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The Life of John Milton Vol. 3 1643-1649 by David Masson

Part 6 out of 13

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strength consists in full walking amid both, distinguishing, avoiding,
and choosing. "I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue,
unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out to see her adversary,
but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for
notwithstanding dust and heat. Assuredly we bring not innocence into the
world, we bring impurity much rather; that which purifies is trial, and
trial is by what is contrary." There is much more in the same strain, a
favourite one with Milton, with instances of readings in evil books
turned to good account. Plato's Censorship of Books, or general
regulation of literature by the magistrate, is handled gently, as only
Plato's whimsy for his own airy Republic. What if the principle of State-
licensing were carried out? "Whatever thing we hear or see, sitting,
walking, travelling, or conversing, may be fitly called our book." Well,
shall the State regulate singing, dancing, street-music, concerts in the
house, looking out at windows, standing on balconies, eating, drinking,
dressing, love-making? "It would be better done to learn that the law
must needs be frivolous which goes to restrain things uncertainly, and
yet equally, working to good and to evil. And, were I the chooser, a dram
of well-doing should be preferred before many times as much the forcible
hindrance of evil-doing." Besides, suppression even of such tangible
things as books by a Censorship was really impracticable, and everybody
knew it. In spite of the existing Censorship, were not Royalist libels
against the Parliament in everybody's hands in London every week, wet
from the press? The system was a monstrous injustice and annoyance, and
it did not answer its own end.

If the end were honestly the suppression of false and bad books, and if
that end were in itself proper, and also practicable with sufficient
means, all would still depend on the qualifications of the Licensers. And
here Milton frankly lets the existing English licensers of Books, and
especially the twelve parish-ministers among them, know his opinion of
their office:--

"It cannot be denied but that he who is made judge to sit upon the birth
or death of Books, whether they may be wafted into this world or not, had
need to be a man above the common measure, both studious, learned, and
judicious: there may be else no mean mistakes in the censure of what is
passable or not; which is also no mean injury. If he be of such worth as
behoves him, there cannot be a more tedious and unpleasing journey-work,
a greater loss of time levied upon his head, than to be made the
perpetual reader of unchosen books and pamphlets, ofttimes huge volumes.
There is no book that is acceptable unless at certain seasons; but to be
enjoined the reading of that at all times, and in a hand scarce legible,
whereof three pages would not down at any time in the fairest print, is
an imposition which I cannot believe how he that values time and his own
studies, or is but of a sensible nostril, should be able to endure. In
this one thing I crave leave of the present Licensers to be pardoned for
so thinking: who doubtless took this office up, looking on it through
their obedience to the Parliament, whose command perhaps made all things
seem easy and unlaborious to them. But that this short trial hath wearied
them out already, their own expressions and excuses to them who make so
many journeys to solicit their license (!) are testimony enough. Seeing
therefore those who now possess the employment by all evident signs wish
themselves well rid of it, and that no man of worth, none that is not a
plain unthrift of his own hours, is ever likely to succeed them, except
he mean to put himself to the salary of a press-corrector, we may easily
foresee what kind of Licensers we are to expect hereafter--either
ignorant, imperious, and remiss, or basely pecuniary.... How much it
hurts and hinders the Licensers themselves in the calling of their
ministry, more than any secular employment, if they will discharge that
office as they ought, so that they must neglect either the one duty or
the other, I insist not, because it is a particular, but leave it to
their own conscience how they will decide it there."

Closely following this glance at the Licensers and _their_ business
is a description of the true Author and _his_ business, and of the
indignities and discomforts put upon him by the Licensing system:--

"When a man writes to the world, he summons up all his reason and
deliberation to assist him; he searches, meditates, is industrious, and
likely consults and confers with his judicious friends: after all which
done he takes himself to be informed in what he writes, as well as any
that writ before him. If in this, the most consummate act of his fidelity
and ripeness, no years, no industry, no former proof of his abilities,
can bring him to that state of maturity as not to be still mistrusted and
suspected unless he carry all his considerate diligence, all his midnight
watchings and expense of Palladian oil, to the hasty view of an
unleisured Licenser--perhaps much his younger, perhaps far his inferior
in judgment, perhaps one who never knew the labour of book-writing; and,
if he be not repulsed or slighted, must appear in print like a punie
[child] with his guardian, and his censor's hand on the back of his
title, to be his bail and surety that he is no idiot or seducer;--it
cannot be but a dishonour and derogation to the Author, to the Book, to
the privilege and dignity of Learning. And what if the Author shall be
one so copious of fancy as to have many things well worth the adding come
into his mind, after licensing, while the book is yet under the press--
which not seldom happens to the best and diligentest writers, and that
perhaps a dozen times in one book? The Printer dares not go beyond his
licensed copy: so often then must the Author trudge to his leave-giver,
that those his new insertions may be viewed; and many a jaunt will be
made ere that Licenser (for it must be the same man) can either be found,
or found at leisure. Meanwhile either the press must stand still (which
is no small damage) or the Author lose his accuratest thoughts, and send
the book forth worse than he had made it; which is the greatest
melancholy and vexation that can befall. And how can a man teach with
authority, which is the life of teaching, how can he be a _doctor_
in his book, as he ought to be or else had better be silent, whenas all
he teaches, all he delivers, is but under the tuition, under the
correction, of his patriarchal Licenser, to blot or alter what precisely
accords not with the hide-bound humour which he calls his judgment?"

The last half of the pamphlet is perhaps more knotty and powerful than
the first. Milton's well-known retrospect of what he had seen in Italy,
with his reminiscence of Galileo, occurs here. But his drift has now been
made sufficiently apparent; and we shall best discharge what remains of
our duty by presenting certain pieces of autobiographical information
which the pamphlet supplies:--

We learn, for one thing, that Milton did not stand alone in his
detestation of the Censorship, but represented a considerable
constituency in the matter, and had even been solicited to be their
spokesman and write this pamphlet. Those very words of complaint, he
says, which he had heard, six years before, uttered by learned men in
Italy against the Inquisition, it had been his fortune to hear uttered of
late by "as learned men" in England against the Licensing Ordinance of
the Parliament. "And that so generally," he adds, "that, when I had
disclosed myself a companion of their discontent, I might say, if without
envy, that he whom an honest quŠstorship had endeared to the Sicilians
[Cicero] was not more by them importuned against Verres than the
favourable opinion which I had among many who honour ye, and are known
and respected by ye, loaded me with entreaties and persuasions that I
would not despair to lay together that which just reason should bring
into my mind toward the removal of an undeserved thraldom upon Learning.
That this is not therefore the disburdening of a particular fancy, but
the common grievance of all those who had prepared their minds and
studies above the vulgar pitch to advance truth in others, thus much may

Again, in a pamphlet the subject of which is Books and Authors, we have
naturally some incidental indications of Milton's literary tastes and
preferences. The most interesting of these are perhaps the following:--He
was as fond as ever of Spenser, "our sage and serious poet" as he calls
him, "whom I dare be known to think a better teacher than Scotus or
Aquinas." He thought Arminius "acute and distinct," though perverted. He
would be no slave even to Plato, but would take the liberty of quizzing
any of the oddities even of that gorgeous intellect. On moral grounds, he
could not bear Aristophanes, and wondered how Plato could have
recommended "such trash" as the comedies of that writer to the tyrant
Dionysius. His great liking for Euripides is shown by his taking four
lines from that poet's _Hiketides_ as the motto for the pamphlet.
Lord Bacon is again mentioned reverently, once as "Sir Francis Bacon" and
again as "Viscount St. Albans." There is a tribute of high admiration to
the Parliamentarian peer, Lord Brooke, so recently lost to England, and
to the tract on the _Nature of Episcopacy_ he had left behind him:
those last words of his dying charge which "I know will ever be of dear
and honoured regard with _ye_, so full of meekness and breathing
charity that, next to His last testament who bequeathed love and peace to
his disciples, I cannot call to mind where I have read or heard words
more mild and peaceful." Selden is again referred to and complimented:
"one of your own now sitting in Parliament, the chief of learned men
reputed in this land." Acquaintance, on the other hand, is implied or
avowed, on Milton's part, with some of the most notoriously ribald
writers that the world had produced: with Petronius Arbiter, and him of
Arozzo "dreaded and yet dear to the Italian Courtiers," and an Englishman
whom he will not name, "for posterity's sake," but "whom Harry the Eighth
named in merriment his Vicar of Hell." We may add, that Wycliffe and Knox
are both honourably mentioned in the _Areopagitica_: Knox as the
"Reformer of a Kingdom," and Wycliffe as an Englishman who had perhaps
had potentially in him all that had since come from the Bohemian Huss,
the German Luther, or the French Calvin.

A more special piece of information supplied, or rather only confirmed,
by the _Areopagitica_, is that Milton, when he wrote it, had broken
off utterly from the Presbyterians, and regarded the domination of that
party in the Westminster Assembly with complete disgust. "If it come to
inquisitioning again, and licensing," he says, "and that we are so
timorous of ourselves, and so suspicious of all men, as to fear each
book, and the shaking of every leaf, before we know what the contents
are,--if some, who but of late were little better than silenced from
preaching, shall come now to silence us from reading, except what they
please,--it cannot be guessed what is intended by some but a second
tyranny over Learning; and will soon put it out of controversy that
Bishops and Presbyters are the same to us, both name and thing." Again, a
little farther on, "This is not, ye Covenants and Protestations that we
have made, this is not to put down Prelaty: this is but to chop an
Episcopacy; this is but to translate the Palace _Metropolitan_ from
one kind of dominion into another." Again, "A man may be a heretic in the
Truth; and, if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the
Assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief
be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy." Again, "He who
hears what praying there is for light and clearer knowledge to be sent
down among us would think of other matters to be constituted, beyond the
discipline of Geneva, framed and fabricked already to our hands." Again,
of Ecclesiastical Assemblies in general, and the Westminster Assembly in
particular, "Neither is God appointed and confined where and out of what
place these his chosen shall be first heard to speak; for He sees not as
man sees, chooses not as man chooses, lest we should devote ourselves
again to set places, and Assemblies, and outward callings of men,
planting our faith one while in the old Convocation House, and another
while in the Chapel at Westminster; when all the faith that shall be
there canonized is not sufficient, without plain convincement and the
charity of patient instruction, to supple the least bruise of conscience,
to edify the meanest Christian who desires to walk in the spirit and not
in the letter of human trust, for all the number of voices that can there
be made--no, though Harry the Seventh himself there, with all his liege
tombs about him, should lend them voices from the dead to swell their
number," [Footnote: The original meeting-place of the Westminster
Assembly, and their meeting-place in the summer months, was Henry the
Seventh's Chapel. In winter it was the Jerusalem Chamber--which had been
the Convocation House of the English clergy before the Long Parliament.]
Again, he says that, if the Presbyterians, themselves so recently
released from Episcopal tyranny, should not have been taught by their own
suffering, but should continue active in suppressing others, "it would be
no unequal distribution in the first place to suppress the suppressors

Milton, however, the _Areopagitica_ proves, had not passed away from
Presbyterianism only to become an ordinary Congregationalist or
Independent. In the fight between the Presbyterians and the Independents
of the Assembly he would now, undoubtedly, have taken part with the
Independents; but Messrs. Goodwin, Nye, and the rest of them, had they
interrogated him why, would have found him a strange adherent. For he had
passed on into an Independency, if it could be called "Independency,"
more extreme than theirs, and resembling rather the vague Independency
that Cromwell represented, and that was rife in the Army. The very notion
of an official "minister of Religion," anyhow appointed, had become
comical to him. It had come to seem to him supremely ridiculous that
there should be anything like a caste of Brahmins or officers of Religion
in England, by whatever means that caste should be formed or recruited.
To curtail proof under this head, let me give but one extract. It is the
richest bit of sheer humour that I have yet found in Milton, and is
better and deeper, in that kind, than anything in Sydney Smith:--


"There is not any burden that some would gladlier post off to another
than the charge and care of their Religion. There be--who knows not that
there be?--of Protestants and professors who live and die in as arrant
and implicit faith as any lay Papist of Loretto. A wealthy man, addicted
to his pleasure and profits, finds Religion to be a traffic so entangled,
and of so many piddling accounts, that of all mysteries he cannot skill
to keep a stock going on that trade. What should he do? Fain he would
have the name to be religious; fain he would bear up with his neighbours
in that. What does he therefore but resolves to give over toiling, and to
find himself out some factor, to whose care and credit he may commit the
whole managing of his religious affairs: some Divine of note and
estimation _that_ must be. To him he adheres; resigns the whole
warehouse of his Religion, with all the locks and keys, into his custody;
and indeed makes the very person of that man his Religion--esteems his
associating with him a sufficient evidence and commendatory of his own
piety. So that a man may say his Religion is now no more within himself,
but is become a dividual movable, and goes and comes near him according
as that good man frequents the house. He entertains him, gives him gifts,
feasts him, lodges him; his Religion comes home at night, prays, is
liberally supt and sumptuously laid to sleep, rises, is saluted; and,
after the malmsey or some well-spiced brewage, and better breakfasted
than He whose morning appetite would have gladly fed on green figs
between Bethany and Jerusalem, his Religion walks abroad at eight, and
leaves his kind entertainer in the shop, trading all day without his

