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

Part 8 out of 13

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of those poor Anabaptists who are described as such monsters." But the
Commons were in a Presbyterian panic; Cox and Richardson were taken into
custody; and orders were issued for seizing and suppressing all copies of
the Baptist Confession that could be found. This alone would prove that
as late as the end of January, 1645-6, the Presbyterians, in their
character of Anti-Tolerationists, were still masters of the field.
[Footnote: Commons Journals, Jan. 29, 1645-6.]


Hardly less successful had the Presbyterians been in their more proper
task of perfecting their Frame of Church-government. Here, indeed, they
had encountered little or no opposition from the Independents. The
essentials of the Presbyterian scheme having been voted by Parliament,
the Independents had quietly accepted that fact; and, though they tended,
as was natural, more and more to doubts whether there ought to be any
National Church at all, they had left Parliament and the Presbyterians of
the Assembly to construct the detailed machine of the future English
Presbytery very much as they pleased. [Footnote: Absolute Voluntaryism,
as we know, was already represented in Roger Williams. The _Seekers_, his
followers, were bound to the same conclusion; and accordingly, I find a
little tract of six pages, in 1645, by John Saltmarsh, the Seeker and
Antinomian (_antè_, p. 151-3), entitled "A New Quere, at this time
seasonably to be considered, &c.. viz. Whether it be fit, according to
the principles of true Religion and State to settle any Church-government
over the Kingdom hastily or not." Burton was already in the same mood of
hypothetical Voluntaryism (_antè_, p. 109), and I think it was spreading
now among the Independents. Certainly, however, the perception of the
necessary identity of the principle of Independency with absolute
Voluntaryism, or the doctrine of No State Church, was not universal among
them.] It was the Erastians rather than the Independents that were here
the clogs upon the thorough-going Presbyterians. Selden especially was
their torment. He was quite willing, O yes! that the Church of England
should be thenceforward Presbyterian; but then what about the rights of
the individual subject and the relations of the Church to the State? The
State or central Power in every community must be, in the last resort,
the guardian of all the rights and liberties of the individual subjects;
there had been but one Sanhedrim in the Jewish Commonwealth, supreme in
causes ecclesiastical as well as in causes civil; but the Presbyterian
Divines of the Assembly, with the Scots for their advisers, wanted the
Church in England to be a separate Sanhedrim, supreme in ecclesiastical
causes, and irresponsible to the State! Plying his learning in this
fashion, and assisted by Whitlocke, St. John, and the other lawyers in
the Assembly and in Parliament, Selden had, throughout 1645, kept up an
Erastian obstruction to the Presbyterians. Now, as Prynne out of doors,
with all his Presbyterianism, was also lawyer-like, and therefore
staunchly Erastian, and as the Independents in Parliament made common
cause with the Erastians wherever they could, the obstruction had been
very formidable. "The Erastian party in the Parliament is stronger than
the Independent, and is like to work us much woe," wrote Baillie in May
1645; "Mr. Prynne and the Erastian lawyers are now our _remora_" he wrote
in September; and he kept repeating the complaint throughout the year.
[Footnote: Baillie, II. 277, 315, and also in intermediate and following

Nevertheless great progress had been made in devising and settling the
details of the Presbyterian system. What it was will be best exhibited in
a dated series of paragraphs, digesting the proceedings of the Assembly
and the Parliament:--

_May 1645: Presbyterian Arrangements for all England prospectively, and
for London to begin with_:--That every English Congregation or Parish
have its lay-elders along with its minister, just after the Scottish
fashion; That the meetings of the Presbyterians be once a month; That the
ecclesiastical provinces of England be about sixty in number (about co-
numerous with the shires, and, in most cases, identical with them), and
that the Synods of these provinces be held twice a-year, and consist of
delegates from the Presbyteries; That the National Assembly be held once
a year, and consist of delegates from the sixty Synods, at the rate of
three ministers and two ruling elders from each, so as to form a House of
about 300 members.--That London, reckoned by a radius of ten miles from
its centre, be one of the Synodical Provinces, and that the number of
Classes or Presbyteries in the Synod of London be fourteen.--
_Baillie_, II. 271, 272.

_Aug._ 23: Ordinance of Parliament, calling in all copies of the old
Liturgy, enforcing the use of the new Westminster Directory of Worship,
and forbidding any use of the Liturgy, even in private houses, under
penalties.--_Commons Journals._

_July-Sept. 1645; Directions for the Election of Ruling Elders in
Congregations, and for the Division of the English Counties into
Presbyteries._ July 23, the Commons resolved that Ruling Elders in
congregations should be chosen by the ministers and all members duly
qualified by having taken the Covenant and being of full age, save that
servants without families were not to have votes: no man to be a ruling
elder in more than one congregation, and that in the place of his usual
residence. July 25, they appointed a committee of forty-seven of their
own body to find out the fittest persons to be a committee for
superintending the elections of Elders for the Congregations and
Presbyteries of London, and at the same time to prepare a letter to be
sent down into the counties by the Speaker, giving instructions for the
formation of County-Committees to consider the best division of the
counties respectively into Presbyteries. The letter was ready Sept. 17,
when it was ordered to be sent down into the counties, with a copy of the
Votes and Ordinances on the subject of the election of Elders that had
then passed and been concurred in by the Lords.--_Commons Journals._

_Sept.-Dec. 1645: Special Presbyterian Arrangements for London._ It
having been resolved by the Commons (Sept. 23) that there should be a
choice of Elders forthwith in London, the aforesaid Committee of forty-
seven reported to the House (Sept. 26) the names of the persons judged
most suitable to be TRIERS of the ability and integrity of the Elders
that should be elected, and of the validity of their election according
to the Parliamentary regulations. In each of the twelve London Classes or
Presbyteries (there were only _twelve_ as yet) there were to be nine
of these Triers--three ministers and six lay citizens; and they were to
decide all questions by a majority of votes. Thus there were to be 108
Triers in all in London. Their names are all registered. The machinery
being thus ready, the Lord Mayor was requested, Oct. 8, to intimate to
all the London ministers the desire of Parliament that Congregations
should at once proceed to the election of their Elders.--Dec. 5, it was
ordered that the whole world of the lawyers--_i.e._ the Chapel of
the Rolls, the two Serjeants' Inns, and the four Inns of Court--should be
constituted into a Presbytery by itself, but divided into two Classes.
Triers were also appointed for the Elders in this peculiar Presbytery,
one of them being William Prynne.--_Commons Journals of dates

_Nov._ 8, 1645: _New Ordinance for the Ordination of Ministers._ In this
long Ordinance the original identity of Bishop and Presbyter is asserted,
and consequently the right of Presbyters, without any so-called Bishop
among them, to ordain; nevertheless the ordinations by the late Bishops
are recognised as valid. Directions are then given to Presbyters for the
examination of candidates for the ministry in future, and for the
formalities to be observed in their ordination. Every candidate must be
twenty-four years of age at least, and must be tried not only in respect
of piety, character, preaching ability, and knowledge of divinity, but
also in respect of skill in the tongues and in Logic and Philosophy; and
congregations were to have full opportunity of stating exceptions against
ministers offered them. From a clause in the Ordinance it appears that
certified ordination in Scotland was to be accepted in England.--_Lords

_Powers of the Congregational Elderships in suspending from Church-
membership, and excluding from the Communion._ This was perhaps the most
important subject of all, for it involved the mode of the action of the
new Presbyterian system at the heart of social life and its interferences
with the liberties of the individual. Parliament was naturally slow and
jealous on this subject, so that the discussion of it, part by part,
extended over the whole year 1645. The briefest sketch of results must
suffice here:--The Assembly having sent in to Parliament a Paper
concerning the exclusion of ignorant and scandalous persons from the
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the Parliament had desired a more
particular definition by the Assembly of what they included in the terms
_ignorant_ and _scandalous_. The Assembly having then sent in an
explanation, in which, under the head of the _ignorance_ that should
exclude from the Lord's Table, they mentioned "the not having a competent
understanding concerning the Trinity," the Commons (March 27, 1645) had
desired to know what the Assembly considered to be a competent
understanding concerning the Trinity, The Assembly having farther
declared, under the same head of _ignorance_, that no persons ought to be
admitted to the Lord's Table who had not a "competent understanding" of
the Deity, of the state of Man by Creation and by his Fall, of Redemption
by Jesus Christ and the means to apply Christ and his benefits, of the
necessity of Faith, Repentance and a Godly life, of the Nature and Use of
Sacraments, and of the Condition of Man after this Life, the Commons had
still demurred about the "competent understanding," and had begged the
Assembly to be more precise and business-like (April 1). At length, some
resolutions having been come to about the "competent understanding," and
there being less difficulty in deciding who should come under the
category of the _scandalous_, the Commons had before them a pretty
extensive index of the kinds of persons, whether _ignorant_ or
_scandalous_, whom the Congregational Elderships were to be empowered to
suspend or debar from the Communion. The index was not complete, I think,
till January 1645-6; by which time, after numerous discussions, it
included, in addition to the grossly ignorant in the elementary articles
of Christianity, and to murderers, notorious drunkards, swearers, _et hoc
genus omne_, a considerable list of such varieties of offenders as these--
makers of images of the Trinity, worshippers of saints, persons sending
or accepting challenges, persons playing at games selling wares or
unnecessarily travelling on Sunday, persons consulting witches, persons
assaulting magistrates or their own parents, persons legally convicted of
perjury or bribery, persons consenting to the marriage of their children
with Papists, and, finally, the maintainers of errors that subvert the
prime Articles of Religion. To provide, moreover, for cases not
positively enumerated, there were to be commissioners in every
ecclesiastical province authorized to decide on such cases, when
represented to them by ministers and the elderships. All this, with much
more of the same kind, was partly agreed upon, partly still under
Parliamentary consideration, in the beginning of 1646.--_Commons
Journals, with references there to the Lords Journals_.


January 1645-6, I think, was the month in which Presbyterianism was in
fullest tide. After that month, and through the spring and early summer
of 1646, there was a visible ebb. The cause may have been partly that
continued triumph everywhere of the New Model Army which had brought the
War obviously to its fag-end, and now, perhaps, suggested to Parliament
and the Londoners the uncomfortable idea that the marching mass of
Independency, relieved from its military labours, would soon be re-
approaching the capital, and at leisure to review the proceedings of its
masters. There was, however, a more obvious cause. This was the increase
of the Independent Vote in the House of Commons by the gradual coming in

By the outbreak of the Civil War in August 1642, and the consequent
desertion of the House of Commons by two-thirds of its members, most of
whom were then or afterwards formally disabled, the House, as we know,
had been reduced to a mere stump of what it ought to have been
constitutionally. There had been complaints about this outside, and
regrets within the House itself; but it was felt that a time of Civil War
could not be a time for Parliamentary elections. How could there be such
elections while the King's forces were in possession of large regions of
England, and these the very regions where most seats were vacant? For
three years, therefore, the House had allowed the vacant seats in it to
remain vacant, and had persisted in the public business in the state to
which it had been reduced, _i.e._, with a nominal strength at the
utmost of about 280, and a constant working attendance of only 100 or
thereabouts. Not till after Naseby, and the recovery of more and more of
English ground for Parliament by the successes of the New Model, was it
deemed prudent to begin the issue of new writs; and even then the process
was careful and gradual.

