvell for the 'humane civility and Christian chanty' with which he had taken up his cause against the 'snarling curs' who had assailed him (Grosart, ii. 488-91). In April 1678 Marvell took part in a controversy about predestination between John Howe and Thomas Danson [q.v.], but he was hardly qualified to treat a purely theological question. Much more effective than either of these two pamphlets was the 'Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England, which was published towards the end of 1677. It dealt with the history of the reign from the long prorogation of November 1675, and undertook to prove that there had been for many years a design carried on to change the lawful government of England into an absolute tyranny, and to convert the established protestant religion into downright popery,' Written in a plainer and more forcible style than Marvell's earlier pamphlets, and with all the boldness and directness of his satires, it produced an immediate sensation. The government offered a reward of 100/. in the 4 Gazette ' for the discovery of the author, and greater sums were privately promised. Marvell was suspected, but makes a jest of the suspicions in one of his letters. ' Three or four printed books,' he writes, 'have described — as near as it was proper to go, the man being a Member of Parliament — Mr. Marvell to have been the author ; but if he had, surely he would not have escaped being questioned in Parliament or some other place' ( ib. ii. 631). Legal punishment, however, was not the only danger an obnoxious writer had to fear. Marvell's life had been threatened during his controversy with Parker. In a private letter (quoted by Cooke) he mentions ' the insuperable hatred of his foes to him, and their designs of murdering him,' and uses these words : ' Praeterea magis occidere metuo quam occidi ; non quod vitam tanti a?stimem,sed ne imparatus moriar' (Marvell, Works, ed. Cooke T 1772, i. 13). Hence his sudden death, on 18 Aug. 1678, at once gave rise to the rumour that he was poisoned. A contemporary poem on his death concludes with the lines : —

Whether Fate or Art untwined his thread Remains in doubt. Fame's tasting register Shall leave his name enrolled as great as theirs Who in Philippi for their country tell.

('On his Excellent Friend, Mr. Andrew Marvell,' attributed to Shefheld, duke of Buckingham, Poems on Affairs of State, i. 123, ed. 1702). The suspicion, however, was groundless. Dr. Richard Morton (1635?-1698) [q. v.], in his ' Pyretologia,' published in 1602, describes Marvell as dying of a tertian fever, ' through the ignorance of an old conceited doctor.' An ounce of Peruvian bark would have saved him, but instead of that he was given an opiate, and copiously bled (Grosart, vol. ii. p. xliv). He was buried in London in the church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, ' under the pews in the south side' (Aubrey, Letters from the Bodleian, ii. 438). The corporation of Hull voted 50 l. out of the town chest for his funeral and gravestone, but the opposition of the incumbent is said to have prevented the erection of the monument. The epitaph intended to have been engraved on it is given by Cooke (Maetell, ed. 1772, i. 35; cf. Grosart, vol. ii. p. xlvii). A monument with a slightly altered version of the epitaph was erected by Marveil's grandnephew, Robert Nettleton, upon the north end of the church in 1764 (Thompson, Marvell, iii. 482, 491-3).

Marvell's earliest biographers, Cooke and Thompson, both assert that he was never married, and that the Mary Marvell who claimed to be his widow, and published his poems, was simply the woman with whom he lodged. On tue other hand, the ' Administration Book of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury' shows that administration of his goods was granted to his relict, Mary Marvell, and to a creditor, John Green, on 19 March 1679, and it is to be presumed that she gave proof of her marriage. He left no children (Grosart, vol. i. p. Iii ; Cooke, p. 34; Thompson, iii. 489; Wills from Doctors' Commons, Camd. Soc, p. 161).

An engraved portrait of Marvell is prefixed to the first edition of his poems (1681), and aversion of the same, reduced, serves as a frontispiece to Cooke's edition. In 1760 Thomas Hollis bought a portrait of Marvell in oils which had been in the possession of Ralph Thoresby. An engraving of this by Cipriani is given in the 'Life of Hollis.' by T. B. Hollis, p. 97 ; and it was also engraved by James Basire for Thompson's edition of Marvell's i Works.' This portrait represents Marvell in the forty-first year of his age, i.e. in 1G61-2. Another portrait of Marvell was given to the British Museum in 1764 by Ins grandnephew, Robert Nettleton (Thompson, iii. 493). This portrait is now in the National Portrait Gallery. An engraving of it is prefixed to Mr. Aitken's edition of Marvell, 1892. Dr. Grosart's edition (1872) contains a portrait by Adrian Hannemann, now in the possession of John Rhodes, esq., of Leeds.

Aubrey describes Marvell's person and habits thus : ' He was of a middling stature, pretty strong-set, roundish-faced, cherry-cheeked, hazel eye, brown hair. He was in his conversation very modest and of very few words. Though he loved wine, he would never drink hard in company, and was wont to say " that he would not play the good fellow in any man's company in whose hands he would not trust his life." He kept bottles of wine at his lodging, and many times he would drink liberally by himself to refresh his spirits and exalt his muse ' {Letters from the Bodleian, ii. 437). The story of Lord-treasurer Danby's visit to Marvell's lodgings and Marvell's indignant refusal of the offers made to him appears first in Cooke's ' Life' in 1726, and is much embellished by later biographers. According to Cooke, Marvell ' having one night been entertained by the King, who had often been delighted in his company, his Majestv the next day sent the Lord Treasurer Danby to find out his lodging.' Danby found Marvell writing 'up two pair of stairs in a little court in the Strand,' and announced ' that he came with a message from his Majesty, which was to know what he could do to serve him,' His answer was, ' in his usual facetious manner, that it was not in His Majesty's power to serve him.' Danby then definitely offered him a place at court. Marvell refused, saying 'that he could not accept with honour, for he must be either ungrateful to the King in voting against him, or false to his country in giving in to the measures of the court ; therefore the only favour he begged of his Majesty was that he would esteem him as dutiful a subject as any he had, and more in his proper interest in refusing his offers than if he had embraced them.' Then the lord treasurer, finding argument useless, told him that the king ' had ordered a thousand pounds for him, which he hoped he would receive till he could think what further to ask of his Majesty.' But this last offer ' was refused with the same steadfastness of mind as was the first, though as soon as the Lord Treasurer was gone he was forced to send to a friend to borrow a guinea ' (Cooke, Marvell, i. 11-13). In Thompson's version of the story Marvell in Danby's presence Culls for his servant and says to him, ' Pray, what had I for dinner yesterday ?' 'A shoulder of mutton.' 'And what do you allow me to-day ? ' 'The remainder hashed.' Then Marvell, turning to Danby, adds : 'And to-morrow, my lord, I shall have the sweet blade-bone broiled;' and Danby, seeing it useless to tempt a man of such Spartan habits, retires abashed (Thompson, Marvell, iii. 493). Dove gives a variation of Thompson's story, said to be derived ' from a pamphlet printed in Ireland a.d. 1754' (Life of Marvell, 1832. p. 36}. Cooke's story may be true, but the later auditions are obvious fictions, and the accounts of Marvell's personal encounter with Parker and of his supposed intimacy with Prince Rupert seem to be equally baseless (Thompson, iii. 475 ; Cooke, i. 10).

Of Marvell's relations with contemporary writers a few particulars can be collected. Aubrey states that James Harrington, the author of 'Oceana,' was his intimate friend, and adds that Marvell 'made a good epitaph for him, but it would have given offence' ( Letters from the Bodleian, ii. 376, 438). The same authority classes Marvell with Cyriae Skinner and Dr. Paget as Milton's 'familiar learned acquaintance.' Rumour credited Milton with a share in the composition of the 'Rehearsal Transprosed,' and he was consequently attacked with great virulence by Parker and Parker's allies. In reply Marvell vindicated Milton from the charge, describing him as a man 'of great learning and sharpness of wit,' and incidentally observing that he had first met Parker under Milton s roof. In 1674 he contributed to the second edition of 'Paradise Lost' prefatory lines of unstinted appreciation, hailing Milton as ' mighty poet,' and praising the vastness of his design, the ease and gravity of his style, and the verse created, like his theme, sublime (Masson, Life of Milton, vi. 704; Grosart, i. 146, Hi. 498). With this eulogium on 'Paradise Lost' was coupled a scornful rebuke to Dry den for his attempt to convert it into a rhyming opera, which Dryden subsequently replied to by comparing Marvell to Martin Marprelate, 'the first presbyterian scribbler who sanctified libels and scurrility to the use of the good old cause' (Preface to Religio Laici). Marvell praised Butler for his excellent wit, saying, 'Whoever dislikes his choice of subject cannot but commend his performance,' though Aubrey records the criticism that Rochester was 'the only man in England who had the true vein of satire' (Grosart, iii. 35, 494).

Marvell's literary work is remarkable for its variety. In his own age his reputation rested mainly on his pamphlets, which have ceased to be read since the controversies which gave rise to them have been forgotten. Yet Swift, himself to some extent Marvell's pupil, refers to him as a great genius, and says, 'We still read Marvell's answer to Parker with pleasure, though the book it answers be sunk long ago' (Swift, Works, ed. Scott, 1824, x. 22). To the generation which immediately succeeded Marvell he seems to have been best known as a political satirist; and the number of pieces ascribed to him in 'Poems on State Affairs' and similar collections is evidence of his celebrity. But the satires, like the pamphlets, are essentially of temporary interest, and are mainly of historical value. They are full of allusions unintelligible without a commentary, and so personal that they frequently become mere lampoons. The vice he attacks loses none of its grossness in his verses. Moreover, his lines are hasty and rough-hewn, and in employing the heroic couplet Marvell is never completely master of his instrument. Yet despite these defects there is much both in his satires and pamphlets which still amuses; a gift of humorous exaggeration which suggests Sydney Smith, and an irony which occasionally recalls Swift (cf. Leigh Hunt, Wit and Humour, ed. 1876, pp. 34, 218).

As a poet, Marvell essentially belongs to the pre-Restoration period. The fanciful ingenuity of his early love poems reveals the influence of Cowley and Donne. Afterwards he learnt, as he himself expresses it, to 'read in Nature's mystic book,' and his poems on country life show a keen love of natural beauty. 'All his serious poetry,' says Lamb, 'is full of a witty delicacy,' and sometimes he abandons conceits to rise to the highest strains of passion and imagination. Marvell's greatest achievement is the 'Horatian Ode' to Cromwell, first printed in 1776. 'It worthily presents the figures and events of the great tragedy as they would impress themselves on the mind of an ideal spectator, at once feeling and dispassionate. Better than anything else in our language, this poem gives an idea of a grand Horatian measure, as well as of the diction and spirit of an Horatian ode' (Mr. Goldwin Smith in Ward, English Poets, ii. 383).

Poems.—Very few of Marvell's poems were published in his lifetime. Those few are: Two poems to King Charles I, in 'Musa Cantabrigiensis,' 1637; poems upon the death of Lord Hastings, in 'Lacryuue Musarum,' 1649; poems prefixed to Lovelace s 'Poems,' 1649, to Robert Witties translation of Dr. James Primerose's ' Popular Errors,' 1661, and to the second edition of 'Paradise Lost,' 1674. 'The first Anniversary of the government under his Highness the Lord Protector' was printed in 16T>5, 4to. 'The Character of Holland' appeared in a mutilated version in 1665 and 1672 (cf. Harleian Miscellany, ed. Park, v. 613). Of the satires, Clarendon's House-Warming' was published in 1667, and the 'Dialogue between two Horses' in 1675. The satires generally were collected in 'Poems on Affairs of State,' 3 parts, 4to, 1689, and 4 vols, 8vo, 1703-7. The best bibliography of the poetry is contained in Aitken's ' Marvell,' vol. L p. lxviii.

Prose Works.—

  1. 'The Rehearsal Transpros'd, or Animadversions upon a late book intituled "A Preface showing what Grounds there are of Fears and Jealousies of Popery," ' 8vo, 1672.
  2. 'The Rehearsal Transprosed: the second part. Occasioned by two Letters, the first printed by a nameless Author, intituled "A Reproof," etc. The second Letter left for me at a friend's house, dated Nov. 3, 1673, subscribed J. G., and concluding with these words: "If thou darest to print or publish any Lie or Libel against Doctor Parker, by the Eternal God I will cut thy Throat." Answered by Andrew Marvell,' 1673, 12mo. Parker answered the first part of the 'Rehearsal Transprosed' in 'A Reproof to the Rehearsal Transprosed in a Discourse to its Author. By the Author of the Ecclesiastical Polity,' 8vo, 1673 (a dull volume of 528 pages). Other answers are the following: (1) 'Rosemary and Bayes, or Animadversions upon a Treatise called "The Rehearsal Transprosed, by Henry Stubbe."' (2) 'The Transproser Rehearsed, or the Fifth Act of Mr. Bayes' Play,' Oxford, 1673, 8vo, by Richard Leigh of Queen's College, Oxford. (3) 'Gregory, Father Greybeard, with his Vizard off,' 1673, 8vo, by Edmund Hickeringill. (4) 'A Commonplace Book out of the "Rehearsal Transprosed," digested under these several heads,' &c, 1673, 8vo. (5) 'S'too him Bayes, or some Animadversions upon the humour of writing "Rehearsals Transprosed,"' Oxford, 1673, 8vo. An account of the controversy, with extracts from these pamphlets, is given in Masson's 'Life of Milton,' vi. 699-708, and in Isaac D'Israeli's 'Quarrels of Authors.
  3. 'Mr. Smirke, or the Divine in Mode, being certain Annotations upon the "Animadversions on the Naked Truth." Together with a Short Historical Essay, concerning General Councils, Creeds, and Impositions in matters of Religion. By Andreas Rivetus, Junior,' 1676, 4to. A defence of Herbert Croft [q. v.], bishop of Hereford, against the criticisms of Dr. Francis Turner, master of St. John's College, Cambridge (cf. Wood, Athenæ, iv. 546). The 'Essay concerning General Councils ' was reprinted separately in 1680, 1687, and 1689.
  4. 'An Account of the Growth of Popery and arbitrary Government in England, more particularly from the Long Prorogation of Parliament of November 1675, ending the 15th of Feb. 1676, till the last Meeting of Parliament, the 16th of July, 1677,' folio, 1677. This is reprinted in ' State Tracts during the Reign of King Charles 11,' folio, 1693, i. 69. It was answered by Sir Roger L'Estrange in ' An Account of the Growth of Knavery under the pretended fears of arbitrary Government and Popery,' 4to, 1678. L'Estrange plainly hints that Marvell was the author of the tract he was answering (pp. 6, 27, 34). Its authorship was also attributed to him by Dry den in 1682, in the 'Epistle to the Whigs ' prefixed to ' The Medal.' A proclamation was issued offering a reward of 50 l. for the discovery of the printer or publisher, and 100 l. for that of the author (London Gazette, 21-5 March 1678).
  5. 'Remarks upon a late disingenuous Discourse, writ by one T. D., under the pretence De Causa Dei and of answering Mr. John Howe's " Letter … of God's Prescience." By a Protestant,' 1678, 8vo.

The following works are attributed to Marvell on insufficient evidence:

  1. 'A Seasonable Argument to persuade all the Grand Juries in England to petition for a new Parliament,' 4to, 1677; also printed in 1827, 8vo, by Sir Harris Nicolas, from a manuscript in the British Museum, under the title of 'Flagellum Parliamentarium; being sarcastic Notices of nearly 200 Members of the first Parliament after the Restoration.'
  2. 'A Seasonable Question and a useful Answer, contained in an exchange of a Letter between a Parliament Man in Cornwall and a Bencher of the Temple,' 1676.
  3. 'A Letter from a Parliament Man to his Friend concerning the Proceedings of the House of Commons in the last Session, begun the 13th of October, 1675' ( State Tracts printed in the Reign of Charles II, 1693, folio, ii. 53).
  4. A translation of Suetonius, 8vo, 1672, assigned to Marvell in a contemporary hand in the Bodleian copy.
  5. A speech supposed to be spoken by Lord-chancellor Shaftesbury ( Miscellaneous Works of George, Duke of Buckingham, 1705, 8vo, vol. ii.)

The collected editions of Marvell's writings are the following:

  1. 'Miscellaneous Poems, by Andrew Marvell, Esq., late Member of the Honourable House of Commons,' 1681, folio (from ' exact copies, under his own handwriting, found since his death among his other papers ' by his widow).
  2. 'The Works of Andrew Marvell, Esq.,' edited by Thomas Cooke, 2 vols. 12mo, 1726; reprinted by T. Davies in 1772.
  3. Bowyer in 1767 projected publishing an edition of Marvell to be edited by Richard Baron, at the suggestion of Thomas Hollis, but the design fell through (Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, ii. 449). Hollis gave some assistance to Captain Edward Thompson, who published in 1776 an edition of Marvell's works in 3 vols. 4to, printing for the first time his letters to the corporation of Hull, and collecting his prose pamphlets.
  4. Dr. Grosart's edition forms part of the 'Fuller "Worthies Library,' and was printed for subscribers between 1872 and 1875, in three forms, 4to, 8vo, and 12mo. This contains, like Thompson's, the poems, prose works, and letters, but is more complete and is annotated throughout.
  5. An American edition of Marvell's poems was published at Boston in 1857, and reprinted in England in 1870 (in Alexander Murray's reprints) and in 1881.
  6. 'Poems and Satires,' edited by G. A. Aitken, 3 vol. 8vo, 1892. This edition contains the best notes on the poems and an index of persons named in the satires.

[The earliest lives of Marvell are those contained in Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, iv. 232, and in Aubrey's notes for Wood's use; Letters written by Eminent Persons and Lives of Eminent Men, by John Aubre;, from the original in the Bodleian Library. 1813, ii. 437. The Life by Cooke, prefixed to his edition of Murell in 1726, is the original sonrce of many stories respecting Marvell ; and the Lives in the editions of Thompson. Grosart, and Aitken add supplementary facts. Marvell's letters, printed in the editions of Thompson and Grosart, contain much valuable information. Two letters are printed in the Catalogue of Autographs, in the possession of Mr. Alfred Morrison, iv, 161. The Life by Dove (1832) is a careful working up of all the materials then accessible, and is practically identical with the biography which passes under the name of Hartley Coleridge. A list of critical and biographical articles on Marvell is given by Mr. Aitkeo, vol. i. p. lxxiii.]



John Milton (1608-1674)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Leslie Stephen, “Milton, John (1608-1674),” Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 38 Milman - More, pp. 24-41.

[24] MILTON, JOHN (1608–1674), poet, born 9 Dec. 1608 at the house of his father, John Milton [see under Milton, John, the elder], scrivener, in Bread Street, Cheapside. The child was christened at Allhallows Church, destroyed in the fire of 1666. A tablet to commemorate the fact, erected in the present century in the new church, was removed, upon the demolition of that church in 1876, to Bow Church, Cheapside. Milton was a beautiful boy, as appears from a portrait taken when he was ten years old, and soon showed remarkable literary promise. His father (who himself instructed him in music, and, according to Aubrey, made him a skilful organist) had him taught by a private tutor, Thomas Young [q. v.], a Scottish clergyman, afterwards a well-known presbyterian divine, who became in 1644 master of Jesus College, Cambridge. Milton was also sent to St. Paul's School, not later than 1620. Alexander Gill the elder [q. v.] was head-master, and his son, Alexander Gill the younger [q. v.], became assistant-master in 1621. Milton took to study passionately. He seldom left his lessons for bed till midnight, a practice which produced frequent headaches, and, as he thought, was the first cause of injury to his eyes. Besides Latin and Greek, he appears to have learnt French, Italian, and some Hebrew (see his Ad Patrem), and had read much English literature. He was a poet, says Aubrey, from the age of ten. Spenser's ‘Faery Queen’ and Sylvester's translation of Du Bartas were among his favourites. Two paraphrases of Psalms were written when he was fifteen. He became intimate with the younger Gill, and made a closer friendship with Charles Diodati, a schoolfellow of his own age, son of a physician of Italian origin, and a nephew of John Diodati, a famous theologian at Geneva. With Charles Diodati, who entered Trinity College, Oxford, in February 1622-3, Milton kept up an affectionate correspondence.

Milton was admitted as a pensioner of Christ's College, Cambridge, on 12 Feb. 1624-5, and was matriculated on 9 April following. His tutor was William Chappell [q. v.], famous for his skill in disputation, who was afterwards promoted by Laud's favour to the bishopric of Cork. Milton's rooms at Christ's College are still pointed out on the first floor of the western staircase on the north side of the great court. Wordsworth [25] paid his respects to the place, drinking, for once, till he was ‘dizzy’ (see the Prelude, bk. iii.) Milton kept every term at Cambridge until he graduated as M.A. 3 July 1632. He took his B.A. degree 26 March 1629. Rumours of some disgrace in his university career were spread by some of his opponents in later years. Aubrey says that Chappell showed him ‘some unkindness,’ above which in the original manuscript is the interlineation ‘whipt him.’ This ‘whipping’ was accepted by Johnson, and the practice of flogging, though declining, was not yet obsolete. In a Latin epistle to Diodati, probably (see Masson, i. 161) of the spring of 1626, Milton speaks of the harsh threats of a master:—

Cæteraque ingenio non subeunda meo.

Milton clearly had some quarrel with Chappell, and had to leave Cambridge for a time, though without losing his term. He was then transferred from the tutorship of Chappell to that of Nathaniel Tovey.

In replying to the attacks upon him Milton was able to assert that he had been esteemed above his equals by the fellows of the college, and that they had been anxious that he should continue in residence after he had taken his M.A. degree. His biographers, Aubrey and Wood, speak of the respect paid to his abilities. Milton while at college corresponded with Diodati, Gill, and his old preceptor, Young, in Latin prose and verse. He wrote some Latin poems upon events at the university and on the Gunpowder plot, and seven ‘Prolusiones Oratoriæ’ (published in 1674) were originally pronounced as exercises in the schools and in college. One of them, given in the college hall in 1628, was originally concluded by the address to his native language in English. Milton wrote the copy of Latin verses distributed, according to custom, at the commencement of 1628. He had also written some English poems, the sonnet to Shakespeare (1630, first published in the second folio, 1632, of Shakespeare), that ‘On having arrived at the Age of Twenty-three’ (1631), the clumsy attempt at humour upon the death of the carrier Thomas Hobson [q. v.], and the noble ‘Ode on the Nativity’ (Christmas, 1629), in which his characteristic majesty of style first appears, although marred by occasional conceits. Milton (Apology for Smectymnuus) speaks with great contempt of dramatic performances which he had heard at the university, and (letter to Gill, 2 July 1628) expresses his scorn for the narrow theological studies of his companions, and their ignorance of philosophy.