What light does the _Areopagitica_ throw on Milton's notion of
Toleration, or Liberty of Conscience, and on his feelings towards the
Sects and Sectaries generally among whom he was now ranked? It is not
uncommon to regard the _Areopagitica_ as one of the first and
greatest English pleas for Liberty of Conscience; and, broadly viewed, it
is. But strictly it is not a plea for Liberty of Conscience or for
Toleration, but only for the liberty of unlicensed Printing. Milton's
views of Liberty of Conscience appear only by implication in the course
of this one argument. So far as they do appear, it cannot be said that
Milton advocated a Liberty of Conscience so complete and absolute as
Roger Williams's or John Goodwin's. He even saves himself from the
imputation of doing so. "If all cannot be of one mind," he says, "this
doubtless is more wholesome, more prudent, and more Christian, that many
be tolerated, rather than all compelled. I mean not tolerated Popery and
open superstition; which, as it extirpates all religious and civil
supremacies, so itself should be extirpate--provided first that all
charitable and a compassionate means be used to win and regain the weak
and the misled. That also which is impious or evil absolutely, either
against faith or manners, no law can possibly permit that intends not to
unlaw itself." There are hints also to the effect that, while Milton
wanted liberty of unlicensed publication for all kinds of books, he did
not deny the right of the magistrate to call writers to account, in
certain cases, for the opinions they had published. On the whole,
therefore, in his theory of Toleration, Milton was decidedly behind some
of his contemporaries. One can see, however, that he was uneasy in his
exceptions, and had little care for them in comparison with the principle
he meant them to limit. Practically he stands forth in the _Areopagitica_
as the advocate of a Toleration that would have satisfied all the
necessities of the juncture, by giving full liberty not only to orthodox
Congregationalists, but also to Baptists, so-called Antinomians, and
Seekers, and perhaps all other Protestant sects that had any real rooting
at that time in English society. His whole oration breathes the full
principle rather than the exceptions. "Give me," he says, "the liberty to
know, to utter and to argue freely according to my conscience, above all
liberties." And he makes a brave defence of the existing Sects, without
putting a mark of exclusion on any. Those Sects and Schisms, Sects and
Schisms, which weak men were bewailing, and the Presbyterians were
calling on Parliament to crush, appeared to Milton not only something
that must be permitted because it could not be prevented, but positively
the finest English phenomenon of the time, and the richest in promise:--

"The light which we have gained was given us not to be ever staring on,
but by it to discover onward things more remote from our knowledge. It is
not the unfrocking of a Priest, the unmitring of a Bishop, and the
removing him from off the Presbyterian shoulders, that will make us a
happy nation. No, if other things as great in the Church, and in the rule
of life both economical and political, be not looked into and reformed,
we have looked so long upon the blaze that Zuinglius and Calvin hath
beaconed up to us that we are stark blind. There be who perpetually
complain of Schisms and Sects, and make it such a calamity that any man
dissents from _their_ maxims.... Lords and Commons of England,
consider what Nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof ye are the
governors: a Nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and
piercing spirit, acute to invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, not
beneath the reach of any point the highest that human capacity can soar
to.... Now once again, by all concurrence of signs, and by the general
instinct of holy and devout men, as they daily and solemnly express their
thoughts, God is decreeing to begin some new and great period in his
Church, even to the reforming of Reformation itself. What does He then
but reveal himself to his servants, and, as his manner is, first to his
Englishmen--I say, as his manner is, first to us, though we mark not the
method of his counsels and are unworthy? Behold now this vast City, a
city of refuge, the mansion-house of Liberty, encompassed and surrounded
with His protection. The shop of war hath not there more anvils and
hammers working, to fashion out the plates and instruments of armed
Justice in defence of beleaguered Truth, than there be pens and heads
there, sitting by their studious lamps, musing, searching, revolving new
notions and ideas, wherewith to present, as with their homage and their
fealty, the approaching Reformation: others as fast reading, trying all
things, assenting to the force of reason and convincement. What could a
man require more from a Nation so pliant and so prone to seek after
knowledge? What wants there to such a towardly and pregnant soil, but
wise and faithful labourers, to make a knowing people, a Nation of
prophets, of sages, and of worthies?... Where there is much desire to
learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many
opinions; for Opinion in good men is but Knowledge in the making. Under
these fantastic terrors of Sect and Schism we wrong the earnest and
zealous thirst after knowledge and understanding which God hath stirred
up in this city. What some lament of we rather should rejoice at, should
praise rather this pious forwardness among men to reassume the ill-
deputed care of their Religion into their own hands again.... As in a
body, when the blood is fresh, the spirits pure and vigorous, not only to
vital, but to rational faculties, and those in the acutest and the
pertest operations of art and subtlety, it argues in what good plight and
constitution the body is, so, when the cheerfulness of the people is so
sprightly up as that it has not only wherewith to guard well its own
freedom and safety, but to spare, and to bestow upon the solidest and
sublimest points of controversy and new invention, it betokens us not
degenerated, nor drooping to a fatal decay, but casting off the old and
wrinkled skin of corruption to outlive these pangs and wax young again,
entering the glorious ways of Truth and prosperous virtue destined to
become great and honourable in these latter ages. Methinks I see in my
mind a noble and puissant Nation rousing herself like a strong man after
sleep, and shaking her invincible locks; methinks I see her as an eagle
mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full
midday beam; purging and unsealing her long-abused sight at the fountain
itself of heavenly radiance, while the whole noise of timorous and
flocking birds, with those also that love the twilight, flutter about,
amazed at what she means, and in their envious gabble would prognosticate
a year of Sects and Schisms."

After this it is bathos to speak of the Stationers' Company; but we must
do so. For, at the end of the _Areopagitica_ there is a distinct
insinuation by Milton that the Ordinance he was asking the Parliament to
repeal was less the invention of Parliament itself than of some cunning
Stationers. "If we may believe those men," he says, "whose profession
gives them cause to inquire most [_i.e._ some worthy booksellers of
Milton's acquaintance] it may be doubted there was in it the fraud of
some old patentees and monopolisers in the trade of bookselling; who,
under pretence of the poor in their Company not to be defrauded, and the
just retaining of each man his several copy--which God forbid should be
gainsaid--brought divers glozing colours to the House, which were indeed
but colours, and serving to no end except it be to exercise a superiority
over their neighbours." Milton makes a farther and worse insinuation.
"Another end," he says, "is thought was aimed at by some of them in
procuring by petition this order--that, having power in their hands,
malignant books might easier scape abroad [_i.e._ get about the
country], as the event shows." Here was a hit for some of the good people
about Paternoster Row.


It might have been safer for Milton to let the Stationers alone. For,
within five weeks after the publication of the _Areopagitica_, I
find him again in trouble, and all by the doing of the Stationers'
Company, in revenge for his past offences and this new insult. The story,
as I have dug it out of the _Lords' Journals_, with some help from
old pamphlets, is as follows:--

Monday the 9th of December, 1644, there being twenty-one Peers present,
and Lord Grey of Wark in the chair, "a scandalous printed libel against
the Peerage of this realm was brought into the House and read; and this
House ordered, that the Master and Wardens of the Company of Stationers
shall attend this House at four of the clock this afternoon, to know of
them whether they do know of the print and can discover the author of
it." That same afternoon, accordingly, there being now but fifteen peers
present, the three gentlemen who had been sent for--Messrs. Mead, Parker,
and Whittaker--appeared, and with this result: "The Master and Wardens of
the Company of Stationers desired some longer time, and they will do
their best endeavours to find out the printer that printed the scandalous
libel brought into this House this day; and this House gave two or three
days longer." On Friday the 13th of December they have not yet found
either the author or the printer; but they have caught a poor fellow,
George Jeffrey, apprentice to a hosier in Cornhill, who had been
dispersing copies of the libel in London. Examined by the Earls of
Salisbury and Kent, aided by the Judges, this George Jeffrey confesses
all about it. On Monday morning last (the very day on which the Lords
first discussed the subject) he had found two-and-twenty copies of the
thing between the stall-boards of his master's stall, put there by he
knew not whom. He had taken them into the shop, read one of them, and
been so greatly amused by it that he had told his neighbours of the
prize. Some of the more unruly of the neighbours had snatched at copies
and carried them off, so that he had only two left. When he found that
there was a hue and cry on the matter, and that he had got himself into
trouble, he had done what he could. He had sent his own two remaining
copies to the Lord Mayor, and had recovered six of the other copies and
sent them to the Mayor too, naming the persons from whom he got them
back. One was an exciseman, one an oilman; and one or two were
apprentices like himself; but there was also one Thomas Heath, who was
actually the Lord Mayor's kinsman. This was positively all he knew of the
matter; and he could not tell where the papers came from, nor where any
more were to be found. Apparently the Peers believed him, for he was
discharged on his own promise to attend again if he should be called for.

The libel, however, seems to have been unusually flagrant. The Peers sent
a copy of George Jeffrey's examination to the Lord Mayor, with
instructions that he should both give an account of what he had already
done in the business and also prosecute it farther. It is not till Dec.
26 that we hear more. On that day, two-and-twenty Peers being present,
and nothing having been farther reported either by the Lord Mayor or the
Stationers, it was ordered "that the Lord Mayor of London and the
Printers be sent to, to give an account of the scandalous paper printed
and dispersed, what they have done in discovering the Author, Printer,
and Publisher." The Mayor and the Stationers still not responding, the
order was repeated more peremptorily on Saturday, Dec. 28, one-and-twenty
Peers being present. The gentleman-usher of the House went there and then
for the two Wardens of the Stationers' Company, who forthwith appeared
and gave this account: "They have used their best endeavours to find out
the printer and author of the scandalous libel, but they cannot yet make
any discovery thereof, the letter [type] being so common a letter; and
further _complained of the frequent printing of scandalous Books by
divers, as Hezekiah Woodward and Jo. Milton._"--Here was an extremely
clever trick of Messrs. Parker and Whittaker! They were themselves in
trouble for not being good detectives: what if they diverted the
attention of the Peers, while they were in this angry mood, upon other
objects? It is as if they said to the Peers, "It is a very hard matter
sometimes to find out the authors and printers of scandalous tracts; but
really the abuse has attained to frightful dimensions, and perhaps the
leniency of your Lordships in cases where the authors of scandalous
tracts are well enough known encourages others. Last August, for example,
we took the liberty of calling the attention of the House of Commons to a
Tract on Divorce by Mr. John Milton, which the Assembly unanimously
condemns as containing horrid doctrine, and which Mr. Palmer denounced on
that ground in the hearing of your Lordships. It was our duty to do so,
because the Tractate, in any case, was unlicensed and unregistered, and
therefore a violation of the Printing Ordinance. The Commons referred the
subject to their Committee for Printing, but nothing appears to have been
done. And now, as your Lordships have sent for us on this other matter,
in which we are sorry not to have succeeded as we could have wished,
allow us to mention that the same Mr. Milton has since then--in fact,
only last month-put forth another pamphlet, called _Areopagitica_,
with his name to it certainly and addressed to your Lordships and the
other House, but with no printer's name, and unlicensed and unregistered,
like most of its predecessors. The pamphlet contains some very injurious
personal reflections on us; but we should not think of mentioning it
merely on that ground. It is very bold and strange altogether, very
disrespectful to the Assembly, and is an attack on the whole Ordinance
for Printing which it wilfully breaks. Besides Mr. Milton there are
others as bad: for instance, Mr. Hezekiah Woodward."

Who Mr. Hezekiah Woodward was the reader already, in some degree, knows.
He was that old friend of Samuel Hartlib's to whom Hartlib, in Aug. 1644,
had addressed a letter requesting his opinion of Edwards's _Antapologia_,
and who had furnished that opinion, which was published, with Hartlib's
letter, in the following month (_antŔ_). He must have been fond of using
his pen; for I find him to have been the author of at least seven other
pamphlets, published before our present date, viz. _The Kings Chronicle_
(1643); _Three Kingdoms made One_ (1643); _The Cause, Use, and Cure of
Fear_ (1643); _A Good Soldier maintaining his Militia_ (1644); _The
Sentence from Reason and Scripture against Archbishops and Bishops, with
their Curates_ (1644); _As you were_ (1644); _Inquiries into the Causes
of our Miseries_ (1644). The last-named but one of these pamphlets gives
at least one additional particular about Woodward. Its full title is "_As
you were: or a Reducing (if possibly any) seduc't ones to facing-about,
turning head-front against God, by the Recrimination (so intended) upon
Mr. J. G. (Pastor of the Church in Coleman Street) in point of fighting
against God. By an unworthy auditor of the said (Juditious pious Divine)
Master John Goodwin._" This may have been the very pamphlet, or one of
the pamphlets, of Woodward which the Stationers had in view when they
complained of him; for it was published Nov. 13, 1644, or exactly eleven
days before the _Areopagitica_, and it appeared anonymously and without a
licence. Out of the confused wording of the title we gather that Woodward
was a hearer and admirer of John Goodwin, and that the tract was intended
as in some sort a vindication of that Sectary against attacks that had
been made upon him in connexion more especially with a pamphlet of his
entitled _Theomachia_. All this, though slight, is not uninteresting. It
presents to us Woodward as a London citizen of what maybe called the
Hartlib-Goodwin connexion, and possibly therefore known to Milton
personally. He lived in Aldermanbury, and was addicted to writing
pamphlets. From what I have read of them I judge him to have been a mild,
hazy-headed person, with a liking for indefiniteness and elbow-room
rather than Presbyterian strictness, and therefore ranking among the
Sectaries, but of such small mark individually that, but for his
incidental association with Milton in the business under notice, we
should not now have had any particular interest in inquiring about him.
For some reason or other, however, the Stationers thought him worth their
hostility. Had they any trade dislike to Hartlib? It is somewhat curious
that the two persons they selected to be complained against were two of
Hartlib's friends. [Footnote: For particulars here about Woodward, in
addition to those already given (_antŔ_ pp. 230-1), my authorities are
(1) The British Museum Library Catalogue: _Woodward, Hezekiah_; (2) The
two publications named as consulted by myself, viz., Woodward's _As You
Were_, and his joint-tract with Hartlib, _A Short Letter, &c., with a
large but modest answer_, which last is not given in the Museum Catalogue
among Woodward's publications, but came in my way in my researches for
Hartlib; (3) MS. notes of Thomason in Museum copies of these two
publications: viz., in the first the words "suposed to be Ezech.
Woodward's," and the date "Novemb. 13, London;" in the second the date
"Sept 14."]