The first new writs issued were in Aug. 1645, and were for Southwark, St.
Edmundsbury, and Hythe; in September there followed 95 additional new
writs for boroughs or counties; in October there were 27 more; and so on
by smaller batches in succeeding months, until, by the end of the year,
146 new members in all had been elected. This did not complete the
process; for 89 new members more remained to be elected in the course of
1646, bringing the total number of the Recruiters up to about 235. Now,
among these Recruiters, all of them Parliamentarians in the main sense,
there were both Presbyterians and Independents. As Presbyterians, more or
less, may be reckoned, among those elected before January 1645-6, Major-
general RICHARD BROWNE (Wycombe), Major-general EDWARD MASSEY (Wootton
Bassett), WALTER LONG, Esq. (Ludgershall, Wilts), and CLEMENT WALKER,
Esq. (Wells): this last a very peculiar-tempered person from
Somersetshire, a friend of Prynne's, and described by himself as an
"elderly gentleman, of low stature, in a grey suit, with a little stick
in his hand." Decidedly more numerous among the Recruiters, however, were
men who might be called Independents, or were at least Tolerationists.
Among such, all elected before January 1645-6, or not later than that
month, may be named Colonel ROBERT BLAKE (Taunton), Sir JOHN DANVERS,
brother of the late Earl of Danby (Malmesbury), the Hon. JOHN FIENNES,
third son of Viscount Saye and Sele (Morpeth), GEORGE FLEETWOOD, Esq.
(Bucks), Colonel CHARLES FLEETWOOD (Marlborough), Sir JAMES HARRINGTON
(Rutland), the Hon. JAMES HERBERT, second son of the Earl of Pembroke
(Wilts), Colonel JOHN HUTCHINSON (Notts), Commissary-general HENRY IRETON
(Appleby), HENRY LAWRENCE, Esq., a gentleman of property and some taste
for learning and speculation (Westmoreland), Sir MICHAEL LIVESEY
(Queenborough), Colonel EDMUND LUDLOW (Wilts), SIMON MAYNE, Esq.
(Aylesbury), young Colonel EDWARD MONTAGUE (Hants), Colonel RICHARD
NORTON (Hants), Colonel CHARLES RICH (Sandwich), Colonel EDWARD ROSSITER
(Great Grimsby), THOMAS SCOTT (Aylesbury), young Colonel ALGERNON SIDNEY
(Cardiff), Colonel WILLIAM SYDENHAM (Melcombe Regis), and PETER TEMPLE,
Esq. (Leicester). Of this list, nearly half, it may be noted, were or had
been officers in the New Model. The fact was very significant. It was
still more significant that among these New Model officers elected among
the first Recruiters there was a knot of men who were already recognised
as in a special sense Cromwellians. Almost all the New Model officers
were devoted to Cromwell; but Ireton was his _alter ego_, and young
Fleetwood, young Montague, young Sidney, and young Sydenham, belonged to
a group known in the Army as Cromwell's passionate admirers and
disciples. [Footnote: The statistics of the Recruiting in this paragraph
are from my own counting of the New Writs from Aug. 1645 onwards in the
Commons Journals, checked by Godwin's previous counting or calculation
(Hist. of Commonwealth, II. 38, 39), and by the noting of new writs in
the list of members of the Long Parliament given in the Parl. Hist. (II.
599-629). Among the individual Recruiters named I have tried not to
include any whose election was _later_ than Jan. 1645-6, and have
trusted, in that particular, to the notices of new writs in the Commons
Journals and the Parl. Hist.; but one cannot be perfectly sure that in
each case an election immediately followed the new writ. My often-cited
fly-sheet authority, Leach's _Great Champions of England_, has been
of use. It distinguishes 131 Recruiters as of Parliamentary note before
the end of July, 1646; but its list of Recruiters up to that date is
neither complete nor accurate.--The description of Clement Walker is from
his own _Hist. of Independency_ (edit. 1660), Part I. p. 53.--The
county in which there had to be most Recruiting, _i.e._in which
there were most vacant seats, was Somersetshire. Nearly all the seats
were vacant there. A large proportion of the seats was vacant in Notts,
Yorkshire, Sussex, Westmoreland, and Wales.--The Recruiting went on not
only through 1646, but also in stray cases through subsequent years; and
himself among civilians, came at length into the House.]

Not _called_ Recruiters, but practically such for the Independents,
were two original members who, after having been out of the House for a
long while, were now restored to their places. These were Nathaniel
Fiennes, _alias_ "Young Subtlety," and the witty and freethinking
Henry Marten. Fiennes, having been tried by court-martial and sentenced
to death in December 1643, for his surrender of Bristol (_antè_, p.
6), had been forgiven and allowed to go abroad; but opinion of his
conduct in that affair had meanwhile become more favourable, and before
the end of 1645 he returned and resumed his seat. Marten (Vol. II. p.
166) had been expelled from the House by vote, Aug. 16, 1643, for words
too daringly disrespectful of Royalty--in fact, for premature
Republicanism; but, the House having become less fastidious in that
matter, and his presence being greatly missed, the vote was rescinded
January 6, 1645-6, and the record of it expunged from the Journals.
[Footnote: Godwin's Commonwealth, II. 77, 78; Wood's Ath. III. 878 and
1238; and Commons Journals of dates given.]

Although as many as 146 Recruiters had been elected before the end of the
year, they appear to have taken their places but slowly. Not till January
26, 1645-6, does one perceive any considerable effect on the numbers of
the House. On that day there was a House of at least 183, the largest
there had been for many a day--larger by 13 than the House that had made
Fairfax commander-in-chief twelve months before. And thenceforward the
numbers keep well up. On two occasions early in February there were
Houses of 203 and 202 respectively; and before the summer of 1646 there
were members enough at hand to form on great field-days Houses of from
250 to 270. By that time some of the military men among the Recruiters
were able to be present. [Footnote: My notes of Divisions, from the
Commons Journals.]


As soon as the Recruiting had begun to tell upon the _numbers_ of the
House, an effect on the _policy_ of the House is also perceptible. Thus
on Feb. 3, the very day when the Commons mustered a House of 203, a
division took place involving Toleration in a subtle form. The question
was whether in a Declaration setting forth the true intentions of the
House in Church-matters this clause should be inserted: "A fitting care
shall be taken of tender consciences, so far as may stand with the Word
of God and the Peace of the Kingdom." This, though mild enough,
displeased the Presbyterians, and was proposed from their side that the
words "Church and" should be inserted before the word "Kingdom." On a
division the _Yeas_ (for adding the words and so making the pledge of a
toleration weaker) were 105, and had for their tellers the Presbyterian
party-chiefs, Denzil Holles and Sir Philip Stapleton; but 98 _Noes_
rallied round Sir Arthur Haselrig and Sir Henry Mildmay, the tellers for
the Opposition. [Footnote: Commons Journals of date.] A wavering of the
balance towards Independency and Toleration was indicated by this vote;
but it was not till the following month that the balance was decisively
turned, and then not directly on the Toleration question, but on that
great related question of the "Power of the Keys" which the Presbyterians
of the Assembly wanted to see settled in their favour before they could
consider the Presbyterian establishment perfect. If the phrase "Power of
the Keys" should seem a mystic one to English readers now, it will
perhaps be cleared up by the following story of what happened in March

On the 5th of that month the Commons passed and sent up to the Lords one
all-comprehensive Ordinance, recapitulating in twenty-three Propositions
the substance of their various Presbyterian enactments up to that date.
[Footnote: See the Ordinance in the Commons Journals of the date. It is a
clear and excellent summary of what had been done and what was intended
in the matter of Presbyterian Establishment.] What these were we have
just seen (_antè_, pp. 397-400). They amounted, as one might now
think, to a sufficiently strict Presbyterianizing of all England, with
London first by way of example. The Presbyterian Divines were not ill
satisfied on the whole; but they had not succeeded to the full extent of
their wishes, and there were various matters in the Recapitulating
Ordinance that they hoped yet to see amended. In particular,
notwithstanding all their efforts for months past to indoctrinate the
Parliament with the right Presbyterian theory of the independent
spiritual jurisdiction of the Church, the natural Erastianism of the lay
mind had been so strong in the Commons that the 14th Proposition of the
Recapitulating Ordinance stood as follows:--

"XIV. That, in every Province, persons shall be chosen by the Houses of
Parliament that shall be Commissioners to judge of scandalous offences
(not enumerated in any Ordinance of Parliament) to them presented: And
that the Eldership of that Congregation where the said offence was
committed shall, upon examination and proof of such scandalous offence
(in like manner as is to be done in the offences enumerated), certify the
same to the Commissioners, together with the proof taken before them: And
before the said certificate the party accused shall have liberty to make
such defence as he shall think fit before the said Eldership, and also
before the Commissioners before any certificate shall be made to the
Parliament: And, if the said Commissioners, after examination of all
parties, shall determine the offence, so presented and proved, to be
scandalous, and the same shall certify to the Congregation, the Eldership
thereof may suspend such person from the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper,
in like manner as in cases enumerated in any Ordinance of Parliament."

Here was wormwood for the Presbyterians; and over this 14th Article, and
one or two subsequent articles, settling farther details of the
superiority of the proposed Parliamentary Commissioners over the Church
Courts, and also reserving the appeal of ecclesiastical questions to
Parliament, they prepared to fight a most strenuous battle. The Assembly,
the City Corporation, the City ministers in their Sion College conclave,
and the Scottish Commissioners, all flew to arms. Their first hope was
with the Lords; and _them_ they nearly conquered. On the 13th of
March there was a long debate in that House on the whole Ordinance, and
especially its 14th Article; and, out of twenty-one Peers present,
_nine_ were so opposed to that Article that, before the vote was
taken, they begged leave to be allowed to register their protest if the
vote went against them. These Peers were the Earls of Essex, Manchester,
Warwick, Bolingbroke, and Suffolk, and Lords Willoughby, Roberts, Dacres,
and Bruce. There were, however, _twelve_ Peers in favour of the
Erastian Article: viz. the Earls of Northumberland, Kent, Pembroke,
Salisbury, Denbigh, Nottingham, Stamford, and Middlesex, and Lords North,
Howard of Escrick, Wharton, and Grey of Wark. Pour of the minority, viz.
Essex, Manchester, Bolingbroke, and Bruce, did then protest, on the
ground that they considered the institution of Parliamentary
Commissioners apart from the Church Courts inconsistent with the Solemn
League and Covenant. The entire Ordinance, with insignificant amendments,
thus passed the Lords; and, the Commons having accepted the amendments,
it became law on the 14th of March. [Footnote: Commons Journals, Feb. 27,
and March 3, 5, and 14, 1645-6; and Lords Journals, March 13 and 14.]

Was it, then, such a mongrel Presbytery as this, an Erastian Presbytery,
a Presbytery controlled and policed by Parliamentary Commissioners, that
was to be set up in England? Not if the Presbyterian clergy of England,
with all Scotland to aid them, could prevent it! "We, for our part [the
Scottish Commissioners]," writes Baillie, March 17, "mind to give in a
remonstrance against it; the Assembly will do the like; the City
ministers will give the third; but that which, by God's help, may prove
most effectual is the zeal of the City itself. Before the Ordinance came
out, they petitioned against some materials of it. This both the Houses
voted to be a breach of their privilege, to offer a petition against
anything that is in debate before them, till once it be concluded and
come abroad. This vote the City takes very evil: it's likely to go high
betwixt them. Our prayers and endeavours are for wisdom and courage to
the City." [Footnote: Baillie, II. 361.] Within a fortnight, however
(March 31), Baillie writes, in a postscript to the same letter, in a much
more downcast mood. "The leaders of the people," he says, "seem to be
inclined to have no shadow of a King, to have liberty for all Religions,
to have but a lame Erastian Presbytery, to be so injurious to us [the
Scots] as to chase us home with the sword. ... Our great hope on earth,
the City of London, has played _nipshot_ [_i.e._ miss-fire or burnt
priming]: they are speaking of dissolving the Assembly." [Footnote:
Ibid. II. 362.]--To understand this wail of Baillie's we have again to
turn to the Journals of the Commons.

Having passed the all-conclusive Ordinance for Presbytery, the two Houses
had resolved to stand on their dignity, and resent the attempted
dictation of the City, the Sion College conclave, the Assembly, and the
Scottish Commissioners. They had already, as Baillie informs us, made a
beginning, while the Ordinance was yet in progress, by voting a petition
of the City against some parts of it to be a breach of privilege. At
this, as late as March 17, the City was in proper dudgeon, and vowed that
Parliament should hear from it again on the subject. Before a fortnight
had elapsed, however, there was a wonderful change. News had come to
London of Hopton's final surrender to the New Model in Cornwall, of the
defeat of Astley in Gloucestershire with the last shred of the King's
field-force, and in fact of the absolute ending of the war, except for
the few Royalist towns and garrisons that had yet to make terms. In the
midst of the universal joy, why dwell on a difference between the City
and Parliament as to the details of the Presbyterian mechanism?
Accordingly, on Friday, March 27, divers Aldermen and others were at the
door of the House of Commons, not to remonstrate farther this little
difference, but to beg that the House would "so far honour" the City as
to dine with the Corporation at Grocers' Hall on the following Thursday,
being Thanksgiving Day, after the two usual sermons! The House was most
gracious, and accepted the invitation; and this restoration of good
feeling between Parliament and the City was probably the "nipshot" or
miss-fire which Baillie lamented on the 3lst.--The City being out of the
business for the time, it was easier for the Parliament to deal with the
other parties. To the Scottish Commissioners hints were conveyed, as
politely as possible, that Parliament would prefer having less of their
valuable assistance in the governing of England. With the Westminster
Assembly and the London Divines there was less ceremony. The Assembly
_had_ drawn up a Petition or Remonstrance against the Articles of
the conclusive Ordinance of March 14, providing for an agency of
Parliamentary Commissioners to aid and supervise the Church judicatories.
"The provision of Commissioners," they said, "to judge of scandals not
enumerated appears to our consciences to be contrary to that way of
government which Christ hath appointed in his Church, in that it giveth a
power to judge of the fitness of persons to come to the Sacrament unto
such as our Lord Jesus Christ hath not given that power unto;" and they
added that the provision was contrary to the Solemn League and Covenant,
and besought Parliament to cancel it and put due power into the hands of
the Elderships. This Petition, signed by the Prolocutor, one of the
Assessors, and the to Scribes of the Assembly, was presented to the two
Houses, most imposingly, March 23, When Baillie wrote his lamentation he
did not know the precise result, but he guessed what it was to be.