Milton was nicknamed the ‘lady’ at college, from his delicate complexion and slight make. He was, however, a good fencer, and thought himself a ‘match for any one.’ Although respected by the authorities, his proud and austere character probably kept him aloof from much of the coarser society of the place. He shared the growing aversion to the scholasticism against which one of his exercises is directed. Like Henry More, who entered Christ's in Milton's last year, he was strongly attracted by Plato, although he was never so much a philosopher as a poet. He already considered himself as dedicated to the utterance of great thoughts, and to the strictest chastity and self-respect, on the ground that he who would ‘write well here-after in laudable things ought himself to be a true poem’ (Apology for Smectymnuus). Milton's father had retired by 1632 from an active share in his business. He had handed this over to a partner, John Bower, and retired to a house at Horton, Buckinghamshire, a village near Colnbrook. Milton had been educated with a view to taking orders, and a letter (now in Trinity College Library), ending with the sonnet upon completing his twenty-third year, gives reasons for postponing but not for abandoning his intention. He was, however, alienated by the church policy which became dominant under Laud, and says, in 1641 (Reasons of Church Government), that he was unwilling to take the necessary oaths, and was (in this sense) ‘church-outed by the prelates.’ There are slight indications that he thought of studying law (Masson, i. 327), but he soon abandoned this and resolved to devote himself exclusively to literature. His style, ‘by certain vital signs it had, was likely to live,’ he says, and in the Latin epistle ‘Ad Patrem,’ probably written about this time, he thanks his father for consenting to his plans. Milton therefore settled with his father at Horton for nearly six years—July 1632toApril 1638. The house is said by Todd to have been pulled down about 1795. Tradition says that it was on the site of Byrken manor-house, near the church. Milton frequently visited London, eighteen miles distant, to take lessons in mathematics and music. He read the classical writers, and studied Greek and Italian history (to C. Diodati, 23 Sept. 1637), and he wrote poems already displaying his full powers. The ‘Allegro’ and ‘Penseroso,’ the most perfect record in the language of the impression made by natural scenery upon a thorough scholar, were probably (Masson, i. 589) written in 1632. The Countess-dowager of Derby, who had been the wife of Ferdinando, fifth earl of Derby, and afterwards of Thomas Egerton, lord Ellesmere [q. v.] [26] was living at Harefield, near Uxbridge. Her family presented a masque before her in 1633, or possibly in 1634, for which Lawes composed the music and Milton the words, afterwards published as ‘Arcades.’ Milton's acquaintance with Henry Lawes [q. v.] was probably the cause of his employment, as no other connection with the Egerton family is known. John Egerton, first earl of Bridgewater [q. v.], the stepson, and also son-in-law of the Dowager-countess of Derby, had been appointed in 1631 president of the council of Wales. He went to his official residence at Ludlow Castle in 1633, and in September 1634 his family performed the masque of ‘Comus’ in the great hall of the castle, Milton and Lawes being again the composers. This noble poem was appreciated at the time. Lawes received so many applications for copies that he published it (without Milton's name) in 1634. The last of the great poems of his youthful period, ‘Lycidas,’ was written in November 1637, upon the death of Edward King (1612-1637) [q. v.], for the collection of poems published by King's friends at Cambridge in 1638. The poetry already written by Milton would by itself entitle him to the front rank in our literature, and has a charm of sweetness which is absent from the sublimer and sterner works of his later years. The famous apostrophe of St. Peter in ‘Lycidas’ shows his growing interest in the theological controversies of the day.

Milton's mother died on 3 April 1637, and was buried in the chancel of Horton Church. The elder Milton was at the same time charged by a client with misconduct in respect of funds trusted to him for investment. A lawsuit ended on 1 Feb. 1637-8 by an order of court completely exonerating him from all charges (Masson, i. 627-38, 661). Milton now obtained his father's consent to a journey abroad. His brother Christopher, who had followed him to St. Paul's School and Christ's College, was now a law student; he married about this time, and was probably resident at Horton during the elder brother's absence. Milton took a servant, and the expense of a year abroad, as calculated by Howell at the time, would be not under 300l. for a well-to-do traveller and 50l. for his servant. As Milton had no means of his own, his father must have been both able and willing to be liberal. Milton started in April 1638; he made a short stay in Paris, where, according to Wood, he disliked ‘the manners and genius’ of the place; he travelled to Nice; went by sea to Genoa and to Leghorn, and thence by Pisa to Florence, where he stayed two months, probably August and September. About the end of September he went to Rome and spent two months there. He then went to Naples and heard news of the Scottish troubles, which determined him to return, lest, as he said, he should be travelling abroad while his countrymen were fighting for liberty. He made a second stay at Rome, spent two more months in Florence (where he was present in March 1639), and thence went to Venice by Bologna and Ferrara. From Venice he sent home a collection of books and music. He left Italy by Verona, Milan, and the Pennine Alps, probably the Simplon. He spent some time at Geneva, where he was present (as appears from an autograph in an album) on 10 July 1639; and thence returned by Paris, reaching England about the end of July 1639, after fifteen months' absence. (The dates are fixed by the short account of his travels in the ‘Defensio Secunda’ and references in his ‘Occasional Poems and Epistles.’)

Milton declares his freedom from all vice during his foreign journey. His statement is confirmed by a letter of Nicholas Heinsius written from Venice 27 Feb. 1652-3, on occasion of Milton's controversy with Salmasius. Heinsius says that Milton had offended the Italians by his strict morality and by his outspoken attacks on popery (in P. Burmann's Sylloge Epistolarum). His reception by distinguished persons indicates the impression made upon his contemporaries by his lofty character, prepossessing appearance, and literary culture. Lawes had obtained a passport for him. Sir Henry Wotton, then provost of Eton, and his neighbour at Horton, sent him a friendly letter on his departure, thanking him for a gift of ‘Comus,’ and giving his favourite piece of advice, ‘I pensieri stretti ed il viso sciolto.’ Wotton added a letter of introduction; and by others he was introduced to Lord Scudamore, the English ambassador in Paris. Scudamore introduced him to Grotius, then Queen Christina's ambassador, who, according to Phillips, received him kindly. At Florence Milton was received with singular warmth. He was welcomed by the members of all the popular academies, of which he speaks with the enthusiasm of gratitude. The chief among them were Jacopo Gaddi, Carlo Date, Agostino Colsellino, Benedetto Bonmattei, and Antonio Malatesti (see extracts from the ‘pastorals’ of the Academy of the Svogliati in Stern, bk. ii. p. 499). A reference in the ‘Areopagitica’ tells how they complained to him of the tyranny over freedom of speech exercised by the Inquisition. He read Latin poems at their meetings, and was repaid by complimentary effusions given in his subsequent collections of poems (for the [27] history of a manuscript given by Malatesti to Milton, containing some equivocal sonnets, which was afterwards in possession of Thomas Hollis, see Masson,'i. 786-7 n.) At Florence Milton, as he states in the ‘Areopagitica,’ saw Galileo. References in ‘Paradise Lost’ (i. 287-91, v. 262) also indicate the impression made upon Milton by this interview; and the noble lines upon Vallombrosa commemorate a visit of which there was said to be some tradition at the convent (Wordsworth's poem, At Vallombrosa, 1837; works by Knight, vi. 82). Two Latin letters written by Milton to the convent had been shown at Vallombrosa a ‘few years ago’ in 1877 (Notes and Queries, 5th ser. viii.117). At Rome Milton's chief association was apparently with Lucas Holsten or Holstenius, librarian of the Vatican, who had lived at Oxford, and afterwards became a convert to Catholicism. Holstenius showed him collections of books and manuscripts, and introduced him to his patron, Cardinal Barberini. Milton attended a concert at Barberini's palace, and there probably heard the great singer, Leonora Baroni, to whom he addressed three Latin epigrams. At Naples Milton was introduced by ‘a certain eremite,’ with whom he had travelled from Rome, to the aged Manso, formerly the patron of Tasso and Marini. To Manso he addressed an epistle in Latin hexameters, and received in acknowledgment two richly worked cups (described in his ‘Epitaphium Damonis’). Manso, says Milton, excused himself for not showing more attentions on account of his guest's freedom in conversations upon religion. Milton was afterwards told that the English Jesuits at Rome intended to lay snares for him upon the same ground. He determined, however, to speak freely if he should be attacked, and, though carrying out his resolution, was not molested. Milton wrote five Italian sonnets and a canzone, professing love to a beautiful Italian lady of Bologna, which from the allusions to the scenery are supposed to have been written during his visit to that place in the spring of 1639. One of them, however, is addressed to Charles Diodati, who died in August 1638, but it is possible that Milton may not have heard of his loss. Nothing further is known of the lady, whom Warton arbitrarily identified with the singer Leonora; and they are chiefly remarkable as proofs of Milton's facility in writing Italian, although not without occasional slips of grammar and idiom (Masson, i. 826-7 n.)

Milton soon after his return to England took lodgings at a tailor's house in St. Bride's Churchyard. His sister, Mrs. Phillips, had lost her husband in 1631, and afterwards married Thomas Agar, who had succeeded her first husband as secondary in the crown office. She had two sons by her first marriage: Edward, aged about nine, and John, a year younger, who now became pupils of their uncle, the youngest being ‘wholly committed to his charge.’ After a short stay in lodgings, where he had no room for his books, he took a ‘pretty garden-house’ in Aldersgate Street, then, says Phillips, one of the quietest streets in London. Professor Masson (ii. 207) thinks that it was near Golden Lion Court. The elder nephew now came to board with him also, and the household became an example of ‘hard study and spare diet.’ Once a month or so he allowed himself a ‘gaudy day,’ with some ‘beaux of these times,’ but otherwise he devoted himself to carrying out the system of education described in his treatise on that subject (letter to Hartlib, published in June 1644). He gives a portentous list of books to be read; and his pupils are to be trained in athletic and military sports, and in poetry and philosophy, besides obtaining a vast amount of useful knowledge so far as such knowledge is accessible through classical authors. Phillips gives some account of his practice. In 1643 he began to take more pupils. Meanwhile he was busy with literary projects. The ‘Epitaphium Damonis,’ written soon after his return, commemorates, in the form of a pastoral idyll in Latin hexameters, his grief for the loss of Diodati, and incidentally states the resolution, to which he adhered, of henceforth writing in the vernacular. He sketches the plan of an heroic poem upon Arthur. A notebook, now in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, gives a list of ninety-nine subjects for poems extracted from scripture and English history. Four drafts show that he was already contemplating a poem on ‘Paradise Lost,’ which was, however, to be in the form of the Greek tragedy. The other subjects are more briefly noticed, and probably few of them occupied his attention for more than the moment. A passage in his ‘Reason of Church-Government’ (1641) describes his meditations upon some great moral and religious poem, the poem and topic being still undecided (for the reasons for assigning the date of about 1640 to these jottings see Masson, ii. 121).

Milton's attention was soon diverted from poetry to ecclesiastical disputes. The meeting of the Long parliament in November 1640 was the signal for urgent attacks upon the episcopacy. Numerously signed petitions were followed by proceedings in parliament, and accompanied by a shower of books and pamphlets. The chief champion of [28] episcopacy was Joseph Hall [q. v.], bishop of Exeter, who had published in the previous February a defence of the ‘Divine Right of Episcopacy,’ and now (January 1640-1) brought out a ‘Humble Remonstrance’ to parliament. He was opposed by the five ministers whose united initials formed the name Smectymnuus. Their book appeared in March. Hall replied in April by a ‘Defence’ of the ‘Remonstrance,’ and also persuaded Archbishop Ussher to publish (in May) a short tract entitled ‘The Judgment of Doctor Rainoldes,’ supporting a qualified version of the episcopal theory. Smectymnuus rejoined in June by a ‘Vindication’ of the previous book. Professor Masson thinks, on rather slight grounds, that Milton had some hand in this ‘Vindication’ (Masson, ii. 260).

One of the Smectymnuan divines was Thomas Young, Milton's old teacher. Milton now supported Smectymnuus in three pamphlets. The first, ‘Of Reformation touching Church Discipline in England’ (May - June 1641), vehemently attacked episcopacy upon historical grounds. The second, on ‘Prelatical Episcopacy’ (June-July), was a reply to Ussher. The third, ‘Animadversions upon the Remonstrance Defence’ (July), was a fierce attack upon Hall's last book, from which a series of passages were cited, with a bitter comment appended to each. These writings were all anonymous, though no secret was made of the authorship. In February 1641-2 Milton published, under his own name, a pamphlet called ‘The Reason of Church-Government urged against Prelacy,’ containing an elaborate argument upon general grounds, and including, after his custom, a remarkable autobiographical statement (at the beginning of the second book). The argument refers partly to a collection of seven tracts upon the episcopal side, published in 1641 as ‘Certaine Briefe Treatises.’ Meanwhile Hall, after a ‘Short Answer’ to the Smectymnuus in the autumn of 1641, left Milton's animadversions unnoticed till in the beginning of 1642 he issued a ‘Modest Confutation of a Slanderous and Scurrilous Libel.’ This pamphlet seems to have been the joint work of Hall and his son Robert, a canon of Exeter and a Cambridge man, two years older than Milton. They had made inquiries as to Milton's character, and the result appeared in much personal abuse. To this Milton replied by an ‘Apology’ (about April 1642), defending himself, attacking the bishops, and savagely reviling Hall, with frequent references to his enemy's early satires and other questionable writings. This ended Milton's share in the discussion. The pamphlets are characteristic, though not now easily readable. They breathe throughout a vehemence of passion which distorts the style, perplexes the argument, and disfigures his invective with unworthy personalities. His characteristic self-assertion, however, acquires dignity from his genuine conviction that he is dedicated to the loftiest purposes; and in his autobiographical and some other passages he rises to an eloquence rarely approached, and shows the poet of ‘Paradise Lost’ struggling against the trammels of prose. The ecclesiastical doctrine shows that he was at this time inclined to presbyterianism (see Masson, ii. 229, 239, 249, 361, 398, for dates of his pamphlets).

The outbreak of the civil war at the end of 1642 did not induce Milton to enter the army. He says himself (Defensio Secunda) that as his mind had always been stronger than his body, he did not court camps in which any common person would have been as useful as himself. Professor Masson thinks, but upon apparently very inadequate grounds, that he had practised himself in military exercises (Masson, ii. 402, 473-81), and Phillips gives an obviously incredible report that there was a design for making him adjutant-general in Waller's army. The expected assault on the city when the king's army was at Brentford in 1642 occasioned Milton's sonnet, which decidedly claims a peaceful character. Meanwhile his father and his brother Christopher had removed to Reading, which was taken by the Earl of Essex in April 1643. About Whitsuntide (21 May 1643) Milton took a journey into the country, assigning no reason, and came back with a wife (Phillips). She was Mary, eldest daughter of Richard Powell of Forest Hill, near Shotover, Oxfordshire. Powell had bought an estate at Forest Hill about 1621. He had also a small estate at Wheatley, valued at 40l. a year. Altogether he had about 300l. a year, but with many encumbrances. Mary (baptised 24 Jan. 1625) was the third of eleven children, and Powell appears to have been a jovial and free-living cavalier. Forest Hill was in the neighbourhood in which Milton's ancestors had lived, and with which the descendants possibly kept up some connection. For some unknown reason Powell had in 1627 acknowledged a debt of 312l. to Milton, who was then an undergraduate, and this debt, among others, was still undischarged. There are no other traces of previous familiarity to explain Milton's sudden journey into a royalist district and his return with a bride of seventeen. Milton's father, dislodged from Reading, came to live with him at the time of his marriage, and some of his wife's family paid [29] him a visit, when there were ‘feastings for some days.’ The wife soon found the house dull after the gaiety of her father's home; there was no society; the nephews (says Aubrey) were often beaten and crying, and Milton discovered that his bride was stupid. She returned to her father's house after trying ‘a philosophical life’ for a month, with the understanding, however, that she was to return at Michaelmas. Phillips says that as Mrs. Milton did not come back at the appointed time Milton sent a messenger to her home. The family, who disliked the connection with a puritan and were encouraged by the prosperity of the royalist cause, sent back the messenger ‘with some sort of contempt’ (‘evilly entreated’ him, as Aubrey thinks). Milton was so indignant that he resolved never to take her back, and proceeded to write his book upon divorce. Professor Masson, however, has pointed out that Thomason, the collector of the king's pamphlets in the British Museum, has marked a copy of this with the date ‘Aug. 1st,’ that is, 1 Aug. 1643. Unless, therefore, there is some mistake, Milton must have written and published the pamphlet within less than three months of his marriage, and, since his wife came to London (by Phillips's account) in June and stayed there a month, almost by the time of her departure. It is impossible to reconcile this with the circumstantial and apparently authentic story about the messenger; but, on the other hand, there is no reason for suspecting Thomason's date. Milton's pamphlet is sufficient to show that the ground of quarrel was some profound sense of personal incompatibility, and not any external quarrel. Such a piece of literary work during a honeymoon, however, is so strange that some very serious cause must be supposed. Pattison sanctions the conjecture, supported by a passage in the pamphlet, that the bride may have refused to Milton the rights of a husband.

However this may be, Milton's indignation took the form, usual to him, of seeing in his particular case the illustration of a general principle to be enunciated in the most unqualified terms. His ‘doctrine and discipline of divorce’ supports the thesis that ‘indisposition, unfitness, or contrariety of mind arising from a cause in nature unchangeable … is a greater reason of divorce than natural frigidity, especially if there be no children or that there be mutual consent.’ He asserts this doctrine in his usual passionate style, and appeals to the highest moral principles in its support. He looks at the matter entirely from the husband's point of view, is supremely indifferent to all practical difficulties, and proposes, by a sweeping reform of the marriage law, to ‘wipe away ten thousand tears out of the life of men.’ The pamphlet attracted notice. Howell calls its author a ‘shallow-pated puppy’ (Familiar Letters, bk. iv. letter 7). Hall was amazed to find that so able an author was serious in so monstrous a scheme; and the clergy began to attack him. He there-upon brought out a second edition with his name to it (2 Feb. 1643-4). It contained many additions, including the striking passage of the myth of Anteros.

Milton's views upon divorce made him notorious, and he is mentioned by the various writers against the sects, whose multiplication was a significant sign of the times, as in Ephraim Paget's ‘Heresiography’ and Thomas Edwards's ‘Gangræna.' Edwards tells the story of a Mrs. Attaway who left her ‘unsanctified’ husband to take up with a preacher, and justified her conduct by Milton's book. On 15 July 1644 Milton published a second pamphlet, ‘The Judgment of Martin Bucer on Divorce,’ justifying himself by the authority of the reformer, and appealing for parliamentary support. Soon afterwards Herbert Palmer, a divine of the Westminster Assembly, declared, in a sermon preached before parliament on a solemn fastday (13 Aug. 1644), that Milton's book ought to be burnt. The presbyterians were denouncing toleration and demanding a general suppression of sects. Their demands were universally supported by the Stationers' Company. The licensing system had broken down in the confusion of the civil troubles and under the pressure of all kinds of publications. The Stationers' Company complained, not only on account of the character of many of the pamphlets, but because their copyrights were frequently disregarded. They petitioned the House of Commons, which (26 Aug. 1644) directed that ‘an ordinance’ should be prepared, and meanwhile directed a search for the authors and printers of Milton's pamphlet ‘concerning divorce.’ An ordinance had already been passed a year before (June 1643), and Milton had disregarded its regulations and published the divorce pamphlets, like their predecessors, without license. Although the new ordinance was passed (1 Oct. 1644), no further notice was taken of Milton in the commons. Milton, however, was led by these attacks to write his ‘Areopagitica,’ which appeared on 24 Nov. 1644. The book is directly devoted to the question of unlicensed prints, and though in favour of such toleration as was then practicable, he makes some reserves in his application of the principle. The right [30] of the ‘Areopagitica’ to rank as the best, as it is clearly the most popular, of Milton's prose works, has been disputed by the jealous admirers of others. The popularity, no doubt due in part to the subject, is also to be ascribed to the greater equability and clearness of the style. If he does not soar to quite such heights, there are fewer descents and contortions, and it remains at a high level of lofty eloquence. In the following December the House of Lords, in the course of some proceedings about an alleged libel, were invited by the wardens of the Stationers' Company to examine Milton. An examination was ordered accordingly, but nothing more is said of it. Milton ended his writings upon divorce by two more pamphlets, both published 4 March 1644-5 the ‘Tetrachordon,’ a ‘proof’ that the four chief passages in the Bible which relate to divorce confirm his views; and the ‘Colasterion,’ intended as a castigation of Joseph Caryl [q. v.], who had licensed an anonymous answer, with an expression of approval of the anonymous answerer himself, and (briefly) of Prynne, who had attacked him in ‘twelve considerable serious queries.’

A third edition of the treatise on divorce appeared in 1645. Milton, according to Phillips, was proposing to apply his principles by marrying the daughter of a Dr. Davis, who was handsome and witty, but ‘averse to this motion.’ After the separation Milton, as Phillips says, had frequented the house of Lady Margaret Ley, now married to a Colonel Hobson. His fine sonnet to Lady Margaret commemorates this friendship, and that addressed to a ‘virtuous’ (and unmarried) ‘young lady’ shows that he saw some female society.

Meanwhile the ruin of the royal cause had brought the Powells into distress, and they desired to restore his real wife to Milton. They introduced her to the house of a Mr. Blackborough, a relative and neighbour of Milton, and when he paid his usual visit his wife was suddenly brought to him. She begged pardon on her knees, and, after some struggle, he consented to receive her again. Passages in ‘Samson Agonistes’ (725-47) and ‘Paradise Lost’ (bk. x. 937-46) may be accepted as autobiographical reminiscences of his resentment and relenting. She came to him in a new house in the Barbican (now destroyed by a railway), which was larger than that in Aldersgate Street, and therefore more convenient for an increased number of pupils, who were now being pressed upon him. His first child, Anne, was born on 29 July 1646; his second, Mary, on 25 Oct. 1648; his third, John (died in infancy), on 16 March 1650-1; and his last daughter Deborah, on 2 May 1652. His wife died in the same year, probably from the effects of her last confinement.