To resume our story from the _Lords' Journals_:--The device of the
two Wardens for diverting the attention of the Peers was for the moment
successful. The Peers on the same day (Sat. Dec. 28), as soon as the
Wardens had withdrawn, passed this order: "Hereupon it is ordered, that
it be referred to Mr. Justice Reeves and Mr. Justice Bacon to examine the
said Woodward and Milton, and such others as the Master and Wardens of
the Stationers' Company shall give information of, concerning the
printing and publishing their Books and Pamphlets, and to examine also
what they know concerning the Libel [the Libel against the Peers of which
George Jeffrey had dispersed copies], who was the author, printer, and
contriver of it; and the Gentleman-Usher shall attach the parties, and
bring them before the Judges; and the Stationers are to be present at
their examinations, and give evidence against them."

This was clearly a tighter action against Milton than the former one by
the Commons. What came of it?--Woodward's business came up on the next
Tuesday, Dec. 31, when Mr. Justice Bacon informed this House of some
papers which Ezechiell Woodward [it was "Hezekiah" before] confessed he
made: "Hereupon it is ordered, that Mr. Serjeant Whitfield shall peruse
them over, and report them to this House; and, because the said Woodward
is now in custody of the Gentleman-Usher, it is ordered, He shall be
released, giving his own bond to appear before this House when he shall
be summoned." Woodward's offence, it would therefore seem, was considered
venial. He had nothing to do with the Libel that was the special subject
of inquiry; and, though he had confessed to the authorship of some
anonymous papers recently published, there seemed to be nothing
formidable in them. He might go back to his house in Aldermanbury on his
own recognisances. [Footnote: "_Soft Answers unto Hard Censures_,
London 1645," is the title of a tract of Woodward's subsequent to the
incident of the text, and possibly referring to it; after which I find
him, so far as there is evidence, totally silent till 1656. In that year
he published four new religious or politico religious pamphlets; which is
the last I know of him at present.] But what of Milton? Not a word about
_him_ in the Journals of the same day. He was not in the custody of
the Gentleman-Usher then at all events; and so far he had been more
fortunate than Woodward. Possibly, he had had a call from the Usher in
his house in Aldersgate Street on the Saturday or Monday, had accompanied
him to the chambers of Mr. Justice Reeve or Mr. Justice Bacon, had
confronted the Master and Wardens of the Stationers' Company there, and
had there given such a satisfactory and straightforward account of his
questioned pamphlets that there was no need for detaining him, or
troubling him farther. Some report may have been made to the Peers by the
Justices; but if so, it was of such a kind, and the Peers themselves had
such information about Milton, that they thought it best to let the
matter drop without the least farther mention of it. If even two or three
of them had read the _Areopagitica_ (and probably even more had),
that alone would have honourably acquitted him. It appears, however, from
a subsequent allusion by Milton himself, as if the _Doctrine and
Discipline_ of Divorce was still the real stumbling-block. On that
subject too the Peers may have been a little liberal by this time. Was
not the great Mr. Selden understood to hold opinions on Marriage and
Divorce very much the same as those Mr. Milton had published? So the
Peers may have reasoned for themselves; and it is not at all improbable
that Selden, Vane, and others of the Lower House may have given them a
hint what to do. And so the Booksellers were baulked again. Baillie and
Gillespie, who did not leave London for their Scottish holiday till Jan.
6, 1644-5, may have been a little disappointed, and the Presbyterians
generally. [Footnote: Authorities for this curious story are the entries
in the Lords' Journals of the dates named--Vol. VII. pp. 91, 92, 97, 115,
116, and 118. The one-and-twenty Peers who were present on Saturday, Dec.
28, when the order for Milton's examination was issued were--Lord Grey of
Wark, as Speaker; the Lord General the Earl of Essex; the Lord High
Admiral the Earl of Warwick; Earls Rutland, Kent, Pembroke, Salisbury,
Bolingbroke, Manchester, Nottingham, Northumberland, Denbigh, and
Stamford; Viscount Saye and Sele; and Lords North, Montague, Howard of
Escrick, Berkeley, Bruce, Willoughby of Parham, and Wharton. The same
Peers, with the omission of the Earl of Northumberland and Lord Wharton,
and the addition of the Earl of Suffolk (_i.e._ twenty Peers in
all), were present on Dec. 31, when a report was made on Woodward's case,
but none on Milton's.--Selden's _Uxor Ebraica_ was published in
1646, and was then much welcomed by Milton.--That the Divines of the
Westminster Assembly were at the back of this second prosecution of
Milton, though the authorities of the Stationers' Company were the
nominal accusers, is not only probable in itself, but is distinctly
implied by Anthony Wood's reference to the affair (Fasti I. 483). "Upon
the publication of the said three books of marriage and divorce," says
Wood, with a slight error as to the number of the books on that subject
then published, "the Assembly of Divines then sitting at Westminster took
special notice of them; and thereupon, though the author had obliged them
by his pen in his defence of _Smectymnuus_, and other their controversies
had with the Bishops, they, impatient of having the clergy's jurisdiction
(as they reckoned it) invaded, did, instead of answering or disproving
what those books had asserted, cause him to be summoned before the House
of Lords: but that House, whether approving the doctrine, or not
favouring the accusers, did soon dismiss him."]


And now we are in the winter of 1644-5, when Parliament and all London,
and all England, were astir with the two great businesses of the New-
Modelling of the Parliamentary Army and the Self-Denying Ordinance. It
was with public talk about these matters, and about such contemporary
matters as the execution of Laud, the death of Century White, and the
abortive Treaty of Uxbridge, that any immediate influence from Milton's
_Areopagitica_ must have mingled. In the midst of it all he had
other labours on hand. They were still on the woful subject of Divorce.

Not only had the subject fastened on Milton with all the force of a
propagandist passion, urging him to repeated expositions of it; there
were, moreover, fresh external occasions calling on him not to desist. Of
four such external occasions, amid others now unknown to us, we may here
take note:--[Footnote: Palmer's Dedication of the Sermon.] Herbert
Palmer's sermon, with the attack on Milton still remaining in it, had now
been published. "Some bodily indispositions" had prevented Palmer from at
once complying with the request of the two Houses that he would print the
sermon; but at length, in September or October 1644, it had appeared.
[Footnote: "By William Prynne, of Lincoln's Inn, Esquier: London, Printed
for Michael Sparke, Sem., and are to be sold at the Blew Bible in Green
Arbour, 1644." The Exact date of publication I ascertain from Thomason's
note, "Sept. 16," in a copy in the British Museum.] About the same time
(more precisely the 16th of September, 1644) there appeared one of
Prynne's interminable publications, entitled "_Twelve considerable
serious Questions touching Church government: sadly propounded (out of a
Reel Desire of Unitie and Tranquillity in Church and State) to all sober-
minded Christians, cordially affecting a speedy settled Reformation and
Brotherly Christian Union in all our Churches and Dominions, now
miserably wasted with Civill Unnaturall Wars, and deplorably lacerated
with Ecclesiastical Dissensions._" Though with so long a title, the
thing consists but of eight largish quarto pages, with a bristle of
marginal references. "Having neither leisure nor opportunity," says
Prynne, "to debate the late unhappy differences sprung up amongst us
touching Church-government (disputed at large by Master Herle, Doctor
Steward, Master Rutherford, Master Edwards, Master Durey, Master Goodwin,
Master Nye, Master Sympson, and others), ... I have (at the importunity
of some Reverend friends) digested my subitane apprehensions of these
distracting controversies into the ensuing considerable Questions."
Accordingly, the Tract consists of 12 Queries propounded for
consideration, each numbered and beginning with the word "Whether." We
are concerned mainly with Query 11. It runs as follows:--"Whether that
Independent Government which some contend for ... be not of its own
nature a very seminary of schisms and dangerous divisions in the Church
and State? a floodgate to let in an inundation of all manner of heresies,
errors, sects, religions, destructive opinions, libertinism and
lawlessness, among us, without any sufficient means of preventing or
suppressing them when introduced? Whether the final result of it (as
Master Williams, in his late dangerous licentious work, _A Bloudy
Tenent_, determines) will not really resolve itself into this
detestable conclusion, that every man, whether he be Jew, Turk, Pagan,
Papist, Arminian, Anabaptist, &c., ought to be left to his own free
liberty of conscience, without any coercion or restraint, to embrace or
publicly to profess what Religion, Opinion, Church government, he
pleaseth and conceiveth to be truest, though never so erroneous, false,
seditious, detestable in itself? And whether such a government as this
ought to be embraced, much less established among us (the sad effects
whereof we have already experimentally felt by the late dangerous
increase of many Anabaptistical, Antinomian, Heretical, Atheistical
opinions, as of _The Soul's Mortality, Divorce at Pleasure_, &c.,
lately broached, preached, printed in this famous city; which I hope our
Grand Council will speedily and carefully suppress), &c." Here, and by no
less a man than Prynne, Milton's Divorce Doctrine is publicly referred to
as one of the enormities of the time, and coupled, as of coequal infamy,
with the contemporary doctrine of the Mortality of the Soul vented in an
anonymous tract. (3) Farther, in the month of November, or while the
_Areopagitica_ was in the press, there had appeared the first
distinct Reply to Milton's original Divorce Treatise. It was a pamphlet,
in 44 pages of small quarto, with this title:--"_An Answer to a Book,
Intituled, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, or A Plea for Ladies
and Gentlewomen, and all other Married Women, against Divorce. Wherein
Both Sexes are vindicated from all bondage of Canon Law, and other
mistakes whatsoever: And the Unsound Principles of the Author are
examined and fully confuted by Authority of Holy Scripture, the Laws of
this Land, and Sound Reason. London, Printed by G. M. for William Lee at
the Turk's-Head in Fleet Street, next to the Miter Taverne._ 1644."
[Footnote: Entered at Stationers' Hall, Oct. 31, 1644 (my notes from the
Registers); Licensed Nov. 14 (the pamphlet itself); out in London, Nov.
19 (Thomason's note in copy in British Museum, Press Mark 12 G. o.
12/181)] Milton had now his wish: one of his adversaries had written a
book, and could be wrestled with. Nay more, though the writer had not
given his name, the licenser, Mr. Joseph Caryl, had, in his prefixed
"Imprimatur," applauded the sentiments of the tract, and spoken
slightingly of Milton. Mr. Caryl, therefore, on his own account, might
deserve a word. (4) Finally, in January 1644-5, Dr. Daniel Featley, from
his prison in "the Lord Peter's house in Aldersgate Street," close to
Milton's own dwelling, had sent forth his "_Dippers Dipt, or the
Anabaptists Duck'd and Plung'd over Head and Eares_" [Footnote: See
_antŔ, p._ 138.] dedicating it publicly to the Parliament and
privately to his "Reverend and much-esteemed friend, Mr. John Downam,"--
the very person, by the bye, who had good-naturedly licensed Milton's
Bucer pamphlet. Now, Featley, in this book, had been at Milton among
others. Denouncing the Anabaptists on all sorts of grounds in his Epistle
Dedicatory to the Parliament, he charges them especially with originating
odious heresies beyond their own. "For they print," he says, "not only
Anabaptism, from whence they take their name, but many other most
damnable doctrines, tending to carnal liberty, Familism, and a medley and
hodge-podge of all Religions. Witness the Book, printed 1644, called
_The Bloudy Tenent_, which the author affirmeth he wrote in milk;
and, if he did so, he hath put some ratsbane in it [Footnote: Featley
blunders here. Roger Williams did not say he had written his book in
milk, but that the Baptist Tract of 1620 which he reprints in his book
was said to have been written in milk in prison on pieces of paper sent
to the writer as stoppers to his milk-bottle--his friends outside
deciphering the writing by heating the papers.]--as, namely, 'that it is
the will and command of God that, since the coming of his son the Lord
Jesus, a permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or Anti-
Christian consciences and worships, be granted to all men in all nations
and countries,' ... Witness a Tractate on Divorce, in which the bonds of
marriage are let loose to inordinate lust and putting away wives for many
other causes besides that which our Saviour only approveth, viz. in case
of Adultery. Witness a Pamphlet newly come forth, entitled _Man's
Mortality_, in which the soul is cast into an Endymion sleep from the
hour of death to the day of Judgment. Witness," &c. One other dreadful
pamphlet is mentioned; but it is worthy of note that the persons with
whom Milton now, as before, is most pertinaciously associated are Roger
Williams and the author of _Man's Mortality_.

These external occasions and provocations co-operating with his unabated
interest in the Divorce doctrine on personal and general grounds, Milton
was busy, through the winter of 1644-5, on two new Divorce Treatises.
They both appeared on the same day--March 4, 1644-5. The one was his
TETRACHORDON; the other was his COLASTERION. Neither was licensed, and
neither was registered. [Footnote: The date of publication is ascertained
from copies of both among the King's Pamphlets in the British Museum--
both with the Press Mark 19. G. e. 11/195. In both the printed year of
publication on the title-page is 1645; but in both Thomason, the
Collector, has put his pen through the 5, and has annexed in manuscript
the date "March 4, 1644." Books published near the 25th of March were
generally dated in the year then to begin.] Some account of these two
Treatises must conclude our present section of Milton's Biography.


We shall take the TETRACHORDON first. It is a bulky treatise, consisting,
in the original edition, of 104 small quarto pages; of which 6, not
numbered, are occupied with a Dedication to Parliament, and the remaining
98 are numbered and form the body of the work. The following is the
complete title:--


Expositions upon the foure chief places in Scripture, which treat of
Marriage, or nullities in Marriage.