It was worse than Baillie could have guessed. After much inquiry and
consultation about the Assembly's Petition, the Commons, on the 11th of
April 1646, came to two sharp votes. The first was on the question
"Whether the House shall first debate the point concerning the Breach of
Privilege in this Petition;" and it was carried in the affirmative by 106
_Yeas_, told by Evelyn of Wilts and Haselrig, against 85 _Noes_, told by
Holles and Stapleton. The question was then put "Whether this Petition,
thus presented by the Assembly of the Divines, is a Breach of Privilege
of Parliament;" and on this question, the tellers on both sides being the
same, 88 voted _Yea_ and 76 _No_: _i.e._ it was carried by a majority of
12 that the Assembly, in their Petition, had been guilty of a grave
political offence, for which they might be punished individually, by fine
or imprisonment or both. No such punishment, of course, was intended. It
was enough to shake the rod over the Assembly. A Committee, including
Haselrig, Henry Marten, the younger Vane, and Selden, was appointed to
prepare a Narrative on the whole subject, with a statement of the
particulars; and this Narrative, ready April 21, was discussed clause by
clause, and adopted. It is a striking document, quiet and tight in style,
but most pungent in matter. It begins with an assertion of the supremacy
of Parliament in all matters whatsoever; it recites the specific purposes
for which the Assembly had been called by Parliament, and the limitations
imposed upon it by the Ordinance to which it owed its being; and it
proceeds to this rebuke: "The Assembly are not authorized, as an
Assembly, by any Ordinance or Order of Parliament, to interpret the
Covenant, especially in relation to any law made or to be made; nor,
since the Law passed both Houses concerning the Commissioners, have [the
Assembly] been required by both or either of the Houses of Parliament, or
had any authority before from Parliament, to deliver their opinions to
the Houses on matters already judged and determined by them. Neither have
they the power to debate or vote whether what is passed as a Law by both
Houses be agreeing or disagreeing to the Word of God, unless they be
thereunto required." On the day on which the Narrative containing this
passage of rebuke was adopted (April 21) a Committee was appointed to
communicate it, with the appertaining Vote of the Commons, "in a fair
manner," to the Assembly. Actually, on the 27th of April the
communication was made most ceremoniously, and from that day the Assembly
knew itself to be under curb. [Footnote: For the facts of this and the
preceding paragraph the authorities are Commons and Lords Journals, March
23, 1645-6, and Commons Journals of April 1, 3, 8, 11, 16, 18, 21, and
24, 1646. The Lords Journals give the Assembly's Petition; the Narrative
of the Commons is in their Journals for April 21.--It is strange, in
modern times, to note the frequency with which the Parliament, and even
the popular party in it, resorted to the fiction of Breach of Privilege
in order to quash opposition to their proceedings. Sometimes, as in the
Vote about the City Petition recently mentioned, it was the Breach of
Privilege to assume to know what was going on in Parliament or petition
against any measure while it was pending; at other times, as now, it was
a Breach of Privilege to question by petition a measure already
determined. In the present case, however, the Commons seem to have
founded on the fact that the Assembly, "as an Assembly," had transgressed
its powers. Individually, they seem to say, the Divines might have
petitioned, but not as an Assembly, the creature of the Parliament whose
acts they censured.]

Not only under curb, but thrown to the ground, and baited with sarcasms
and interrogatories! Thus, on the 17th of April, six days after the Vote
of Breach of Privilege, but four days before the Vote and the
accompanying Narrative had been communicated officially to the Assembly,
there was finally agreed upon by the Commons that Declaration as to their
true intentions on the Church question which had been in preparation
since February 3, and in this Declaration there was a double-knotted lash
at the prostrate Assembly. Parliament, it was explained, had adopted most
of the Assembly's recommendations as to the Frame of Church-government to
be set up, with no exception of moment but that of the Commissioners; in
which exception Parliament had only performed its bounden duty, seeing it
could not "consent to the granting of an arbitrary and unlimited power
and jurisdiction to near 10,000 judicatories to be erected in this
kingdom." Farther it was announced that Parliament reserved the question
of the amount of toleration to be granted under the new Presbyterial rule
to "tender consciences that differ not in fundamentals of Religion." But
there was more to come. Selden and the Erastians, and Haselrig, Vane,
Marten, with the Independents and Free Opinionists, had been nettled by
those parts of the Assembly's Petition which assumed that the whole frame
of the Presbyterian Government scheme by the Assembly was _jure
divino_. They resolved to put the Assembly through an examination about
this _jus divinum_. On the 22nd of April, therefore, there was presented
to the House, by the same Committee that had prepared the Narrative of
the Breach of Privilege, a series of nine questions which it would be
well to send to the Assembly. "Whether the Parochial and Congregational
Elderships appointed by Ordinance of Parliament, or any other
Congregational or Presbyterial Elderships, are _jure divino_, and by the
will and appointment of Jesus Christ; and whether any particular Church-
government be _jure divino_, and what that government is?"--such is the
first of the nine queries; and the other eight are no less incisive. They
were duly communicated to the Assembly; it was requested that the Answers
should be precise, with the Scripture proofs for each, in the express
words of the texts; every Divine present at a debate on any of the
Queries was to subscribe his name to the particular resolution he might
vote for; and the dissentients from any vote were to send to Parliament
their own positive opinions on the point of that vote, with the Scripture
proofs. Selden's hand is distinctly visible in this ingenious insult to
the Assembly. [Footnote: Commons Journals, April 17 and April 22, 1646;
Baillie, II. 344.] It was a more stinging punishment than adjournment or
dissolution would have been, though that also had been thought of, and
Viscount Saye and Sele had recommended it in the Lords.

In the midst of these firm dealings of the Parliament with the Assembly,
Cromwell was back in London. He was in the House on the 23rd of April
1646, and received its thanks, through the Speaker, for his great
services. He probably brought a train of his young Cromwellians with him
(Ireton, Fleetwood, Montague, &c.) to swell the number of Recruiters that
had already taken their seats. In the course of May, at all events, there
were Houses of 269, 241, 261, 259, and 248, and the Recruiters had so
increased the strength of the Independents and Erastians that a relapse
into the policy of ultra-Presbyterianism and No Toleration appeared
impossible. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 369, and Commons Journals for several
days in May 1646.]


Suddenly, by the King's flight to the Scottish Army at Newark (May 5),
and by the retreat of that army, with the King in their possession, to
the safer position of Newcastle (May 13), the whole condition of things
was changed. The question between Independency and Presbyterianism, and
the included question of Toleration or No Toleration, were thrown, with
all other questions, into the crucible of the negotiations, between the
English and the Scots, round the King at Newcastle.

It was known that the strife between the Independents and the
Presbyterians had long been a solace to Charles, and a fact of great
importance in his calculations. Should he fail to rout both parties and
reimpose both Kingship and Episcopacy on England by force of arms, did
there not remain for him, at the very worst, the option of allying
himself with that one of the parties with which he could make the best
bargain? Now that he had been driven to the detested alternative, he had,
it appeared, though not without hesitation, and indeed partly by
accident, given the Presbyterians the first chance. He had done so, it
was true, in a circuitous way, but perhaps in the only way open to him.
To have surrendered himself to the English Presbyterians was hardly
possible; for, had he gone to London with that view, how could the
Presbyterians of the Parliament and the City have protected him, or kept
him to themselves, when the English Army that would then instantly have
closed round London was an Army of Independents? By placing himself in
the hands of the Scottish Army, had he not cleverly avoided this
difficulty, receiving temporary protection, and yet intimating that it
was with the Presbyterians that he preferred to treat? So, in fact, the
King's flight to the Scots was construed by the English Presbyterians.
They were even glad that it had fallen to the Scots to represent for the
moment English Presbyterianism as well as Scottish, advising Charles in
his new circumstances, and ascertaining his intentions. And the Scots, on
their part, it appeared, had accepted the duty.

Hardly was the King at Newcastle when there were round him not only
General Leven, Major-general Leslie, and the Earls of Lothian, Balcarres,
and Dunfermline, all of whom had chanced to be at Newark on his reception
there, but also other Scots of mark, expressly sent from Edinburgh and
from London. The Earl of Lanark was among the first of these. Argyle
himself, who had been excessively busy in Scotland and in Ireland since
the defeat of Montrose, thought his presence now essential in England,
and hastened to be with his Majesty. The Chancellor Loudoun made no
delay, but was off from London to Newcastle on the 16th of May. Above
all, however, it was thought desirable that Alexander Henderson should be
near his Majesty at such a crisis. Accordingly, some days before
Loudoun's departure, Henderson had taken leave of his brother-divines,
Baillie, Rutherford, and Gillespie, with Lauderdale and Johnstone of
Warriston, in their London quarters at Worcester House, and, though in
such a state of ill-health as to be hardly fit to travel, had gone
bravely and modestly northwards to the scene of duty. How much was
expected of him may be inferred from a jotting in one of Baillie's
letters just after he had gone. "Our great perplexity is for the King's
disposition," wrote Baillie on the 15th of May: "how far he will be
persuaded to yield we do not know: I hope Mr. Henderson is with him this
night at Newcastle." [Footnote: Baillie, II. 370 _et seq._]

The immediate object of the Scots round Charles was to induce him to take
the Covenant. That done, they had little doubt that they would be able to
bring him and the English Parliament amicably together.--Charles,
however, at once showed by his conduct that the current interpretation of
the meaning of his flight to the Scots had been too hasty. It was not
because he wanted to bargain with the Presbyterians as against the
Independents that he had come to the Scots; it was because he had the
more subtle idea that he might be able to bargain with the Scots as such
against the English as such. He hoped to wrap himself up in the
nationality of the Scots; he hoped to appeal to them as peculiarly their
sovereign, born forty-six years before in their own Dunfermline, once or
twice their visitor since, always remembering them with affection, and
now back among them in his distress. [Footnote: On the verge of a wooded
dell or glen close to the burgh of Dunfermline, in Fife, there still
stands one fine length of ruined and ivy-clad wall, the remains of the
palace in which, on the 19th of November 1600, Charles I. was born. The
dell, with the adjacent Abbey, is sacred with legends and stony memorials
of the Scottish royal race, from the days of Malcom Canmore and his Queen
Margaret.] Of course, in such a character, concessions to _their_
Presbyterianism would have to be made; but these concessions had all, in
fact, been made already, and involved no new humiliation. It was about
Episcopacy in England, his English coronation oath, his English
sovereignty, that he was mainly anxious; and what if, from his refuge
among the Scots, and even with the Scots as his instruments, he could
recommence, in some way or other, his struggle with the English? Charles
did labour under this delusion. When he had come among the Scots it was
actually with some absurd notion that Montrose, who still lurked in the
Highlands, might be forgiven all the past and brought back, as one of his
Majesty's most honoured servants, though recently erratic, into the
society of Argyle, Loudoun, Lanark, and the rest of the faithful.
[Footnote: See in Rushworth (VI. 266-7) a Letter of the King's to the
Marquis of Ormond in Ireland, dated from Oxford, April 13, 1646, and
explaining his reasons for his then meditated flight to the Scots. "We
are resolved to use our best endeavours, with their assistance," says
Charles, speaking of the Scottish Army, "and with the conjunction of the
forces under the Marquis of Montrose and such of our well-affected
subjects as shall rise for us, to procure, if it may be, an honourable
and speedy peace." At the same time (April 18) Charles had written to
Montrose himself to the same effect. The infatuation that could believe
in the possibility of such a combination was monstrous.]--A day or two
among the Scots had undeceived him. They repudiated at once any supposed
arrangement with him arising out of the negotiations of Montreuil; they
repudiated expressly the notion that they could by possibility have been
so false to the English Parliament as to have pledged themselves to a
separate treaty. Charles, they maintained, had come among them
voluntarily and without any prior compact. Most willingly, however, would
they do their best for him in the circumstances. If he would declare his
renunciation of Episcopacy and acceptance of Presbyterianism for England,
and especially if he would do this in the best mode of all, by personally
taking the Covenant, then they did not doubt but a way would be opened
for a final treaty with England in which they could assist.