The surrender of Oxford on 24 June 1646 completed the ruin of the Powells. Powell, already deeply in debt, had surrendered his estate to Sir Robert Pye, to whom it had been mortgaged. The moveable property had been sold under a sequestration, and the timber granted to the parishioners by the House of Commons (Masson, iii. 473 seq., 487). It seems probable that the transaction with Pye involved some friendly understanding, as the Powells subsequently regained the estate. Powell, with his wife and some of his children, came to live with Milton and arrange for a composition. He had hardly completed the arrangement when he died, 1 Jan. 1646-7, leaving a will which proves that his affairs were hopelessly confused, though there were hopes of saving something. Mrs. Powell, who administered to the will, her eldest son declining, left Milton's house soon afterwards (ib. pp. 632-40). She continued to prosecute her claims, which were finally settled in February 1650-1. In the result Milton, in consideration of the old debt from Powell, and 1,000l. which had been promised with his wife, had an ‘extent’ upon the Wheatley estate, valued after the war at 80l. a year, but had to pay Powell's composition, fixed at 130l., and also paid Mrs. Powell's jointure of 26l. 13s. 4d. a year (ib. iv. 81, 236-46). Disputes arose upon this, in the course of which Mrs. Powell said that Milton was a ‘harsh, choleric man,’ and referred to his turning her daughter out of doors. She found the allowance insufficient for eight children. Milton was apparently willing to pay, but differed as to the way in which it was to be charged to the estate (see ib. iii. 632-40, iv. 145-6, 236-46, 336-41, and Hamilton's Original Papers). Milton's father died on 15 March 1646-7, and was buried in the chancel of St. Giles's, Cripplegate. His brother Christopher, who had also taken the royalist side, had to compound, and was in difficulties for some years (Masson, iii. 633). A sonnet addressed to Lawes, dated 9 Feb. 1645-6, and a later correspondence with one of his Italian friends, Carlo Dati, suggest some literary occupation at this time (for the Dati correspondence see the Milton Papers printed for the Chetham Society in 1851 by Mr. J. F. Marsh of Warrington, from manuscripts in his possession). The first edition of his collected poems was published in 1645, the English and Latin being separately paged. An ugly portrait by William Marshall is prefixed, under which Milton, with ingenious malice, [31] got the artist to engrave some Greek verses ridiculing it as a caricature. Sonnets written just after this express the antipathy with which he now regarded the presbyterians.

In 1647 the number of Milton's pupils had slightly increased, according to Phillips. Phillips, however, is anxious to explain that he was not a professional schoolmaster. He was only persuaded to impart learning to the sons of some intimate friends. Among his pupils were Cyriac Skinner, grandson by his mother of Sir Edward Coke, and the second Earl of Barrymore, son of Lady Ranelagh, the elder and attached sister of Robert Boyle, well known to literary circles in London, and afterwards a friend of Milton. She also sent to him her nephew, Richard Jones, afterwards first earl Ranelagh [q. v.] In the autumn of 1647, however, Milton moved to a small house in High Holborn, opening at the back into Lincoln's Inn Fields. He gave up teaching, and as, in spite of the many claims upon him, he was able to dispense with this source of income, it may be inferred that he had inherited a competence from his father.

Milton fully sympathised with the army in their triumph over the parliamentary and presbyterian party. His feelings are expressed in the sonnet to Fairfax upon the siege of Colchester (August 1648). About the same time he was composing his doggerel version of the Psalms, of which he turned eight into rhyme in 1648, adding nine more in 1653. He also employed himself upon compiling the ‘History of Britain,’ of which he had written four books (Defensio Secunda). He was recalled to public affairs by the events which led to the execution of Charles I. Immediately after the king's death appeared his ‘Tenure of Kings and Magistrates’ (13 Feb. 1648-9), an argument in favour of the right of the people to judge their rulers. The newly formed council of state invited Milton directly afterwards to become their Latin secretary. He accepted the offer at once, and was sworn in on 15 March 1648-9. His salary was 15s. 10½d. a day (or 289l. 14s. 4½d. a year). The chief secretary received about 730l. a year. Milton's chief duty was to translate foreign despatches into dignified Latin. He was employed, however, upon a number of other tasks, which are fully indicated by the extract from the ‘Proceedings of the Council’ given in Professor Masson's book. He was concerned in the various dealings of the government with the press; he had to examine papers seized upon suspected persons; to arrange for the publication of answers to various attacks, and to write answers himself. He also appears as licensing the official ‘Mercurius Politicus,’ of which Marchmont Needham [q. v.] was the regular writer. Needham became ‘a crony’ according to Wood, and during 1651 Milton super-intended the paper, and may probably have inspired some articles. Stern (bk. iii. 287-297) gives a previously unpublished correspondence of Milton in his official capacity with Mylius, envoy from Oldenburg. By order of the House of Commons he appended ‘Observations’ to the ‘Articles of Peace’ between Ormonde and the Irish, published 16 May 1649. He was directed also to answer the ‘Eikon Basilike,’ written, as is now known, by John Gauden [q. v.], and published 9 Feb. 1648-9. Milton's ‘Eikonoklastes,’ the answer in question, appeared 6 Oct. 1649, a work as tiresome as the original, and, like Milton's controversial works in general, proceeding by begging the question. By the council's order a French translation of the ‘Eikonoklastes’ by John Durie (1596-1680) [q. v.] was published in 1652. Milton hints a suspicion that Charles was not the real author of the ‘Eikon.’ He attacks with special severity the insertion of a prayer plagiarised from Sidney's ‘Arcadia,’ and enlarged this attack in a second edition published in 1650. The prayer had only been appended to a few copies of the ‘Eikon.’ This led to the absurd story, unfortunately sanctioned in Johnson's ‘Life,’ that Milton had compelled William Dugard [q. v.], then in prison, to insert the prayer in order to give ground for the attack. The impossibility of the story is shown by Professor Masson (iv. 249-50 n., 252). Dugard was concerned in printing the ‘Eikon,’ was imprisoned upon that ground in February 1649-50, a year after the publication, and, on being released at Milton's intervention, published Milton's book against Salmasius. Salmasius (Claude de Saumaise, 1588-1653), a ‘man of enormous reading and no judgment’ (Pattison), was now a professor at Leyden. He had been invited by the Scottish presbyterians to write in their behalf Charles II, who was at the Hague, induced him to write the ‘Defensio Regia pro Carolo I,’ published in November 1649. Milton was ordered to reply by the council on 8 Jan. 1650, and his ‘Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio’ appeared in March 1650. Hobbes, in his ‘Behemoth’ (English Works, vi. 368), says that it is hardly to be judged which is the best Latin or which is the worst reasoning, and compares them to two declamations made by the same man in a rhetoric school. Milton did not, as has been said, receive ‘1.000l.’ for his defence. A hundred pounds was voted to him by the council of state; [32] but the order was cancelled, Milton having no doubt refused to accept it. He had taunted Salmasius (in error apparently) for having received one hundred jacobuses from Charles II, and could not condescend to take a reward for himself. He finally lost his eyesight by the work. It had been failing for some years, and he persisted, in spite of a physician's warnings, in finishing his book (Def. Secunda) at the expense of his eyes. In a famous sonnet he congratulates himself on his resolution. His eyes, he says, were not injured to ‘outward view.' The disease was by himself attributed either to cataract or amaurosis (Paradise Lost, iii. 25), but is said to have been more probably glaucoma (the fullest account is given in Milton's letter to Leonard Philaras or Villeré, 28 Sept. 1654). Salmasius replied in a ‘Responsio,’ but he died at Spa on 6 Sept. 1653, and his book was not published till 1660. Meanwhile other attacks had been made upon Milton. An anonymous pamphlet by John Rowland (Phillips erroneously ascribed it to Bramhall), ‘Pro Rege et Populo Anglicano’ (1651), was answered by Milton's nephew, John Phillips, and the answer—which, according to Edward Phillips, was corrected by their uncle has been published in Milton's works. Peter du Moulin the younger [q. v.], son of a famous French Calvinist, attacked Milton with gross personal abuse in his ‘Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad cœlum' (March 1652) (Masson, v. 217-224. For Du Moulin's account see Gent. Mag. 1773, pp. 369-70,and his Parerga, 1670; also Wood, Fasti, ii. 195). This was edited and provided with a dedicatory epistle by Alexander Morus (or More), son of a Scottish principal of a French protestant college. Milton supposed the true author to be the nominal editor, whom he had perhaps met at Geneva, where More was professor of Greek. He had now become a professor at Middleburg. There were scandals as to More's relations to women, especially to a maid of Salmasius. Milton was ordered by the council to reply to the ‘Clamor,’ and his answer, the ‘Defensio Secunda,’ appeared in May 1654. It was full of savage abuse of Morus, whom Milton declared to be the author, and to be guilty of all the immorality imputed to him. It fortunately contains also one of the most interesting of Milton's autobiographical passages, and an apostrophe to Cromwell and other leaders of the Commonwealth, which illustrates his political sentiments. The ‘Defensio Secunda’ was republished by Ulac, the publisher of the ‘Clamor,’ in October 1654, with ‘Fides Publica,’ a reply by Morus, which was afterwards completed by a ‘Supplementum’ in 1655. Morus denied the author-ship, and Milton in his final reply, ‘Pro se Defensio’( August 1655), to which is subjoined a ‘Responsio’ to Morus's ‘Supplementum,’ reduces his charge to the statement that, in any case, Morus was responsible for editing the book. He had received sufficient testimony from various quarters to convince him that Morus was not really the author, had he been convincible (Masson, iv. 627-34). He continued to maintain his other charges, but happily this was the end of a controversy which had degenerated into mere personalities.

Milton, upon becoming Latin secretary to the council, had been allowed chambers in Whitehall. At the end of 1651 they had been given to others, and he had moved to another ‘pretty garden-house’ in Petty France, Westminster. It afterwards became No. 19 York Street, belonged to Bentham, was occupied successively by James Mill and Hazlitt, and finally demolished in 1877. Here he lived until the Restoration. Milton was helped in his duties, made difficult on account of his blindness, successively by a Mr. Weckherlin, by Philip Meadows [q. v.], and finally by Andrew Marvell. He continued to serve throughout the Protectorate, though in later years, after Thurloe became secretary and kept the minutes in a less explicit form, his services are less traceable. His inability to discharge his duties fully was probably taken into account in an order made in 1655, by which (among other reductions, however) his salary is reduced to 150l. a year, though this sum was to be paid for his life. The amount appears to have been finally fixed at 200l. ib. v. 177, 180-3). He could not regularly attend the council, but despatches requiring dignified language were sent to him for translation. The most famous of these were the letters (dated chiefly 25 May 1655) which Cromwell wrote to various powers to protest against the atrocious persecution of the Vaudois. The letters were restrained in language by diplomatic necessities; but Milton expressed his own feeling in the famous sonnet.

On 12 Nov. 1656 he married Catharine Woodcock, of whom nothing more is known than can be inferred from his sonnet after her death. She gave birth to a daughter 19 Oct. 1657. The mother and child both died in the following February (ib. v. 376, 382). A memorial window to her, erected at the cost of Mr. G. W. Childs of Philadelphia, in St. Margaret's, Westminster, was unveiled on 13 Feb. 1888, when Matthew Arnold gave an address, published in his ‘Essays on Criticism’ (2nd ser. 1888', pp. 56-69). Milton had a small circle of friends. Lady Ranelagh is mentioned by Phillips, and there [33] are two letters to her son at Oxford, showing that Milton disapproved even of the reformed university. He also saw Hartlib, Marchmont Needham, and Henry Oldenburg [q. v.], who was tutor to Lady Ranelagh's son at Oxford. His old pupil, Cyriac Skinner, and Henry Lawrence, son of the president of Cromwell's council, were also friends. But his most famous acquaintance was Andrew Marvell, who succeeded Meadows in 1657, though Milton had recommended him as early as 1652 as his assistant in the secretary's office. There are no traces of acquaintance with other famous men of the time. His religious prejudices separated him from all but a small party, and the lofty severity of his character probably emphasised such separation. It has been vaguely suggested that Milton procured an offer of help from the council for Brian Walton's Polyglott Bible. Foreigners, however, frequently came to see Milton (Phillips), and, according to Aubrey, visited England expressly to see Milton and Cromwell. His writings upon the regicide were received with interest by learned men on the continent, who were surprised that a fanatic could write Latin as well as Salmasius. It is said that Milton had an allowance from parliament, and afterwards from Cromwell, to keep a ‘weekly table’ for the entertainment of distinguished foreigners (Mitford, Life of Milton, App. p. cxlvi).

Milton retained his secretaryship during the protectorate of Richard Cromwell and through the distracted period which intervened before the Restoration. Some brief pamphlets written at this time are a despairing appeal on behalf of a policy which all practical men could perceive to be hopeless. Two of them, published in 1659, are arguments in favour of a purely voluntary ecclesiastical system. In another, published early in 1660, he proposes that parliament should simply make itself perpetual. A second edition was apparently quashed by the speedy establishment of the monarchy. Finally, as late as April 1660, he wrote ‘Brief Notes,’ attacking a royalist sermon. These writings show that Milton was now inclined to the old republican party. His republicanism was anything but democratic. He desired the permanent rule of the chiefs of the army and the council, with a complete separation between church and state, and abstention from arbitrary measures of government.

At the Restoration Milton concealed himself in a friend's house in Bartholomew Close. He remained there during the long debates as to the list of regicides to be excepted from pardon. On 16 June 1660 it was ordered by the House of Commons that Milton's ‘Defensio’ and John Goodwin's ‘Obstructors of Justice’ should be burnt by the common hangman, and that Milton and Goodwin should be indicted by the attorney-general, and taken into custody by the sergeant-at-arms. A proclamation was issued on 13 Aug. ordering the surrender of all copies of the books named. It states that both the authors have hitherto concealed themselves. Milton was arrested in the course of the summer, but in the next session it was ordered that he should be released on paying his fees. Milton protested, through Marvell, against the excessive amount of the fees (150l.), and his complaint was referred to the committee on privileges. The Indemnity Act freed him from all legal consequences of his actions.

Pattison thinks that Milton owed his escape to his ‘insignificance and harmlessness.’ Burnet, however, says that his escape caused general surprise. Pattison's sense of the unpractical nature of Milton's political writings probably led him to underestimate the reputation which they enjoyed at the time. A new edition of the ‘Defensio’ had appeared in 1658, and Salmasius's posthumous ‘Responsio’ was published in September 1660. Cominges, the French ambassador in London, writing to his master on 2 April 1663 of the condition of English literature, declared that in recent times there was only one man of letters—‘un nommé Miltonius qui s'est rendu plus infâme par ses dangereux écrits que ces bourreaux et les assassins de leur roi’ (Jusserand, French Ambassador at the Court of Charles II, p. 205). Milton clearly had enemies who might have sought to make him an example. Professor Masson has endeavoured to construct a history of the negotiations by which such attempts, if made, may have been frustrated (vi. 162-95). The only direct statements are by Phillips and Richardson. Phillips says that Marvell ‘made a considerable party’ for Milton in the House of Commons, and, with the help of other friends, obtained immunity for him. He adds incorrectly that Milton was disqualified for holding office. Richardson, writing in 1734 (Explanatory Notes, p. lxxxix), mentions a report that Secretary William Morice [q. v.] and Sir Thomas Clarges [q. v.] ‘managed matters artfully in his favour.’ He gives, however, as the real secret that Milton had entreated for the life of Sir William D'Avenant [q. v.], and that D'Avenant now returned the favour. Richardson heard this from Pope, Pope heard it from Betterton, and Betterton from his steady patron, D'Avenant. The objection to the anecdote is its neatness. [34] No good story is quite true. Clarges, as Monck's brother-in-law, and Marvell, as Monck's intimate friend, had both influence at the time, and, as Professor Masson also notes, Arthur Annesley, afterwards first Earl of Anglesey [q. v.], was a close friend of Milton in later years, and was at this time a chief manager of the Restoration and in favour of lenity. It cannot be now decided how far any of these stories represents the facts. An incredible story of a mock funeral, carried out by his friends, was given in Cunningham's ‘History of Great Britain,’ 1787, i. 14. On regaining his liberty, Milton took a house in Holborn, near Red Lion Fields (Phillips), and soon afterwards moved to Jewin Street. He lost much in money. He had, according to Phillips, put 2,000l. into the excise office, and could never get it out. He lost another sum invested somewhere injudiciously. He had to give up property valued at 60l., which he had bought out of the estates of Westminster. Professor Masson calculates that before the catastrophe he had about 4,000l. variously invested, and some house property in London, which, with his official income and some other investments, would bring him in some 500l. a year. This may have been reduced to 200l. Milton was frugal and temperate, and Phillips thinks that, ‘all things considered,’ he had still a ‘considerable estate’ (Masson, vi. 444-5). Mrs. Powell renewed her attempts to recover the property after the Restoration. Her eldest son finally regained Forest Hill, and Milton apparently made over the Wheatley estate to the Powells, though it does not appear what he received for the old debt, or for his promised marriage portion of 1,000l. (ib. vi. 449-51).

Milton soon found it desirable to take a third wife who could look after his affairs. His eldest daughter was in her seventeenth year, and the household apparently much mismanaged, when on 24 Feb. 1662-3 he married Elizabeth Minshull. She was born on 30 Dec. 1638, and was a cousin of Milton's friend, Dr. Nathan Paget, by whom the match was arranged. The marriage, though not romantic, was successful. Shortly afterwards Milton moved to a house in Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields. It was small, but, like all Milton's houses, had a garden. He lived there for the rest of his life, except that, according to Richardson, he lodged for a time (about 1670) with the bookseller Millington. During the plague of 1665 Milton retired to Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, where a ‘pretty box’ was taken for him by the quaker Thomas Ellwood [q. v.] Ellwood had been introduced to Milton in 1662 by Paget; in order to improve his scholarship he had offered to read Latin books to the blind man, who became interested in him and encouraged his studies. Ellwood afterwards became a tutor in the family of the Penningtons at Chalfont. The cottage in which Milton stayed at Chalfont is now preserved, having been bought by public subscription in 1887, and is the only house connected with Milton which still exists. Ellwood visited Milton there one day, and received from him the complete manuscript of ‘Paradise Lost.’ ‘Thou hast said much here of "Paradise Lost,"’ he observed, ‘but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found?’

Blind, infirm, and poor, depressed by the triumph of the principles which he most detested, Milton had determined to achieve the great purpose to which from early youth he had been self-devoted. His sonnet upon completing his twenty-third year, and the letter with which it was accompanied (Masson, i. 324, first published in Birch's Life), show that he was then looking forward to some great work. He had resolved to write a poem which should be national in character, and set forth his conception of the providential order of the world. At the time of his foreign journey he had contemplated a poem upon the Arthurian legend, to which he refers in the ‘Epistle to Manso’ and the ‘Epitaphium Damonis,’ 1638-9. At the time of his jottings, however, about 1641, his chief interest had come to be in a dramatic treatment of the fall of man, although in the ‘Reasons of Church-Government,’ 1641-2, he declares his resolution to take full time for meditation on a fit subject. Phillips reports that the opening passage of this, composed about 1642, was the speech of Satan, which is now at the beginning of the fourth book of ‘Paradise Lost.’ Milton's controversies and business distracted his mind from poetry, and he produced little except the few noble sonnets which commemorate his political emotions. In 1658 he settled down to the composition of ‘Paradise Lost.’ It is said by Aubrey to have been finished in 1663. Among earlier poems from which Milton may have taken hints are especially noticeable: the Anglo-Saxon poem attributed to Cædmon [q. v.], and published in 1655 by Francis Junius; the ‘Adamo’ of Andreini, which was translated by Cowper for Hayley's edition of Milton, and is in Cowper's ‘Works’ by Southey (1837, vol. x.); and the ‘Lucifer’ of Joost van Vondel, published in 1654. The coincidences with the last are the most remarkable. An account of Vondel's poem is given in Mr. Gosse's ‘Literature of Northern Europe’ (1883, pp. 278-312), and an elaborate comparison of ‘Lucifer’ and [35] ‘Paradise Lost’ is given in ‘Milton and Vondel: a Curiosity of Literature,’ by G. Edmundson (1885). At an uncertain date Milton obtained a license for ‘Paradise Lost’ from Thomas Tomkyns, chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Tomkyns, according to Toland (Life, 1709, p. 130), hesitated for a time, on account of the lines in the first book about fear of change perplexing monarchs. The fire of 1666 destroyed the house in Bread Street which Milton had inherited from his father, and diminished his income. Many booksellers were ruined by the loss of their stock. On 27 April 1667, however, Milton signed an agreement with Samuel Simmons or Symons for the copyright. The original of Simmons's copy of the work came into the possession of the Tonsons, who had become proprietors of the copyright, and was finally presented to the British Museum by Samuel Rogers. Milton was to receive 5l. down, and 5l. more upon the sale of each of the first three editions. The editions were to be accounted as ended when thirteen hundred copies of each were sold ‘to particular reading customers,’ and were not to exceed fifteen hundred copies apiece. Milton received the second 5l. in April 1669, that is 10l. in all. His widow in 1680 settled all claims upon Simmons for 8l., and Simmons became proprietor of the copyright, then understood to be perpetual.

The reception of ‘Paradise Lost’ has been the subject of some controversy. No poet ever put more of himself into his work, and Milton's singular loftiness of character and contemptuous tone of superiority to the dominant political and religious parties of his day might be expected to keep readers at a distance. The degree to which the poetry is saturated with the reading of a fine classical scholar might also alienate the unlearned. Milton rather conquers than attracts unless his readers be men of highly cultivated taste, or, like Landor, of congenial temperament. On the other hand, little merit of other kinds is generally required for the popularity of a religious poem. Although ‘Paradise Lost’ has been mentioned as an instance of popular neglect, it would seem on the whole that the sale of thirteen hundred copies in eighteen months and some 4,500 by 1688 marks, as Johnson maintained, a fair degree of success. Richardson (Explanatory Notes, p. cxix) preserved a tradition that Sir John Denham had, upon reading a sheet ‘wet from the press,’ pronounced ‘Paradise Lost’ to be the noblest poem ever written. He adds that it was unknown for two years, when Buckhurst, afterwards Lord Dorset, found it on an old stall, that it was given to him as waste paper, and that Dryden, to whom he showed it, declared that ‘this man cuts us all out and the ancients too.’ Dryden's phrase may be accepted, and is characteristic of his generosity in criticism; but the anecdotes, which involve various inaccuracies, are obviously so distorted, if at all founded on fact, as to prove nothing. Phillips tells us that Milton in his later years was much visited by foreigners and by men of rank, especially Arthur Annesley, earl of Anglesey; and Toland says that Sir Robert Howard, Dryden's brother-in-law, was a ‘particular acquaintance.’ Edward Phillips says in his edition of the ‘Thesaurus’ of Buchler (1675) that many persons thought Milton to have reached the perfection of epic poetry. The commendatory poems by Samuel Barrow and Marvell, prefixed to the second edition of ‘Paradise Lost’ (1674), imply that Milton's position was already regarded as established. Marvell's poem contains a reference to a well-known anecdote of Dryden. Dryden, according to Aubrey, asked Milton's leave to put ‘Paradise Lost’ into a drama in rhyme. Milton told Dryden that he might ‘tag his verses.’ The result was Dryden's ‘Heroick Opera,’ ‘The Fall of Angels and Man in Innocence’ (licensed 17 April 1674). The performance is a contemptible travesty; but in the preface to it, as published in 1675, Dryden speaks emphatically of the sublimity of the original. He told Dennis twenty years afterwards that he knew not at this time ‘half the extent of Milton's excellence.’ Wentworth Dillon, fourth earl of Roscommon [q. v.], inserts a passage from ‘Paradise Lost’ into his ‘Essay on Translated Verse’ (2nd edit. 1685), which is generally mentioned as the first public recognition of Milton's merits. A few other notices are collected by Professor Masson (vi. 781-5). In 1688 Tonson published by subscription a sumptuous edition in folio. Among the subscribers were Somers, who is said to have exerted himself greatly for its success, and Atterbury, who was always an enthusiastic admirer. Dryden's well-known flashy epigram is placed under the portrait. In 1708, when a monument was erected to John Philips (1676-1708) [q. v.] in Westminster Abbey, the dean (Sprat) suppressed the words ‘soli Miltono secundus,’ as that name was too detestable to be used in a sacred building. Atterbury withdrew the prohibition. A monument was erected to Milton himself by William Benson [q. v.] in 1737 (Stanley, Memorials, pp. 306-8 ; Johnson, Lives of Milton and Philips). Milton's fame was now established, and the triumph of the [36] whigs removed one external obstacle. Addison's papers in the ‘Spectator’ (1712) only ratified the then orthodox opinion. A German translation had been published by E. G. von Berge at Zerbst in 1682, while Latin translations and an annotated edition had already shown the growing reputation of the poem.