Gen. i. 27-28, compar'd and explain'd by Gen. ii. 18, 23, 24
Dent. xxiv. 1-2.
Matth. v. 31-32, with Matth. xix., from the 3 v. to the 11th.
1 Cor vii., from the 10th to the 16th.

Wherein the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, as was lately publish'd,
is confirm'd by explanation of Scripture, by testimony of ancient
Fathers, of civill lawes in the Primitive Church, of famousest Reformed
Divines, and lastly, by an intended Act of the Parlament and Church of
England in the last yeare of Edward the Sixth. By the former Author J.

[Greek: skaioisi kaina prospheron sopha
doxeis achreios k oy sophos pephykenai
ton d ay dokounton eidenai ti poikilon
kreisson nomistheis en polei lupros phanŠ.]
_Euripid. Medea_
London: Printed in the yeare 1645.

As the title indicates, the body of the Treatise consists mainly of an
elaborate examination and comparison of the four chief passages of
Scripture relating to Marriage and Divorce, viz. _Genesis_ i. 27-28, with
ii. 18, 23, 24; _Deuteronomy_ xxiv. 1-2; _Matthew_ v. 31-32, with xix.
3-11; and 1 Corinth, vii. 10-16. This labour of Biblical exegesis Milton
had undertaken, he tells us, in consequence of the representations of
some judicious friends, who thought that, while there was "reason to a
sufficiency" in his first Divorce Treatise, a fuller discussion of the
texts of Scripture there alleged might be desirable. How he performed the
labour--how he plods through the four passages in succession, explaining,
commenting, answering objections, and in the end construing each and all
together into a ratification of his own Doctrine of Divorce, or at least
into consistency with it--must be learnt, if it is learnt at all, from
the _Tetrachordon_ itself. Very few now-a-days will care to read it. For
it is decidedly, according to our modern ideas, a heavy pamphlet. The
_Areopagitica_ bites into modern interests and the constitution of the
modern intellect; the _Tetrachordon_, though it must have occupied the
author longer, has, I should say, quite lost its bite, except for
students of Milton, and for reasoners who would debate his Divorce
Doctrine over again by the same method of the interpretation of Biblical
texts. For Milton is most submissive to the Bible throughout. Clearly it
was his opinion that whatever the Bible could be found to have ruled on
any point must be accepted as the decision. There is no sign of any
dissent by him from the most orthodox idea of the verbal inspiration of
Scripture. Not the less he contrives that the Bible shall support his own
free conclusions. It is evident that the method of his exegesis was not
so much to extract positive injunctions from particular texts as to let
the doctrine of the Bible as a whole invade and pervade his mind, uniting
there with whatever of clear sense or high views of affairs it could
find, and so forming a kind of organ of large and enlightened Christian
reason, by which the Bible itself could then, in all mere particulars, be
safely interpreted. Once and again, in the course of his _Tetrachordon_,
he expresses his contempt for the grubbing literalists, who, in their
microscopic infatuation over one text at a time, miss the view of the
whole waving field of all the texts together. Yet he shows much ingenuity
in parts of the verbal proof, and produces also commentators of repute
who agreed with him.

There is, and doubtless purposely, in order to give weight to the new
book, a large display of learning in its pages. Besides the motto from
Euripides to begin with, there are references, in the course of the
commentary, to Plato, Philo, Josephus, Cicero, Horace, Cellius, Justin
Martyr, Eusebius, Tertullian, St. Augustine, Beza, ParŠus, Rivetus,
Vatablus, Dr. Ames, Spanheim, Diodati, Marinaro, Cameron, and many more.
At the end of the commentary on the Texts, also, there is an express
synopsis of testimonies, for the benefit, as Milton is careful to
explain, of the weaker sort who are led by authorities, and not because
he sets much store on that style of proof himself. Here we have Justin
Martyr again, Tertullian again, Origen, Lactantius, several early
Councils, Basil, Epiphanius, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine again, the Laws
of Theodosius and Valentinian, Leo, Wycliffe, Luther, Melanchthon,
Erasmus, Bucer of course, Fagius of course, the Confession of the Church
of Strasburg, Peter Martyr, Musculus, Gualter of Zurich, Hemingius,
Hunnius, Bidenbachius, Harbardus, Wigandus, Beza again, Aretius of Berne,
Alciat of Milan, Corasius, Wesembechius, and Grotius. When he quotes one
of the Fathers, I may observe in passing, Milton is true to the Puritan
instinct, and never prefixes to the name the title of Saint; it is always
"Austin," for example, and not "St. Austin." Also it may be noted that he
is punctual in making it clear whether he quotes from his own knowledge
or at second hand. Thus, referring to Wycliffe's view of Marriage as put
forth in one of his writings, he says, "This book, indeed, through the
poverty of our Libraries, I am forced to cite from ArnisŠus of
Halberstadt on the Right of Marriage, who cites it from Corasius of
Toulouse, _c._ 4., _Cent. Set._, and he from Wicklef _l._ 4. _Dial c._
2l."--Appended to the collation of Testimonies, and winding up the whole
treatise, is a historical statement to which Milton attached great
importance, and which is really interesting. It was only by chance, he
says, that a notion of Divorce not far short of his own was not then
actually part and parcel of the Law of England. For, when young Edward
VI. had abolished the Canon Law out of his dominions, a Committee of two-
and-thirty select persons, Divines and Lawyers, had been appointed by
Parliament--Cranmer, Peter Martyr, Walter Haddon, and Sir John Cheke, the
King's tutor, being members of this Committee--to frame a new set of
ecclesiastical laws. The draft was actually finished, and it included a
law of Divorce substantially such as Bucer had then recommended to the
English. It allowed complete Divorce not only for the causes usually
esteemed grave and capital, but for such causes as desertion, cruel
usage, or even continued contentiousness and wrangling. The untimely
death of the young King alone had prevented this Law from coming into
effect. This fact in English history, it is evident, together with the
knowledge of such an amount of scattered opinion in his favour lying in
the works of other authors besides his formerly quoted Bucer, Fagius,
Erasmus and Grotius, had been acquired by Milton by fresh research since
he had published his Bucer Tract. And here again there is the curious
struggle between Milton's delight in finding auxiliaries and his feeling
of property in his own idea. "God, I solemnly attest him," he says,
"withheld from my knowledge the consenting judgment of these men so late
until they could not be my instructors, but only my unexpected witnesses
to partial men that in this work I had not given the worst experiment of
an industry joined with integrity, and the free utterance though of an
unpopular truth." Again, in a passage where he points out that a truth is
never thoroughly sifted out in one age, and that some of those who had
preceded him in the Divorce notion had only hinted it in vague terms, and
others who had been more explicit in the assertion of it had still left
it to be fully argued, he concludes with a gentle remark that perhaps,
after all, it will be his fortune "to meet the praise or dispraise of
being something first."

There is no abatement in the _Tetrachordon_ of the bitterness of
Milton's feeling on the subject of an unsuitable marriage. Rather the
bitterness is more concentrated and intense. It is as if eighteen months
of rumination over his own unhappy condition had made him savage. There
is careful abstinence still from all direct allusion to his own case; but
there are again the repeated phrases of loathing with which he
contemplates, chiefly from the man's side, the forced union of two
irreconcileable or ill-matched minds:--"a creature inflicted on him to
the vexation of his righteousness"; "a carnal acrimony without either
love or peace"; "a ransomless captivity"; "the dungeon-gate as
irrecoverable as the grave"; "the mere carcase of a marriage"; "the
disaster of a no-marriage"; "counter-plotting and secret wishing one
another's dissolution"; "a habit of wrath and perturbation"; "heavenly
with hellish, fitness with unfitness," &c. "God commands not
impossibilities," he bursts out, "and all the ecclesiastical glue that
Liturgy or Laymen can compound is not able to sodder up two such
incongruous natures into the one flesh of a true beseeming marriage." Or
take this remarkable passage, repeating an opinion we have already had
from him, "No wise man but would sooner pardon the act of adultery once
and again committed by a person worth pity and forgiveness than to lead a
wearisome life of unloving and unquiet conversation with one who neither
affects nor is affected, much less with one who exercises all bitterness,
and would commit adultery too, but for envy lest the persecuted condition
should thereby get the benefit of his freedom." This assertion that
adultery is more venial than mental unfitness is reiterated in another
place, with a bold addition: "Adultery does not exclude her other
fitness, her other pleasingness; she may be otherwise loving and
prevalent." Occasionally, it may be added, in a less startling way than
this, Milton leaves the man's point of view and tries to be considerate
about the woman. Not that he recants his doctrine of the inferiority of
her sex to man's. On the contrary he repeats it, extracting out of
Genesis the absolute certainty that it was Man that was made primarily
and immediately in the image of God, and that the image of God is in
Woman only by derivation from Man. But he qualifies the doctrine at once
gallantly and shrewdly. "Nevertheless," he says, "man is not to hold
woman as a servant, but receives her into a part of that empire which God
proclaims him to,--though not equally, yet largely, as his own image and
glory; for it is no small glory to him that a creature so like him should
be made subject to him. Not but that particular exceptions may have
place, if she exceed her husband in prudence and dexterity, and he
contentedly yield; for then a superior and more natural law comes in,
that the wiser should govern the less wise, whether male or female."

This may be taken as the summary of Milton's doctrine about Woman's
Rights. Incidentally also the Treatise furnishes us with his opinion on
Teetotalism and the Permissive Bill. It comes in thus:--The Mosaic Law
(Deut. xxiv. 1-2) allowing a man to give his wife a writing of
divorcement and send her away, if he did not like her, had been
interpreted by some, in consequence of Christ's comment upon it (Matt.
xix. 8), as only a Permissive Bill on this subject to the hard-hearted
Jews. To continue it in modern times would be to open the door to
license: it would be abused; everybody would be putting away his wife;
there must therefore be no longer any such Permissive Bill, but a strict
Law of indissoluble marriage. Well then, by the same reasoning, Milton
argues, there ought to be a great many more strict laws, that nobody had
ever thought of. "What more foul and common sin among us than
drunkenness; and who can be ignorant that, if the importation of wine,
and the use of all strong drink, were forbid, it would both clean rid the
possibility of committing that odious vice, and men might afterwards live
happily and healthfully without the use of those intoxicating liquors?
Yet who is there, the severest of them all, that ever propounded to lose
his sack, his ale, toward the certain abolishing of so great a sin; who
is there of them, the holiest, that less loves his rich canary at meals,
though it be fetched from places that hazard the religion of them who
fetch it, and though it make his neighbour drunk out of the same tun?
While they forbid not, therefore, the use of that liquid marchandise,
which forbidden would utterly remove a most loathsome sin, and not impair
either the health or the refreshment of mankind, supplied many other
ways, why do they forbid a Law of God, the forbidding whereof brings into
an excessive bondage oft-times the best of men, and betters not the
worse? He, to remove a national vice, will not pardon his cups, nor think
it concerns him to forbear the quaffing of that outlandish grape in his
unnecessary fulness, though other men abuse it never so much; nor is he
so abstemious as to intercede with the magistrate that all manner of
drunkenness be banished the Commonwealth: and yet, for the fear of a less
inconvenience, unpardonably requires of his brethren in their extreme
necessity to debar themselves the use of God's Permissive Law, though it
might be their saving, and no man's endangering the more! Thus, this
peremptory strictness, we may discern of what sort it is, how unequal and
how unjust." Lest the meaning of this passage should be mistaken, we may
point out that the Permissive Bill in the matter of drinking which it
defends by implication is a Permissive Bill to drink and not a Permissive
Bill to prevent drinking. The passage, therefore, cannot be quoted as
Milton's testimony in favour of the so-called modern Permissive Bill. It
is dead the reverse. And yet there is a lurking kindness in the passage
towards a Permissive Bill of that sort, contemplated as possible, though
yet unheard of; and, though Milton's principle of Liberty would have
bound him to oppose it, he would perhaps have done so reluctantly. The
idea of a country cleared of all its apparatus of Bacchus, and in which
wine, or ale, or any other form of intoxicating fluid, ruby, amber, or
crystal at its purest, should be unattainable by any mortal breathing on
its surface, had, so far as his personal tastes and habits were
concerned, no terrors for Milton. Had it been a matter of personal
preference, instead of principle, he would gladly, I doubt not, have
consented to a Permissive Bill in England to prevent absolutely the
drinking of intoxicating liquors, if it had been accompanied by a
ratification of Moses's Permissive Bill in quite the contrary sense, by
which the sobered nation should have the right of divorcing.

Nothing has been said yet about the few pages prefixed to the
_Tetrachordon_, in which Milton dedicates the treatise, as he had
done three already (the _Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce_, the
_Buear Tract_, and the _Areopagitica_), to the Parliament of
England. These pages, though put first, were doubtless written last. They
are signed with the writer's name in full. In respect of biographical
information, of the external kind at least, they are more interesting
than the treatise itself. Most of the information, however, will now be
sufficiently intelligible, if given in the form of mere extracts, without
more of explanation than may be supplied by Italic headings:--

_Thanks to Parliament for Past Favour and Protection_:--"Although it
be generally known how and by whom ye have been instigated to a hard
censure of that former Book entitled _The Doctrine and Discipline of
Divorce_--an opinion held by some of the best among Reformed writers
without scandal or confinement, though now thought new and dangerous by
some of our severe Gnostics, whose little reading and less meditating
holds ever with hardest obstinacy that which it took up with easiest
credulity--I do not find yet that aught, for the furious incitements that
have been used, hath issued by your appointment that might give the least
interruption or disrepute either to the Author or the Book. Which he who
will be better advised than to call your neglect, or connivance at a
thing imagined so perilous, can attribute it to nothing more justly than
to the deep and quiet stream of your direct and calm deliberations, that
gave not way either to the fervent rashness or the immaterial gravity of
those who ceased not to exasperate without cause. For which uprightness,
and incorrupt refusal of what ye were incensed to, Lords and Commons--
though it were done to justice, not to me, and was a peculiar
demonstration how far your ways are different from the rash vulgar--
besides those allegiance of oath and duty which are my public debt to
your public labours, I have yet a store of gratitude laid up which cannot
be exhausted; and such thanks perhaps they may live to be as shall more
than whisper them to the next ages."