Perforce Charles had now to disguise the real motive of his coming among
the Scots, and let the interpretation at first put upon it continue
current. Not, of course, that he would take the Covenant, or in any way
commit himself even now to Presbytery. But, while he stood firm against
the proposal that he should himself take the Covenant (which would have
been to abjure Episcopacy personally), and while he refrained from
committing himself to an acceptance of Presbytery for his English realm,
he does not appear to have objected to the impression that on this second
matter he might yield to time and reason. And so, while writing in cipher
to Queen Henrietta Maria, complaining of the "juggling" of the Scots,
because they would not break with the English Parliament in his behalf,
and while urging the Queen in the same letters to press upon Cardinal
Mazarin, and through him on the Pope, the scheme of a restitution of
Episcopacy in England by Roman Catholic force, on condition of "free
liberty of conscience" for the Catholics in England and "convenient
places for their devotions," he was patiently polite to the Presbyterians
around him, and employed part of his leisure in penning, from the midst
of them, letters of a temporizing kind to the two Houses of Parliament,
and the Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council of London. The letter to the
City (May 19) was short and general, but cordial. That to the Parliament
(May 18) was a proposal of terms. A speedy settlement of the Religious
Question by the wisdom of Parliament with the advice of the Assembly (no
word of Episcopacy or Presbytery, but some compromise with Presbytery
implied); the Militia to be as proposed in the Treaty of Uxbridge--
_i.e._ to be for seven years in the hands of Parliament, and after
that a fresh agreement to be made; Ireland to be managed as far as
possible as Parliament might wish: such were his Majesty's present
propositions. [Footnote: Letters of Charles numbered XXV. XXVI. and
XXVII. (pp. 39-43) in Mr. Bruce's _Charles I. in_ 1646; Parl. Hist.
III. 471 _et seq._] He would be glad, however, to receive those of

There was a Presbyterian ecstasy in London on the receipt of these
letters. The Corporation, which had, to Baillie's grief, so inopportunely
played "nipshot" in the end of March, and left the Assembly and Sion
College to bear the brunt, now hastened to make amends. Headed by
Alderman Foot, a famous City orator, they presented, May 26, a
Remonstrance to both Houses of Parliament, couched in terms of the most
unflinching Presbyterianism, Anti-Toleration, and confidence in the
Scots. "When we remember," they said, "that it hath been long since
declared to be far from any purpose or desire to let loose the golden
reins of discipline and government in the Church, or to leave private
persons or particular congregations to take up what form of divine
service they please; when we look upon what both Houses have resolved
against Brownism and Anabaptism, properly so called; when we meditate
upon our Protestation and Covenant; and, lastly, when we peruse the
Directory and other Ordinances for Presbyterial government; and yet find
private and separate congregations daily erected in divers parts of the
city and elsewhere, and commonly frequented, and Anabaptism, Brownism,
and almost all manner of schisms, heresies, and blasphemies, boldly
vented and maintained by such as, to the point of Church-government,
profess themselves to be Independents: we cannot but be astonished."
After more complaints, they end with petitions for Presbyterian
Uniformity, the suppression of Independent congregations, the punishment
of Anabaptists and other sectaries, strict union with the Scots, &c., all
to be combined with immediate "Propositions to his Majesty for settling a
safe and well-grounded Peace." There was but one meaning in this. The
City was the mouthpiece; but in reality it was the united ultra-
Presbyterianism of the City, the Assembly, Sion College, and some of the
Presbyterian leaders in Parliament, trying to turn the King's presence
with the Scots into an occasion for any practicable kind of peace
whatsoever that would involve the overthrow of Independency, the Sects,
and Toleration. The House of Lords bowed before the blast, and returned a
gracious answer. The Commons, after two divisions, of 148 to 113, and 151
to 108, in favour of returning some kind of answer, returned one which
was curt and general. The divisions indicate the gravity of the crisis.
The Independents, thinned perhaps in numbers by the action of the
Newcastle peace-chances upon weaker spirits, but with Cromwell, Haselrig,
and Vane as their leaders, formed now what was avowedly the Anti-Scottish
party, profoundly suspicious of the doings at Newcastle, and taking
precautions against a treaty that should be merely Presbyterian. The
Presbyterians, on the other hand, with Holles, Stapleton, and Clotworthy
as their chiefs, were as avowedly the Pro-Scottish party, anxious for a
peace on such terms as the King might be brought to by the help of the
Scots. [Footnote: Parl. Hist. III. 474-480; Lords Journals, May 26,
1646; Commons Journals of same date; Whitlocke's Memorials (ed. 1853),
II. 27.]

Through June the struggle of the parties was continued in this new form.
At Newcastle the Scottish Commissioners, with Henderson among them, were
still plying the King with their arguments for his acceptance of the
Covenant and Presbytery. To these, in their presence, he opposed only the
most stately politeness and desire for delay; but in his letters to the
Queen he characterized them as "rude pressures on his conscience." The
phrase is perfectly just in so far as there was pressure upon him to
accept Presbytery and the Assembly's Directory of Worship for himself and
his family, and it might win our modern sympathies even beyond that range
but for the evidences of incurable Stuartism which accompanied it. He
amuses the Queen in the same letters with an analysis he had made of the
Scots from his Newcastle experience of their various humours. He had
analysed them into the four factions of the "Montroses" or thorough
Royalists, the "Neutrals," the "Hamiltons," and the "Campbells" or
thorough Presbyterians of the Argyle following. He estimates the relative
strengths of the factions, and has no doubt that the real management of
Scotland lies between the Hamiltons, leading most of the nobility, and
the Campbells, commanding the votes of the gentry, the ministers, and the
burghs; he refers individual Scots about him to the classes to which he
thinks, from their private talk, they belong respectively; he tells how
they are all "courting" him, and how he is behaving himself "as evenly to
all as he can;" and his "opinion upon this whole business" is that they
will all have to join him in the end, or, which would be quite as
satisfactory to himself and the Queen, go to perdition together. What
could be done with such a man? Quite unaware of what he was writing about
them, the Scots were toiling their best in his service. There were
letters from Edinburgh (where the General Assembly of the Kirk had met
Jun. 3) to Newcastle and London; there were letters from Newcastle to
Edinburgh and London; there were letters from London back to Newcastle
and Edinburgh. And still, in the English Parliament, the Pro-Scottish
party laboured for the result they desired, and the Anti-Scottish or
Independent party maintained their jealous watch. Pamphlets and papers
came forth, violently abusive of the Scottish nation; and more than once
there were discussions in the Commons in which Haselrig and the more
reckless Independents pushed for conclusions that would have been
offensive to the Scots to the point of open quarrel. It did not seem
impossible that there might be a new and most horrible form of the Civil
War, in which the English Army and the Independents should be fighting
the Scottish Army and the Presbyterians. [Footnote: King's Letters,
xxix.-xxxiv. in Bruce's _Charles I. in_ 1646; Baillie, II. 374-5;
Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for 1646. Parl.
Hist. III. 482-488; and Commons Journals of various days in May and June,
when there were divisions.]

What mainly averted such a calamity was the prudent behaviour of the
much-abused Scots. Anxious as they naturally were to save their Scottish
Charles from too severe a reckoning from his English subjects, and very
desirous, as was also natural, that the issue of the present dealings
with him should be one favourable to Presbytery and Religious Conformity,
they do not seem to have permitted these feelings to disturb their sense
of obligation to the English Parliament, and of a general British
responsibility. That this was the case arose, I believe, from the fact
that Argyle had come to England to take the direction, and that he
imparted a deep touch or two of his own to their purely Presbyterian
policy. It is interesting, at all events, to have a glimpse of the great
Marquis at this point, not as a fugitive from Montrose, not in the
military character which suited him so ill, but in his more proper
character as a British politician. He had been at Newcastle for some
time, "very civil and cunning," as the King wrote to the Queen; but on
the 15th of June he went to London. He was received there with the
greatest respect by the English Parliament. A Committee of 20 of the
Lords and 40 of the Commons, composed indifferently of Presbyterians and
Independents, was appointed to meet him in the Painted Chamber to hear
the communication which, it was understood, he desired to make.
Accordingly, to this Committee, on the 25th of June, the Marquis
addressed a speech, which was immediately printed for general perusal.
Here are portions of the first half of it, with one or two passages
Italicised which seem peculiarly pregnant, or peculiarly characteristic
of Argyle himself:--

"MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,--Though I have had the honour to be named by the
Kingdom of Scotland in all the Commissions which had relation to this
Kingdom since the beginning of the war, yet I had never the happiness to
be with your lordships till now; wherein I reverence God's providence,
that He hath brought me hither at such an opportunity, when I may boldly
say it is in the power of the two Kingdoms, yea I may say in your
lordships' power, to make us both happy, if you make good use of this
occasion, by settling of Religion and the Peace and Union of these
Kingdoms. .. .As the dangers [in the way of the first enterprise,
'Reformation' or the 'settling of Religion'] are great, we must look the
better to our duties; and the best way to perform these is to keep us by
the Rules which are to be found in our National Covenant,--principally
the Word of God, and, in its own place, the Example of the best Reformed
Churches; and in our way we must beware of some rocks, which are
temptations both upon the right and left hand, so that we must hold the
middle path. Upon the one part we should take heed not to settle lawless
liberty in Religion, whereby, instead of uniformity, we should set up a
thousand heresies and schisms; which is directly contrary and destructive
to our Covenant. _Upon the other part, we are to look that we persecute
not piety and peaceable men who cannot, through scruple of conscience,
come up in all things to the common Rule; but that they may have such a
forbearance as may be according to the Word of God, may consist with the
Covenant, and not be destructive to the Rule itself, nor to the peace of
the Church and Kingdom._--As to the other point, the Peace and Union of
these Kingdoms [here the mutual good services of the two Kingdoms since
1640 are recited]: let us hold fast that union which is so happily
established betwixt us; and let nothing make us again two who are so many
ways one; all of one language, in one island, all under one King, one in
Religion, yea one in Covenant; so that, in effect, we differ in nothing
but in name (as brethren do): _which I wish were also removed, that we
might be altogether one, if the two Kingdoms think fit_.... I will
forbear at this time to speak of the many jealousies I hear are
suggested; for, as I do not love them, so I delight not to mention them:
only one I cannot forbear to speak of,--as if the Kingdom of Scotland
were too much affected with the King's interest. I will not deny but the
Kingdom of Scotland, by reason of the reigns of many kings, his
progenitors, over them, hath a natural affection to his Majesty, whereby
they wish he may be rather reformed than ruined: _yet experience may
tell that their personal regard to him hath never made them forget that
common rule, 'The Safety of the People is the Supreme Law._'"

Altogether Argyle's speech in the Painted Chamber, June 25, 1646,
produced a great impression in London; and, as he remained in town till
the 15th of July, he was able to deepen it, see all sorts of people, and
make observations. He may not have met Cromwell at this time, who was
away all June looking after the siege and surrender of Oxford, and the
marriage, in that neighbourhood, of his eldest daughter Bridget to
General Ireton; but be must have renewed acquaintance with Vane. He
renewed acquaintance, at all events, with an older friend--no other than
the Duke of Hamilton, recently released from his captivity in Cornwall,
and now again busy with affairs. He also took his place in the
Westminster Assembly for a few days by leave of the parliament.
[Footnote: King's Letter xxii. in Bruce's _Charles I, in_ 1646;
Baillie, II. 374-378; Lords Journals, June 23 and July 7, and Commons
Journals, June 25; and Parl. Hist. III. 488-491, where Argyle's Speech is
reprinted from the original edition, published by authority, at London,
by Laurence Chapman, June 27, 1646.]

Part of Argyle's purpose in coming to London had been to co-operate with
the resident Scottish Commissioners there in moderating as much as
possible, or at least delaying, the _ultimatum_ which the English
Parliament were preparing to send to the King. For, though the Parliament
had taken small notice hitherto of the King's letters from Newcastle,
they had been anxiously constructing such an _ultimatum_. in the
form of a series of Propositions exhibiting in one viev, all the terms
which they required Charles to accept at once and completely if he would
retain the sovereignty of England. Without being much influenced,
apparently, by the appeals of Scottish Commissioners for moderation and
clemency to the King in the purely English portions of this document, and
having the perfect concurrence of these Commissioners in the other
portions, Parliament did at length complete it, and, on the 14th of July,
send it to Charles. The document is remembered by the famous name of "The
Nineteen Propositions," and was altogether most comprehensive and
stringent. All the late Royal Acts and Ordinances were to be annulled;
the King was to take the Covenant and consent to an Act enjoining it
afresh on all the subjects of the three kingdoms; he was to consent to
the abolition of Episcopacy, root and branch, in England, Wales, and
Ireland; he was to approve of the proceedings of the Westminster
Assembly, and of the establishment of Presbytery as Parliament had
ordained or might yet ordain; he was to surrender to Parliament the
entire control of the Militia for 20 years, sea-forces as well as land-
forces; he was to let Parliament have its own way in Ireland; and he was
to submit to various other requirements, including the outlawing and
disqualification of about 120 persons of both nations named as
Delinquents--the Marquis of Newcastle, the Earls of Derby and Bristol,
Lords Cottington, Digby, Hopton, Colepepper and Jermyn, with Hyde,
Secretary Nicholas, and Bishops Wren and Bramhall, in the English list,
and the Marquises of Huntly and Montrose, the Earls of Traquair,
Nithsdale, Crawford, Carnwath, Forth, and Airlie, Bishop Maxwell, and
MacDonald MacColkittoch, in the Scottish list. As bearers of these fell
Propositions to the King the Lords appointed the Earls of Pembroke and
Suffolk, and the Commons appointed four of their number. These six
persons were at Newcastle on Thursday the 23rd of July; and the next day
they had their first interview with the King, Argyle and Loudoun being
also present. The rough Pembroke took the lead and produced the
Propositions. Before letting them be read, Charles, who had had a copy in
his possession privately for some time, asked Pembroke and the rest
whether they had powers to treat with him on the Propositions or in any
way discuss them. On their answering that they had no such powers, and
had only to request his Majesty's _Ay_ or _No_ to the Propositions as
they stood, "Then, but for the honour of the business," said the King
testily, "an honest trumpeter might have done as much." Recovering
himself, he listened to the Propositions duly read out, and then said he
was sure they could not expect an immediate answer in so large a
business. They told him that their instructions were not to remain in
Newcastle more than ten days, and so the interview ended. Charles, in
fact, in anticipation of their coming, had been planning how to act. "All
my endeavours," he had written to the Queen, "must be the delaying of my
answer till there be considerable parties visibly formed; to which end I
think my proposing to go to London, if I may be there with safety, will
be the best put-off, if (which I believe to be better) I cannot find a
way to come to thee." And so, day after day, though it was the effort of
all who had access to him, and especially of Argyle and Loudoun, to
persuade him to accept the inevitable, he remained stubborn. When the
Commissioners at length told him they must return to London, all the
answer they could obtain from him was a letter, dated Aug. 1, and
addressed to the Speaker of the House of Peers _pro tempore_, in which he
said a positive and immediate answer was impossible, but offered to come
to London or its neighbourhood to treat personally, if his freedom and
safety were guaranteed, and also to send for the Prince of Wales from
France. With this answer the Commoners left Newcastle on Sunday, Aug. 2,
and they reported their success to the two Houses on Wednesday, Aug. 12.
And here, so far as the King is concerned, we shall for the present stop.
[Footnote: King's Letters, xxxiv.-xl. (June 24--July 3) in Bruce's
_Charles I. in_ 1646; Baillie, II. 379; Lords Journals, July 11, and
Commons Journals, July 6; Rushworth, VI. 309-321; and Parl. Hist. III.
499-516. Both Rushworth and the Parl Hist. give the text of the nineteen


Not the less, while the two Houses had thus been watching the King at
Newcastle and corresponding with him, had they been acting as the real
Government of England without him.