Milton's last poems, ‘Paradise Regained’ and ‘Samson Agonistes,’ appeared together in 1671. Ellwood says that Milton acknowledged that the ‘Paradise Regained’ was due to his hint at Chalfont. Philips says that Milton could not bear to hear it mentioned as inferior to its predecessor. Its studied severity of style has hindered its popularity, though such critics as Coleridge and Wordsworth have spoken of it as perfect. Although dramatically feeble, the ‘Samson Agonistes’ is to some readers among the most interesting of all Milton's poems from the singular intensity of the scarcely concealed autobiographic utterance.

Milton wrote no more poetry, but in 1673 produced a new edition of the early poems. He published in 1669 his Latin grammar and his ‘History of Britain,’ written long before, and only noticeable as an indication that his name was now exciting interest. His compendium of Ramus's ‘Logic’ came out in 1672. A tract upon ‘True Religion’ of 1673, suggested by Charles II's declaration of 15 March 1672, is a slight performance, giving reasons against tolerating the open exercise of popery. His ‘Familiar Epistles’ and ‘College Exercises’ were published in 1674, though the intended publication at the same time of his official letters was forbidden.

Milton was declining in health and suffered much from gout. His domestic life had been troubled. His eldest daughter, Anne, was deformed and had a defect of speech. None of the children were sent to school, but they were taught, according to the youngest, Deborah, by a mistress at home. Phillips states that the two youngest were brought up to read to him in various languages, including Hebrew, perhaps Syriac, Greek, and Latin, without knowing the meaning. Though, as Professor Masson remarks, this more probably represents the result than the intention for Ellwood speaks of Milton's annoyance at hearing words read when the meaning was not understood the practice was doubtless unpleasant. Their grandmother, Mrs. Powell, would probably not make things pleasanter. It was declared by a servant (see below) that Milton had told her, on the authority of a previous servant, that about 1662 the children combined to cheat their father in household affairs and wished to sell his books. His third marriage annoyed them, and Mary is reported, on the same authority, to have said that a wedding was no news, but that ‘if she could hear of his death that were something.’ The daughters remained with their father till about 1670. The trial of their patience in reading had become ‘almost beyond endurance’ (Phillips), and they were all sent out to learn such ‘curious and ingenious sorts of manufacture’ as are ‘proper for women,’ especially embroidery in gold and silver.

Milton died on 8 Nov. 1674 of ‘gout struck in,’ so peacefully that the time of death was not perceived. He was buried in St. Giles's, Cripplegate, beside his father, with the Anglican service. Many friends and a ‘concourse of the vulgar’ were present, according to Phillips and Toland (accounts of a disgusting exhumation in 1790 of what may have been his body will be found in Notes and Queries, 7th ser. ix. 361-4). Upon Milton's death his wife produced for probate a nuncupative will. The daughters objected, and the widow became administratrix. She settled matters by paying the daughters 100l. apiece, and had about 600l. left for herself. The will had been declared to Milton's brother Christopher on 20 July 1674. Milton had then said that he wished to leave to his ‘undutiful children’ what was due to him from the Powells. He intended ‘all the rest to go to his loving wife.’ Evidence of a maid-servant and her sister was produced to prove this to have been his intention; and he also stated that he had spent ‘the greatest part of his estate’ in providing for his daughters. The servant might probably be prejudiced in Mrs. Milton's favour; but the general impression is no doubt correct that Milton's relations to his daughters were, from whatever cause, unfortunate. (The evidence, from the records of the court, was first printed in the second edition of the ‘Minor Poems’ by Warton, 1791, and is also given in Todd's ‘Life of Milton’ and in the ‘Chetham Miscellanies,’ vol. xxiv.)

Milton's appearance and manners are described with little difference by Aubrey, Phillips, and Richardson. He was rather below the middle height, but well made, with light brown or auburn hair and delicate complexion. He was stately and courteous, though he could be satirical. He would sit at his house-door in a grey coarse cloth coat in fine weather to receive visitors; indoors he is described as neatly dressed in black, pale but not cadaverous; with his ‘fingers gouty and with chalk-stones’ ( [37] Richardson). Aubrey and Toland tell us that he rose as early as four in summer and five in winter. Before breakfast the Bible was read to him in Hebrew. He afterwards read or dictated till midday, when he dined very temperately. He took some exercise, walking when possible, and in bad weather swinging. He always had music in the afternoon. He then retired for a time, but again saw his friends after six o'clock, had a supper of ‘olives or some light thing’ at eight, and after a pipe and a glass of water went to bed. According to Phillips, Milton composed freely only from ‘the autumnal equinoctial to the vernal;’ the account was confirmed by Mrs. Milton (Newton, p. lxxx), though Toland fancies that Phillips has inverted the period, because in his early ‘In Adventum Veris’ (1629) he welcomes the revival of his genius in spring. He frequently dictated from ten to thirty lines to any one who happened to be at the house, leaning in his easy chair, adds Richardson, with a leg thrown over the elbow. At times he would compose during sleepless nights, and would call up and dictate to his daughter. He would dictate forty lines in a breath, and then reduce them to twenty. The sonnet to Lawrence gives an impression of Milton in his sociable hours. Milton had come to stand apart from all sects, though apparently finding the quakers most congenial. He never went to any religious services in his later years. When a servant brought back accounts of sermons from nonconformist meetings, Milton became so sarcastic that the man at last gave up his place (Richardson).

Portraits of Milton, known to be authentic, are: (1) A portrait at the age of ten, ascribed to Cornelius Janssen (engraved as frontispiece to Masson's ‘Life,’ vol. i.; see pp. 66n., 308n.), is in the possession of Edgar Disney. (2) A portrait taken at Cambridge at the age of twenty, engraved by Vertue in 1731 and 1756, and by other artists. The later portrait belonged to Speaker Onslow, and is generally known as the ‘Onslow’ portrait. It has disappeared since a sale of Lord Onslow's pictures in 1828. Both these belonged to Milton's widow. (3) The portrait engraved by Faithorne for the ‘History of Britain;’ the original crayon-drawing was in possession of the Tonsons in 1760, and an etching from it is given in the ‘Memoirs of Thomas Hollis,’ p. 529. Another crayon-drawing, now at Bayfordbury, belonged to Richardson, and resembles the preceding so clearly, that its independence is doubtful. This was the portrait recognised by Milton's daughter Deborah when the engraver Vertue saw her about 1725 (Hollis, Memoirs, p.625). The ‘Onslow’ portrait is the original of the caricature by Marshall, prefixed to the 1645 poems. A mezzotint by J. Simon is inscribed ‘R. White ad vivum delin.,’ but there are no traces of the original. A bust now in Christ's College, to which it was left by John Disney (1746-1816) [q. v.], is said to have been taken by ‘one Pierce’ who executed the bust of Wren now in the Bodleian Library. The face is said to be ‘a plaster cast from the original mould.’ A miniature by Samuel Cooper once belonged to Reynolds, who had a controversy about it with Lord Hailes in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ for 1791; but it seems to be clearly not Milton (Masson, i. 66n., 308-10 n., vi. 754-7 n., and Sotheby, Ramblings, pp. xvii-xxv; J. Fitchett Marsh in Lancashire and Cheshire Historic Society, 1855).

Milton's widow retired to Nantwich, Cheshire, where her family lived, and died in the autumn of 1727. Some stories derived from her are given by Newton. She said that her husband had been asked to write for the court, but would not write against his conscience (Newton, p. lxxx). Richardson's report that he was asked to resume the Latin secretaryship (an incredible statement), and told his wife that she wanted to ride in her coach, but that he would live and die an honest man, is probably an elaboration of this very doubtful statement. Anne Milton married a ‘master-builder,’ and died in childbed before 26 Oct. 1678, when her grandmother, Mrs. Powell (who died in 1682), made a bequest of 10l. apiece to the other daughters. Mary died unmarried by 1694. Deborah had gone to Dublin as companion to a lady before her father's death, and soon after it married a weaver, Abraham Clarke. The Clarkes settled in Spitalfields, and had ten children. She died 24 Sept. 1727, being then a widow; her only surviving son was Urban Clarke, a weaver in Spitalfields, who died unmarried. Her only surviving daughter, Elizabeth, had married Thomas Foster, another weaver. Her eldest son, Caleb Clarke, had emigrated to Madras, where he was married in 1703, had children, and died in 1719. The last trace of descendants was the birth of Mary, daughter of Caleb's son Abraham, at Madras in 1727. Deborah Clarke received some notice before her death. Addison visited her, gave her some money, and proposed to get her a pension, but died (1719) before doing so. She was seen by Professor Ward of Gresham College, confirmed the stories about reading unknown languages to her father, and is said to have repeated verses from Homer, Ovid, and [38] Euripides. She spoke, however, with affection (Richardson, Explanatory Notes, p. xxxvi) of her father, though not of her stepmother. Queen Caroline is said to have given her fifty guineas, and Voltaire says that when her existence was known she ‘became rich in a quarter of an hour.’ Her daughter, Elizabeth Foster, had seven children, all of whom died before her without issue. Mrs. Foster was visited by Newton and Birch (see Hunter, Gleanings), and ‘Comus’ was performed for her benefit at Drury Lane, 5 April 1750. Johnson wrote the prologue, and a sum of about 130l. was produced by this and other subscriptions [cf. art. Lauder, William]. She died at Islington, 9 May 1754, being probably the last of Milton's descendants.

Milton's works are:

1. ‘A Masque presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, on Michaelmasse Night, before the Right Honourable the Earle of Bridgwater, Viscount Brackly, Lord President of Wales, and one of his Majesties Most Honourable Privie Counsell,’ London, 1637 (with Dedicatory Letter by H. Lawes; the name ‘Comus’ is not in this or in Milton's ‘Poems’ of 1645 or 1673; a manuscript in the Bridgewater Library was printed by Todd in his edition of ‘Comus’ in 1798).

2. ‘Obsequies to the Memorie of Mr. Edward King, Anno Dom. 1638,’ thirteen English poems, of which Milton's ‘Lycidas’ is the last; published and sometimes bound with twenty-three Latin and Greek poems, ‘Justa Edovardo King Naufrago ab amicis mœrentibus amoris et μνείας χάριν.'

3. ‘Of Reformation touching Church Discipline in England, and the Causes that hitherto have hindered it: Two Books written to a Friend,’ 1641.

4. ‘Of Prelatical Episcopacy, and whether it may be deduced from the Apostolical Times by vertue of those Testimonies which are alledg'd to that purpose in some late Treatises; one whereof goes under the Name of James, Archbishop of Armagh,’ 1641.

5. ‘Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence against Smectymnuus,’ 1641.

6. ‘The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty, by Mr. John Milton,’ 1641 (early in 1641-2).

7. ‘An Apology against a Pamphlet called A Modest Confutation of the Animadversions …,"’ 1642 (March and April 1642).

8. ‘The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Restor'd, to the good of both sexes, from the Bondage of Canon Law and other Mistakes, to Christian Freedom, guided by the Rule of Charity; wherein also many places of Scripture have recovered their long-lost Meaning; reasonable to be now thought of in the Reformation intended,’ 1643 (1 Aug.? see above); 2nd enlarged edition, 2 Feb. 1643-4, ‘the author J. M.’

9. ‘Of Education: to Mr. Samuel Hartlib,’ 5 June 1644 (a facsimile of the edition of this , appended to the ‘Poems’ of 1673, was edited by Oscar Browning in 1883).

10. ‘The Judgement of Martin Bucer concerning Divorce. Writt'n to King Edward the Sixt, in his Second Book of the Kingdom of Christ. And now Englisht. Wherein a late Book restoring the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce is heer confirm'd and justify'd by the Authoritie of Martin Bucer. To the Parlament of England,’ 1644.

11. ‘Areopagitica. A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, to the Parlament of England,’ 1644 (November).

12. ‘Tetrachordon: Expositions upon the foure chief Places in Scripture which treat of Marriage, or Nullities in Marriage. … By the former Author, J. M.,’ 1645 (14 March 1644-5).

13. 'Colasterion: A Reply to a Nameles Answer against "The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce." Wherein the trivial Author of that Answer is discover'd, the License conferred with, and the opinion which they traduce defended. By the former Author, J. M.,’ 1645 (4 March 1644-5).

14. ‘Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, compos'd at several times. Printed by his true copies. The songs were set in Musick by Mr. Henry Lawes, Gentleman of the King's Chappel, and one of His Majesties Private Musick,’ 1645. An address by the stationer, Humphrey Moseley, to the reader is prefixed; Sir H. Wotton's letter to Milton and verses by his Italian friends are also given, and a portrait by W. Marshall. A second edition, called ‘Poems, &c., upon several Occasions,’ with ‘A small Tractate of Education to Mr. Hartlib,’ appeared in 1673. It included the poems written since the first publication, excepting the sonnets to Cromwell, Fairfax, Vane, and the second to Cyriac Skinner, which first appeared with the ‘Letters of State’ in 1694. Some youthful poems are added; and the dedication of ‘Comus’ to Bridgewater and Wotton's letter are omitted. T. Warton published an edition in 1785; a second, enlarged, appeared in 1791.

15. ‘The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, proving that it is lawful … for any who have the power to call to account a Tyrant or wicked King, and after due Conviction, to depose and put him to Death, if the ordinary Magistrate have neglected or denied to do it,’ 1648-9; 2nd edition in 1650.

16. ‘Observations on the Articles of Peace’ (between Ormonde and the Irish), 1649.

17. ‘Eίκονοκλαστης in Answer to a Book entitled “Eίκων βασιλικη”’ 1649; [39] October, 2nd edition, 1650; French translation, 1652.

18. ‘Joannis Miltoni Angli pro Populo Anglicano Defensio contra Claudii anonymi, alias Salmasii Defensionem Regiam,’ 1650-1. A folio, a quarto, and several 12mo editions were published in 1651, another in 1652, and one in 1658.

19. ‘Joannis Miltoni Angli pro Populo Anglicano Defensio Secunda contra infamem Libellum anonymum cui titulus Regis Sanguinis Clamor …,’ 1654.

20. ‘Joannis Miltoni pro se Defensio contra Alexandrum Morum Ecclesiasten, Libelli famosi cui titulus Regis Sanguinis Clamor … Authorem recte dictum,’ 1655 (August). To this was appended

21. ‘Joannis Miltoni ad Alexandri Mori Supplementum Responsio,’ 1655.

22. ‘Scriptum Domini Protectoris … contra Hispanos …,’ 1655 (a translation, with James Thomson's ‘Britannia,’ was published in 1738).

23. ‘A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, showing that it is not lawfull to compell in Matters of Religion,’ 1658-9.

24. ‘Considerations touching the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church, wherein is also discoursed of Tithes, Church-Fees, and Church Revenues …,’ 1659.

25. ‘A Letter to a Friend concerning the Ruptures of the Commonwealth,’ dated 20 Oct. 1659 (this and No. 27 published in ‘Prose Works’ of 1698, ‘from the manuscript’).

26. ‘The Ready and Easy Way to establish a Free Commonwealth and the Excellencies thereof compared with the Inconveniences and Dangers of readmitting Kingship in this Nation,’ 1659-60; 2nd edition, April 1660.

27. ‘The Present Means and Brief Delineation of a Free Commonwealth, easy to be put in Practice and without Delay, in a Letter to General Monk,’ 1660.

28. ‘Brief Notes upon a late Sermon … by Matthew Griffith, D.D.,’ 1660.

29. ‘Paradise Lost: A Poem written in Ten Books, by John Milton.’ Nine different title-pages were prefixed to successive issues of the first edition. In the fifth were added fourteen pages, containing a prose ‘Argument’ and the paragraph headed the ‘Verse,’ defending the absence of rhyme (see Masson, vi. 622-8, and his preface to the facsimile published by Elliot Stock in 1877, for an account of these variations). The 2nd edition (‘revised and augmented,’ in which the poem was first divided into twelve books) appeared in 1674, the 3rd in 1678, and the 4th in 1688. Latin translations of the first book were published in 1686 and 1691; of the whole, as also of ‘Paradise Regained’ and ‘Samson Agonistes,’ by W. Hog, in 1690; of the whole, by M. B[old], in 1702; by Joseph Trapp in 1740-4, 2 vols.; and by W. Dobson, in 1750-3, 2 vols. The British Museum contains translations into Armenian, Danish, Dutch (1728, &c.), French (1729, &c.), German (1682, &c.), Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian (1735, &c), Manx (1796), Polish (1791), Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Welsh.

30. ‘Accidence commenc't Grammar …,’ 1669.

31. ‘The History of Britain, that Part especially now called England. From the first traditional Beginning continued to the Norman Conquest, collected out of the antientest and best Authours thereof by John Milton,’ 1670.

32. ‘Artis Logicæ Plenior Institutio ad P. Remi Methodum concinnata,’ 1670, also 1672 and 1673.

33. ‘Paradise Regained, a Poem in IV Books; To which is added “Samson Agonistes.” The author John Milton,’ 1671, also 1680, 1688, and 1793. Editions of these, often with ‘Paradise Lost,’ as ‘Poetical Works.’

34. ‘Of True Religion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration, and what best Means may be us'd against the Growth of Popery,’ 1673.

35. ‘Joannis Miltoni Angli Epistolarum Familiarium Liber unus; quibus accesserunt ejusdem (jam olim in Collegio adolescentis) Prolusiones quædam Oratoriæ,’ 1674.

36. ‘A Declaration or Letters Patent of the Election of this present King of Poland, John II,’ translated 1674 (anonymous translation, but published as Milton's in the ‘Prose Works,’ 1698).

37. ‘Literæ Pseudo-Senatus Anglicani, necnon Cromwell reliquorumque Perduellium nomine ac jussu conscriptæ ɛ Joanne Miltono,’ 1676 (this was a surreptitious publication of Milton's despatches. It was reprinted at Leipzig in 1690; and an English translation, ‘Letters of State,’ by Phillips, with a life of Milton prefixed, in 1694).

38. ‘Mr. John Milton's Character of the Long Parliament and Assembly of Divines. In mdcxli.,’ 1681 (professes to be a passage omitted from the ‘History of Britain,’ in later editions of which it is now inserted. The authenticity is doubtful, see Masson, vi. 807-12).

39. ‘A Brief History of Moscovia …Gather'd from the Writings of several Eye-witnesses …,’ 1682 (said by the publisher to have been written by Milton's own hand before he lost his sight).

40. ‘J. Miltoni Angli de doctrina Christiana Libri duo posthumi,’ 1825. Edited by Sumner, afterwards bishop of Winchester, from a manuscript in the State Paper Office. This manuscript, together with a copy of the ‘Literæ Pseudo-Senatus,’ had been entrusted by Milton to Daniel Skinner, who after Milton's death had offered them for publication to Elzevir at Amsterdam. Skinner was compelled to surrender them to government, and [40] both manuscripts were discovered in the State Paper Office by Robert Lemon in 1823. Such of the state letters as had not been already published were edited by W. D. Hamilton for the Camden Society in ‘Original Papers’ (1859). The ‘Christian Doctrine’ gives Milton's theological views. Accepting absolutely the divine authority of the Bible, he works out a scheme of semi-Arianism, and defends the doctrine of free-will against the Calvinist view. He shows little knowledge of ecclesiastical authorities. Sumner published a translation of the ‘Christian Doctrine,’ reprinted in Bohn's edition of the ‘Prose Works.’ In 1658 Milton published Raleigh's ‘Cabinet Council’ from a manuscript in his possession. ‘Original Letters and Papers of State addressed to Oliver Cromwell … found among the Political Collections of Mr. John Milton,’ 1743, contains papers which are stated to have been given by Milton to Ellwood (see Masson, vi. 814).

Milton's ‘Collections for a Latin Dictionary’ are said by Wood to have been used by E. Phillips in his ‘Enchiridion’ and ‘Speculum’ in 1684. ‘Three large folios’ of Milton's collections were used by the editors of the ‘Cambridge Dictionary’ of 1693.

An ‘Argument on the great Question concerning the Militia, by J. M.,’ 1642, which, according to Todd (i. 223), is ascribed to Milton in a copy in the Bridgewater Library by a note of the second Earl of Bridgewater, was really by John March (1612-1657) [q. v.] (Bodleian Cat.} Two commonplace books of Milton's have been edited by Mr. Alfred J. Horwood, one from a copy belonging to Sir F. W. Graham in 1876 (privately printed), and another for the Camden Society (1876, revised edition, 1877). They contain nothing original. A manuscript poem, dated 1647, discovered by Professor Morley in a blank page of the 1673 volume, was attributed by him to Milton, and became the subject of a warm newspaper controversy in 1868. The British Museum has a collection of the articles which appeared. The weight of authority seems to be against it, and if Milton's, he suppressed it judiciously. It has also been claimed for Jasper Mayne [q. v.] The Milton MSS. now in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, were left to the college by Sir Henry Newton Puckeridge, bart., a book-collector, who died in 1700. They contain copies of ‘Comus’ and ‘Lycidas,’ the ‘jottings’ mentioned above, some early poems, many of the sonnets in Milton's own hand, besides copies of a few sonnets in other hands.