_Punishment for Mr. Herbert Palmer_:--"I shall here briefly single
one of them [his detractors], because he hath obliged me to it--who, I
persuade me, having scarce read the book, nor knowing him who writ it, or
at least feigning the latter [!], hath not forborne to scandalize him,
unconferred with, unadmonished, undealt with by any pastorly or brotherly
convincement, in the most open and invective manner, and at the most
bitter opportunity that drift or set design could have invented. And
this, whenas the Canon Law, though commonly most favouring the boldness
of their priests, punishes the naming or traducing of any person in the
Pulpit, was by him made no scruple. If I shall therefore take licence by
the right of nature, and that liberty wherein I was born, to defend
myself publicly against a printed calumny, and do willingly appeal to
those Judges to whom I am accused, it can be no immoderate or unallowable
course of seeking so just and needful reparations. Which I had done long
since, had not these employments which are now visible deferred me.--It
was preached before ye, Lords and Commons, in August last, upon a special
Day of Humiliation, that 'there was a wicked book abroad;' and ye were
taxed of sin. that it was yet 'uncensured, the book deserving to be
burnt;' and 'impudence' also was charged upon the Author, who durst 'set
his name to it, and dedicate it to yourselves.' First, Lords and Commons,
I pray to that God before whom ye then were prostrate so to forgive ye
those omissions and trespasses which ye desire most should find
forgiveness, as I shall soon show to the world how easily ye absolve
yourselves of that which this man calls your sin, and is indeed your
wisdom and your nobleness, whereof to this day ye have done well not to
repent. He terms it 'a wicked book,' and why but 'for allowing other
causes of Divorce than Christ and his Apostles mention;' and with the
same censure condemns of wickedness not only Martin Bucer, that elect
instrument of Reformation, highly honoured and had in reverence by Edward
the Sixth and his whole Parliament--whom also I had published in English,
by a good providence, about a week before this calumnious digression was
preached, so that, if he knew not Bucer then, as he ought to have known,
he might at least have known him some months after, ere the Sermon came
in print; wherein, notwithstanding, he persists in his former sentence,
and condemns again of wickedness, either ignorantly or wilfully, not only
Martin Bucer, and all the choicest and holiest of our Reformers, but the
whole Parliament and Church of England in those best and purest times of
Edward the Sixth. All which I shall prove with good evidence at the end
of these Explanations. And then let it be judged and seriously considered
with what hope the affairs of our Religion are committed to one among
others [the Westminster Assembly] who hath now only left him which of the
twain he will choose--whether this shall be his palpable ignorance, or
the same 'wickedness' of his own Book which he so lavishly imputes to the
writings of other men; and whether this of his, that thus peremptorily
defames and attaints of wickedness unspotted Churches, unblemished
Parliaments, and the most eminent Restorers of Christian Doctrine,
deserve not to be 'burnt' first. And, if his heat had burst out only
against the _opinion_, his wonted passion had no doubt been silently
borne with wonted patience. Eut, since, against the charity of that
solemn place and meeting, it served him further to inveigh opprobriously
against the _person_, traducing him with no less than 'impudence,'
only for setting his name to what he had written, I must be excused not
to be so wanting to the defence of an honest name, or to the reputation
of those good men who afford me their society, but to be sensible of such
a foul endeavoured disgrace--not knowing aught, either in mine own
deserts or the laws of this land, why I should be subject, in such a
notorious and illegal manner, to the intemperancies of this man's
preaching choler. ... But, if only to have writ my name must be accounted
'impudence' how doth this but justify another, who might affirm, with as
good warrant, that the late Discourse of _Scripture and Reason_,
which is certain to be chiefly his [Palmer's] own draft, was published
without a name out of base fear, and the sly avoidance of what might
follow if the party at Court should hap to reach him! And I, to have set
my name where he accuses me to have set it, am so far from recanting that
I offer my hand also, if need be, to make good the same opinion which I
there maintain by inevitable consequences drawn parallel from his own
principal arguments in that of _Scripture and Reason_; which I shall
pardon him if he can deny without shaking his own composition to pieces.
The 'impudence,' therefore, since he weighed so little what a gross
revile that was to give his equal, I send him back again for a phylactery
to stitch upon his arrogance, that censures not only before conviction so
bitterly without so much as one reason given, but censures the
Congregation of his Governors to their faces, for not being so hasty as
himself to censure." [Footnote: The discourse _Scripture and
Reason_, which Milton here ascribes to Palmer, charging him with
cowardice in having published it anonymously, was a quarto pamphlet of 80
pages, published in April 1643, and purporting to be "by divers Reverend
and Learned Divines." More fully its title was _Scripture and Reason
Pleaded for Defensive Armes: or the whole Controversie about Subjects
taking up Armes_. It was, in fact, an elaborate proof, from Scripture
and Reason, of the right of the English Parliament and People to make war
upon the King. Doubtless Milton had ascertained that Palmer was its chief
author: hence, rather unnecessarily, his taunt. Palmer had also published
more recently (Dec. 1644), but _with_ his name, the First Part of a
Book called _Memorials of Godliness and Christianity_. It was afterwards
completed by two additional Parts, also with his name, Part II.
containing, among other things, a set of aphorisms entitled "The
character of a Christian in Paradoxes and seeming Contradictions." It had
so chanced, however, that, before he had published this Part II. of his
_Memorials_, a surreptitious edition of the aforesaid Aphorisms had found
its way into print, with no author's name attached (July 1645). Hence a
strange result. Palmer died in 1647, _Štat _. 46; and in the following
year--though his _Memorials_, containing the "Christian Paradoxes," were
in circulation with his name--the "Christian Paradoxes" by themselves, as
they had been published anonymously in the surreptitious edition of July
1645, were published as Lord Bacon's in a quarto volume of Bacon's
"Remaines." The blunder was probably then detected; but it was again
committed in 1730, when the "Paradoxes" were included in Blackburn's
Edition of Bacon's works. From that date till 1864 the "Paradoxes" were
printed as Bacon's, and, though suspected by some, yet often written
about as Bacon's; but in the last-mentioned year the mistake was
rectified, and Herbert Palmer reinstated in the authorship of the
"Paradoxes," by the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart (See his little volume
_Lord Bacon not the Author of "The Christian Paradoxes:"_ see also
Spedding's _Bacon_, VII. 289 _et seq._).]

_Punishment for Dr. Featley_:--"Some whose necessary shifts have
long inured them to cloak the defects of their unstudied years and hatred
now to learn under the appearance of a grave solidity--which estimation
they have gained among weak perceivers--find the ease of slighting what
they cannot refute, and are determined, as I hear, to hold it not worth
the answering. In which number I must be forced to reckon that Doctor
who, in a late equivocating Treatise plausibly set afloat against the
_Dippers_, diving the while himself with a more deep prelatical
malignance against the present State and Church Government, mentions with
ignominy the 'Tractate of Divorce;' yet answers nothing, but instead
thereof (for which I do not commend his _marshalling_), sets Moses
also among the crew of his Anabaptists, as one who to a holy nation, the
Commonwealth of Israel, gave laws 'breaking the bonds of marriage to
inordinate lost' These are no mean surges of blasphemy--not only
'dipping' Moses the Divine Lawgiver, but dashing with a high hand against
the justice and purity of God Himself; as these ensuing Scriptures,
plainly and freely handled, shall verify to the lancing of that old
apostemated error. Him, therefore, I leave now to his repentance."
[Footnote: Poor Dr. Featley died April 17, 1645 (_Štat_ 65), only six
weeks after this punishment of him was published. He had then been
restored to liberty, for he died in his house at Chelsea. Milton knew him
perfectly when he characterized him as one of those who had gained among
"weak perceivers" a reputation for "grave solidity." And yet it is
touching to have before me, as I now have in a copy of the Sixth Edition
of the _Dippers Dipt_ (1651), not only an elaborate portrait of Featley
by the engraver Marshall, done in the ordinary way, but also an engraving
representing the old man most painfully as he looked when lying in his
winding-sheet before they put him into his coffin. Over the corpse are
these words, "I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I
have kept the faith;" and underneath is Featley's Latin Epitaph, telling
that he was "Impugnator Papismi, Propugnator Reformationis," and
"Theologus Insignis, Disputator Strenuus, Conscionator Egregius."--The
word "_marshalling_" which I have italicised in the extract from Milton
about Featley is, no doubt, a punning allusion to an engraving by
Marshall in the _Dippers Dipt_, giving caricatures of different kinds of
Sectaries, with a representation of men and women bathing in the centre
(see _antŔ_, p. 188, Note). ]

A fact which might have been guessed independently, but which it is
interesting to have told us by Milton himself, is that there were some
persons who were particularly courteous in acknowledging the ability
shown in the Divorce treatise, the "wit and parts" of the author, his
"elocution," and the more than ordinary "industry, exactness, and labour"
he had expended on the subject, but who made all this only an excuse for
not discussing his proposition seriously. On this class of his critics
Milton is very severe. They were like those, he said, who used to get off
from Socrates, when they could not resist the force of his truths, by
saying that Socrates could at any time make the worse cause seem the
better. To what would the world, to what would England, come, if this
habit of regarding all novelty as sophistry, of making the very ability
and learning bestowed upon a doctrine an objection to the receipt of that
doctrine, were to become general? "Ignorance and illiterate presumption,"
he says, "which is yet but our disease, will turn at length into our very
constitution, and prove the hectic evil of this age." He hoped better of
the Parliament; he hoped that they would not overlook the necessity of a
change of the Law in this matter of Divorce. At all events he had done
his part. "Henceforth, except new cause be given, I shall say less and
less. For, if the Law make not a timely provision, let the Law, as reason
is, bear the censure of those consequences which her own default now more
evidently produces. And, if men want manliness to expostulate the right
of their due ransom, and to second their own occasions, they may sit
hereafter and bemoan themselves to have neglected, through faintness, the
only remedy of their sufferings, which a seasonable and well-grounded
speaking might have purchased them. And perhaps in time to come others
will know how to esteem what is not every day put into their hands, when
they have marked events, and better weighed how hurtful and unwise it is
to hide a secret and pernicious rupture under the ill counsel of a
bashful silence." Here Milton seems to be speaking for himself. He seems
to be giving warning what he means to do without leave of the Law if the
Law will not give him leave,


COLASTERION is Greek for "Punishment." Now Mr. Herbert Palmer and Dr.
Featley had each had his _colasterion_ in the Dedication prefixed to
the TETRACHORDON. Three other persons were waiting for their turn of the
lash. These were the anonymous author of that Answer to Milton's Treatise
which had been published in the preceding November; [Footnote: See its
full title, _antŔ_, pp. 299-300.] the Rev. Mr. Joseph Caryl, the
licenser of that Answer; and the famous Mr. Prynne. The COLASTERION,
expressly so called, published by Milton on the same day with the
TETRACHORDON, settled accounts with these gentlemen. It is a short tract
of twenty-seven pages, without preface. Its full title was as follows;--
"_Colasterion: A Reply to a Nameles Answer against 'The Doctrine and
Discipline of Divorce,' Wherein the trivial Author of that Answer is
discovver'd, the licenser conferr'd with, and the Opinion which they
traduce defended. By the former author, J. M._ Prov. xxvi. 5. Answer
a Fool according to his folly, lest hee bee wise in his own conceit.
_Printed in the year_ 1645."

First for Mr. Caryl. What was _his_ offence? It was that, not
content with merely licensing the anonymous answer to Milton, he had
become godfather to it by expressing the license thus:--

"To preserve the strength of the Marriage-bond and the Honour of that
estate against those sad breaches and dangerous abuses of it which common
discontents (on this side Adultery) are likely to make in unstaid minds
and men given to change, by taking in or grounding themselves upon the
opinion answered and with good reason confuted in this Treatise, I have
approved the printing and publishing of it.--November 14, 1644. Joseph

Now Caryl was not a nobody. He was one of the Assembly of Divines, and in
that Assembly was tending by this time to the side of the Independents.
He was also Lincoln's Inn preacher, had published some sermons, and was
known to be engaged on an exposition of the Book of Job; which attained
at length, when it was published (1648-66), the vast dimensions of twelve
quarto volumes. [Footnote: Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual, by Bohn:
Art. _Caryl_; and Wood's AthenŠ, III. 979--983.] He was about four
years older than Milton; who thus "confers with" him:--

_Punishment for Mr. Caryl_:-"A Licenser is not contented now to give
his single "Imprimatur," but brings his chair into the title-leaf; there
sits and judges up or judges down what book he pleases. If this be
suffered, what worthless author, or what cunning printer, will not be
ambitious of such a stale to put off the heaviest gear?--which may in
time bring in round fees to the Licenser, and wretched mis-leading to the
people. But to the matter. He approves 'the publishing of this Book, to
preserve the strength and honour of Marriage against those sad breaches
and dangerous abuses of it.' Belike then the wrongful suffering of all
these sad breaches and abuses in marriage to a remediless thraldom is
'the strength and honour of Marriage!' A boisterous and bestial strength,
a dishonourable honour, an infatuated doctrine, worse than the _salvo
jure_ of tyrannizing which we all fight against! Next he saith that
'common discontents make these breaches in unstaid minds and men given to
change.' His words may be apprehended as if they disallowed only divorce
for 'common discontents in unstaid minds,' having no cause but a 'desire
for change;' and then we agree. But, if he take all discontents 'on this
side adultery' to be common, that is to say, not difficult to endure, and
to affect only 'unstaid minds,' it might administer just cause to think
him the unfittest man that could be to offer at a comment upon Job, as
seeming by this to have no more true sense of a good man in his
afflictions than those Edomitish friends had, of whom Job complains, and
against whom God testifies his anger. Shall a man of your coat, who hath
espoused his flock, and represents Christ more in being the true husband
of his congregation than an ordinary man doth in being the husband of his
wife--and yet this representment is thought a chief cause why marriage
must be inseparable--shall this spiritual man, ordinarily for the
increase of his maintenance, or any slight cause, forsake that wedded
cure of souls that should be dearest to him, and marry another and
another; and shall not a person wrongfully afflicted, and persecuted even
to extremity, forsake an unfit, injurious, and pestilent mate, tied only
by a civil and fleshly covenant? If you be a man so much hating change,
hate that other change; if yourself be not guilty, counsel your brethren
to hate it; and leave to be the supercilious judge of other men's
miseries and changes, that your own be not judged. The reasons of your
licensed pamphlet, you say, 'are good.' They must be better than your own
then . ... Mr. Licenser ... you are reputed a man discreet enough,
religious enough, honest enough--that is, to an ordinary competence in
all these. But now your turn is to hear what your own hand hath earned
ye, that when you suffered this nameless hangman to cast into public such
a despiteful contumely upon a name and person deserving of the Church and
State equally to yourself, and one who hath done more to the present
advancement of your own tribe than you or many of them have done for
themselves, you forgot to be either honest, religious, or discreet."
[Footnote: In 1645, according to Wood (Ath. III. 979), Mr. Caryl was
appointed to the living of St. Magnus near London Bridge. It is probably
with this readiness of his to leave one congregation and wed another that
Milton twits him. Evidently Milton would not spare an Independent, any
more than a Presbyterian or Prelatist, who had given him offense.]