The King's flight to the Scots having, as we have seen, turned the
balance once more in favour of Presbyterianism, the combined Erastians
and Independents had not been able to keep Parliament steady to that mood
of sharp mastership over the Assembly and the London Divines in which we
left it in the months of March and April (_antè_, pp. 407-411). It
had been necessary to make a compromise in that question of "The Power of
the Keys" on which the Parliament and the Assembly had been so angrily at
variance. The compromise was complete in June. On the 3rd of that month
the two Houses agreed on an Ordinance modifying, in a somewhat
complicated fashion, their previous device of Parliamentary Commissioners
to assist and control the Congregational Elderships. Instead of the
contemplated sets of Commissioners in each ecclesiastical Province, there
was now to be one vast general Commission for all England, consisting of
about 180 Lords and Commoners named (Cromwell, Vane, and everybody else
of any note among them); which Commissioners, or any nine of them, should
be a Court for judging of non-specified offences, after and in
conjunction with the Congregational Elderships, with right of reference
in certain cases to Justices of the Peace, and with the reserve of a
final appeal from excommunicated persons to Parliament itself. It does
not very well appear why this arrangement, as Erastian in principle as
that which it superseded, should have pleased the London Presbyterians
better. Perhaps it was made palatable by an accompanying increase of the
list of scandalous offences for which the Elderships were to be entitled
to suspend or excommunicate without interference by the Commissioners. At
all events, when Parliament again required the London ministers and
congregations by a new Ordinance (June 9) to proceed in the work which
had been interrupted, and elect Elders in all the parishes of the
province of London, there was no reluctance. At a meeting at Sion
College, June 19, the London ministers, the Assembly Presbyterians in
their counsels, agreed to proceed. They contented themselves with a paper
of _Considerations and Cautions_, explaining that the Parliamentary
Rule for Presbyterianism was not yet in all points satisfactory to their
consciences. [Footnote: Commons Journals, June 3 and 9, 1646; Baillie,
II. 377; Neal's _Puritans_ (ed. 1795) III. 106.]

Nothing now hindered the establishment of Presbytery in London; and,
actually, through the months of July and August 1646, while the King was
making his solitary personal stand for Episcopacy at Newcastle, the
Presbyterian machinery was coming into operation in the capital. "Matters
here," writes Baillie, July 14, "look better upon it, blessed be God,
than sometimes they have. On Sunday, in all congregations of the city,
the Elders are to be chosen. So the next week church-sessions in every
paroch; and twelve Presbyteries within the City, and a Provincial Synod,
are to be set up, and quickly, without any impediment that we apprehend.
The like is to be done over all the land." On the 13th of August Baillie
was able to report that the Elders had been elected in almost all the
parishes, and approved by the Triers; and he adds, "We expect classical
meetings speedily." These "classical meetings," or meetings of the twelve
London Presbyteries and the two Presbyteries of the Inns of Court, were
somewhat later affairs, and the crowning exultation of the first meeting
of the Provincial Synod of London did not come for some months; but from
August 1646 the city of London was ecclesiastically a Scotland
condensed.--Though there was, and continued to be, a general Presbyterian
stir throughout England, only in Lancashire was the example of London
followed in effective practice. The division of that shire into classes
or Presbyteries was already under consideration, with the names of the
persons fit to be lay-elders in each Presbytery. There were to be nine
Presbyteries. Manchester parish, Oldham parish, and four other parishes,
were to form the first; Rochdale parish came into the second; Preston
parish into the seventh; Liverpool did not figure by name as a distinct
Lancashire parish at all, but it had one minister, Mr. John Fogg, and he
was put into the fifth Presbytery. The names of all the Lancashire
ministers thus classified, and of the Lancashire gentlemen, yeomen, and
tradesmen, to the number of some hundreds, thought fit to be lay-elders
in the different Presbyterial districts, may be read yet in the Commons
Journals. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 378 and 388; Neal, III. 307-310 (List
of classes or Presbyteries of London). The division of Lancashire into
Presbyteries is given in the Commons Journals, Sept. 15,1646. See also
Halley's "Lancashire: its Puritanism and Nonconformity" (1869), Vol. I.
pp. 432 et seq., where there are many details concerning the first
introduction of the Presbyterial system into Lancashire. According to Dr.
Halley, the system was set up more rigidly in Lancashire than in London
itself, chiefly in consequence of the activity and energy of Richard
Heyricke, or Herrick, M.A., warden of the Collegiate Church, Manchester.
He was one of the Divines of the Westminster Assembly (see Vol. II. p.
510); but he had returned to Lancashire, prefering Presbyterian
leadership in that county to second rank in London.]

The compromise in the matter of "The Power of the Keys" having been
accepted, with such practical consequences, the Assembly might consider
the long and laborious business of _The Frame of Church Government_
out of its hands, and laid on the shelf of finished work beside the
_New Directory of Worship_ concluded and passed eighteen months
before. It was free, therefore, to turn to the other great pieces of
business for which it had been originally called: viz. _The Confession
of Faith_ and _The Catechisms_. Notwithstanding interruptions,
good progress had already been made in both. Incidentally, too, the
Assembly had concluded a work which might be regarded as an appendage to
their Directory. They had discussed, revised, and finally approved Mr.
Rous's Metrical Version of the Psalms, referred to them by Parliament for
criticism as long ago as Nov. 1643. Their revised copy of the Version for
the purposes of public worship had been in the hands of the Commons since
Nov. 1645; the Commons had ratified the same, with a few amendments,
April 15, 1646; and it only wanted the concurrence of the Lords to add
this "Revised Rous's Psalter" (which Rous meanwhile had printed) to the
credit of the Assembly, as a third piece of their finished work. The
Lords were too busy, or had hesitations in favour of a rival Version by a
Mr. William Barton, so that their concurrence was withheld; but that was
not the fault of the Assembly. Rous's Psalter, therefore, as well as the
Directory and the Frame of Government being done with, what was to hinder
them longer from the Confession and Catechisms? Only one impediment--
those dreadful _jus divinum_ interrogatories which the Parliament,
by Selden's mischief, had hung round their necks! Here also a little
management sufficed. "I have put some of my good friends, leading men in
the House of Commons," says Baillie, July 14, "to move the Assembly to
lay aside our Questions for a time, and labour that which is most
necessar and all are crying for, the perfecting of the Confession of
Faith and Catechise." The order thus meritoriously procured by Baillie
passed the Commons July 22. The Assembly, in terms of this order, were to
lay aside other business, and apply themselves to the _Confession of
Faith_ and _Catechisms_. And so at this point the Assembly had
come to an end of one period of its history and entered on a second. As
if to mark this epoch in its duration, the Prolocutor, Dr. Twisse, had
just died. He died July 19, 1646, and there is a record of the fact in
the Commons Journals for that same July 22 on which the Assembly was
ordered to change the nature of its labours. Mr. Herle was appointed his
successor. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 378-9; Commons Journals, July 22,
1646; and Mr. David Laing's Notices of Metrical Versions of the Psalms in
Appendix to Baillie, Vol. III. pp. 537-540.]


There was a death about this time more important than that of Dr.
Twisse:--The health of Henderson had for some time been causing anxiety
to his friends in London; and, when he left them, early in May, on his
difficult mission to Newcastle, they had followed him in their thoughts
with some foreboding. Actually, from the middle of May to the end of
July, these two strangely-contrasted persons--the wise, modest, and
massive Henderson, the chief of the Scottish Presbyterian clergy, and the
sombre, narrow, and punctilious Charles I., the beaten sovereign of three
Kingdoms--were much together at Newcastle, engaged in an encounter of
wits and courtesies. Charles had seen a good deal of Henderson before (at
Berwick in 1639, in Edinburgh during the royal visit to Scotland in 1641,
and more recently during the Uxbridge Treaty of Feb. 1644-5), and had
always singled him out as not only the most able, but also the most
likeable, man of his perverse tribe. He had therefore received him
graciously on his coming to Newcastle; and, though there arrived
subsequently from Scotland three other Presbyterian ministers, Mr. Robert
Blair, Mr. Robert Douglas, and Mr. Andrew Cant, all commissioned by the
General Assembly to work upon his Majesty's conscience, it was still with
Henderson that he preferred to converse. The main subject of their
conversations was, of course, the question between Presbytery and
Episcopacy. Could the King lawfully do what was required of him? Could he
lawfully now, on any mere plea of State-necessity, give up that Church of
England in the principles of which he had been educated, which he had
sworn at his coronation to maintain, and which he still believed in his
conscience to be the true and divinely-appointed form of a Church? If Mr.
Henderson could prove to his Majesty even now that Episcopacy was not of
divine appointment, then the plea of State-necessity might avail, and his
Majesty might see his way more clearly! It was on this point that the
repeated conversations of the King and Henderson at Newcastle did
undoubtedly turn. Nay, there was more than mere conversation: there was
an elaborate discussion in writing. The King, it is said, would fain have
had a little council of Anglican Divines called to assist him; but, as
that could not be, he was willing to adopt Henderson's suggestion of a
paper debate between themselves. Accordingly, there is yet extant, in the
_Reliquiæ Sacræ Carolinæ_ or Printed Works of Charles I., what
purports to be the actual series of Letters exchanged between the King
and Henderson. The King opens the correspondence on the 29th of May;
Henderson answers June 3; the King's second letter is dated June 6;
Henderson's reply does not come till June 17; the King's third letter is
dated June 22; Henderson replies July 2; and two short letters of the
King, being the fourth and fifth on his side, are both dated July 16.
There the correspondence ends, Henderson having, it is believed, thought
it fit that his Majesty should have the last word. In the King's letters,
as they are printed, one observes a stately politeness to Henderson
throughout, with very considerable reasoning power, and sometimes a
really smart phrase; in Henderson's what strikes one is the studied
respectfulness and delicacy of the manner, combined with grave decision
in the matter.--The controversy, whether in speech or in writing, was
unreal on the King's part, and for the purpose of procrastination only;
and Henderson, while painfully engaging in it, had known this but too
well. His heart was already heavy with approaching death. He had been ill
when he came to Newcastle; and in July, when he is said to have let the
King have the last word in the written correspondence, he was hardly able
to go about. His friends in London, hearing this, were greatly concerned.
"It is part of my prayer to God." Baillie writes to him affectionately on
the 4th of August, "to restore you to health, and continue your service a
time: we never had so much need of you as now." In the same letter,
referring to the King's obstinacy, and to the grief on that account which
he believes to be preying on Henderson, he implores him to take courage,
shake off "melancholious thoughts," and "digest what cannot be gotten
amended." But Baillie knew what was coming. "Mr. Henderson is dying, most
of heartbreak, at Newcastle," he wrote, three days later, to Spang in
Holland. No! it was not to be at Newcastle. "Give me back one hour of
Scotland: let me see it ere I die." Some such wish was in Henderson's
mind, and they managed to convey him by sea to Edinburgh. He arrived
there on the 1lth of August, and was taken either to his own house, in
which he had not been for three years, or to some other that was more
convenient. He rallied a little, so as to be able to dine with one friend
and talk cheerfully, but never again left his room. There his brother-
ministers of the city, and such others as were privileged, gathered round
him, and took his hands; and the rest of the city lay around, making
inquiries; and prayers went up for him in all the churches. On the 19th
of August, eight days after his return, he died, aged sixty-three years,
and there began a mourning in the Scottish Israel over the loss of their
greatest man. They buried him in the old churchyard of Greyfriars, where
his grave and tombstone are yet to be seen. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 381-
387; Burnet's Memoirs of the Hamiltons (ed. 1852), 356-7; Wodrow's
Correspondence (Wodrow Society), III. 33, 34; Life of Mr. Robert Blair,
by Row (Wodrow Society), 185-188; and "_Reliquiæ Sacræ Carolinæ_:
or, The works of that great Monarch and glorious Martyr King Charles the
I." (Hague edition of 1651), where the Letters are given in full. There
is a fair abstract of them in Neal's _Puritans_ (ed. 1795), III.
311-324. The death of Henderson at so critical a moment, and so closely
after his conferences with the King at Newcastle, made a deep impression
at the time, and became an incident of even mythical value to the
Royalists. Hardly was the breath out of his body when there began to run
about a lying rumour to the effect that he had died of remorse,
acknowledging that the King had convinced him, and confessing his
repentance of all he had said or done against that wisest and best of
monarchs. Baillie, in London, was indignant. "The false reports which
went here of Mr. Henderson," he wrote to Spang in Holland, Oct. 2, 1646,
or less than six weeks after Henderson's death, "are, I see, come also to
your hand. Believe me (for I have it under his own hand a little before
his death) that he was utterly displeased with the King's ways, and over
the longer the more; and whoever say otherwise, I know they speak false.
That man died as he lived, in great modesty, piety, and faith." But the
lie could not be extinguished; it circulated among the Royalists; and
within two years it was turned into cash or credit by some scoundrel Scot
in England, who forged and published a document entitled _The
Declaration of Mr. Alexander Henderson, principall Minister of the Word
of God at Edinburgh, and chief Commissioner from the Kirk of Scotland to
the Parliament and Synod of England, made upon his death-bed._ This
forgery was immediately denounced by the General Assembly of the Scottish
Church in a solemn Declaration set forth by them Aug. 7, 1648, stating
particulars of Henderson's last days, and vindicating his memory.
Nevertheless the fiction was too convenient to be given up: it lasted;
was embalmed by Clarendon in his History (605); and still leaves its
odour in wretched compilations.--The genuineness of the series of Letters
on Episcopacy between the King and Henderson, first printed in 1649,
immediately after Charles's death, and included since then in all
editions of Charles's works, does not seem to have been questioned by
contemporaries on either side, or by subsequent Presbyterian critics. In
the year 1826, however, the eminent and acute Godwin, in an elaborate
note in his _History of the Commonwealth_ (II. 179-185), did
challenge the genuineness of the correspondence. He was inclined to the
opinion that there had been no interchange of written Papers between the
King and Henderson at all, but only "discourses and conferences," and
that the whole thing was a Royalist forgery of 1649, contemporary with
the _Eikon Basilike_, and for the same purpose. In venturing on so
bold an opinion, Godwin, besides undervaluing other evidence to the
contrary, seems to have dismissed too easily Burnet's information, in his
_Lives of the Hamiltons_ in 1673, as to the manner in which the
Letters were written and kept. No less eminent a man than Sir Robert
Moray, one of the founders of the Royal Society, and its first President,
and of whom Burnet elsewhere says, "He was the wisest and worthiest man
of his age, and was as another father to me," had told Burnet, "a few
days before his much-lamented death" (June 1673), that he had been the
amanuensis employed in the correspondence. Being with the King at
Newcastle in 1646, then only as Mr. Robert Moray, it had fallen to him,
as a person much in his Majesty's confidence, to receive each letter of
the King's as it was written in his own royal hand, and make the copy of
it which was to be given to Henderson, and also, Henderson's hand being
none of the most legible, to transcribe Henderson's replies for the
King's easier perusal; and with his Majesty's permission he had "kept Mr.
Henderson's papers and the copies of the King's." After all, however,
Godwin's sceptical inquiry leaves a shrewd somewhat behind it. For,
granted that a written correspondence did take place, "the question
remains," as Godwin asserts, "whether the papers now to be found in King
Charles's works are the very papers that were so exchanged at Newcastle.
The suspicion here suggested tells, in my mind, more against the King's
letters as we now have them than against Henderson's. The King's letters,
we may be sure, would be pretty carefully _edited_ in 1649; and what
may have been the amount and kind of _editing_ thought allowable?"]