The first annotated edition of Milton's poems appeared in 1695 by P[atrick] H[ume] [q. v.] John Callander [q. v.] was accused of appropriating the notes unfairly in his edition of the first book of ‘Paradise Lost’ in 1750. Bentley's famous edition appeared in 1732, and was attacked by Zachary Pearce [q. v.] in that year. The edition by Newton of ‘Paradise Lost’ appeared in 1749, 2 vols. 4to, and of the other poems, 1 vol. 4to, in 1750, and has been frequently reprinted. Baskerville's quarto edition of 1758, from Newton's text, is handsome but ‘full of misprints.’ Another of Baskerville's followed in 1759. Boydell's sumptuous edition, with plates, after Westall, and a life by Hayley, appeared in 1794. Cowper's translations of the Latin and Italian poems were published separately by Hayley in 1808, and are in the tenth volume of Cowper's ‘Works’ by Southey (1837). Todd's ‘Variorum’ edition appeared in 6 vols. 8vo in 1801, 7 vols. 8vo in 1808, and in 1826. The ‘Aldine’ edition of 1826 contains the life by Phillips, Cowper's translations of Latin and Italian poems, and an introduction by J[oseph] P[arkes]; that of 1832, a life by J. Mitford. Sir Egerton Brydges edited an edition (6 vols. 8vo) in 1835, and James Montgomery an edition (2 vols. 8vo) in 1843. Professor Masson edited the ‘Cambridge’ Milton, 3 vols. 8vo, in 1877, and again in 1890, and also an edition in the ‘Golden Treasury’ series in 1874, and the ‘Globe’ Milton in 1877. The ‘Aldine’ edition, with life by John Bradshaw, appeared in 1892. An edition of the English ‘Prose Works,’ in 1 vol. folio, 1697, without the name of printer or place of publication, is in the British Museum. The ‘Prose Works’ were collected by Toland in 1698 in 3 vols. folio, Amsterdam (really London). They were republished by Birch in 1738, 2 vols. folio, and again in 1753 (when Richard Baron [q. v.] restored the later editions of tracts printed by Toland from earlier copies). They were edited by Charles Symmons, D.D., in 7 vols. 8vo, in 1806. A selection appeared in 1809. A one-volume edition was edited by J. Fletcher in 1833, and has been reprinted. They are also contained, together with the ‘Christian Doctrine,’ in Bohn's edition, 5 vols. 8vo, edited by J. A. St. John, 1848-53. The ‘Works in Prose and Verse,’ in 8 vols. 8vo, were edited by John Mitford in 1851, but without the ‘Christian Doctrine.’

[Everything knowable about Milton has been given, with careful references to original sources, in Professor Masson's Life of John Milton, narrated in connection with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of his Time, 6 vols. 8vo, 1859-80. A new and revised edition of vol. i. (cited above) appeared in 1881. The [41] original sources are: Life in Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. 480-6 (first published in 1691-2). Wood's information came chiefly from Aubrey, whose memoir was published in the Lives (1813). A copy from the original manuscripts is appended to Godwin's Lives of E. and J. Phillips (1815), and another in Stern (i. 337-44). The life by Edward Phillips, which is the most valuable, was originally prefixed to the Letters of State, 1694, and is reprinted in Godwin's Lives of the Phillipses, and in the Poems, 1826. Toland's sketch was originally prefixed to the Prose Works of 1698, and appeared separately in 1699 and 1761. A brief life by Elijah Fenton [q. v.] was prefixed to an edition of the Poems in 1725, and to many later editions. The Explanatory Notes on Paradise Lost, by Jonathan Richardson, Father and Son, 1734, contain a life of Milton by the father, who collected a few original facts. A life by Thomas Birch was prefixed to the Prose Works of 1738 and 1753. Peck's New Memoirs of the Life … of Mr. John Milton, 1740. is a ‘silly medley of odds and ends’ (Masson). The life by Newton, prefixed to Works in 1749, adds a fact or two from Milton's widow and granddaughter. The famous life by Johnson first appeared in 1779 in the collection of English Poets. An edition, edited by Mr. C. H. Firth, was published in 1891. The evidence taken upon the will was first published in the second edition of the Minor Poems by T. Warton in 1791. H. J. Todd's life was first prefixed to the ‘Variorum’ edition of 1801. In a third edition (1826) Todd first made use of the records of Milton's official career, preserved in the State Paper Office. The notes to the ‘Variorum’ edition contain most of the accessible information. A life by Charles Symmons forms the seventh volume of the Prose Works of 1806. Other lives are by Sir Egerton Brydges (Poems of 1835), by James Montgomery (Poems, 1843), by C. R. Edmonds (1851), specially referring to Milton's ecclesiastical principles, and by Thomas Keightley (Life, Opinions, and Writings of Milton, 1855). The standard life previous to Professor Masson was that by J. Mitford, prefixed to Works, 1851. Milton und seine Zeit, in 2 pts. 1877-9, by Alfred Stern, is an independent and well-written, though less comprehensive, work on the same lines. See also the short but admirable lives by Pattison in the Men of Letters series, and by Dr. Garnett in the Great Writers series. Among special publications are Ramblings in Elucidation of the Autograph of Milton, by Samuel Leigh Sotheby, F.S.A., imperial 4to, 1861; Papers connected with Milton and his Family, by John Fitchett Marsh, in Chetham Society Miscellanies (vol. xxiv. of Publications). 1851; A Sheaf of Gleanings, by Jeseph Hunter, 1850; and Original Papers illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Milton, with an Appendix of Papers relating to his connection with the Powell Family, by W. Douglas Hamilton (Camden Soc.), 1859.]

L. S.



Marchamont Needham (or Nedham) (1620–1678)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, “Needham, Marchamont” Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 159-64. <>

NEEDHAM or NEDHAM, MARCHAMONT (1620–1678), journalist, was born at Burford in Oxfordshire, and baptised there 21 Aug. 1620. His father, also named Marchamont Nedham, born of genteel parents in Derbyshire, matriculated at St. John's College, Oxford, 16 June 1610, and took the degree of B.A. from Gloucester Hall 19 Feb. 1611–12. He was afterwards an attendant on the Lady Elizabeth Walter (wife of Sir William Walter of Sarsden, near Burford), and died in 1621. Nedham's mother was Margery, daughter of John Collier, the host of the George Inn at Burford, who took as her second husband, in 1622, Christopher Glynn, vicar of Burford and master of the free school there (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iii. 1180; Wood, Alumni Oxon. 1st ser. p. 1055). Nedham was educated at Burford school, and at fourteen years of age was sent as a chorister to All Souls' College, Oxford, where he continued till 1637. His name appears in the subscription book under 22 Jan. 1635–6, and he took his bachelor's degree on 24 Oct. 1637 (ib.) After a short stay in St. Mary Hall he left Oxford for ‘an usher's place in Merchant Taylors' School, then presided by one Mr. Will. Staple;’ and later, ‘upon the change of the times, he became an under clerk in Gray's Inn, where, by virtue of a good legible court-hand, he obtained a comfortable subsistence’ (Wood). He was admitted a member of Gray's Inn on 7 July 1652, as ‘of the city of Westminster, gent’ (Foster, Gray's Inn Register, p. 261). During the early part of his career Nedham also studied medicine, but soon discovered that his natural vocation was journalism.

The ‘Mercurius Britanicus’ ( sic ) is distinguished by several marked characteristics from other parliamentary newspapers. It professed to ‘communicate the affairs of Great Britain for the better information of the people,’ but was in reality little more than a railing commentary on the news of the day. Its object was to answer the statements of the royalist ‘Mercurius Aulicus,’ and to refute the charges brought there against the parliamentary cause and its leaders. The first number is dated 16–22 Aug. 1643. Of this journal Nedham was from the beginning the chief, if not the sole, author, though its responsible editor seems to have been Captain Thomas Audley, and it is not always easy to decide whether Audley or Nedham is referred to in the attacks of the royalists upon ‘Britannicus.’ The scurrility and boldness of Nedham's writings soon made him notorious. One number parodied Charles I's speech to the inhabitants of Somerset; another commented with the greatest freedom on the king's letters taken at Naseby ( Mercurius Britannicus, 6–13 May 1644; 21–8 July 1645). In the number for 4 Aug. 1645 Nedham printed a ‘Hue and Cry after a Wilful King … which hath gone astray these four Years from his Parliament, with a guilty Conscience, bloody Hands, and a Heart full of broken Vows and Protestations.’ For this insult to monarchy Audley was committed to the Gatehouse, and Nedham seems to have shared the same fate ( Lords' Journals, vii. 525, 539; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 74; Aulicus his Hue and Cry after Britannicus, 1645, 4to; Mercurius Anti-Britannicus, or the second part of the King's Cabinet vindicated from the Aspersions of an impotent Libeller … now Prisoner in the Gate-House, 1645, 4to). The author of the second of these pamphlets identifies Nedham with ‘Britannicus,’ and describes him as ‘once a week sacrificing to the beast of many heads the fame of some lord or person of quality, nay, even of the king himself.’ Nedham was soon released, but on 21 May 1646 was complained of for publishing ‘divers passages between the two Houses of Parliament, and other scandalous particulars not fit to be tolerated.’ He was arrested by order of the lords, owned the authorship of the last eighty numbers of ‘Britannicus’ (which seems to show that Audley was the author of the earlier numbers), and was committed to the Fleet (23 May 1646). Nedham appealed to the Earl of Denbigh to present his petition for release, protesting his loyalty to the House of Lords in spite of any errors which might have fallen from his pen, and was released on 4 June 1646. But he was obliged to give bail to the extent of 200l. for his good behaviour, and prohibited from writing any pamphlets in the future ( Lords' Journals, viii. 321, 325, 341, 355; Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. iv. 273). Debarred from journalism, Nedham turned to medicine, and describes himself on the title-page of a pamphlet published in 1647 as ‘Med. Pr.’

In 1647 Nedham, for some unexplained reason, resolved to change sides. ‘Obtaining the favour of a known royalist to introduce him into his Majesty's presence at Hampton Court, he then and there knelt before him and desired forgiveness for what he had written against him and his cause; which being readily granted, he kissed his Majesty's hand’ (Wood). In defence of the king he published a newspaper, entitled ‘Mercurius Pragmaticus,’ ‘communicating intelligence from all parts touching all affairs, designs, humours, and conditions, throughout the kingdom, especially from Westminster and the Head-Quarters.’ The first number is dated 14–21 Sept. 1647. Like ‘Mercurius Britannicus,’ it consists mainly of commentaries on the news of the day, but it does contain a good deal of information not to be found elsewhere, especially with regard to proceedings in the two houses of parliament. It is for that reason frequently quoted by the compilers of the ‘Old Parliamentary History.’ One of the characteristics of this newspaper is that each number begins with four stanzas of verse on the state of public affairs. Its royalism is combined with bitter hostility to the Scots, shown even after they had invaded England to restore the king, and in the scurrility of its attacks on political enemies it matched ‘Britannicus.’ Cromwell, for instance, is referred to as ‘Copper Nose,’ ‘Nose Almighty,’ and ‘The Town-bull of Ely.’ Nedham's journal, says Wood, ‘being very witty, satirical against the presbyterians, and full of loyalty, made him known to and admired by the bravadoes and wits of those times.’ The government sought to suppress it, and Richard Lownes, its printer, was committed to prison by the House of Commons on 16 Oct. 1647 ( Commons' Journals, v. 335). Nedham was obliged to leave London, and for a time lay concealed in the house of Dr. Peter Heylyn [q. v.] at Minster Lovel in Oxfordshire (Wood, iii. 1181). In June 1649 he was caught and committed to Newgate, but was discharged three months later (14 Nov.) on taking the ‘engagement’ ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, pp. 537, 554). According to Wood, Speaker Lenthall and John Bradshaw saved his life, procured his pardon, and engaged him to adopt the cause of the Commonwealth. The first fruit of his conversion was the publication, on 8 May 1650, of ‘The Case of the Commonwealth of England stated: or the equity, utility, and necessity of a submission to the present Government cleared, out of Monuments both Sacred and Civil … With a Discourse of the Excellency of a Free State above a Kingly Government.’ In his address ‘To the Reader’ Nedham boldly begins: ‘Perhaps thou art of an opinion contrary to what is here written; I confess that for a time I myself was so too, till some causes made me reflect with an impartial eye upon the affairs of the new government.’ For this thoroughgoing and cynical vindication of the government, the council of state voted Nedham a gift of 50 l., and ordered him for the future a pension of 100 l. a year, ‘whereby he may be enabled to subsist while he endeavours the service of the Commonwealth’ (24 May 1650; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1650, p. 14).

Nedham next undertook the editorship of a new weekly paper, entitled ‘Mercurius Politicus,’ the first number of which was published on 13 June 1650. ‘Now appeared in print,’ writes Heath, ‘as the weekly champion of the new Commonwealth, and to bespatter the King with the basest of scurrilous raillery, one Marchamount Needham, under the name of Politicus, transcendently gifted in opprobrious and treasonable droll, and hired therefore by Bradshaw to act the second part to his starched and more solemn treason; who began his first diurnal with an invective against Monarchy and the Presbyterian Scotch Kirk, and ended it with an Hosanna to Oliver Cromwell’ ( Chronicle, ed. 1663, p. 492; cf. The Character of Mercurius Politicus, 1650, 4to). The most characteristic feature of ‘Mercurius Politicus’ was the leading article, sometimes a commentary on the situation of public affairs, sometimes a short treatise on political principles in general, which was frequently continued from number to number. Milton was charged, from about March 1651, with the general supervision and censorship of ‘Mercurius Politicus,’ and Professor Masson suggests that certain passages in these leading articles may have been written or inspired by him ( Life of Milton, iv. 324–35).

The government also employed Nedham's pen in connection with its foreign policy. On 14 Oct. 1650 he was instructed ‘to put into Latin the treatise he wrote in answer to a Spanish piece written in defence of the murderers of Mr. Ascham’ ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1650, p. 387). On 10 Feb. 1653 he was voted 200l. ‘for his great labour in translating Mr. Selden's “Mare Clausum”’ ( ib. 1652–3, p. 486). Cromwell continued Nedham's pension, and maintained him as editor of ‘Mercurius Politicus.’ To this he added also the editorship of the ‘Public Intelligencer,’ an official journal of the same nature as the ‘Mercurius Politicus,’ but published on Mondays instead of Thursdays (Masson, iv. 52).

Nedham was also conspicuous as a champion of the Protector's ecclesiastical policy. He attended the meetings of the fifth-monarchy men at Blackfriars, and reported to the Protector the hostile sermons of Christopher Feake [q. v.] and other leaders of that sect ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1653–4, 303, 393; cf. Thurloe, iii. 483). When John Goodwin [q. v.] attacked the Triers, Nedham took up their defence, and treated Goodwin with his usual scurrility (Hanbury, Historical Memorials relating to the Independents, iii. 432). Goodwin retorted by describing Nedham as having ‘a foul mouth, which Satan hath opened against the truth and mind of God,’ and as being ‘a person of an infamous and unclean character’ ( Triumviri, 1658, Preface). The charge against Nedham's morals was also repeated in a defence of Goodwin, entitled ‘A Letter of Address to the Protector,’ by a writer styling himself D. F. (4to, 1657, p. 3). After Cromwell's death these attacks redoubled. Nedham was denounced as ‘a lying, railing Rabshakeh, and defamer of the Lord's people.’ His removal from all public employment was demanded. ‘They that like him, or are like to him, will say: “He is a man of parts, and hath a notable vein of writing.” Doubtless so hath the Devil; … must therefore the Devil … be made use of?’ ( A Second Narrative of the Late Parliament, 1658, p. 37; A True Catalogue of the Places where Richard Cromwell was proclaimed Protector, 1659, p. 75). Obedient to these denunciations, the restored Long parliament, on 13 May 1659, removed Nedham from the post of editor of the ‘Public Intelligencer,’ but restored him again on 15 Aug. following ( Commons' Journals, vii. 652, 758). Professor Masson concludes, from the wording of the orders, that Nedham contrived to retain the editorship of ‘Mercurius Politicus’ during the three months of his suspension, and Wood states that he started a new paper called ‘The Moderate Informer,’ of which the first number appeared on 12 May 1659 (Masson, Life of Milton, iv. 671; Athenæ Oxon. iii. 1186).

A pamphlet against the restoration of monarchy, entitled ‘Interest will not lie,’ proving that every party would lose by the return of Charles II, doubtless helped him to regain the favour of the republicans. But as he was hated by royalists and presbyterians, and suspected to be the author of a pretended letter from the court of Charles II, entitled ‘News from Brussells,’ he was removed from the editorship both of the ‘Mercurius’ and the ‘Intelligence’ by the council of state (9 April 1660; Whitelocke, Memorials, iv. 406. ed. 1853). Royalist pamphleteers were already suggesting that the coming restoration would be incomplete unless he were hanged. Extracts from ‘Mercurius Politicus,’ bringing together all his abuse of Charles II and his family, were published under the title of ‘A Rope for Pol, or a Hue and Cry after Marchamont Nedham,’ May 1660 (see also Kilburne, A New Year's Gift for Mercurius Politicus; A Dialogue between Thomas Scot and Marchamont Nedham concerning the Affairs of the Nation; The Downfall of Mercurius Britannicus-Pragmaticus-Politicus, that Three-headed Cerberus ).

Nedham fled from England about the beginning of May 1660, and took refuge in Holland (Masson, Life of Milton, v. 702). A few months later, ‘for money given to an hungry courtier,’ he obtained his pardon under the great seal, and was able to return to England in safety.

For the rest of his life Nedham lived by practising physic, but gradually returned to his old trade of pamphleteering. The ‘Discourse concerning Schools and Schoolmasters,’ which he published in 1663, suggests several reforms in education, but was also written to serve a political purpose. In the interest of orthodoxy he proposed the exclusion of schismatic schoolmasters from the teaching profession. He asks ‘whether it be consistent to banish schism out of the church and to countenance it in the schools,’ and answers: ‘If these schismatic schoolmasters were given by the vicar-general licence to practice physic instead of teach schools,’ it would be safer for the public. Nedham's orthodoxy was probably only skin-deep; in medicine, at all events, he remained an open heretic and scoffer. His ‘Medela Medicinæ,’ published in 1665, was ‘a plea for the free profession and renovation of the art of physic,’ an attack on the College of Physicians and its methods, and a complaint of the neglect of chemistry for anatomy. This attracted several refutations, due rather to its vigour than its intrinsic value. ‘Four champions,’ boasted Nedham, ‘were employed by the College of Physicians to write against this book,’ adding that two died shortly afterwards, the third took to drink, and the fourth asked his pardon publicly, ‘confessing that he was set on by the brotherhood of the confederacy’ (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iii. 1187). The government of Charles II so far condoned Nedham's past political offences that it even employed his pen to attack the parliamentary opposition and its leaders. Nedham assailed them in his ‘Pacquet of Advices to the Men of Shaftesbury’ (1676), for which service he is said to have been paid 500 l., and possibly obtained 50 l. ( 34th Rep. of the Deputy-Keeper of Public Records, p. 312). A circumstantial account of his introduction to the Earl of Danby by Justice Warcup is given in a contemporary pamphlet (‘No Protestant Plot,’ 1682, 4to, pt. iii. p. 58). But he did not long enjoy the fruits of this new employment. ‘This most seditious, mutable, and railing author,’ says Wood, ‘died suddenly in the house of one Kidder, in Devereux Court, near Temple Bar, London, in 1678, and was buried on the 29th of November at the upper end of the body of the church of St. Clement's Danes, near the entrance into the chancel.’ But two years later, when the chancel was rebuilt, his monument was taken away or defaced (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iii. 1189).

In person Nedham is described as short, thick-set, and black-haired ( Aulicus his Hue and Cry after Britannicus, 1645). Nedham married twice. By his first wife, Lucy, he had a son named Marchamont ( b. 6 May 1652) (Masson, Life of Milton, iv. 433). His second wife was a widow named Elizabeth Thompson (Chester, London Marriage Licences, p. 962; the licence is dated 18 April 1663).

Omitting the newspapers mentioned in the article, the following is a list of Nedham's works: 1. ‘A Check to the Checker of Britannicus; or the Honour and Integrity of Col. Nath. Fiennes revived,’ 1644, 4to. 2. ‘Independency no Schism; or an Answer to a Scandalous Book entitled “The Schismatic Sifted,” written by Mr. John Vicars,’ 1646, 4to: said to be ‘By M. N., Med. Pr.’ 3. ‘The Case of the Kingdom stated according to the proper Interests of the several Parties engaged,’ 1647, 4to; anon. 4. ‘The Levellers Levelled; or the Independents' Conspiracy to root out Monarchy: an Interlude,’ 1647, 4to (said to be by Mercurius Pragmaticus). 5. ‘The Lawyer of Lincoln's Inn refuted; or an Apology for the Army,’ 1647, 4to: attributed to Nedham by Barlow in the Bodleian copy. 6. ‘A Plea for the King and Kingdom, by way of Answer to a late Remonstrance of the Army,’ 1648, 4to. 7. ‘Digitus Dei; or God's Justice upon Treachery and Treason exemplified in the Life and Death of the late James Duke of Hamilton, 1649, 4to. This tract closely resembles another on the same subject, published in June 1648, entitled ‘The Manifold Practices and Attempts of the Hamiltons … to get the Crown of Scotland,’ which Wood in consequence attributes also to Nedham. 8. ‘The Case of the Commonwealth of England stated. … With a Discourse of the Excellency of a Free State above a Kingly Government,’ 1649, 4to; 2nd edit. 1650. 9. ‘The Excellency of a Free State,’ 12mo, 1656, anon. A reprint edited by Richard Baron, in 8vo, appeared in 1767 (cf. Life of Thomas Hollis, 1780, p. 356). It was translated into French by T. Mandar (2 vols. 8vo, Paris, 1790). This work is a compilation from the leading articles of Mercurius Politicus. 10. ‘Trial of Mr. John Goodwin at the Bar of Religion and Right Reason,’ 1657, 4to. 11. ‘The great Accuser cast down; an Answer to a scandalous Book, entitled “The Triers Tried and Cast, by Mr. John Goodwin,”’ 1657, 4to. 12. ‘Interest will not lie; or a View of England's true Interest … in Refutation of a treasonable Pamphlet entitled “The Interest of England stated,”’ 1659, 4to. The tract answered is reprinted by Maseres, ‘Select Tracts relating to the Civil Wars,’ 1815, ii. 273, who attributes it to John Fell. 13. ‘News from Brussels, in a Letter from a near attendant on His Majesty's Person to a Person of Honour here,’ dated 10 March 1659. Answered by John Evelyn in ‘The Late News from Brussels unmasqued,’ and reprinted with the Answer by Upcott in Evelyn's ‘Miscellaneous Works,’ 4to, 1825, p. 193. See also ‘Baker's Chronicle,’ continued by Phillips, ed. 1670, p. 721. 14. ‘A Short History of the English Rebellion, completed in Verse,’ 1661, 4to. This is a collection of verses printed in ‘Mercurius Pragmaticus,’ now republished to curry favour with the royalists; 2nd edit. 1680. Reprinted in J. Morgan's ‘Phœnix Britannicus,’ 1732, p. 174; and in the ‘Harleian Miscellany,’ ed. Park, ii. 521. 15. ‘A Discourse concerning Schools and Schoolmasters,’ 1663, 4to. 16. ‘Medela Medicinæ, a Plea for the Free Profession and a Renovation of the Art of Physick,’ 8vo, 1665. Answered by John Twysden in ‘Medicina Veterum vindicata,’ 8vo, 1666; Robert Sprackling in ‘Medela Ignorantiæ,’ 1666, 8vo; and by George Castle in ‘Reflections on a Book called “Medela Medicinæ,”’ printed with ‘The Chymical Galenist’ in 1667, 8vo. 17. ‘An Epistolary Discourse before “Medicina Instaurata, by Edward Bolnest, M.D.,”’ 1665, 12mo. 18. Preface to ‘A New Idea of the Practice of Physic,’ by Franciscus de le Boe-Sylvius, 1675, 8vo. 19. ‘A Pacquet of Advices and Animadversions sent from London to the Men of Shaftesbury. … Occasioned by a seditious Pamphlet entitled “A Letter from a Person of Quality to his Friend in the Country,”’ 1676, 4to. 20. ‘A Second Pacquet of Advices,’ 1677, 4to. On these two pamphlets see Marvell's ‘Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England;’ Marvell's ‘Works,’ ed. Grosart, iv. 316. 21. ‘Christianissimus christianandus; or Reasons for the Reduction of France to a more Christian State in Europe,’ 1678, 4to.