The punishment for Mr. Prynne is milder, and it comes in incidentally at
the very beginning of the _Colasterion:_--

_Punishment for Mr. Prynne_:--"After many rumours of confutations
and convictions forthcoming against _The Doctrine and Discipline of
Divorce_, and now and then a bye-blow from the Pulpit, feathered with
a censure, strict indeed, but how true more beholding to the authority of
that devout place which it borrowed to be uttered in than to any sound
reason which it could oracle,--while I still hoped, as for a blessing, to
see some piece of diligence or learned discretion come from them--it was
my hap at length, lighting on a certain parcel of _Queries_ that
seek and find not, to find not seeking, at the tail of 'Anabaptistical,'
'Antinomian,' 'Heretical,' 'Atheistical' epithets, a jolly slander called
'_Divorce at Pleasure_.' [Footnote: See the quotation from Prynne's
"Queries" antŔ, pp. 298-9.] I stood a while and wondered what we might do
to a man's heart, or what anatomy use, to find in it sincerity; for all
our wonted marks every day fail us, and where we thought it was we see it
is not--for alter and change residence it cannot sure. And yet I see no
good of body or of mind secure to a man for all his past labours, without
perpetual watchfulness and perseverance, whenas one above others
[_i.e._ Prynne] who hath suffered much and long in the defence of
Truth shall, after all this, give her cause to leave him so destitute,
and so vacant of her defence, as to yield his mouth to be the common road
of Truth and Falsehood, and such falsehood as is joined with the rash and
heedless calumny of his neighbour. For what book hath he ever met with,
as his complaint is, 'printed in the city,' maintaining, either in the
title or in the whole persuance, '_Divorce at Pleasure?_' 'Tis true
that to divorce upon extreme necessity, when, through the perverseness or
the apparent unaptness of either, the continuance can be to both no good
at all, but an intolerable injury and temptation to the wronged and the
defrauded, to divorce then there is a book that writes it lawful. And
that this law is a pure and wholesome national law, not to be withheld
from good men because others likely enough may abuse it to their
pleasure, cannot be charged upon that book, but must be entered a bold
and impious accusation against God himself, who did not for this abuse
withhold it from his own people. It will be just, therefore, and best for
the reputation of him who in his _Subitanes_ hath thus censured, to
recall his sentence. And if, out of the abundance of his volumes, and the
readiness of his quill, and the vastness of his other employments,
especially in the great Audit for Accounts, he can spare us aught to the
better understanding of this point, he shall be thanked in public, and
what hath offended in the book shall willingly submit to his correction--
provided he be sure not to come with those old and stale suppositions,
unless he can take away clearly what that discourse hath urged against
them, by one who will expect other arguments to be persuaded the good
health of a sound answer than the gout and dropsy of a big margent,
littered and overlaid with crude and huddled quotations."

But it is the anonymous author of the pamphlet which Mr. Caryl had
licensed that comes in for the most ferocious and protracted punishment.
On the evidence of the pamphlet itself one can see that he was some very
insignificant person, not worth Milton's while on his own account, but
only because Milton wanted to toss and gore somebody publicly for a whole
hour, by way of deterring others.

The Answerer begins by announcing that he is first to show what the
Doctrine or Discipline of Divorce really is, then to give some reasons
"why a man may not put away his wife for indisposition, unfitness, or
contrariety of mind, although manifested in much sharpness," and finally
to reply to the arguments to the contrary brought forward in Milton's
book. Nine pages having sufficed for the first two divisions, the
remaining thirty-five are devoted to Milton. They are dull and plodding,
the punctuation and expression showing that the author was ill-educated
and little accustomed to write; and, from the frequent use of scrivener-
like or attorney-like phrases and illustrations, one soon comes to
conjecture the pamphlet to have been written by some one in a small way
of law-business. Occasionally there is a little hit of personal
reference, proving that the writer knew something about Milton and his
reputed habits. Thus, speaking of Milton's complaint of a wife "to all
due conversation inaccessible," he says, "It is true, if every man were
of your breeding and capacity, there were some colour for this plea; for
we believe you to count no woman to due conversation accessible as to
you, except she can speak Hebrew, Greek, Latin and French, and dispute
against the Canon Law as well as you, or at least be able to hold
discourse with you. But other gentlemen of good quality are content with
fewer and meaner endowments, as you know well enough." Sometimes he
criticises Milton's phraseology. "The rankest politician," Milton had
said in one of his sentences; on which this is the comment: "Is this the
fine language that your book is commended for? Good your worship, look a
little more upon your rhetoric in this one piece, shall I say of
nonsense? However, I am sure it is contrary to all laws and customs of
speaking. 'Rankest politician!' Wonderful!" Milton's phrase describing a
dull woman as "an image of earth and phlegm" likewise attracts notice.
"We confess," he says, "this is something of a sad case; but yet I
believe you speak but hyperbolically (as they use to say): for women are
usually more than earth and phlegm; they have many times spirit enough to
wear the breeches, if they meet not with a rare wit to order them. I
wonder you should use such phrases: I know nor hear of maids or women
that are all earth and phlegm, much less images of earth and phlegm. If
there be any such, yet you need take no thought for them; there are
enough dull enough to own them; and, for yourself or any other who desire
them, there are spirited dames enough who are something besides mere
images of earth and phlegm." Here is a specimen of the argumentation:--
"Suppose you should covenant with a man at Hackney that he should dwell
in your house at Aldersgate Street, and you in requital should dwell in
his house at Hackney, for a time: I doubt not but your main end in this
your covenant was your own solace, peace, refreshing. Well, but suppose,
when you came there, the Cavaliers or other soldiers should trouble you,
and should be quartered there; who, peradventure, if they did not quite
put you out, yet would lie in your most pleasant chamber, best situate
for your solace, peace, and refreshing, and divers other ways would annoy
you, by means whereof you could not enjoy that pleasure and delight which
you intended in your covenant when you changed houses with the other.
Think you in this case it would be lawful or accepted on by the other
party if now you should come to him and say 'Sir, I covenanted for your
house at Hackney for my own refreshing, comfort, and solace; but I am
disturbed of it, I do not enjoy the end of my covenant: give me my own
house again, and go you and live there.' He would tell you, and so he
might justly, 'Stay, Sir; take your own fortune; a bargain is a bargain;
you must even stand to it.'" Sometimes the writer thinks he will rebuke
sharply. Thus:--"This is a wild, mad, and frantic Divinity, just like to
the opinions of the maids of Aldgate [some Antinomian young women that
had been making themselves notorious]. 'Oh,' say they, 'we live in Christ
and Christ doth all for us: we are Christed in Christ and Godded in God,
and at the same time that we sin here we, joined to Christ, do justice in
him.' ... Fie, fie, blush for shame, and publish no more of this loose
Divinity." But the choicest bit shall come last. Criticising the
conclusion of a passage in Milton's treatise, the language of the first
portion of which is pronounced "too sublime and angelical for mortal
creatures to comprehend it," the Answerer declares, "This frothy
discourse, were it not sugared over with a little neat language, would
appear so immeritous, so contrary to all humane learning, yea truth and
common experience itself, that all that read it must needs count it
worthy to be burnt by the hangman."

Milton's first glance at the anonymous pamphlet, he tells us, had shown
him the sort of person he had to deal with. He could be no educated man,
for in the very first page of his pamphlet, where he quotes Greek and
Hebrew words, he misspells them. This was no serious crime in itself;
only a man falsely pretending to know a language would do worse! "Nor did
I find this his want of the pretended languages alone, but accompanied
with such a low and homespun expression of his mother-English all along,
without joint or frame, as made me, ere I knew further of him, often stop
and conclude that this author could for certain be no other than some
mechanic." It was singular also that, while the Second Edition of the
_Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce_ had been out for months before
the publication of this Answer, only the First Edition was referred to in
the Answer. This, indeed, had enabled Milton to find out who the Answerer
was, and the whole history of his pamphlet. For, in the course of the
preceding summer, he had been amused by hearing that there was in the
press, half printed, an Answer to the First Edition of his Divorce Book,
concocted by a committee of heads, in the centre of whom was--"let the
reader hold his laughter," he says, and hear the story out--"an actual
serving-man." At least, he _had_ been a serving-man, waiting at
table, cleaning trenchers, and the like; but he was ambitious of rising
in the world, and had turned Solicitor. Zeal for public morality, or some
farther ambition for literary distinction, had put it into his head to
answer the First Edition of Milton's treatise; and, taking into his
confidence one or two raw young Divines of his acquaintance, he had
actually composed something, and sent it to the press. Milton had
resolved that, if the thing did appear, he would leave it unnoticed. For
some months, during which it had been lying unfinished in the press, he
had quite dismissed it from his mind. But lo! here it was at length,
stitched and published--this precious composition of the Serving-man
turned Solicitor. Not quite as it had come from his pen, however! A
Divine of note--no other, in fact, than Mr. Caryl himself, the Licenser--
had looked over the thing, and "stuck it here and there with a clove of
his own calligraphy to keep it from tainting." This, and Caryl's
approbation prefixed, had rather altered the state of matters; and Milton
had resolved that, when he had leisure for a little recreation, his man
of law "should not altogether lose his soliciting."

Nor does he. Never was poor wretch so mauled, so tumbled and rolled, and
kept on tumbling and rolling, in ignominious mire. Milton indeed pays him
the compliment of following his reasonings, restating them in their
order, and quoting his words; but it is only, as it were, to wrap up the
reasoner in the rags of his own bringing, and then kick him along as a
football through a mile of mud. We need not trouble ourselves with the
reasonings, or with the incidental repetitions of Milton's doctrine to
which they give rise; it will be enough to exhibit the emphasis of
Milton's foot administered at intervals to the human bundle it is
propelling. "I mean not to dispute Philosophy with this Pork." he says
near the beginning; "this clod of an antagonist," he calls him at the
next kick; "a serving-man both by nature and function, an idiot by
breeding, and a solicitor by presumption," is the third propulsion; after
which we lose reckoning of the number of the kicks, they come sometimes
so ingeniously fast. "Basest and hungriest inditer," "groom," "rank
pettifogger," "mere and arrant pettifogger," "no antic hobnail at a
morris but is more handsomely facetious;" "a boar in a vineyard," "a
snout in this pickle," "the serving-man at Addlegate" (suggested by 'the
maids at Aldgate'), "this odious fool," "the noisome stench of his rude
slot," "the hide of a varlet," "such an unswilled hogshead," "such a
cock-brained solicitor;" "not a golden, but a brazen ass;" "barbarian,
the shame of all honest attorneys, why do they not hoist him over the bar
and blanket him?"--such are a few of the varied elegancies. Two or three
of them break the bounds within which modern taste permits quotation. "I
may be driven," he says in the end, "to curl up this gliding prose into a
rough Sotadic, that shall rime him into such a condition as, instead of
judging good books to be burnt by the executioner, he shall be readier to
be his own hangman. So much for this nuisance." After which, as if
feeling that he had gone too far, he begs any person dissenting from his
Doctrine, and willing to argue it fairly, not to infer from this
_Colasterion_ that he was displeased at being contradicted in print,
or that he did not know how to receive a fair antagonist with civility.
Practically, however, I should fancy that, after the _Colasterion_,
most people would be indisposed to try the experiment of knowing what
Milton meant by being civil to an antagonist.


April 1645-August 1646.





By the Ordinance for New-Modelling the Parliamentarian Army, passed
February 15, 1644-5, and by the Self-Denying Ordinance, which followed
April 3, 1645, excluding all members of either House from commands in the
New Army, the prospects of the war had been completely altered. From
these dates people everywhere were talking of the _New Model_, and
what it was likely to accomplish, the only difference being that the bulk
of the Parliamentarians expected great things from it, while the
Royalists, and perhaps also those of the Parliamentarians who resented
the removal of Essex from the chief command, and their own removal from
commands under him, regarded the whole experiment rather sneeringly, and
ridiculed it as the _New Noddle_. Which of these sets of prophets
were in the right will appear presently; meanwhile it is desirable that
we should know as exactly as possible what the _New Model_ or _New
Noddle_ really was.