The last of Baillie's letters to Henderson, dated Aug. 13, 1646, contains
a curious passage, "Ormond's Pacification with the Irish," writes
Baillie, "is very unseasonable; the placing of Hopes (a professed
Atheist, as they speak) about the Prince as his teacher is ill taken."
The _Hopes_ here mentioned is no other than THOMAS HOBBES, then just
appointed tutor to the Prince of Wales in Paris. As the letter must have
reached Edinburgh after Henderson was dead, he was not troubled with this
additional piece of bad news before he left the world. Doubtless,
however, he had heard of Hobbes, and formed some imagination of that
dreadful person and his opinions. Hobbes indeed was now in his fifty-
eighth year, or not much younger than the dying Henderson himself. But he
was of slower constitution, and had begun his real work late in life, as
if with a presentiment that he had plenty of time before him, and did not
need to be in a hurry. He was to outlive Henderson thirty-three years.



The effect of Milton's _Areopagitica_, immediately after its
publication in November 1644, and throughout the year 1645, seems to have
been very considerable. Parliament, indeed, took no formal notice of the
eloquent pleading for a repeal of their Licensing Ordinance of June 1643.
As a body, they were not ripe for the discussion of the question of a
Free Press, and the Ordinance remained in force, at least as an
instrument which might be applied in cases of flagrant transgression. But
public opinion was affected, and the general agitation for Toleration
took more and more the precise and practical form into which Milton's
treatise had directed it: viz. an impatience of the censorship, and a
demand for the liberty of free philosophising and free printing. "Such
was the effect of our author's _Areopagitica_," says Toland, in his
sketch of Milton's life, "that the following year Mabol, a licenser,
offered reasons against licensing, and, at his own request, was
discharged that office." [Footnote: Toland's Memoir of Milton prefixed to
the Amsterdam (1698) edition of Milton's Prose Works, p. 23.] Toland is
in a slight mistake here, at least in his dating. The person whom he
means--Gilbert Mabbott, _not_ 'Mabol'--was Rushworth's deputy in the
office of Clerk to the House of Commons, doing duty for him while he was
away with the New Model as Secretary to Fairfax: and not only did this
Mabbott occasionally license pamphlets and newspapers, as it would have
been Rushworth's part to do, through the year 1645, but he was expressly
recommended to be licenser of "weekly pamphlets" or newspapers, Sept. 30,
1647, and he continued to act in this capacity till May 22, 1649, at
which time it was, and not in 1645, that he was released from the
business at his own request.[Footnote: My notes from the Stationers'
Registers of 1645 and subsequent years; Lords Journals, Sept. 30, 1647;
and Commons Journals, May 22, 1649. There is some evidence, however,
that, before this last date, Mabbott had found the duty irksome (see
Commons Journals, Aug. 31, 1648).] The effect of Milton's argument on
Mabbott in particular, therefore, was not so immediate as Toland
represents. There can be no doubt, however, that as Milton, in his
_Areopagitica_, had tried to make the official licensers of books,
and especially those of them who were ministers, ashamed of their office,
so his reasons and sarcasms, conjoined with the irksomeness of the office
itself, did produce an immediate effect among those gentlemen, and modify
their official conduct. Several of them, among whom appears to have been
Mr. John Downham, who had licensed Milton's own Bucer Tract (_antè_,
p. 255, note), became more lax in their censorship than the Presbyterians
thought right; and there was at least one of them, Mr. John Bachiler, who
became so very lax, from personal proclivity to Independency, that he was
denounced by the Presbyterians as "the licenser-general not only of Books
of Independent Doctrine, but of Books for a general Toleration of all
Sects, and against Pædo-Baptism." [Footnote: _Gangræna_: Part I.
(ed. 1646), pp. 38, 39. In Part III. Edwards devotes three pages (102--
105) to a castigation of Mr. Bachiler for his offences as a licenser.
Bachiler, he says, "hath been a man-midwife to bring forth more monsters
begotten by the Devil and born of the Sectaries within the last three
years than ever were brought into the light in England by all the former
licensers, the Bishops and their Chaplains, for fourscore years." He was
in the habit, Edwards adds, of not only licensing sectarian books, but
also recommending them; and among the Toleration pamphlets he had
licensed was the reprint of Leonard Busher's tract of 1614 called
_Religious Peace_ (see _antè_, p. 102). "I am afraid," says Edwards,
"that, if the Devil himself should make a book and give it the title _A
Plea for Liberty of Conscience, with certain Reasons against Persecution
for Religion_, and bring it to Mr. Bachiler, he would license it, and not
only with a bare _imprimatur_, but set before it the commendations of 'a
useful treatise' or 'a sweet and excellent book.'"] The _Areopagitica_,
in fact, found out, even among the official licensers of books, men who
sympathised with its views; and it established prominently, as one of the
practical questions between the Independents and the Presbyterians, the
question of the liberty of Unlicensed Printing. It was Milton that had
taught the Independents, and the Anti-Presbyterians generally, to bring
to the front, for present purposes, this form of the Toleration tenet.
For example, one finds that John Lilburne had been a reader of the
_Areopagitica_, and had imbibed its lesson, and even its phraseology. "If
you had not been men that had been afraid of your cause," is one of
Lilburne's addresses to the Presbyterians and the Westminster Assembly
Divines, "you would have been willing to have fought with us upon even
ground and equal terms--namely, that the Press might be as open for us
as for you, and as it was at the beginning of this Parliament; which I
conceive the Parliament did of purpose, that so the free-born English
subjects might enjoy their Liberty and Privilege, which the Bishops had
learnt of the Spanish Inquisition to rob them of, by locking it up under
the key of an _Imprimatur_." [Footnote: Lilburne, as quoted by Prynne in
his _Fresh Discovery of Blazing Stars_, p. 8.] There is proof, in the
writings of other Independents and Sectaries, that Milton's jocular
specimens of the _imprimaturs_ in old books had taken hold of the popular
fancy. It became a common form of jest, indeed, in putting forth an
unlicensed pamphlet, to prefix to it a mock licence. Thus, at the
beginning of the anonymous _Arraignment of Persecution_, the author of
which was a Henry Robinson (_antè_, p. 387), there is a mock order by the
Westminster Assembly, with the names of the two Scribes appended, to the
effect that the author, "Young Martin Mar-Priest," be thanked for his
excellent treatise, and authorized to publish it, and that no one except
"Martin Claw-Clergy," appointed by the author to print the same, presume
to do so. [Footnote: Quoted by Prynne in his _Fresh Discovery_, p. 8.]
Prynne quotes this as an example of the contempt into which the Ordinance
for Licensing had fallen with the Sectaries, and of their supreme
effrontery, Robinson, he says, was one of the chief publishers of
scandalous libels, having brought printers from Amsterdam, and set up a
private printing press for the purpose. [Footnote: I may take this
opportunity of announcing a rather curious fact, of which I have ample
and incontestable proof, thought the proper place for stating it in
detail is yet to come. It is that Milton, the denouncer of the Licensing
System, and the satirist of the official licensers of 1644, was himself
afterwards an official censor of the Press. He was one of the licensers
of newspapers through 1651 and a portion of 1652, doing the very work
from which Mabbott had begged to be excused. The fact, however, is
susceptible of an easy explanation, which will save Milton's

On the whole, then, Milton's position among his countrymen from the
beginning of 1645 onwards may be defined most accurately by conceiving
him to have been, in the special field of letters, or pamphleteering,
very much what Cromwell was in the broader and harder field of Army
action, and what the younger Vane was, in Cromwell's absence, in the
House of Commons. While Cromwell was away in the Army, or occasionally
when he appeared in the House and his presence was felt there in some new
Independent motion, or some arrest of a Presbyterian motion, there was no
man, outside of Parliament, who observed him more sympathetically than
Milton, or would have been more ready to second him with tongue or with
pen. Both were ranked among the Independents, as Vane also was; but this
was less because they were partisans of any particular form of Church-
government, than because they were agreed that, whatever form of Church-
government should be established, there must be the largest possible
liberty under it for nonconforming consciences. If this was Independency,
it was a kind of large lay Independency; and of Independency in this
sense Milton was, undoubtedly, the literary chief. Only, when he was
thought of by the Independents as one of their champions, it was always
with a recollection that his championship of the common cause was
qualified by a peculiar private crotchet. He figured in the list of the
chiefs of Independency, if I may so express it, with an asterisk prefixed
to his name. That asterisk was his Divorce Doctrine. He was an
Independent with the added peculiarity of being the head of the Sect of
Miltonists or Divorcers.


In 1645 Milton still gloried in the asterisk. All the copies of the
second and augmented edition of _The Doctrine and Discipline of
Divorce_ having been sold, there was a reprint of it in this year,
forming substantially the third edition of the original treatise. None of
his writings hitherto had been in such popular demand; and as, besides
the three editions of the original Divorce treatise, there were also in
circulation his _Bucer Tract_, his _Tetrachordon_, and his
_Colasterion_, he had identified himself with the Divorce subject by
a total mass of writing larger than he had yet devoted to any other.
While his five Anti-Episcopal pamphlets, of 1641-42, make together 326
pages of his prose works in Pickering's edition, the four Divorce
treatises, of 1643-45, make 378 pages of the same; so that, in mere
quantity, Milton was 52 pages more a Divorcer than an Anti-Prelatist. He
had now, however, as he had announced in his dedication of the
_Tetrachordon_ to Parliament, done all that he meant to do on the
subject through the medium of mere pamphleteering. But he had hinted to
Parliament, while making that announcement, that a man with his opinions
might do more than write pamphlets in their behalf. "If the Law make not
a timely provision," he had said, "let the Law, as reason is, bear the
censure of the consequences." There was a covert threat here that Milton,
if the Law would not allow him to marry again, might marry again in
defiance of the Law.