Nedham also wrote several minor pieces which have not been identified. His translation of Selden's ‘Mare Clausum,’ 1652, fol., suppressed the original dedication to the king, and added an appendix containing ‘additional evidences’ of the sovereignty of the kings of Great Britain on the sea, ‘which he procured, as 'twas thought, of John Bradshaw’ (Wood). The translation was re-edited, and the original dedication restored by J[ames] H[owell] in 1662 (cf. Pepys, Diary, ed. Wheatley, iii. 93).

Satires against Nedham in prose and verse are very numerous. The following may be added to those already mentioned: ‘Mercurius Aquaticus; or the Water Poet's Answer to all that shall be Writ by Mercurius Britanicus,’ by John Taylor, 1643, 4to.; ‘Rebels Anathematised and Anatomised,’ 1645, 4to, by the same author. Sir Francis Wortley's ‘Characters and Elegies,’ 1646, 4to, contain ‘Britanicus his Pedigree’ (p. 26); and Wortley also wrote ‘Britanicus his Welcome to Hell,’ 1647, 4to. Cleveland has a poem on ‘Britanicus his Leap three-story high, and his Escape from London’ ( Poems, ed. 1687, p. 247). ‘The great Assizes holden on Parnassus by Apollo,’ 1645, 4to, reviews the character of all contemporary journalists, including Britannicus; and Nedham is also mentioned in T. Wright's ‘Political Ballads’ (published during the Commonwealth), 1841, pp. 56–63.

[A good life of Nedham is given in Athenæ Oxon. iii. 1179. See also Masson's Life of Milton, iv. 37, 226, 335, v. 671, 702, vi. 308; Bourne's English Newspapers, 1887, i. 12–29; other authorities mentioned in the article.]



William Prynne (1600–1669)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, “Prynne, William” Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 432-37. <,_1885-1900/Prynne,_William>

PRYNNE, WILLIAM (1600–1669), puritan pamphleteer, born at Swanswick or Swainswick in Somerset in 1600, was the son of Thomas Prynne by his second wife, Marie Sherston. His family is said to have been originally derived from Shropshire; his great grandfather was sheriff of Bristol in 1549; his father farmed the lands of Oriel College at Swanswick. Prynne was educated at Bath grammar school, and matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 24 April 1618. He graduated B.A. on 22 Jan. 1621, was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn in the same year, and was called to the bar in 1628 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714, iii. 1217; Peach, History of Swanswick, 1890, pp. 36, 48). With law Prynne combined from the first the study of theology and ecclesiastical antiquities. His training had been puritanical, and, according to Wood, he was confirmed in his militant puritanism by the in- fluence of Dr. John Preston (1587-1628) [q. v.], who was then lecturer at Lincoln's Inn ( Athenæ, iii. 845). In 1627 he published his first book, a theological treatise entitled ' The Perpetuity of a Regenerate Man's Estate,' followed in the next three years by three others attacking Arminianism and its teachers. In the preface to one of them he appealed to parliament to suppress anything written against calvinistic doctrine and to force the clergy to subscribe the conclusion of the synod of Dort ( A Brief Survey of Mr. Cozens his cozening Devotions; Gardiner, Great Civil War, ii. 14). At the same time Prynne took in hand the task of reforming the manners of the age, and attacked its fashions and its follies as if they were vices. After proving that the custom of drinking healths was sinful, he demonstrated that for men to wear their hair long was 'unseemly and unlawful unto Christians,' while it was 'mannish, unnatural, impudent, and unchristian ' for women to cut it short ( Health's Sickness. The Unloveliness of Lovelocks, 1628).

About 1624 Prynne had commenced a book against stage-plays, on 31 May 1630 he obtained a license to print it, and about November 1632 it was published. The 'Histriomastix ' is a volume of over a thousand pages, showing that plays were unlawful, incentives to immorality, and condemned by the scriptures, the fathers, modern Christian writers, and the wisest of the heathen philosophers (for an analysis see Ward, English Dramatic Literature, ii. 413). Unluckily for the author, the queen and her ladies, in January 1633, took part in the performance of Walter Montagu's 'Shepherd's Paradise.' A passage in the index reflecting on the character of female actors in general was construed as an aspersion on the queen. Similarly, passages which attacked the spectators of plays and magistrates who failed to suppress them, pointed by references to Nero and other tyrants, were taken as attacks upon the king. The attorney-general, Noy, instituted proceedings against Prynne in the Star-chamber. After a year's imprisonment in the Tower (1 Feb. 1633), he was sentenced (17 Feb. 1634) to be imprisoned during life, to be fined 5,000 l., to be expelled from Lincoln's Inn, to be deprived of his degree by the university of Oxford, and to lose both his ears in the pillory. Prynne was pilloried on 7 May and 10 May, and degraded from his degree on 29 April (Rushworth, ii. 220, 247; State Trials, iii. 586; Laud, Works, vi. i. 234). On 11 June he addressed to Archbishop Laud, whom he regarded as his chief persecutor, a letter charging him with illegality and injustice. Laud handed the letter to the attorney-general as material for a new prosecution, but when Prynne was required to own his handwriting, he contrived to get hold of the letter and tore it to pieces ( Documents relating to William Prynne, pp. 32-57; Laud, Works, iii. 221; Gardiner, History of England, vii. 327-34). Even in the Tower Prynne contrived to write, and poured forth anonymous tracts against episcopacy and against the 'Book of Sports.' In one, 'A Divine Tragedy lately acted, or a Collection of sundry memorable Examples of God's Judgment upon Sabbath-breakers,' he introduced Noy's recent death as a warning. In an appendix to John Bastwick's 'Flagellum Pontificis,' and, in 'A Breviate of the Bishops' intolerable Usurpations,' he attacked prelates in general (1635). An anonymous attack on Wren, bishop of Norwich, entitled 'News from Ipswich' (1636), brought him again before the Star-chamber. On 14 June 1637 Prynne was sentenced once more to a fine of 5,000 l, to imprisonment for life, and to lose the rest of his ears. At the proposal of Chief-justice Finch he was also to be branded on the cheeks with the letters S. L., signifying 'seditious libeller' (Rushworth, iii. 380; A New Discovery of the Prelates' Tyranny, 1641; Laud, Works, vi. i. 35). Prynne was pilloried on 30 June in company with Henry Burton and John Bastwick. All bore their punishment with defiant courage. Prynne, who was handled with great barbarity by the executioner, made, as he returned to his prison, a couple of Latin verses explaining the 'S. L.' with which he was branded to mean 'Stigmata Laudis' ( ib. p. 65; 'A Brief Relation of certain Passages at the Censure of Dr. Bastwick, Mr. Burton, and Mr. Prynne,' Harleian Miscellany, iv. 12). His imprisonment was henceforth much closer. He was deprived of pens and ink, and allowed no books except the Bible, the prayer-book, and some orthodox theology. To isolate him from his friends he was removed first to Carnarvon Castle (July 1637), and then to Mount Orgueil Castle in Jersey. The governor, Sir Philip Carteret, and his family treated Prynne with much kindness, which he repaid by defending Carteret's character in 1645 when the latter was accused as a malignant and a tyrant ( The Liar Confounded, 1645, pp. 33- 45). He occupied his imprisonment, since he was debarred from theological controversy, by writing a verse description of his prison, meditations on rocks, seas, and gardens, a complaint of the soul against the body, and polemical epigrams against popery. Rhyme is the only poetical characteristic they possess ( Mount Orgueil, or Divine and Profitable Meditations, 1641; A Pleasant Purge for a Roman Catholic, 1642).

As soon as the Long parliament assembled, Prynne's petition for redress was presented to it by his servant, John Brown. An order was immediately made for his transmission to London, and on 28 Nov. he and Burton made a triumphant entry into the city (cf. Baillie, Letters, i. 277; Clarendon, Rebellion, iii. 57). The House of Commons declared the two sentences against him illegal, restored him to his degree and to his membership of Lincoln's Inn, and voted him pecuniary reparation (April 20, 1641) ( Commons' Journal, ii. 24, 123, 366; Rushworth, iv. 74). A bill for reversing the proceedings against him was introduced, but as late as October 1648 the question of his compensation was still unsettled ( Commons' Journal ii. 366; vi. 65).

When the civil war broke out, Prynne became one of the leading defenders of the parliamentary cause in the press. At first he had used his freedom to prosecute his attack on episcopacy ( The Antipathy of the English Lordly Prelacy both to Regal Monarchy and Civil Unity; A New Discovery of the Prelates Tyranny, 1641). He now showed that the bishops and the king's ministers had been fellow-workers in the design of introducing popery ( The Popish Royal Favourite; Rome's Masterpiece, 1643 ; cf. Laud's Works, iv. 463). He proved by historical precedents that the parliament's cause was legal, that the parliament had the supreme control of the armed forces and of the great seal of the realm, and that the text 'Touch not Mine anointed' did not prohibit Christian subjects from defending themselves against their kings, but kings from oppressing their Christian subjects ( A Sovereign Antidote ; Vindication of Psalm 105, ver. 15, 1642; The Sovereign Power of Parliaments and Kingdoms; The Opening of the Great Seal of England, 1643).

In 1643 Prynne became involved in the controversy which followed the surrender of Bristol by Nathaniel Fiennes [q. v.] Together with his friend Clement Walker, he presented articles of accusation against Fiennes to the House of Commons (15 Nov. 1643), managed the case for the prosecution at the court-martial, which took place in the following December, and secured the condemnation of the offending officer ( True and Full Relation of the Trial of Nathaniel Fiennes, 1644). Prynne was also one of the counsel for the parliament at the trial of Lord Maguire in February 1645 (Gilbert, Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 1641-52, i. 618-639; The Subjection of all Traitors, &c. 1658).

But Prynne prosecuted Laud with even more animosity than he had pursued Fiennes. He collected and arranged evidence to prove the charges against him, bore testimony him- self in support of many of them, hunted up witnesses against the archbishop, and assisted the counsel for the prosecution in every way. A barrister remarked, 'The Archbishop is a stranger to me, but Mr. Prynne's tampering about the witnesses is so palpable and foul that I cannot but pity him and cry shame of it' (Laud, Works, iv. 51). By a refinement of malice, Prynne was specially charged with the duty of searching Laud's room in the Tower, and even his pockets, for papers to be used against him ( ib. iv. 25). He published a mutilated edition of Laud's 'Diary' under the title of 'A Breviate of the Life of William Laud,' and a volume intended to serve as an introduction to his trial called 'Hidden Works of Darkness brought to Public Light' ( ib. iii. 259). After Laud's execution, Prynne was charged by the House of Commons (4 March 1645) to produce an account of the trial, and published 'Canterburies Doom, or the first part of a complete History of the Commitment, Trial, &c., of William Laud' (folio, 1646). But other controversies prevented him from finishing the book. Prynne's hatred of independency was as great as his hatred of episcopacy, and from 1644 he poured forth a series of pamphlets against it ( Independency Examined, Unmasked, and Refuted, 1644). He attacked John Goodwin ( Brief Animadversions on Mr John Goodwin's Theomachia, 1644), and fell foul of his old companion in suffering, Henry Burton ( Truth triumphing over Falsehood, 1645; cf. Hanbury, Memorials of Independency, ii. 385). He controverted and denounced John Lilburne, and loudly called on parliament to crush the sectaries ( Just Defence of John Bastwick, 1645; The Liar Confounded, 1645; Fresh Discovery of some prodigious new wandering blazing Stars, 1645). Yet, while vehemently opposing the demands of the independents for liberty of conscience, Prynne was equally hostile to the demands of the presbyterian clergy for the unrestricted establishment of their system. 'Mr. Prynne and the Erastian lawyers are now our remora,' complains Robert Baillie in September 1645 ( Letters, ii. 315). Prynne maintained the supremacy of the state over the church, and denied in his pamphlets the right of the clergy to excommunicate or to suspend from the reception of the sacrament except on conditions defined by the laws of the state ( Four Serious Questions, 1644; A Vindication of Four Questions, 1645; Suspension Suspended, 1646; The Sword of Christian Magistracy Supported, 1647). He was answered by Samuel Rutherford in 'The Divine Right of Church Government and Excommunication,' 4to, 1646 (cf. Hanbury , Historical Memorials of Independency, iii. 191). Prynne also came into collision with Milton, whose doctrine of 'divorce at pleasure ' he had denounced, and was replied to by the poet in a passage in his 'Colasterion.' Milton also inserted in the original draft of his sonnet 'On the Forcers of Conscience' a scornful reference to 'marginal Prynne's ears' (Masson, Life of Milton, iii. 315, 470).

During 1647 the breach between the army and the parliament turned Prynne's attention from theology to politics. He wrote a number of pamphlets against the army, and championed the cause of the eleven presbyterian leaders whom the army impeached ( Brief Justification of the Eleven Accused Members, 1647; Full Vindication and Answer of the Eleven Accused Members, 1647; Hypocrites Unmasking, 1647). With this indefatigable activity in pamphleteering he contrived to combine no small amount of official work. Since February 1644 he had been a member of the committee of accounts, and on 1 May 1647 he was appointed one of the commissioners for the visitation of the university of Oxford. In April 1648 Prynne accompanied the Earl of Pembroke when he came as chancellor to expel recalcitrant heads of houses (Wood, Annals, ii. 569-73). In November 1648 he was elected member for Newport in Cornwall, and, as soon as he took his seat, distinguished himself by his opposition to the army. He urged the commons to declare them rebels, and argued at great length that the concessions made by Charles in the recent treaty were a satisfactory basis for a peace. His speech, which according to its author converted many of the audience, was four times reprinted during the next few months (Gardiner, Great Civil War, iv. 264, 267; The Substance of a Speech made in the House of Commons by William Prynne, the 4th of December, 1648 ). Two days later Pride's Purge took place. Prynne was arrested by Colonel Pride and Sir Hardress Waller, and kept prisoner first at an eating-house called Hell, and then at the Swan and King's Head inns in the Strand. He protested in letters to Lord Fairfax, and by printed declarations on behalf of himself and the other arrested members (Walker, History of Independency, ed. 1661, pt. ii. pp. 35, 51, 62, 81, 84, 92, 114, 120, 123, 126). He published also a denunciation of the proposed trial of the king, which was answered by a collection of extracts from his own earlier pamphlets ( True and Perfect Narrative of the Officers and Army's Force upon the Commons House; Brief Memento to the Present Unparliamentary Junto; Mr. Prynne's Charge against the King ).

Released from custody some time in January 1649, Prynne retired to Swanswick, and began a paper war against the new government. He wrote three pamphlets against the engagement to be faithful to the Commonwealth, and proved that neither in conscience, law, nor prudence was he bound to pay the taxes which it imposed ( A Legal Vindication of the Liberties of England against all Illegal Taxes and Pretended Acts of Parliament, 1649). According to Wood, he had judiciously conveyed his property to a relative first. The government retaliated by imprisoning him for nearly three years without a trial. On 30 June 1650 he was arrested and confined, first in Dunster Castle and afterwards in Taunton (12 June 1651) and Pendennis Castles (27 June 1651). He was finally offered his liberty on giving security to the amount of 1,000 l. that he would henceforward do nothing against the government; but, refusing with his usual indomitable courage to make any promise, was released unconditionally on 18 Feb. 1653 ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1652- 1653, p. 172; A New Discovery of Free State Tyranny, 1655). On his release Prynne returned to pamphleteering with fresh vigour, but assailed the government less directly than before. He exposed the machinations of the papists, showed the danger of quakerism, vindicated the rights of patrons against the triers, and discussed the right limits of the Sabbath ( A Brief polemical Dissertation concerning the Lords Day Sabbath, 1655; The Quakers Unmasked, 1655; A New Discovery of some Romish Emissaries, 1656). The proposal to readmit the Jews inspired him with a pamphlet against the scheme, which contains materials of value for the history of that race in England ( A Short Demurrer to the Jews long-discontinued Remitters into England, 1656). The offer of the crown to Cromwell by the ' petition and advice' suggested a parallel between Cromwell and Richard III, who had also been petitioned to accept the English crown ( King Richard the Third Revived, 1657). Similarly, when the Protector set up a House of Lords, Prynne expanded the tract in defence of their rights which he had published in 1648 into an historical treatise of five hundred pages ( A Plea for the Lords, 1658).

All these writings, however, attracted little attention, and it was not till after the fall of Richard Cromwell that he regained the popular ear. As soon as the Long parliament was re-established, Prynne got together a few of the members excluded by 'Pride's purge' and endeavoured to take his place in the house. On 7 May he was kept back by the guards, but on 9 May he managed to get in, and kept his seat there for a whole sitting. Haslerig and Vane threatened him, but Prynne told them he had as good right there as either, and had suffered more for the rights of parliament than any of them. They could only get rid of him by adjourning the house, and forcibly keeping him out when it reassembled ( A True and Perfect Narrative of what was done by Mr. Prynne, &c., 1659; Old Parliamentary History, xxi. 384). On 27 Dec., when the parliament was again restored after its interruption by Lambert, Prynne and his friends made a fresh attempt to enter, but were once more excluded ( ib. xxii. 29; Brief Narrative how divers Members of the House of Commons were again shut out, 1660). From May 1659 to February 1660 he never ceased publishing tracts on the case of the 'secluded members' and attacks on the Rump and the army. Marchamont Nedham, Henry Stubbe, John Rogers, and others printed serious answers to his arguments, while obscure libellers ridiculed him as 'an indefatigable and impertinent scribbler' ( The Character or Earmark of Mr. W. Prynne, 1659 ; A Petition of the Peaceable and well-affected People of the three Nations, &c.; Wood, Athenæ, iii. 853). Still his pamphlets roused popular opinion in favour of the 'secluded members,' and on 21 Feb. 1660 Monck ordered the guards of the house to readmit them. Prynne, girt with an old basket-hilted sword, marched in at their head amid the cheers of the spectators in Westminster Hall, but as he entered the house his 'long sword got between Sir William Waller's short legs and threw him down, which caused laughter' (Pepys, Diary, 21 Feb.; Aubrey, Letters from the Bodleian Library, ii. 509). The house appointed him to the pleasant task of expunging the votes against the secluded members, and charged him to bring in a bill for the dissolution of the Long parliament ( Commons' Journals, vii. 847, 848, 852). In the debate on the bill Prynne asserted the rights of Charles II with the greatest boldness, and claimed that the writs should be issued in his name. 'I think he may be styled the Cato of this age,' wrote an admiring royalist (Carte, Original Letters, ii. 312; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 696). He also helped to forward the Restoration by accelerating the passing of the Militia Bill, which placed the control of the forces in the hands of the king's friends (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. 1894, ii. 248). A letter which he addressed to Charles II shows that he was personally thanked by the king for his services ( Notes and Queries, 8th ser. viii. 361).

When the Convention parliament was summoned, Prynne was returned both for Ludgershall and Bath, but sat for the latter place, and presented an address from it to Charles II on 16 June 1660 ( Bathonia Rediviva ). No member of the Convention was more bitter against the regicides and the supporters of the late government. On every opportunity he endeavoured to restrict the scope of the Act of Indemnity. He successfully moved to have Fleetwood excepted, and urged the exclusion of Richard Cromwell and Judge Thorpe. He proposed to force the officials of the Protectorate to refund their salaries and to disable or punish indiscriminately large classes of persons ( Old Parliamentary History, xxii. 339, 352, 366, 369, 412, 428; Ludlow, Memoirs, ii. 277). Prynne showed great zeal for the disbanding of the army and was one of the commissioners appointed to pay it off ( Old Parliamentary History xxii. 473). In the debates on religion he was one of the leaders of the presbyterians spoke against the Thirty-nine Articles, denied the claims of the bishops, urged the validity of presbyterian ordination, and supported the bill for turning the king's ecclesiastical declaration into law ( ib. xxii. 375, 385, 409, 414, 421, xxiii. 29). Returned again for Bath to the parliament of May 1661, Prynne asserted his presbyterianism by refusing to kneel when the two houses received the sacrament together ( Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 170). A few weeks earlier he had published a pamphlet demanding the revision of the prayer-book, but the new parliament was opposed to any concessions to nonconformity. On 15 July a pamphlet by Prynne against the Corporation Bill was voted scandalous and seditious; he was reprimanded by the speaker, and only escaped punishment by abject submission (Kennett, Register, p. 495; Commons' Journals, viii. 301). He was again censured on 13 May 1664 for making some alterations in a bill concerning vintners and ale-sellers after its commitment ( ib. viii. 563). In January 1667 Prynne was one of the managers of Lord Mordaunt's impeachment ( ib. viii. 681). He spoke several times on Clarendon's impeachment, and opposed the bill for his banishment. On constitutional subjects and points of procedure his opinion had great weight, and in 1667 he was privately consulted by the king on the question whether a parliament which had been prorogued could be convened before the day fixed (Grey), Debates, i. 7, 65, 153; Clarendon, Continuation of Life, §1097).