The following is an account of the organization of the New Model, with a
list of its chief Officers when it was first organized:--


_Commander-in-Chief_: SIR THOMAS FAIRFAX (_Štat._ 33).

_Second-in-Command_ (for the present): PHILIP SKIPPON, with the rank
of Serjeant Major-General.

_Chief of Ordnance_: THOMAS HAMMOND. He was a brother of the
Royalist Divine and King's faithful Chaplain, Dr. Henry Hammond (see Vol.
II. 519 and 526, Note); and the split of the Hammond family into
Royalists and Parliamentarians was much noticed.

_Scout-Master-General_: LEONARD WATSON, "originally a goldsmith in

_Chaplain to the Commander-in-Chief_: Mr. EDWARD BOWLES.

_Secretary to the Commander-in-Chief_: JOHN RUSHWORTH.

I. FOOT = 14,400.

These consisted of twelve Regiments, each of 1,200 men, and each divided
into ten Companies, The officers of the Regiments, respectively, were as

1. (The Commander-in-Chief's Regiment):--Colonel SIR THOMAS FAIRFAX;
Lieutenant-Colonel JACKSON; Major COOKE; and seven Captains.

2. (The Serjeant-Major-General's Regiment):--Colonel PHILLIP SKIPPON;
Lieutenant-Colonel FRANCIS; Major ASHFIELD; and seven Captains.

3. Colonel HOLBORN; Lieutenant-Colonel COTTESWORTH; Major SMITH; and
seven Captains.

4. Colonel CRAWFORD or CRAYFORD, succeeded soon by young Colonel ROBERT
HAMMOND (_Štat._ 24), a nephew of the chief of the Ordnance and of
the Royalist Dr. Henry Hammond; Lieutenant-Colonel ISAAC EWER (reported
to have been "a serving man"); Major SAUNDERS; and seven Captains.

5. Colonel BARCLAY; Lieutenant-Colonel EWINS (INNES?); Major COWELL; and
seven Captains.

6. Colonel EDWARD MONTAGUE (_Štat._ only 20: he was cousin of the
Earl of Manchester, being son of the Earl's brother, Sir Sidney Montague,
who had been M.P. for Hunts, but was now dead); Lieutenant-Colonel ELLIS
GRIMES; Major KELSEY; and seven Captains.

7. Colonel ALDRIDGE; Lieutenant-Colonel WALTER LLOYD (who succeeded to
the Colonelcy); Major READ; and seven Captains.

8. Colonel JOHN PICKERING (of the family of the Pickerings, of Tichmarsh,
Northamptonshire, "a little man," quite young, and cousin of the boy who
was to be known as the poet Dryden); Lieutenant-Colonel JOHN HEWSON
(originally a shoemaker in Westminster, but who had risen from the ranks
by his valour); Major JUBBS; and seven Captains, one of whom was a
Captain AXTELL.

9. Colonel FORTESCUE; Lieutenant-Colonel BULSTRODE; Major RICHBELL; and
seven Captains.

10. Colonel RICHARD INGOLDSBY (_Štat._ 23: his father was Sir
Richard Ingoldsby of Lenthenborough, and his mother was a cousin of
Cromwell's); Lieutenant-Colonel FARRINGTON; Major PHILIP CROMWELL (a
cousin of Cromwell's: second son of his uncle Sir Philip Cromwell); and
seven Captains.

11. (Artillery) Colonel THOMAS RAINSBOROUGH (once "a skipper of Lynn,"
who had seen service at sea); Lieutenant-Colonel OWEN; Major DOVE; and
seven Captains.

12. (Artillery) Colonel RALPH WELDEN, a veteran; whose under-officers I
have not ascertained, save that one of them seems to have been ROBERT
LILBURNE (brother of John Lilburne), who in time succeeded to the


The Horse (6,600) consisted of eleven Regiments, each of 600, divided
into six troops; the Dragoons consisted of one Regiment (1,000), in ten
troops of 100 each. They were officered thus:--

1. (The Commander-in-Chiefs Regiment):--Colonel SIR THOMAS FAIRFAX; Major
JOHN DESBOROUGH (a brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell's: married to his
younger sister, Jane Cromwell); and four Captains, one of them a Captain

2. Colonel MIDDLETON; Major RICHARD NORTON; and four Captains.

3. Colonel THOMAS SHEFFIELD (a younger son of the aged Earl of Mulgrave,
and uncle of Sir Thomas Fairfax); Major SHEFFIELD (the Colonel's son or
brother?); and four Captains.

4. Colonel CHARLES FLEETWOOD (a young man of a good Buckinghamshire
family, and well known to Milton from his childhood, as Milton himself
tells us: he had served first as a private trooper in the Earl of Essex's
guards, and had rapidly distinguished himself); Major THOMAS HARRISON
(formerly an attorney's clerk in London); and four Captains.

5. Colonel EDWARD ROSSITER; Major TWISTLETON; and four Captains.

6. Colonel VERMUYDEN (a Dutchman, who resigned after a month or two of
good service, and returned to Holland, where his father, Sir Cornelius
Vermuyden, was engaged in engineering works); Major HUNTINGDON (who
succeeded Vermuyden in the Colonelcy); and four Captains.

7. Colonel ALGERNON SIDNEY (famous long afterwards for his death: now
_Štat._ 23: third son of the Earl of Leicester: had served as a
Captain in Manchester's army--he and his eldest brother, Philip, Lord
Lisle, being more actively Parliamentarian than their father); Major
ALFORD; and four Captains.

8. Colonel SIR ROBERT PYE, junior (son of the Sir Robert Pye who had been
M.P. for Woodstock, as colleague with Speaker Lenthall, since the
beginning of the Long Parliament, and was now a conspicuous man in the
House); Major MATTHEW TOMLINSON (said to have been "a gentleman-usher to
a lady"); and three Captains, one of whom was HENRY IRETON (a B.A. of
Oxford, and barrister of the Middle Temple, _Štat._ 35, who had
taken to soldiering: described as of "a melancholic, reserved, dark
nature," and great ability).

9. Colonel EDWARD WHALLEY (rumoured by the Royalists to have been "a
woollen-draper or petty merchant in London," who had got into debt and
migrated to Scotland for a time; but certainly of a Nottinghamshire
family of mark, and certainly a cousin of Cromwell's; recently also known
for excellent service under Cromwell as Major in Cromwell's own
regiment); Major BETHELL; and four Captains.

10. Colonel RICHARD GRAVES; Major ADRIAN SCROOP; and four Captains.

11. Colonel Sir MICHAEL LIVESEY, Bart., of Co. Kent; Major SEDASOUE; and
four Captains.

_Regiment of Dragoons_: Colonel JOHN OKEY (originally, it is said, a
"drayman," then "stoker in a brewhouse at Islington," and next a "most
poor chandler in Thames Street;" said also to have been "of more bulk
than brains;" but certainly of late an invincible dragoon-officer); Major
WILLIAMS or GWILLIAMS; and eight Captains.

N.B. Some of the above-mentioned officers (such as Colonels Middleton,
Livesey, Holborn, and Barclay) do not seem to have taken the places
assigned them in the New Model. Others therefore had to be brought in by
Fairfax almost at once. Among these were:--1. As _Colonels of
Horse_: Colonel BUTLER; the Hon. JOHN FIENNES (third son of Viscount
Saye and Sele); CHARLES RICH (he had been nominated in the Commons for a
Colonelcy Feb. 28 and March 1, 1644-5, and rejected both times; but must
have been appointed soon afterwards). 2. As _Colonels of Foot_:
EDWARD HARLEY (whose Lieutenant-Colonel was THOMAS PRIDE, a foundling who
had been a drayman); JOHN LAMBERT (who had been a Colonel under Fairfax
in the North); SIR HARDRESS WALLER (_Štat._ 41, cousin of Sir
William Waller). [Footnote: In the Lords Journals, date March 18, 1644-5,
there is a list of the intended officers of the New Model as then agreed
to, after a month or two of choosing, between the Lords and the Commons.
This has been my chief authority; but it has been aided and checked by
the _Anglia Rediviva_ of the New Model chaplain Sprigge (pp. 8-10
_et seq._ of Oxford Edition of 1854) and by Rushworth (VI.13-17
_et seq._). Mr. Clements Markham's account of the New Model Army in
his life of Fairfax (pp. 188-202) has likewise been of use, though it
does not profess to be more than general, nor to be calculated for the
very commencement of the New Model. Some particulars of information
respecting persons I have taken from Mr. Markham; others I have had to
gather miscellaneously from the Parliamentary Journals, Wood, Carlyle's
_Cromwell_, Walker's Hist. of Independency, Reprint of _The
Mystery of the Good Old Cause_ (a satirical tract of 1660) at end of
Vol. III. of Parl. Hist., &c. I have had to rectify the spellings of some
of the names in the original Lords Journals list, and to find out the
Christian names where possible. It is not always so easy as one might
suppose to ascertain the Christian name of a man who may have been of
considerable note in his day and have left his mark.]

Such was the famous New Model. [Footnote: In the New Model the reader
ought to note three things:--(1) The comparative youth of the officers.
There _were_ veterans; but the Commander-in-chief was but thirty
three years of age, and most of the Colonels were still younger. (2) The
blending of different ranks of society in the body of the officers. The
majority were decidedly from the ranks of the aristocracy and gentry--
peers' younger sons, knights, sons of knights and country-gentlemen, &c.;
but in men like Skippon, Colonel Okey, Colonel Rainsborough, Lieutenant-
Colonel Ewer, Lieutenant-Colonel Hewson, Lieutenant-Colonel Pride, Major
Harrison, and Major Tomlinson, there was a conspicuous sprinkling of
stout representatives of a lower and more popular stratum. The Royalists,
and even the Presbyterians, fastened on this fact and exaggerated it. All
the army, from the general to the meanest sentinel, could not muster
ú1,000 a year in lands among them; so it was laxly said. (3) Another
fact, of which the Presbyterians and the Royalists, and other anti-
Cromwellians, afterwards made the most, was the unusual number of
relatives of Cromwell that there were among the officers. To those who
regarded the whole invention and organization of the New Model as a deep
design of Cromwell's craft, with Fairfax as his temporary tool, this fact
was blackly significant. But, apart altogether from that theory, the fact
_is_ important, and ought to be borne in mind. There was not only
much of the Cromwell spirit in the New Model from the first, but a large
leaven of the Cromwell _kin_.] Where was it first to be employed?
This was an anxious question; and, to understand it, we must have the map
of England before us as it appeared to the Parliamentarians in the early
months of 1645.

England then, in the eyes of the Parliamentarians, consisted of four
regions, as follows:--(I.) The _Pre-eminent and assured Parliamentarian
Region_. This included London and Middlesex, with the Eastern and
South-Eastern counties at their back, or immediately flanking them north
and south--viz.: Herts, Essex, Cambridge, Bedford, Northamptonshire,
Hunts, Suffolk, Norfolk, and almost all Lincoln, together with Kent,
Surrey, and Sussex. All this sweep of country was now thoroughly in the
possession of the Parliament, and constituted the region whence it drew
its main strength. The services of the New Model were not required in it;
for it was the main feeder and support of the New Model. (II.) _The
Northern Counties_. Here, beyond the Humber and Mersey, or perhaps
even beyond the Trent, the cause of Parliament was also in the ascendant.
Since Marston Moor Royalism lingered here only in a few towns and
garrisons. In Cumberland, Carlisle still held out for the King, and the
siege of this city, together with the preservation of the North
generally, was the work now specially expected from the Scottish
auxiliary army. In Yorkshire, the castles of Skipton, Pontefract,
Scarborough, Sandal, and Bolton, and, in Lancashire, Latham House and
Greenhaugh Castle, kept up the King's flag, but were surrounded by local
Parliamentary besiegers. On the whole there was no reason for anxiety now
about the North within itself; and the hope was that the Scottish Army
and other stray forces in those parts might be able soon to move
southwards and co-operate with the New Model. (III.) _The South-West
and Mid-Southern Counties._ Here the King was vastly in the ascendant.
Cornwall was absolutely his; Devon was wholly his, with the exception of
the port of Plymouth, still held for the Parliament, but besieged by the
King's forces; Somerset was wholly his, save that Taunton was holding out
for Parliament in great distress; all Wilts was his, except Malmesbury
Castle; in Dorset he was nearly master, though the three port-towns of
Poole, Lyme, and Weymouth (Melcombe) had Parliamentary garrisons; and
even in Hants, where the Parliament divided the power with him more
equally, he held the two strong places of Winchester and Basing. The
King's field-forces in all this southwestern and southern region were
extremely numerous, apart from the garrisons, and were commanded by Lords
Goring and Hopton, Sir Richard Greenville, Major-General Sir John Digby,
and others. With them was the Prince of Wales, now fifteen years of age.
He had been recently sent from Oxford into those parts, with a view both
to his own safety and to the effects of his influence. (IV.) _The
English Midlands, backed by Wales._ Here also the King was firmly
established. Here it was that, with the Princes Rupert and Maurice as his
chiefs in command, he directly faced the massed Parliamentarianism of
London and the Eastern Counties. In Bucks and Berks, indeed, his forces
and those of the Parliament overlapped each other. Aylesbury, the chief
town in Bucks, was the Parliament's, while Boarstall House, ten or twelve
miles east from it, was the King's; and, similarly, the east of Berks,
with Windsor, Reading, and Abingdon, were mainly held by Parliament,
while in the same county the King had some strong garrisons. Oxford,
however, the county of the King's head-quarters, was wholly in his
possession, with the exception of Henley on the Berks border. To the
north of Oxfordshire was Warwickshire, all the King's except Warwick
Castle, though bordered by Northamptonshire, which was all the
Parliament's; and farther north were the shires of Leicester, Nottingham,
and Stafford, in each of which, though the Parliament held the county-
town, the King had countervailing strongholds. Then, at the back of this
row of central counties facing the massed Parliamentarianism of the East,
there were the shires of Gloucester, Worcester, Salop, and Chester, in
which Parliament had scarcely any hold; that of Hereford, in which it had
no hold; and the whole bulk of Wales, in which the two castles of
Pembroke and Montgomery were the sole Parliamentarian specks. Leaning
back upon Wales, and the English counties of the Welsh border, the King,
from Oxford, with its flanking counties north and south, fronted
Parliament very formidably. [Footnote: In this survey of the state of the
war over all England in April 1645, I have availed myself of the
introductory Tables in Sprigge (pp. xi-xvi, Edit. 1854), repeated in
Rushworth, VI. pp. 18-22. The geographical information in the Tables is,
however, somewhat confused, and I have recast it.]