Early in 1645, at all events, Milton did think of marrying again. His
wife had been away from him for the better part of two years; and she was
now nothing more in his memory than a girl who had been in his house in
Aldersgate Street as his bride for a few weeks, whom he had found out in
that short experience to be stupid and uncompanionable, who had then left
him on some pretence, and gone back to her father's house, and whose only
communications with him since had been a message or two of contempt and
insult. Law or no law, it was all over between him and that girl! All the
circumstances where known: his unfortunate position was the talk of
neighbours; often, as we have imagined, kindly souls of women, young and
older, must have had their colloquies and whispers about his pitiable
bachelorhood caused by the shameful desertion of his wife. Kindly talk
was all very well: but was there any unmarried lady willing to take the
place of the deserter, if asked to do so? This was really the question in
Aldergate Street, and in all the round of Milton's acquaintances.
Candidates were not likely to be numerous, even among those freer
Christian opinionists among whom Milton principally moved; and there was,
moreover, a complication in the general difficulty. Milton, having
blundered in his choice once, and having principled himself now with very
high notions of feminine fitness, was very likely to be careful in a
second choice. Was there accessible any lady in whom the two
indispensable conditions of fitness and willingness could be found
united? This was the problem for Milton, and it is on record that he
tried to solve it. One remembers his sonnet "_To a Virtuous Young
Lady_," written about the same time as that to the Lady Margaret Ley,
and wonders whether the "virgin wise and pure" there commemorated for her
excellencies of mind and character was thought of by him as the possible
successor of Mary Powell. Can her name have been Miss Davis? That, at all
events, was the name of the lady who _was_ thought of as Mary Powell's
probable successor. It is from Phillips that we have the particulars of
the story:--

"Not very long after the setting forth of these treatises," says
Phillips, referring to the Divorce Treatises, "having application made to
him by several gentlemen of his acquaintance for the education of their
sons, as understanding haply the progress he had infixed by his first
undertakings of that nature, he laid out for a larger house, and soon
found it out. But, in the interim, before he removed, there fell out a
passage which, though it altered not the whole course he was going to
steer, yet it put a stop, or rather an end, to a grand affair, which was
more than probably thought to be then in agitation: it was indeed a
design of marrying one of Dr. Davis's daughters, a very handsome and
witty gentlewoman, but averse, as it is said, to this motion. However,
the intelligence hereof, and the then declining state of the King's
cause, and consequently of the circumstances of Justice Powell's family,
caused them to set all engines on work to restore the late married woman
to the station wherein they a little before had planted her. At last this
device was pitched upon:--There dwelt in the Lane of St. Martin's-le-
Grand, which was hard by, a relation of our author's, one Blackborough,
whom it was known he often visited; and upon this occasion the visits
were the more narrowly observed, and possibly there might be a
combination between both parties, the friends on both sides concentring
in the same action, though on different behalfs. One time above the rest,
he making his usual visit, the wife was ready in another room, and on a
sudden he was surprised to see one whom he thought to have never seen
more, making submission and begging pardon on her knees before him. He
might probably at first make some show of aversion and rejection; but
partly his own generous nature, more inclinable to reconciliation than to
perseverance in anger and revenge, and partly the strong intercession of
friends on both sides, soon brought him to an act of oblivion, and a firm
league of peace for the future; and it was at length concluded that she
should remain at a friend's house, till such time as he was settled in
his new house at Barbican, and all things for her reception in order. The
place agreed on for her present abode was the Widow Webber's house in St.
Clement's Churchyard, whose second daughter had been married to the other
brother [Christopher Milton] many years before."

Phillips tells the story very clearly, and a little annotation is all
that is wanted:--The lady whom Milton thought of, and had perhaps been
thinking of for some time, as a possible substitute for Mary Powell, was
"one of Dr. Davis's daughters." Who this Dr. Davis was, Phillips, writing
at a time when the mere name was probably enough for Londoners, does not
inform us; nor have I been able, with any certainty, to identify him.
[Footnote: There had been a Thomas Davies, M.D., born about 1564, and
educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he had graduated in
medicine in 1591, and who was afterwards a medical practitioner in
London, and Licentiate and Censor of the Royal College of Physicians
there. As he had died in 1615, the youngest of any surviving daughters of
his in 1645 must have been past her thirtieth year. But, on the whole,
Phillips's words suggest that the Dr. Davis he means was alive in 1645 or
had recently been alive; so that this is not likely to have been the one.
There was a Nicholas Davis, or Davys, M.D., who had taken that degree at
Leyden in 1638, had been incorporated in the same degree at Oxford in
1642, and may have been afterwards in practice in London (Munk's Roll of
the Royal College of Physicians of London, and Wood's Fasti, II. 9). The
date of his graduation at Leyden, however, seems rather late for the
hypothesis that he was Phillips's Dr. Davis. After all, there may have
been some other conspicuous Dr. Davis among Milton's acquaintances, and
he need not have been a medical doctor.] Dr. Davis, at all events, dead
or living, had daughters, one of them "a very handsome and witty
gentlewoman," between whom and Milton there was some attempt to arrange a
marriage. She herself, however, was naturally "averse to this motion;"
and, indeed, one can hardly understand what kind of proposition could
have been made to her or her friends. That something was in agitation,
nevertheless, and that it was talked of more particularly in the spring
and early summer of 1645, Phillips had a positive recollection, more by
token because at that very time, he also remembered, his uncle had offers
of more pupils than he could accommodate in the house in Aldersgate
Street. He had consequently been looking about for a larger house, and
had found one suitable close at hand, in the street called Barbican.

Was Miss Davis to be persuaded to be mistress of this new house? Would
the "several gentlemen" of Milton's acquaintance who meant to board or
half-board their sons with him, or would the spouses of those gentlemen,
have been satisfied with that arrangement? The experiment was not to be
tried. The house in Barbican had been taken, but Milton had not yet
removed into it, when, to Miss Davis's relief, another arrangement was
brought about.

Rumours of what was going on, and of the new house in Barbican, had been
borne to Oxford, and the Foresthill mansion of the Powells. In any case
the news of the Miss Davis project, the "grand affair," as Phillips calls
it, could not but have caused some excitement there. But the news came at
a time when the family-fortunes were no longer what they had been when
Mary Powell had left her Parliamentarian husband and taken refuge again
under the maternal wing, amid her Royalist relatives and acquaintances,
close to the King's head-quarters. Crippled already, like other Royalist
families, by necessary contributions to the King's cause, the Powells had
begun to be aware, and more poignantly than others because of their more
straitened means, that their sacrifices were likely to be all in vain--
that Parliament was to be master, and to have the power of pains and
penalties over those whom it called Delinquents. Especially after the
shattering blow to the King at Naseby (June 14, 1645), doubt on the
subject was nearly at an end. What was then more natural than that
distressed Royalist families should be looking forward anxiously to the
amount of new distress which the final triumph of Parliament would
inflict upon them? And so in the Foresthill mansion there had been grave
consultations between Mr. and Mrs. Powell and between Mrs. Powell and her
daughter, ending in a resolution, in which Mrs. Powell was perhaps the
last to acquiesce--for the daughter afterwards pleaded that her mother
all along had been "the chief promoter of her frowardness" [Footnote:
Wood, Fasti, I. 482.]--that it would be best for the daughter to return
to London and try to make it up with Mr. Milton. At least one member of
the family would thus have a roof over her head in the hard time coming;
and might not Milton, with his Parliamentarian connexions, be able to
befriend the family generally when the time did come? Soon after Naseby,
accordingly, we are to imagine the poor young wife taking the journey to
London, accompanied by her mother or some other relative, on her
humiliating and dubious errand.

How were they to manage when they were in London? It was not a simple
matter of going straight to the house in Aldersgate Street and obtaining
admission. Ingenuity was necessary, and preparation of a mode for
approaching Milton. But that, too, had been thought of. Communications
were opened or had already been opened, with those of Milton's friends
who, it was supposed, would be willing to co-operate in the intended
reconciliation, if not in the wife's interest, at least in his. And which
of all Milton's friends was _not_ willing? In such cases, it is in
the man himself that the storm rages; he alone passionately feels: the
friends that stand by, even most sympathisingly, are cool and collected,
regarding the principal only as a difficult patient, who must be soothed
and humoured till he can be brought to reason. To Milton's friends his
Divorce notion may have seemed a just enough speculation, or one at least
about which _they_ would not quarrel with him; the real question
with them was as to the continued practical implication of his own life
and prospects with such a speculation, infamous as it seemed to
respectable society and to the leaders of religious opinion. Let him hold
it, if he would, and even write for it still; but was he, at the age of
thirty-seven, to wrap up his whole future life in it, and proceed as if
he and it must be dashed to pieces together? Was not this reconciliation
between him and his wife, of which there seemed now to be a chance, the
best thing that could happen for him as well as for her? If once it were
brought about, would not things adjust themselves so that the public
would hear no more of the perilous stuff of the Divorce Doctrine, or hear
of it only in dying echoes? So reasoned Milton's friends then, just as
people would reason now in a similar case; and the friendly plot was
arranged. Milton, it appears, was in the habit of dropping in, almost
daily, in his walk City-wards from Aldersgate Street, on a kinsman of
his, named Blackborough, whose house was in St. Martin's-le-Grand Lane--
_i.e._ in that bend of Aldersgate Street which was _within_ the
Gate, and where now the General Post-Office of London stands. Here, some
day in July or August 1645, he was surprised into an interview with his
girl-wife. The good Blackborough had consented to aid and abet, and had
lent his house for the purpose; and, other friends being at hand to
second him, he had opened, let us say, the door of the room in which Mary
Powell was waiting, had ushered Milton in, and had left them together.
Then, as Phillips imagines, had come Milton's two moods in succession,--
the first his instinctive mood of anger and rejection, and the second
that mood of his slow relenting which was witnessed and helped through by
the in-bustling friends:--

_Mood First._

_Samson_. My wife, my traitress! let her not come near me!

_Chorus_. Yet on she moves; now stands and eyes thee fixt,
About to have spoke; but now, with head declined,
Like a fair flower surcharged with dew, she weeps,
And words addressed seem into tears dissolved,
Wetting the borders of her silken veil:
But now again she makes address to speak.

_Dalila._ With doubtful feet and wavering resolution
I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson,
Which to have merited, without excuse,
I cannot but acknowledge: yet, if tears
May expiate (though the fact more evil drew
In the perverse event than I foresaw),
My penance hath not slackened, though my pardon
No way assured. But conjugal affection,
Prevailing over fear and timorous doubt,
Hath led me on desirous to behold
Once more thy face, and know of thy estate;
If aught in my ability may serve
To lighten what thou suffer'st, and appease
Thy mind with what amends is in my power,
Though late, yet in some part to recompense
My rash, but more unfortunate, misdeed.

_Samson._ Out, out! hyæna!
_Samson Agonistes_, 725-747.

_Mood Second._

She ended weeping, and her lowly plight,
Immoveable till peace obtained from fault
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought
Commiseration: soon his heart relented
Towards her, his life so late and sole delight,
Now at his feet submissive in distress,
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
His counsel whom she had displeased, his aid;
As one disarmed, his anger all he lost,
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon.
_Paradise Lost_, X. 937-946.

Was this Milton's idealized history long afterwards of his own two moods
in Blackborough's house in St. Martin's-le-Grand Lane some time in July
or August 1645? So far as it was autobiography at all, I should not say
that it was much idealized, except in so far as Dalila in the land of the
Philistines, and Eve in Paradise, had to be represented poetically as
beautiful, eloquent, and fascinating, while of poor Mary Powell's claims
to beauty we know little, and our information as to her eloquence and
fascination consists in our irremovable impression that it was of her
that Milton had been thinking in that passage in his first Divorce Tract
in which he described the hard fate of a man bound fast by marriage to
"an image of earth and phlegm." From the side of Milton there was, I
think, no idealizing: hardly else than as his own Samson, or his own
Adam, in his poems, did Milton feel or speak on any important occasion of
his own real experience. If, then, the second mood now prevailed, and he
yielded, it was only, I believe, because despair for himself and pity for
another overcame him jointly, and what was alone possible was accepted as
disastrously fated. So much by way of necessary anticipation, and that
there may not be a mistake, even for a moment, as to the real nature of
the reconciliation that had been effected. Meanwhile, the friends of both
wife and husband were delighted with their success; and, till the new
house in the Barbican should be ready, young Mrs. Milton went to lodge in
the house of the Widow Webber, Christopher Milton's mother-in-law, near
St. Clement's Church in the Strand.