As a politician Prynne was during his latter years of little importance, but as a writer his most valuable work belongs to that period. Shortly after the Restoration he had been appointed keeper of the records in the Tower at a salary of 500 l. a year. In January 1662 Prynne dedicated his 'Brevia Parliamentaria Rediviva' to Charles II. The state papers contain several petitions from Prynne for additional accommodation in the Tower, in order to facilitate his work in transcribing and arranging the records ( Cat. State Papers, Dom. 1661-2 p. 627, 1665-6 p. 346). Anthony Wood found him affable and obliging towards record-searchers. 'Mr. Prynne received him with old-fashion compliments, such as were used in the reign of King James I, and told him he should see what he desired, and seemed to be glad that "such a young man as he was should have inclinations towards venerable antiquity," &c.' ( Life of Anthony Wood, ed. Clarke, ii. 110). Ryley, Prynne's predecessor, spread reports that Prynne ne-glected his duties, but Prynne's publications during his tenure of office refute the charge (Pepys, Diary, ed. Wheatley, iv. 133).

Prynne died unmarried on 24 Oct. 1669 'in his lodgings in Lincoln's Inn, and was buried in the walk under the chapel there, which stands upon pillars' (Wood, Athenae, iii. 876). His will is printed by Bruce ( Documents relating to William Prynne, p. 96). He left his manuscripts to the library of Lincoln's Inn, and a set of his works to Oriel College, Oxford. The college also possesses a portrait of Prynne in oils. Two others belong respectively to the Marquis of Hastings and the Marquis Townshend. An engraved portrait of Prynne is given in his 'New Discovery of the Prelates' Tyranny,' reproductions of which are frequently found in his later pamphlets. Lists of engraved portraits are given by Granger and in the catalogue of portraits in the Sutherland Clarendon in the Bodleian Library.

Prynne published about two hundred books and pamphlets. 'I verily believe,' says Wood, 'that, if rightly computed, he wrote a sheet for every day of his life, reckoning from the time he came to the use of reason and the state of man' ( Athenæ, Oxon. iii. 852). According to Aubrey, 'his manner of study was thus: he wore a long quilt cap, which came two or three inches at least over his eyes, which served him as an umbrella to defend his eyes from the light; about every three hours his man was to bring him a roll and a pot of ale to refocillate his wasted spirits: so he studied and drank, and munched some bread; and this maintained him till night, and then he made a good supper' (Aubrey, Letters from the Bodleian Library, ii. 508). To this habit Butler refers in 'Hudibras' when he addresses the muse

that with ale or viler liquors Did'st inspire Wither, Prynne, and Vicars.

In point of style Prynne's historical works possess no merits. He apologises to his readers in the epistle to vol. ii. of his 'Exact Chronological Vindication' for the absence of 'elegant, lofty, eloquent language, embellishments, and transitions,' and he understates their defects. The arrangement of his works is equally careless. Yet, in spite of these deficiencies, the amount of historical material they contain and the number of records printed for the first time in his pages give his historical writings a lasting value.

Full lists of Prynne's works are given by Anthony Wood and by Mr. John Bruce. Many of his polemical pamphlets have been already mentioned. The following are his most important books: 1. 'Histrio-Mastix: the Players Scourge or Actors Tragedy,' 4to, 1633. A Dutch translation was published at Leyden in 1639. On the publication of this work and for contemporary references to it, see Collier's 'History of English Dramatic Poetry,' ed. 1879, i. 465, and Ward's 'English Dramatic Poetry,' ii. 413. Voltaire criticises it in the twenty-third of his 'Lettres sur les Anglais.' In 1649 was published ' Mr. Wil- liam Prynne his Defence of Stage Plays, or a Retractation of a former book of his called "Histrio-Mastix,"' which is reprinted in Mr. W. C. Hazlitt's ' English Drama and Stage,' 1869. It is not by Prynne. Two answers to Prynne were written by Sir Richard Baker: 'Theatrum Redivivum,' 1662, 8vo, and 'Theatrum Triumphans,' 1670, 8vo. 2. 'The Sovereign Power of Parliaments and Kingdoms,' in four parts, 1643, 4to. This was held to be the most conclusive vindication of the constitutional position of the parliament (Vicars, God's Ark, 1646, p. 203). It was answered in 'The Fallacies of Mr. William Prynne Discovered,' Oxford, 1643, 4to. 3. 'The Opening of the Great Seal of England,' 1643, 4to; reprinted in the 'Somers Tracts,' ed. Scott, iv. 551. 4. 'Hidden Works of Darkness brought to Public Light, or a necessary Introduction to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Trial,' 1645, fol. 5. 'Canterbury's Doom, or the first part of a Complete History of the Trial of William Laud,' 1646, fol. 6. 'The first part of an Historical Collection of the Ancient Councils and Parliaments of England,' 1649, 4to. 7. 'A Short Demurrer to the Jews long-discontinued Remitter into England,' 1656, 4to; answered in 'Israel's Cause and Condition pleaded,' by D.L. 8. 'A Plea for the Lords and House of Peers,' 1658, 4to. This is an expansion of 'A Plea for the House of Lords,' 1648, 4to. 9. 'A Brief Register of the several kinds of Parliamentary Writs,' 1659, 4to; the second, third, and fourth parts were published in 1660, 1662, and 1664 respectively. 10. 'The Signal Loyalty and Devotion of God's true saints towards their Kings,' 1660, 4to. This contains an account of the coronation of James I, reprinted in vol. ii. of the publications of the Henry Bradshaw Society, 1892, 8m 11. ' An exact Chronological Vindication and Historical Demonstration of our British, Roman, &c., Kings' Supreme Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction over all Spiritual or Religious Affairs within their Realms,' 3 vols. fol. The first volume, published in 1666, ends with the death of Richard I; the second, published in 1665, with the death of Henry III. The third, published in 1670, is also called 'The History of King John, King Henry III, and King Edward I.' A fourth volume was left half printed, a copy of which is in the library of Lincoln's Inn. An allegorical frontispiece to vol. ii. represents Prynne presenting his work to Charles II on his throne. The triple crown of the pope is falling off as he beholds it. 12. 'Aurum Reginae, or concerning Queen Gold,' 1668, 4to. 13. 'Brief Animadversions on the Fourth Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England, compiled by Sir Edward Coke,' 1669, fol. 14. 'An Exact Abridgment of the Records in the Tower of London, collected by Sir Robert Cotton,' 1689, fol.; the preface is dated 1656-7.

[A Life of Prynne is given in Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses (ed. Bliss, iii. 844), partly based on John Aubrey's notes for Wood, which are printed in Letters written by eminent persons in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, from the originals in the Bodleian Library, 1813. John Bruce collected materials for a life of Prynne, and wrote an account of Prynne's early life, which were edited by Mr. S. R. Gardiner for the Camden Society in 1877 under the title of Documents relating to the Proceedings against William Prynne. A Life of Prynne, by Mr. S. R. Gardiner and Mr. Osmund Airy, is in the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Some particulars on his history and that of his family are contained in Mr. R. E. M. Peach's History of Swanswick.]



Algernon Sidney (or Sydney) (1622–1683)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Charles Harding Firth, “Sidney, Algernon” Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), pp. 202- 10. <,_1885-1900/Sidney,_Algernon>

SIDNEY or SYDNEY, ALGERNON (1622–1683), republican, second surviving son of Robert Sidney, second earl of Leicester [q. v.], by Dorothy, daughter of Henry Percy, ninth earl of Northumberland, was born in 1622 (Collins, Sidney Papers, i. 149; Ewald, Life of Algernon Sydney, i. 28). Philip Sidney, third earl of Leicester [q. v.], was his eldest brother, and Dorothy Spencer, countess of Sunderland [q. v.], Waller's ‘Saccharissa,’ was his sister. Algernon was educated at home, and accompanied his father on his embassy to Denmark in 1632, and also to Paris in 1636. His intelligence early attracted the notice of his father's friends. ‘All who come from Paris,’ wrote the Countess of Leicester on 10 Nov. 1636, ‘commend Algernon for a huge deal of wit and much sweetness of nature’ ( ib. ii. 445). In 1642 the Earl of Leicester, being then lord deputy of Ireland, raised and equipped a regiment of horse, under the command of his son, Lord Lisle [see Sidney, Philip, third Earl of Leicester], for the suppression of the Irish rebellion. Algernon was captain of a troop of horse in the regiment, and probably landed in Ireland with his brother in April 1642 (Carte, Ormonde, ii. 255; Coxe, Hibernia Anglicana, ii. 87). Nothing is known of his services except a general statement that Lord Lisle and his brother Algernon behaved with great spirit and resolution (Ewald, i. 76). On 18 June 1643, when Ormonde was negotiating with the Irish leaders for a cessation of arms, Sidney wrote to his mother for leave to return to England. Fighting was over, and if he remained he would run into debt. ‘If I had well known how to dispose of myself, I must confess I should not have been patient here so long. I am not likely to seek after those employments many others receive with greediness. Nothing but extreme necessity shall make me bear arms in England, and yet it is the only way of living well for those that have not estates. And, besides, there is so few abstain from war for the same reason that I do, that I do not know whether in many men's eyes it may not prove dishonourable to me. If I could procure any employment abroad, I should think myself extremely happy’ (Gilbert, History of Confederation and War in Ireland, vol. ii. p. xlix). The Earl of Leicester, by license dated 22 June 1643, gave Sidney leave to return to England (Collins, i. 150).

He landed in Lancashire in the following August with his brother and Sir Richard Grenville; but the parliamentary committee at Manchester suspected him of intending to join the king, on the ground of an intercepted letter to the royalist governor of Chester. All three were therefore arrested by order of parliament (31 Aug.), and sent up to London under a guard ( Commons' Journals, iii. 223; Tanner MSS. Bodleian Library, lxii. 287). In spite of the views expressed in his letter to his mother, Algernon was soon persuaded to take up arms against the king. His motives were doubtless those set forth in his ‘Apology,’ in which he says ‘From my youth I endeavoured to uphold the common rights of mankind, the laws of this land, and the true protestant religion, against corrupt principles, arbitrary power, and popery’ ( The Apology of A. Sydney in the Day of his Death, ed. 1772, p. 1). On 10 May 1644 the commons voted that the 400 l. due to Colonel Sidney for his service in Ireland should be paid as soon as possible, in order to enable him to equip himself for service in the Earl of Manchester's army ( Commons' Journals, iii. 507). His commission as a captain in Manchester's horse regiment is dated the same day (Collins, i. 151). At Marston Moor a few weeks later ‘Colonel Sidney charged with much gallantry in the head of my Lord Manchester's regiment of horse, and came off with many wounds, the true badges of his honour’ (Vicars, God's Ark, p. 273; Ewald, i. 90). For the cure of these wounds Sidney went to London, and he was still disabled a year later. On 2 April 1645 Fairfax commissioned him colonel of horse in the new model; but on 14 May following ( Sloane MS. 1519, f. 112) he resigned it on the plea of ill-health. ‘I have not left the army,’ he wrote to Fairfax, ‘without extreme unwillingness, and would not persuade myself to it by any other reason than that by reason of my lameness, I am not able to do the parliament and you the service that would be expected of me’ (Ewald, i. 102; Fairfax Correspondence, iii. 213). He accepted, however, the government of Chichester, which was conferred upon him on 10 May 1645 ( Lords' Journals, vii. 365). On 17 July 1646 he was returned to the Long parliament for the borough of Cardiff. Next year Sidney was sufficiently recovered from his wounds again to undertake active service. Lord Lisle had been appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, and desired to take his brother with him. On 4 Jan. 1647 Sidney was voted 2,000 l., and on 11 Jan. the House of Commons gave him leave of absence ( Commons' Journals, v. 41, 49). He held the rank of lieutenant-general of the horse. Lisle landed in Munster, but effected nothing, and his commission terminated on 15 April, and was not renewed. Before he left, Sidney, as lieutenant-general of the horse, and Sir Hardress Waller [q. v.], as major-general of the foot, made a claim to the command of the army during Lisle's absence, which was naturally contested by Lord Inchiquin, the president of Munster [see O'Brien, Murrough]. The council attempted to compromise the matter by vesting the control of the forces in a commission of four, including Inchiquin and Lord Broghil, as well as Sidney and Waller. Inchiquin, however, declined to acquiesce in this solution, and the adherents of the two parties nearly came to blows in the streets of Cork. In the end, as the majority of the officers declared for Inchiquin, Sidney left Ireland with his brother in April 1647 (Carte, Ormonde, iii. 324; Report on the Duke of Portland's MSS. i. 419; Gilbert, Confederation, iv. 19–25). Lord Lisle had also given Sidney a commission as governor of Dublin, but on 8 April the House of Commons voted Colonel Michael Jones [q. v.] governor in his place, although Jones had actually accepted the post of deputy-governor to Sidney. In defence of this somewhat hard treatment Sir Henry Vane the elder [q. v.] alleged ‘that since the house had thought fit to recall the Lord Lisle, it was not good to let his brother remain governor of so important a place as Dublin;’ but the house at the same time voted that the merits and services of Colonel Sidney should in due time be taken into consideration (Blencowe, Sydney Papers, p. 16; Commons' Journals, v. 136). His arrears of pay for his Irish employment, which amounted to 1,809 l. 13 s. 8 d., were not voted him till October 1649 ( ib. vi. 302).

As some compensation, Sidney was appointed governor and afterwards (13 Oct. 1648) lieutenant of Dover ( Lords' Journals, x. 546). He held that post till the end of 1650. In that year various charges against him, the nature of which is unknown, were presented to the council of state; and though the council of war to which they were referred judged him a fit person to be continued in his trust, further charges were preferred which led to his retirement ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1650, pp. 101, 393, 399, 435). On the petition of Sidney himself the Long parliament appointed a committee to examine into his complaints, but it never seems to have reported ( Commons' Journals, vi. 523, 526, 554).

On 4 Jan. 1649 Sidney was appointed one of the commissioners for the trial of Charles I, and attended three of the preliminary meetings of the court, but neither took any part in the trial itself nor signed the warrant (Nalson, Trial of Charles I, 1682, pp. 14, 15, 22). His own account of the matter is as follows: ‘I was at Penshurst when the act for the trial passed, and, coming up to town, I heard my name was put in, and that those that were nominated for judges were then in the Painted Chamber. I presently went thither, heard the act read, and found my own name with others. A debate was raised how they should proceed upon it, and, after having been some time silent to hear what those would say who had the directing of that business, I did positively oppose Cromwell, Bradshaw, and others, who would have the trial to go on, and drew my reasons from these two points: first, the king could be tried by no court; secondly, that no man could be tried by that court. This being alleged in vain, and Cromwell using these formal words, “I tell you we will cut off his head, with the crown upon it,” I replied, “You may take your own course, I cannot stop you, but I will keep myself clean from having any hand in this business,” immediately went out of the room and never returned’ (Blencowe, p. 237). To this narrative, contained in a letter written to his father in 1660, Sidney adds: ‘I had an intention which is not very fit for a letter.’ It has been conjectured that his scheme was an agreement of the two houses for the deposition of the king, and it is certain that the absence of the assent of the lords to the ordinance for the king's trial was one of his chief reasons for objecting to its validity ( ib. p. 282; cf. Sidney's letter to the Earl of Leicester, 10 Jan. 1648, printed by Toland). Sidney also opposed in parliament the engagement proposed to be required from the council of state, which bound those taking it to declare their approval of the king's execution and the abolition of monarchy and the House of Lords, alleging ‘that such a test would prove a snare to many an honest man, but every knave would slip through it’ (Blencowe, p. 238; cf. Gardiner, History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate, i. 5). By these scruples he incurred, he says, the enmity of Cromwell, Bradshaw, and others, and for that or for other reasons took very little part in public affairs during the first three years of the Commonwealth. On 25 Nov. 1652, however, Sidney was elected a member of the council of state for the next year, receiving fifty-three votes ( Commons' Journals, vii. 220). Ludlow suggested Sidney to Cromwell as a fit person to be second in command in Ireland, but his ‘relation to some who were in the king's interest’ was regarded as a sufficient objection (Ludlow, Memoirs, i. 247). During the four and a half months which elapsed before the council was dissolved by Cromwell, he attended eighty-two meetings, and was very busy on the committee for foreign affairs ( Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1652–3, p. 2).

Sidney was present in the House of Commons on 20 April 1653, when Cromwell forcibly put an end to its sittings, and his account of the general's conduct is embodied in the Earl of Leicester's journal. He was sitting on the right hand of the speaker, and refused to move until Colonel Harrison and Lieutenant-colonel Worsley ‘put their hands on his shoulder as if they would force him to go out’ (Blencowe, p. 141). Henceforth Sidney regarded the Protector as ‘a tyrant and a violent one,’ but took no part either in the republican plots against him or in the opposition in parliament ( Trial, ed. 1772, p. 32). He contented himself with his protest. Some letters among Thurloe's papers written during a visit of Sidney to Holland in 1654 prove that the government thought it necessary to keep an eye upon his correspondence (ii. 501, 522, 649). He showed his dislike of the protectorate by standing aloof. In 1656, however, he caused to be performed at Penshurst a play which was construed as a public affront to Cromwell, and gave great offence to Lord Lisle, who was anxious to stand well with the government. Sidney himself took the chief part, and was much applauded. Tradition asserts that the play was ‘Julius Cæsar,’ and that Sidney played the part of Brutus; but there seems to be no evidence for this assertion (Blencowe, p. 269; Ewald, i. 198).

When the army restored the Long parliament, Sidney returned to his place in the house, which at once elected him one of the council of state (14 May 1659). As before, his main employment was in foreign affairs. On 9 June 1659 four commissioners were appointed to be sent to mediate between the kings of Denmark and Sweden, viz. Sidney, Admiral Edward Montagu (afterwards first Earl of Sandwich) [q. v.], Sir Robert Honeywood, and Thomas Boone ( Commons' Journals, vii. 677, 698, 700). They arrived at Elsinore on 21 July, and had several interviews with the king of Sweden. Sidney, who describes Charles Gustavus as extremely able but extremely choleric, acted as spokesman for his colleagues, and replied with dignity and firmness to the explosion of wrath with which the king received the terms of settlement the English and Dutch ambassadors endeavoured to impose. ‘Even the enemies of this government,’ wrote the French ambassador in England, ‘praise the high-spirited manner in which Colonel Sidney answered him’ (Blencowe, p. 166; Collins, ii. 683; Thurloe, vii. 732; Guizot, Richard Cromwell, i. 160; Ludlow, Memoirs, ii. 117). Nevertheless the negotiations dragged. Sidney distrusted his Dutch colleagues; the unauthorised return of Montagu and the fleet to England robbed his words of weight; while the ambition of the king of Sweden and the weakness of the king of Denmark were almost insurmountable obstacles to peace. His own government left him without instructions and without information of the revolutions of public affairs in England. Sidney watched with anxious eyes the breach between the parliament and the army in October 1659, condemning, in his letters to his friends, the stiffness and severity of the former (Blencowe, pp. 169, 182). He was given liberty to return if he chose, but the interests of England seemed to him to require his stay till peace was concluded, and his personal sympathy with the Swedish cause worked in the same direction. At last, in May 1660, largely, as Sidney persuaded himself, in consequence of his efforts, the treaty was brought to a conclusion ( ib. pp. 171, 179, 218; Collins, ii. 687–95).

The restoration of Charles II, although Sidney was not excepted by the act of indemnity, obliged him to remain an exile. Since parliament had acknowledged a king, he was willing to submit to him, and, if trusted, to serve him faithfully. But he was not willing to live in England under suspicion and in constant danger of arrest, nor would he purchase pardon and favour by protestations of penitence. ‘When I call to remembrance,’ he wrote to his father, ‘all my actions relating to our civil distempers, I cannot find one that I can look upon as a breach of the rules of justice or honour; this is my strength, and, I thank God, by this I enjoy very serene thoughts. If I lose this by vile and unworthy submissions, acknowledgment of errors, asking of pardon, or the like, I shall from that moment be the miserablest man alive, and the scorn of all men. … I had rather be a vagabond all my life than buy my being in my own country at so dear a rate.’ To the argument that his scruples were extravagant and overstrained, he answered: ‘I cannot help it if I judge amiss. I walk in the light God hath given me; if it be dim or uncertain, I must bear the penalty of my errors; I hope to do it with patience, and that no burden shall be very grievous to me except sin and shame’ (Blencowe, pp. 188, 195, 233). His father, who was anxious for Sidney's return to England (which Monck had promised to further), complained that his son's ostentatious justification of the execution of Charles I, and the contemptuous things he had said of the royal family, placed an insurmountable barrier in his way. Sidney replied by disowning the words attributed to him by report, though admitting that he had publicly justified the king's death, and avowing that when asked to write his autograph in the album of the university of Copenhagen, he had chosen as his motto the famous words, ‘Manus hæc inimica tyrannis.’

In July 1660 Sidney left Denmark, his negotiations being ended, and the hostility of the Danish court rendering his stay there somewhat dangerous. The question whether he should be handed over to Charles II as a regicide was already being debated, and he had been grossly affronted by the queen ( ib. pp. 205–27; Collins, ii. 695). Travelling through Hamburg and Augsburg, he made his way first to Venice, and in November 1660 to Rome. There he was received with unexpected favour by Roman society. Cardinals Azzolini, Barberini, and others treated him with great courtesy, and he was an honoured spectator at many of the festivals of the church. In the summer of 1661 Prince Pamphili, the pope's nephew, lent him a villa at Frascati, and he gave himself up to study. ‘I find so much satisfaction in it,’ he wrote, ‘that for the future I shall very unwillingly put myself into any way of living that shall deprive me of that entertainment. Whatsoever hath been formerly the objects of my thoughts and desires, I have now intention of seeking very little more than quietness and retirement’ (Collins, ii. 719). The chief drawback to his happiness was want of money; he had incurred heavy expenses on his embassy, and had spent large sums of money in the endeavour to settle the affairs of his sister, Lady Strangford. Neither of these debts was repaid, and his father was far from liberal; but at Rome he found he could live on five shillings a day (Collins, ii. 717). Political hatreds, however, drove him from Rome. ‘I was defended,’ he says, ‘from such as those designed to assassinate me only by the charity of strangers’ ( Apology, p. 1). In the summer of 1663 he stayed for three weeks at Vevey with Ludlow and other exiled regicides (Ludlow, Memoirs, ii. 346, 486). In December following he was at Brussels, meditating a scheme for serving the emperor in the war in Hungary. He proposed to raise a regiment or two of Cromwell's old soldiers, believing that, although the government might be disinclined to grant him any favour, it would assent in order to get rid of them. But leave was refused, and his attempts to obtain foreign military employment were frustrated by the influence of the English court (Collins, ii. 725; Apology, p. 2).