Clearly, it was against one or other of the two last-mentioned regions
that the New Model must first show its prowess. Which of the two should
it be?

The West had many claims. Besides the importance of relieving the
besieged Parliamentary garrisons in that direction, there was the
necessity of taking precaution against the possible advance from it of
Goring's forces towards London. Accordingly, even before the Self-Denying
Ordinance had become law, Cromwell and Sir William Waller had been
ordered on a special expedition into the West (February 27), "for relief
of Melcombe and the garrisons and places adjacent, and for preventing and
breaking the enemy's levies and recruits." Cromwell's men were very
reluctant to go on this expedition, probably because they did not like to
serve with Waller. But, Cromwell having managed them, he and Waller did
go into the West as far as Dorset and Somerset, and, after as much
success as was possible, returned about the middle of April. The Self-
Denying Ordinance was then law; and on the 22nd of April Cromwell was at
Windsor, to resign his command, and take leave of Fairfax.

Suddenly, on the following morning, a message from the Committee of the
two Kingdoms came to Windsor ordering Fairfax to employ Cromwell on a new
enterprise of pressing moment. [Footnote: This "Committee of the two
Kingdoms" originally appointed in Feb. 1643-4, after the coming in of the
Scots Auxiliary Army (see list of members _antŔ_, p. 41) is found
very active after the organization of the New Model--a quorum always
sitting in Derby House, Canon Row, Westminster, close to Parliament (the
house in which Pym had died) and sending orders, &c., to Fairfax.
Manchester, Saye and Sele, Wharton, and Vane the younger, of the English
members of the Committee, and Loudoun and Sir Archibald Johnstone of the
Scottish members, signed most such orders and letters in May and June
1645 (see Rushworth, VI. 27-33).] He was to ride with all haste into
Oxfordshire, to intercept, if possible, a convoy of 2,000 horse, which
Prince Rupert was to detach from Worcester, then the head-quarters of the
King's main army, for the purpose of fetching off the King and his
Artillery-train from Oxford. As the forty days of grace fixed by the
Self-Denying Ordinance did not expire till the 13th of May, Cromwell
would have time to perform this service before the exact day on which his
resignation was required! In fact, he performed it thoroughly in two
days. On the 24th of April he met the enemy, consisting of the Queen's
own regiment, the Earl of Northhampton's, and Lord Wilmot's, at Islip
Bridge, routed them utterly, slew many, and took about 200 prisoners and
400 horses, besides the Queen's standard. Not only so; but, some of the
fugitives having taken refuge in Bletchington House, then commanded by
Colonel Thomas Windebank, son of the ex-Secretary, with a garrison of 200
men, Cromwell had summoned the house to surrender, and, though a defence
might easily have been made, Windebank had actually surrendered that same
night, giving up all his stores.

Such were the first actions of the New Model; and, as they carried joy
into the Parliamentarian heart, so in the King's quarters they caused
rage and vexation. Windebank was tried by court-martial for cowardice,
and, notwithstanding his connexions, was shot to death in the court of
Merton College, Oxford (May 3). [Footnote: For facts in the preceding
three paragraphs see _Commons Journals_, Feb. 27 and 28, and March 4
and at 20, 1644-5; Sprigge's _AngliŠ Reduc._ (1854) 11-13:
Carlyle's _Cromwell_ (ed. 1857) I. 163-167; Rushworth, VI. 23-25.
We had a glimpse of young Windebank at an earlier period, when he little
foresaw this end. See Vol. II. p. 70.]


On the 1st of May, while Cromwell was still absent in Oxfordshire, the
main body of the New Model, under Fairfax and Skippon, was on the move in
another direction. It had seemed on the whole that it would be of most
use in the South-West. In especial, there was great anxiety for the
relief of Taunton. But, when Fairfax had got as far as into Dorset, on
his way to Taunton, he was overtaken by an Ordinance of the two Houses,
in conformity with a resolution of the Committee of both Kingdoms (May
6), recalling him and Skippon, with the bulk of the New Model, for
service, after all, in the Mid-English Counties. For Goring had carried
much of the South-Western force thither, and had joined Rupert and
Maurice, so that there was a great stir of something new intended about
Oxford and round the King's person. Accordingly, detaching only a brigade
of some 7,000, consisting of Welden's, Lloyd's, Fortescue's, and
Ingoldsby's foot-regiments, and Graves's horse-regiment, with some other
district forces, all under Welden's chief command, to push on for the
relief of Taunton, Fairfax wheeled his main force back north-east, and,
after forced cross-country marching, found himself (May 14) at the well-
known Newbury, on his way to Oxford. By this time he knew, if he had not
known it before, that he was to have the help of other generalship under
him than that of Skippon. If it had ever been really intended that
Cromwell should retire from the Army with the others, according to the
strict terms of the Self-Denying Ordinance, the successes at Islip Bridge
and Bletchington House had put it into all men's minds to inquire how the
Army could get on without him. The Army itself had but one opinion on the
subject. For many months past he had been the darling of the entire
force, so that, whenever he appeared unexpectedly on the field, there
were shouts of "_A Cromwell! A Cromwell!_" Willingly or unwillingly,
Parliament had to defer to this sentiment; and on May 10, three days
before the expiry of the forty days of grace fixed by the Self-Denying
Ordinance, a special ordinance of the Commons continuing Cromwell in his
employment for forty days longer, i.e. till June 22, was agreed to by the
Lords. There was murmuring among the Presbyterians and the friends of the
late generals, Essex, Manchester, and Waller; but the thing was
inevitable. Nay, when Fairfax and other officers of the New Model, not
content with the vague and brief additional use of Cromwell's services
thus offered, petitioned distinctly for his appointment as Lieutenant-
general, with chief command of the horse, that also had to be conceded.
The petition was read in the Commons and agreed to, June 10; on which day
a letter was drawn up, signed by the Speaker, and despatched to Fairfax,
"to desire him, if he shall so think fit, to appoint Lieutenant-general
Cromwell to command the horse during so long time as the House shall
dispense with his absence." [Footnote: Commons Journals of days named.]

Within four days after the formal appointment of Cromwell to the
Lieutenant-generalship under Fairfax there came that great action of the
year which more than justified the appointment. The circumstances were
these:--While Fairfax had been on the march towards Taunton, the King,
with his Artillery-train, &c., had left Oxford (May 7) and taken the
field with his main army of the Midlands under Prince Rupert. Cromwell,
who had remained in Oxfordshire, kept hovering after him and watching his
movements. These were uncertain; but it appeared as if he were tending
northwards, to relieve Chester, then besieged by a Parliamentarian force
from Lancashire and Cheshire under Sir William Brereton. [Footnote: It is
to be remembered that, apart from the New Model, there were still English
Parliamentary garrisons, and field forces, here and there, doing
necessary district work. Sir William Brereton, M.P. for Cheshire, had had
in his hands much of the management of the war in those parts; and as he
was still useful, Parliament had exempted him as well as Cromwell, from
the same hate operation of the Self Denying Ordinance, extending his
command (May 12) for forty days. The same extension, on the same day, was
given to Sir Thomas Middleton, M.P. for Denbighshire, at work on the
Welsh border, but with a reserve that, after the forty days his command
was to be resigned to a Colonel Mitton Common Journal.] When, therefore,
Fairfax had wheeled back from his South-Western expedition, and was once
more in the Midlands, the question arose whether he and his New Model
should besiege Oxford in the King's absence, or whether they should
pursue his Majesty and fight him in the field. The siege of Oxford seemed
the preferable course; and, accordingly (May 22), Fairfax, now rejoined
by Cromwell, sat down before that city. Soon, however, it became
questionable whether the war-committee had judged rightly. For
discomfiting the King's design for the relief of Chester the Parliament
had trusted to the Scottish Army, aided by the English Parliamentarians
of the Northern Counties, and by a band of the New Model horse despatched
north under Colonel Vermuyden. But the Scots, out of humour with the New
Model altogether, had been backward or careless; the King, through
Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, had made his way into
Cheshire; his approach had relieved Chester; he had then turned eastwards
into Staffordshire, had crossed that county, entered Leicestershire, and
(May 30) taken the town of Leicester by storm. He was thus on the very
verge of the Parliament's own faithful Association of the Eastern
Counties, and might be expected to break into that Association.
Immediately, therefore, the plans of the Parliament were changed. On the
very day on which the news of the storming of Leicester arrived, Cromwell
was off from Oxford into the Eastern Counties, and on the 5th of June,
Fairfax, with the rest of the New Model, raised the siege of Oxford and
marched north. June 13, he was in the north-west of Northamptonshire,
within sight of the King's main force, which had advanced out of
Leicestershire into that county. Early on that morning, while he was
holding a council of war, Cromwell came in, fresh from his work in the
Association, and welcomed as the man most wanted. He at once assumed his
Lieutenant-generalship; and on the next day, Saturday, June 14, 1645,
there was fought the great BATTLE OF NASEBY. There had been nothing like
it since Marston Moor. The King's Army, commanded by the King in person,
Prince Rupert, Prince Maurice, Sir Jacob Astley (now Lord Astley), Lord
Barnard Stuart, Sir George Lisle, Sir Marmaduke Langdale, and Colonel
Howard, was utterly defeated and ruined. The prisoners taken amounted to
5,000, and included many of the King's chief officers; all the artillery
was captured, and much baggage, including the King's cabinet, with his
private papers and correspondence. These papers were speedily published
by Parliament under the title of _The Kings Cabinet Opened_; and, by
the revelations they made of the King's duplicity, his absolute
subjection to the Queen, and his secret dealings with the Irish and
Papists, they did as much to discredit his cause as the battle itself.
[Footnote: Sprigge, 21-51; Rushworth, VI. 29-48; and Carlyle's
_Cromwell_, I. 169-l76.--Here is a note from the Stationers' Registers,
July 9 (1645): "Robert Bostock entered for his copy, by special command,
under the hands of Mr. Henry Parker and Mr. Thomas May, Secretaries, and
Mr. Miller, Warden, a Book entitled _The King's Cabinet Opened, or
certain Packets of Secret Letters and Papers, written by the King's own
hand, taken in his Cabinet at Naseby Field_." For an account of Naseby
battle and review of previous accounts, see Markham's _Fairfax_, 213-

Though Fairfax was voted everywhere the brave and worthy commander-in-
chief at Naseby, and though Skippon had behaved like himself and kept his
post after having been seriously wounded, much of the credit of the
battle, as of that of Marston Moor, went to Cromwell. He had commanded
the Horse on the right wing, and his success there against the enemy's
left had been effectual and decisive. Moreover, in the whole marshalling
of the battle, and in what had prepared for it, people saw, or thought
they saw, Cromwell's influence. The horse regiments engaged were, on the
right wing, Fairfax's Life-guards, Cromwell's Ironsides, Colonel
Whalley's, Colonel Sir Robert Pye's, Colonel Rossiter's, Colonel
Sheffield's, and Colonel Fiennes's, and, on the left wing, Colonel
Butler's, Colonel Vermuyden's (now Huntingdon's), Colonel Rich's, Colonel
Fleetwood's, and another; and the foot regiments engaged were Fairfax's
own, Skippon's, Colonel Sir Hardress Waller's, young Colonel Pickering's,
young Colonel Montague's, young Colonel Hammond's, Colonel
Rainsborough's, and Lieutenant-colonel Pride's. Fairfax in person, with
Skippon, commanded the foot or main body; Cromwell, as we have seen,
commanded the right wing; but who commanded the left wing? It was the
Colonel of that horse-regiment which we have left anonymous. And who was
he? No other than that HENRY IRETON, the melancholic, reserved lawyer of
the Middle Temple, who was only a Captain in Sir Robert Pye's regiment at
the formation of the New Model three months before (_antŔ_, p. 327).
He had been recently promoted to a Colonelcy, and on the eve of the
battle Fairfax had made him Commissary-general of Horse, with command of
the left wing, over the heads of the other Colonels. This was at
Cromwell's request, who had reason to know Ireton, and had special
confidence in him. Nor did the result belie Cromwell's judgment. Ireton's
wing, indeed, had given way and fled under the shock of Rupert's charges,
but not till Ireton himself had had his horse shot under him, received
two wounds, and been taken prisoner in a counter-attack. Rescued by the
turn of the battle, he came in for a share of the praise. [Footnote:
Rushworth, VI. 42, 43. Carlyle's _Cromwell_, I. 176.--It came to be
an assertion with the Presbyterians, thought I do not believe they
believed it themselves, that Cromwell's military fame had been gained by
systematic puffing on the part of the Independents. "The news books
taught to speak no language but Cromwell and his party, and were mute on
such actions as he and they could claim no share in," wrote Clement
Walker a year or two after Naseby (Hist. of Indep. Part I, 30). We have
see Baillie writing rather in the same way after Marston Moor.]--When the

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