For some little time Sidney lived in Germany, apparently at Augsburg, whither a party of ruffians was sent to assassinate him ( ib. p. 1; Ludlow, ii. 382). The war between England and the united provinces emboldened the exiled republicans to dream of a rising in Holland, whither Sidney removed in June 1665. Embittered by the repeated attempts on his life, he abandoned his resolution to remain quiet, and thought it a duty to seize the opportunity. ‘In the end,’ he wrote, ‘I found it an ill-grounded peace that I enjoyed, and could have no rest in my own spirit, because I lived only to myself, and was in no ways useful to God's people, my country, and the world. This consideration, joined with those dispensations of providence which I observed and judged favourable to the designs of good people, brought me out of my retirement’ (Blencowe, p. 259; Lister, Life of Clarendon, iii. 384, 388). After France declared war against England, Sidney obtained, by the mediation of John de Witt, a passport enabling him to go to Paris in order to negotiate with the French government (March 1666). He applied to Louis XIV for one hundred thousand crowns in order to raise a revolt in England, but the king thought the sum too high, and offered him only twenty thousand, promising to send all necessary help to the rebels when a rising took place ( Œuvres de Louis XIV, ii. 203; Guizot, Portraits Politiques, ed. 1874, p. 87; Pontalis, Jean de Witt, i. 376; Ludlow, Memoirs, ii. 391–393). When the war ended, Sidney, who had obtained leave to live in French territory, retired to Languedoc. In the summer of 1670 he was in Paris, and Charles II, in answer to the inquiries of the French government, declared ‘that he did not care where Sidney lived provided he did not return to England, where his pernicious sentiments, supported with so great parts and courage, might do much hurt.’ But a few weeks later the king changed his mind, saying that he would be better in Languedoc and could not be too far from England. According to Colbert's despatches, Charles spoke of Sidney as ‘un homme de cœur et d'esprit,’ and it is clear that he was regarded as the ablest man among the exiles (Dalrymple, Memoirs, ed. 1790, vol. i., App. p. 122; Temple, Works, ed. 1754, iii. 70).

Sidney returned to England about September 1677. He asked the king's leave to do so in order to settle his private affairs, and obtained it through the intervention of Henry Savile [q. v.], the English envoy at Paris, and by the influence of the Earl of Sunderland, who was the son of his sister Dorothy. He intended to stay three months and then to return to Gascony. Six weeks after his arrival in England his father died, leaving him 5,100 l., which he resolved to spend in buying an estate near Bordeaux (Collins, i. 153; Sidney, Letters to Savile, ed. Holles, p. 57; Forster, Algernon Sidney, &c., 1847, p. 3). The new Earl of Leicester declined to pay the legacy, and a chancery suit took place, which, though ultimately decided in Sidney's favour, detained him in England till 1680 (Berry, Life and Letters of Rachel, Lady Russell, &c., 1819, p. 122).

The excitement caused by the exclusion struggle was too great for Sidney to keep aloof from English politics, whatever his intentions on coming to England may have been, especially as he seems to have been under no pledge to abstain. Four times he made unsuccessful attempts to obtain a seat in the House of Commons. In December 1678 he stood for Guildford, but was defeated by a courtier named Dalmahoy. In August 1679 he became a candidate for Bramber, but withdrew when he was opposed by his brother Henry. He was returned for the borough of Agmondesham, but his election was declared void on 11 Dec. 1680. He contested Agmondesham again in February 1681, but, owing to the partiality of the returning officer, was not declared elected, though he obtained a majority of the lawful votes (Collins, i. 153, 155; Letters to Savile, pp. i. 50; Grey, Debates, viii. 127; Report on the MSS. of Sir William Fitzherbert, p. 19; Diary and Correspondence of Henry Sidney, i. 88, 103, 115, 70). Outside parliament, however, Sidney exercised considerable influence. Soon after the discovery of the ‘popish plot’ he was accused of being head of a great nonconformist plot, but succeeded in vindicating himself of the charge in a personal interview with the king ( Apology, p. 4). His close friendship with Penn, who helped him in his election contests, excited some comments, and another quaker, Benjamin Furley, was among his most trusted correspondents (Collins, i. 153; Berry, Life and Letters of Lady Russell, p. 134). With the Commonwealthsmen, as the republicans were termed, Sidney was intimately connected; Major Wildman was his friend, and Slingsby Bethell's election as sheriff of London was attributed to his influence ( ib. pp. 131–2; Dalrymple, i. 357; Ferguson, Life of Robert Ferguson, p. 434). With Shaftesbury, however, his relations seem to have been far from cordial. In 1680 Shaftesbury was reported to have said that Sidney was a French pensioner and a spy of Lord Sunderland; a violent quarrel followed and after that their communications were carried on through the younger Hampden (Berry, pp. 128, 136). Sidney's letters to Henry Savile are very cautiously written, and throw little light on his actions. They show his sympathy for the nonconformists and the oppressed Scots, and his hatred of bishops and papists (pp. 18, 29, 41, 44, 45, 48, 54).

Sidney's reputation deservedly suffers from the part which he took in the intrigues of the opposition with the French ambassador, and the fact that he received from Barillon one thousand guineas for his services (Dalrymple, i. 381, 383; cf. Towers, An Examination into the Charges brought against A. Sidney by Sir J. Dalrymple, 1773, 8vo). There is no good reason to suspect the truth of Barillon's statement. It is doubtless true that Sidney used the money for public not for personal objects; but this is an insufficient excuse for his conduct. Barillon describes his character to Louis XIV in the following terms: ‘Mr. Sidney has been of great use to me on many occasions. He is a man who was in the first wars, and who is naturally an enemy to the court. He has for some time been suspected of being gained by Lord Sunderland, but he always appeared to me to have the same sentiment, and not to have changed maxims. He has a great deal of credit amongst the independents, and is also intimate with those who are most opposed to the court in parliament. … I gave him only what your majesty permitted me. He would willingly have had more, and if a new gratification was given him it would be easy to engage him entirely. … I believe he is a man who would be very useful if the affairs of England should be brought to extremities.’ In a second letter he describes him as ‘a man of great views and high designs, which tend to the establishment of a republic’ (Dalrymple, i. 339, 357). Sidney endeavoured to convince Louis XIV, through Barillon, that the establishment of a republic in England would be far less prejudicial to French interests than the elevation of the Prince of Orange to the English throne, and that it was therefore the interest of France to maintain the rights and privileges of the English nation. Louis XIV returned satisfactory professions of his resolve to maintain English liberties ( ib. i. 353, 379). Sidney was doubtless well aware of the hollowness of that king's professions, as the references to the despotism of Louis XIV in his ‘Discourses concerning Government’ prove. But he hoped to utilise Barillon and his master, if not for the establishment of an English republic, at least for the maintenance of the rights of parliament, and laughed at Barillon's pretensions to direct the opposition ( Letters to Savile, p. 46). On some foreign questions the interests of France and those of the parliament seemed to coincide. Sidney was eager to frustrate the treaty guaranteeing the peace of Nimeguen proposed by Charles to William of Orange in 1679, because he thought a close union between the houses of Orange and Stuart would be dangerous to English liberty ( ib. pp. 29, 46, 51; Dalrymple, i. 339; Klopp, Der Fall des Hauses Stuart, ii. 217; Meadley, Life of Sidney, p. 357). In 1680 he similarly opposed a league with Spain and other European powers for the same object, because he regarded the policy as intended to divert parliament from the exclusion bill (Dalrymple, i. 355; Klopp, ii. 275). In both cases what determined his conduct was the domestic constitutional question which blinded him to the danger of assisting the European schemes of Louis XIV.

After the dissolution of the Oxford parliament in March 1681, Sidney's political action becomes difficult to trace. Burnet states that he drafted the answer to the king's declaration of his reasons for dissolving that assembly, and that it was afterwards revised by Somers and Sir William Jones. Its authorship was also claimed by Robert Ferguson ( Just and Modest Vindication of the Proceedings of the two last Parliaments; Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1833, ii. 283; Ferguson, Life of Robert Ferguson, 1887, p. 57). According to Hepworth Dixon, Sidney also assisted William Penn in drawing up the Pennsylvanian constitution; but, though accepted by recent biographers of Sidney, this statement also appears to be erroneous (Dixon, Life of Penn, p. 233, ed. 1851; Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America, iii. 506; Ewald, ii. 197).

Sidney also appears to have taken no part in the preparations for armed resistance initiated by Shaftesbury in August 1682; at least his name does not appear in the accounts of the deliberations of the conspirators. On his trial he declared that he had not seen Shaftesbury's face for the last two years ( Trial, p. 28), and had only spoken with Monmouth three times in his life. After Shaftesbury's death, however, he undoubtedly discussed the question of insurrection with Russell, Essex, and a few other whig leaders forming what was termed the ‘council of six.’ These meetings took place in January 1683. If Lord Grey's statements can be trusted, Sidney was specially forward in discussing the preparations for a rising and the nature of the declaration to be made by those taking up arms, and his complicity is further shown by the confession of Carstares and by Ferguson's narrative (Forde, Lord Grey, Secret History of the Rye House Plot, 1754, pp. 42–61; Sprat, True Account of the Rye House Plot, 1696, App. p. 186; Ferguson, Life of Ferguson, p. 434).

Sidney was arrested on 26 June 1683, immediately after the discovery of the Rye House plot, and sent at once to the Tower. His trial in the king's bench court, before Chief-justice Jeffreys, began on 7 Nov. Three overt acts of treason were alleged against him. The first was holding consultations which amounted to a conspiracy to levy war against the king; the second, that he had sent a certain Aaron Smith to Scotland to invite the co-operation of certain Scots with the conspirators; the third, that he had written a treasonable libel, affirming the subjection of the king to parliament and the lawfulness of deposing kings. The only witness to the first head of the charge (excepting persons who spoke from hearsay) was Lord Howard, a man discredited by his character, his complicity, and his contradictory statements. The second head was clearly not proven. On the third point conclusive evidence as to Sidney's authorship of the incriminating paper was brought forward, but nothing to show that it was even intended to be published. Sidney defended himself with great acuteness and pertinacity. He raised objections to the indictment, brought witnesses to discredit Howard's evidence, and showed that the paper in question was simply an answer to the political speculations of Filmer. The point on which he principally relied was that only one witness, instead of the two demanded by law, was produced to prove the conspiracy alleged against him. Jeffreys, who wrangled with the prisoner and browbeat him in his usual fashion, told the jury that there was scarce a line in the book but was the rankest treason, and suggested that it was a sort of manifesto intended to justify the proposed rebellion, and therefore to be regarded as evidence of the conspiracy. As to the two witnesses, he asserted that if there was one witness to prove a direct treason, and another to a circumstance that contributed to that treason, that made the two witnesses the law required. After the sentence was delivered Sidney passionately besought God not to impute the shedding of his blood to the country, but to let the guilt of it fall upon his malicious persecutors. Jeffreys replied with cool brutality: ‘I pray God work in you a temper fit to go into the other world, for I see you are not fit for this’ (the trial is reprinted with Sidney's Works, ed. 1772; for comments see Hallam, Constitutional History, ch. xii.; Stephen, History of the Criminal Law, i. 409; North, Examen, pp. 406–11; the comments of Sir John Hawles are printed in State Tracts, temp. William III, ii. 45; State Trials, ix. 818).

Sidney was sentenced on 26 Nov. 1683, and executed on 7 Dec. He drew up a petition to Charles II, setting forth the illegality of his trial, and praying to be admitted to the king's presence to prove that it was for his majesty's honour and interest to grant him redress. He also petitioned, by the advice of his friends, who made great efforts to save his life, that his sentence might be commuted into perpetual banishment (Ewald, ii. 300, 312). Both petitions were unavailing. ‘Algernon Sidney,’ the Duke of York joyfully announced to the Prince of Orange, ‘is to be beheaded on Friday next on Tower Hill, which, besides the doing justice on so ill a man, will give the lie to the whigs, who reported he was not to suffer’ (Dalrymple, ii. 115). Evelyn praises Sidney's behaviour in his last moments. ‘When he came on the scaffold, instead of a speech, he told them only that he had made his peace with God, that he came not thither to talk, but to die; put a paper into the sheriffs' hand, and another into a friend's, said one prayer as short as a grace, laid down his neck, and bid the executioner do his office’ ( Diary, ed. Wheatley, ii. 424). A bishop, however, asserted that he ‘died with the same surliness wherewith he lived;’ ‘very resolutely, and like a true rebel and republican,’ was the Duke of York's description (Dalrymple, ii. 116; Hatton Correspondence, ii. 41; cf. Burnet, ii. 410, ed. 1833).

Sidney's body, as to the disposal of which he had scornfully refused to make any requests of the king, was given to his family, and buried at Penshurst (Ewald, ii. 319; North, Examen, p. 411). The paper which he gave to the sheriffs consisted of a denunciation of the injustice of his trial and a vindication of his political principles. It concluded by thanking God that he was suffered to die for the old cause in which he was from his youth engaged. The government, which had been at first inclined to suppress it as treasonable, allowed it to be printed, in the hope that it would show the world that he and his friends were confessedly seeking to restore a republic (Dalrymple, il. 17). It called forth numerous answers ( Animadversions and Remarks upon Colonel Sidney's Paper; Reflections upon Colonel Sidney's Arcadia and the Good Old Cause, &c.). Several pieces of verse on his death also appeared: ‘Colonel Sidney's Overthrow’ ( Roxburghe Ballads, iv. 12); ‘Algernon Sidney's Farewell;’ ‘An Elegy upon the Death of Algernon Sidney.’ The last two are reprinted in T. B. Hollis's ‘Life of Thomas Hollis,’ pp. 780, 782. An admiring epitaph is printed in ‘Poems upon State Affairs’ (i. 175).

Burnet's account of Sidney's character is substantially just: ‘a man of most extraordinary courage, a steady man even to obstinacy, sincere, but of a rough and boisterous temper, that could not bear contradiction.’ Whitelocke also speaks of the ‘overruling temper and height of Colonel Sidney’ ( Memorials, iv. 351). Burnet goes on to describe him as seeming to be a Christian, ‘but in a particular form of his own; he thought it was to be like a divine philosophy in the mind; but he was against all public worship, and everything that looked like a church’ ( Own Time, ii. 351). His writings show that he hated popery and intolerance, but give no positive information about his religious views (but see Life of Thomas Hollis, pp. 188, 537).

Sidney was painted as a child by Vandyck in a group with his brothers Philip and Robert. This picture is at Penshurst, together with a portrait of Sidney, by Van Egmont, painted in 1663. Another, by the latter artist, is in the National Portrait Gallery. An engraving is given in Lodge's ‘Portraits.’ A portrait by Lely belongs to Earl Spencer. A fancy portrait by Cipriani, said to be from a seal by Thomas Simon, is the frontispiece to the edition of Sidney's ‘Works’ published in 1763 and 1772 (Hollis, pp. 168, 182, 533).

Sidney's chief work, the ‘Discourses concerning Government,’ was first printed by Toland or Littlebury in 1698. This is an answer to Filmer's ‘Patriarcha,’ which was first published in 1680; and the few allusions to contemporary politics in Sidney's book show that a great part of it was written about that year. Though tedious from its extreme length and from following too closely in Filmer's footsteps, it contains much vigorous writing, and shows wide reading. Criticisms of it are to be found in Ranke's ‘History of England’ (iv. 123) and Hallam's ‘Literature of Europe’ (iv. 201, ed. 1869); an analysis is in the last chapter of Ewald's ‘Life of Sidney.’ It was reprinted in folio in 1740 and 1751. An edition, in 2 vols. 8vo, was printed at Edinburgh in 1750, and four French translations in 1702 and 1794. An edition, containing also his letters (including those addressed to Henry Savile, and published separately in 1742), report of his trial, and his apology ‘in the day of his death,’ was published in 1763, edited by Thomas Hollis, and was reprinted in 1772, with additions and corrections by J. Robertson ( Life of Hollis, pp. 158, 167, 190, 446). Hollis inserted ‘A General View of Government in Europe’ (first published in 1744 in the ‘Use and Abuse of Parliaments’ by James Ralph), but doubts the justice of attributing it to Sidney. ‘The very Copy of a Paper delivered to the Sheriffs’ by Sidney appeared in 1683, fol. An essay entitled ‘Of Love’ was printed from the manuscript at Penshurst in the first series of the ‘Somers Tracts’ in 1748 (ed. Scott, viii. 612). It was reprinted in the ‘Nineteenth Century,’ January 1884. Some letters by Sidney figure in Thurloe's ‘State Papers,’ and in Arthur Collins's ‘Sydney Papers,’ 1746, Blencowe's ‘Sydney Papers,’ 1825, and in T. Forster's ‘Original Letters of John Locke, Algernon Sidney,’ &c., privately printed, 1830 and 1847. [A biography of Sidney is given in the Memoirs of the Sidney family prefixed to the Collection of Sydney Papers edited by Arthur Collins in 1746. Lives are contained in the edition of his Discourses concerning Government published by Toland in 1698, and in the collection of his works published by Hollis in 1772. Other biographies are: Life of Algernon Sidney, 1794, the first volume of a series of Political Classics; Memoirs of Algernon Sidney, by G. W. Meadley, 1813, 8vo; Brief Memoirs of Algernon Sidney, by R. Chase Sidney, 1835; Life of Algernon Sidney, with Sketches of some of his Contemporaries, by G. V. Santvoord, New York, 1851, 12mo; Life and Times of Algernon Sidney, by A. C. Ewald, 2 vols., 1873; Algernon Sidney: a Review by G. M. Blackburne, 1885. The edition of Sidney's Works and Letters to Savile referred to in this article is that of 1772.]



Critics of the Levellers

Sir Robert Filmer (1588–1653)

Dictionary of National Biography entry

Source: Leslie Stephen, “Filmer, Robert,” Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, vol. 18.

FILMER, Sir ROBERT (d. 1653), political writer, was the eldest son of Sir Edward Filmer, knighted by Elizabeth, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Argall (or Argol) of East Sutton, Kent. Sir Edward bought [441] the manor of East Sutton from his brother-in-law, John Argall of Colchester. Robert Filmer was at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was matriculated 5 July 1604. John Grant dedicated to him Ambrose Fisher's ‘Defence of the Liturgy.’ They had been contemporaries at college, and Fisher had conceived the work at the house of Filmer's uncle at Colchester. Filmer was knighted by Charles I at the beginning of his reign. He married Anne, daughter and coheiress of Martin Heton, bishop of Ely, by whom he had six sons and two daughters. He was a strong royalist, and suffered much during the civil war. It is said that his house at East Sutton was plundered ten times, and that in 1644 he was imprisoned in ‘Leeds Castle’ in Kent. He died 26 May 1653. His eldest son, Edward, died unmarried in 1669. His younger son, Robert, became first baronet in 1674.

Wotton, after noticing Filmer's sufferings in 1644, says that he died in 1635, which is no doubt an accidental transposition of the above date given by Hasted. A letter from Heylyn to Filmer's son Edward in the ‘Patriarcha’ speaks highly of the father's affability, learning, and orthodoxy, and regrets that they had been separated for some time before Filmer's death by Heylyn's loss of his preferment at Westminster.

Filmer's chief work, the ‘Patriarcha,’ remained in manuscript till 1680. Other treatises were republished about the same time, as the tory party considered them suitable for the controversies of the day. A list is given in an anonymous preface to ‘The Power of Kings, and in particular of the King of England …’ first published in 1680. They are:

  1. ‘The Anarchy of a Limited and Mixed Monarchy,’ 1648 (against Hunton).
  2. ‘The Freeholder's Grand Inquest,’ 1648.
  3. ‘Observations concerning the Original of Government’ (against Hobbes, Milton, and Grotius), 1652 (with the ‘Anarchy,’ &c., annexed).
  4. ‘Observations on Aristotle's Politiques touching Forms of Government,’ 1652.
  5. ‘Advertisement to the Jurymen of England touching Witches, together with the difference between a Hebrew and an English Witch,’ 1653; they were anonymous.

Nos. 3 and 4 are mentioned by Heylyn. Copies of 1, 2, and 4 are in the British Museum. No. 2 has been attributed to Sir Robert Holbourne. They were published together in 1679, and in 1680 appeared also (6) the ‘Patriarcha, or the Natural Power of Kings asserted …’ separately, and with a title-page, ‘Discourses,’ to include the treatises of 1679. A second edition of the ‘Patriarcha,’ edited with an essay by Edmund Bohun [q. v.], appeared in 1685. The list above named also mentions ‘Quæstiones Quodlibeticæ, a discourse whether it may be lawful to take use for money,’ as written in 1630 and printed in 1656. A tract with the same English title was published in 1678, with a preface by Sir Roger Twysden, who says that it was written ‘almost thirty years since.’ A Latin tract called ‘Quæstio Quodlibetica’ was published at Cambridge in 1630, but it discusses the lawfulness of bearing arms under a prince of another religion. Another tract attributed to Filmer in the same list, ‘Of the Blasphemie against the Holy Ghost,’ 1646, is by John Hales, in whose tracts (1677) it is reprinted. Filmer in the above treatises defends usury, and, without expressly denying witchcraft, writes satirically against Perkins, its defender. His political treatises are a defence of the patriarchal theory, and an attack upon the social compact doctrine of Hobbes and others. He agrees with Hobbes's absolutism while objecting to his doctrine of the original base of government. Filmer is chiefly remembered through the first of Locke's ‘Two Treatises on Government,’ published in 1690, in which the ‘Patriarcha’ is attacked as the accepted manifesto of the absolutist party. It had also been attacked by Locke's friend, James Tyrrell, in a treatise called ‘Patriarcha non Monarcha,’ 1681. Mr. Gairdner points out that Filmer took a sensible view in the treatises upon usury and witchcraft, and thinks that his historical theory of the English constitution is more correct than that of his opponents, while his doctrine of the patriarchal origin of government is not more absurd than that of the social compact. If metaphysicians were to be condemned for the intrinsic absurdity of the doctrines which they have defended, few indeed would pass muster. But it can hardly be said that Filmer shows the powers of mind which give value to many defences of absurd theories. Locke says that so much ‘glib nonsense was never put together in well-sounding English;’ Hallam says that it is ‘hardly possible to find a more trifling and feeble work.’ Macaulay's agreement with these great whig authorities might be expected, but a rehabilitation would not be easy.

[Wotton's Baronetage (1771), ii. 387 (the original documents from which Wotton wrote are in Add. MS. 24120, ff. 317, 319, 321); Cole in Add. MS. 5869, f. 26; Hasted's Kent. ii. 418; Gairdner's Studies in English History, pp. 273, 274; Hallam's Literature of Europe, iii. 339, 340; Macaulay's History, chap. i.]