September 1645, when the New Model Army had stormed Bristol and was
otherwise carrying all before it in the English South-west, when Montrose
in Scotland had been extinguished by David Leslie at Philiphaugh, and
when the Presbyterian system had been so far arranged for England that
the first order of Parliament for the election of Elders in all the
London parishes had gone out, and Triers of the competency of these
Elders had been appointed in all the London Presbyteries: then it was, as
near as one can calculate, that the interesting house in Aldersgate
Street was left by Milton, and he, his wife, his father, the two boys
Phillips, and the other pupils, entered together into the new house in

It was no great remove. The street called Barbican derived its name,
according to Stow, from the fact that at one time there had stood there
"a _burgh-kenning_, or watch-tower of the city, called in some language a
_barbican_;" and modern etymologists perfect Stow's observation by
tracing the name, through the mediæval Latin _barbacana_, to the Persian
_bála khaneh_, meaning "upper chamber," whence our less corrupt form
_balcony_, actually identical with barbican. [Footnote: Stow, as quoted
in Cunningham's _London_, Art. "Barbican;" and Wedgwood's _Dict. of
English Etymology_, Art. "Balcony."] There had, in short, been a
barbican, or outer defence of the city, at this spot, a little beyond the
particular gate called Aldersgate, just as there were such things beyond
others of the city-gates; but the name had lingered only here as applied
to the street or site where a barbican had been. The street, retaining
its warlike name, still exists--a short street going off from Aldersgate
Street at right angles on one side, and within a walk of not more than
two or three minutes from the site of Milton's Aldersgate Street house.
The house in Barbican was larger, and so much farther off from the city-
gate; but that was all. There was no real change of neighbourhood or of
street-associations. A dingy street now, dingier even than the main
thoroughfare of Aldersgate Street, Barbican was then a fair enough bit of
suburban London towards the north; and it boasted, as we already know, of
at least one aristocratic mansion in which Milton had some interest--the
town-house of the Earl of Bridgewater, ex-President of Wales, and the
peer of _Comus_. The name "Bridgewater Gardens" still designates, without
a shred of garden left there, but only grimy printing-offices and the
like instead, the portion of the street which the mansion occupied. Nay
more, till within a few years ago; Milton's own house in Barbican, with
some modern change of frontage, and some filling-up of interstices right
and left, was extant and known. Somehow, while the more important house
in Aldersgate Street had perished from the memory of the neighbourhood
(probably because the fabric itself had perished), the tradition of
Milton still clung around this house in Barbican, I have passed it many a
time, stopping to look at it, when it was occupied, if I remember
rightly, by a silk-dyer, or other such tradesman, exhibiting on his sign
the peculiar name of "Heaven," and using the lower part of it for his
shop. Though jammed in with other houses and undistinguished in the line
of bustling street, it had the appearance of having once been a
commodious enough house in the old fashion; and I have been informed that
some of the old windows, consisting of thick bits of dim glass lozenged
in lead, still remained in it at the back, and that the occupants knew
one of the rooms in it as "the Schoolroom" where Milton had used to teach
his pupils. But alas! one of the city railways took it into its head that
it required to run through this precise bit of Barbican, and the house,
with others near it, was doomed to demolition. When I was last in
Barbican part of the shell of the house was still standing, roofless,
disfloored, diswindowed, and pickaxed into utter raggedness, as so much
rubbish yet waiting to be removed from the new railway gap. The
inscription yet remained on the front-door--"This was Milton's House," or
to that effect--which had been very properly put there by the contractor
or his workmen to lure people to a last look at the interior before the
demolition was complete. [Footnote: My information about the interior of
the house is from a friend who visited it just when it was doomed. Though
I had passed it often when it was yet complete, I had unfortunately, not
expecting its doom, deferred going in till it was too late; and my last
homage to it had to be a lingering saunter near and in the railway gap
behind, when there was only the remnant of it described in the text.]


Among Milton's first employments in his new and larger house in Barbican,
while his wife was resuming her duties and the schoolroom was getting
gradually into use, we are able to distinguish one of particular
interest. It was nothing else than the revision for the press of the
proof-sheets of the first collected edition of his Miscellaneous Poems.

By his dealings with the Press hitherto, it is to be remembered, Milton
had made himself known to most people chiefly as a prose pamphleteer.
Except his lines _On Shakespeare_, written in 1630, and prefixed
anonymously to the Second Folio Shakespeare in 1632; his _Comus_,
written and acted in 1634, and sent to the press, also without the
author's name, by his friend Henry Lawes in 1637; and his _Lycidas_,
written in 1637, and printed in 1638, in the Cambridge University volume
of Verses on Edward King's death, but only with the initials "J.M.":--
except these, and perhaps another scrap or two of Latin or English verse
that had been printed in a semi-private manner, all Milton's poems,
written at intervals over a period of more than twenty years, had
remained in his own keeping in manuscript, and had been communicated to
friends only in that form. In consequence of what had been thus printed,
or privately circulated, a certain reputation for Milton as a poet had,
indeed, been established; but the voice of this reputation was hardly
heard amid the much louder uproar caused by his eleven prose-pamphlets
between 1641 and 1645. Now, to a man who believed Poesy to be his true
calling, who had consented reluctantly to put aside "his garland and
singing robes" in order that he might engage in the work of politics, and
who had announced while doing so that in that work it was but the
strength of his left hand he could lend and not the nobler cunning of his
right, this state of public opinion about himself must have begun to be a
little disagreeable. It was the most natural thing in the world that, as
soon as there should be a lull in the political tumult, the least leisure
of the public for a return to purer and blander literature, Milton should
make some sign of resuming his garland, so as to remind those about him
of his original vocation. But, precisely in the year 1045, when Naseby
had assured the victory of Parliament, there did come, for the first time
since the war had begun, or indeed since the Long Parliament had met,
such a lull of the polemical tumult. The statistics of the English book-
trade, as they are presented in the Registers of the Stationers' Company,
verify and illustrate this statement.

Even in the year 1640, when there was political agitation enough in
England, but the Long Parliament had not yet met, there was still so much
leisure for the purer forms of literature in English society that London
publishers were bringing out such things as Masques and other remains of
Ben Jonson, the Works of Thomas Carew, various Plays by Shirley,
Glapthorne, Habington, Heywood, Killigrew, and Brome, an edition of
Herrick's Poems, and Thomas May's Supplement to Lucan. As soon, however,
as we pass beyond 1640, and the real work of the Long Parliament is
begun, such books almost entirely cease to appear. The matter then
provided for the reading of the English public consisted of a huge jumble
of Pamphlets on the Church-question, Sermons, semi-controversial
Treatises of Theology, Political Speeches, fragments of Ecclesiastical
History, Prose Invectives and Satires, and latterly, when the Civil War
was in progress, an abundance of Diurnals, Intelligencers, Mercuries, and
other news-sheets. Between 1640 and 1645 one does indeed discern
twinkling in this jumble some gems or would-be gems of the purer ray
serene. The "Epigrams Divine and Moral" of Sir Thomas Urquhart, the
translator of Rabelais, were published in April 1641; Howell's
"Instructions for Foreign Travel" came out in September in the same year;
Baker's "Chronicle of the Kings of England" in the following December; in
April 1642 there was a London edition of Thomas Randolph's Poems, which
had appeared originally at Oxford in 1638; and the publication of
Denham's "Cooper's Hill" and his "Tragedy called The Sophy" is a rather
notable event of August 1642, the very month in which the King raised his
standard. In the same month one London publisher, Francis Smethwick,
registered for his copies a number of books of the poetical kind which
had been the property of his late father, including "Mr. Drayton's
Poems," "Euphues's Golden Legacy," Meres's "Witt's Commonwealth," and
also "Hamblett, a Play," "The Taming of the Shrew," "Romeo and Juliet,"
and "Love's Labour's Lost." This transaction, however, hardly implied
that these books were in demand, but only that Smethwick wanted to secure
his interest in them on succeeding to his father's business. Afterwards,
while the war was actually raging, it is not till December 1644 that one
comes upon anything of the finer sort worth mentioning. On the 14th of
that month there was registered for publication the first edition of
"Poems, &c., written by Mr. Edmund Waller, of Beckonsfield, Esq., lately
a member of the Honourable House of Commons," but then, as we know, a
disgraced plotter, who, having, by great favour, been permitted to carry
his dear-bought life, and his remaining wealth, into exile in France,
left this parting gift to his countrymen, that they might think of him
meanwhile as kindly as they could. Except that I have not taken notice of
a publication or two of the voluminous Scotchman Alexander Rosse,
Chaplain to his Majesty, [Footnote: This Alexander Rosse, or "Dr.
Alexander Ross," made famous in _Hudibras_, was one of the singular
characters of the time, and a memoir of him, with a complete list of his
writings, would be a not uninstructive curiosity. He was a native of
Aberdeen, born about 1590, but had migrated to England, where he became
Master of the Free School at Southampton, and Chaplain in Ordinary to
King Charles. By a succession of publications of all kinds, in Latin and
in English., he acquired the reputation of being "a divine, a poet, and
an historian." He made a good deal of money, and, at his death in 1654,
left bequests, for educational purposes, to Aberdeen, Southampton,
Oxford, and Cambridge. ] the foregoing enumeration fairly represents, I
believe, the amount of book-production of the purer or non-controversial
kind that went on in London in the four loud-roaring years between 1640
and 1645.

In 1645, however, and especially after Naseby, there are symptoms of a
slightly revived leisure for other kinds of reading than were supplied by
Diurnals, Sermons, Pamphlets, and books of Polemical Theology, and of a
willingness among the London booksellers to cater for this leisure. In
that year, interspersed amid the still continuing tide of Pamphlets,
Diurnals, Sermons, and other ephemerides, were such novel appearances in
the London book-world as these--two Treatises, one physical, the other
metaphysical, by Sir Kenelm Digby, then abroad; an edition of Buxtorf's
Hebrew Grammar; an Essay by Lord Herbert of Cherbury; some metrical
religious remains of Francis Quarles, then just dead; some attempts to
introduce the mystic Jacob Bohme, by specimens of his works; a
translation of Æsop's Fables and those of Phædrus; the issue of the
second and third parts of the _Epistolæ Hoelianæ_ or James Howell's
Letters, with a re-issue of his "Dodona's Grove;" and a re-issue of
Randolph's comedy of "The Jealous Lovers." Clearly, as the Civil War was
drawing to a close, the Muses of pure History, pure Speculation or
Philosophy, Scholarship for its own sake, and even lighter Phantasy, did
hover over England again, timidly seeking some spots where they might
rest themselves in the all-prevailing controversy between Independency
and Presbyterianism.

Almost always, in such cases, a social tendency is represented in the
activity of some particular person. Nor is it otherwise here. So far as
Poetry and so-called Light Literature are concerned, one has no
difficulty in pointing to the particular London publisher who in 1645,
and from that year onwards, stood out from all his fellows by his
alertness in the trade. This was HUMPHREY MOSELEY, who had his shop at
the sign of the Prince's Arms in St Paul's Churchyard. Something in his
personal tastes, I am inclined to think, must have determined him to the
line of business which he selected; so marked is his avoidance of all
dealings in sermons, ephemeral treatises on theology, and pamphlets
either way on the present crisis, and his preference for poetry and books
of general culture. He had been in the trade, in partnership with a
Nicholas Fussel, in St. Paul's Churchyard, as early as 1634, [ Footnote:
Wood's Ath. II 503.] and shortly after that is heard of as in business
for himself. I have a note of him as registering for his copyright, on
March 16, 1639-40, Howell's "Dodona's Grove;" and thenceforward, in worse
times, he stuck to Howell. He not only published Howell's "Instructions
for Foreign Travel" in September 1641, and again the second and third
parts of Howell's "Letters" in 1645, with a re-issue of "Dodona's Grove;"
but he acquired, in the same year, the copyright of the first part of the
"Letters," which had been originally brought out by another publisher.
More significant still is the fact that it was Moseley that was the
publisher of Waller's Poems in December 1644. [Footnote: "Poems &c.
written by Mr. Ed. Waller of Beckonsfield, Esquire; lately a member of
the Honourable House of Commons. All the Lyrick Poems in this Booke were
set by Mr. Henry Lawes, Gent. of the King's Chappell, and one of his
Majestie's Private Musick. Printed and Published according to Order.
London. Printed by T.W. for Humphrey Mosley at the Princes Armes in
Paul's Churchyard: 1645:" pp.96 small 8vo. My authority for the date of
the publication of the volume--December 1644--is the Stationers'
Registers.] After that date his tendency to trade-dealings in Poetry and
the like is so manifest in the Stationers' records that I find appended
to my MS. notes, from these records, for the London Bibliography of the
year 1646, this memorandum:--"_Poetry and Pure Literature looking up
again this year, and chiefly through the medium of Moseley's shop._"
By that time Moseley had distinguished himself as the publisher of
original editions of books, not only by Howell and Waller, but also by
Milton, Davenant, Crashaw, and Shirley, and moreover as the ready
purchaser of whatever copyrights were in the market of poems and plays by
Beaumont and Fletcher, Webster, Ludwick Carlell, Shirley, Davenant,
Killigrew, and other celebrities dead or living. To this group of
Moseley's authors Cowley and Cartwright were soon added; and it was not
long before he snapped out of the hands of duller men Denham's Poems,
Carew's Poems, various things of Sir Kenelm Digby, and every obtainable
copyright in any of the plays of Shakespeare, Massinger, Ford, Rowley,
Middleton, Tourneur, or any other of the Elizabethan and Jacoban
dramatists. For at least the ten years from 1644 onwards there was, I
should say, no publisher in London comparable to Moseley for tact and
enterprise in the finer literature.

Moseley was only on the way to make all this reputation for himself, and
indeed Waller's volume of Poems, published in Dec. 1644, was yet the
principal advertisement of his shop, when he and Milton came together.
Pleased with the success of the Waller, it appears, Moseley thought of a
collection of Mr. Milton's Poems as a likely second experiment of the
same kind, and applied to Milton for the copy. The application was not
disagreeable to Milton; and, accordingly, some time after the middle of
1645, or just while he was preparing to remove from Aldersgate Street to
Barbican, and there came upon him the great surprise of his wife's re-
appearance, Moseley and he were busy in arrangements for the new volume.
Milton's acknowledged London publishers hitherto had been these three--
"Thomas Underhill, of the Bible in Wood Street" (_Of Reformation_, 1641,
_Of Prelatical Episcopacy_, 1641, and _Animadversions on Remonstrant's
Defence_, 1641), "John Rothwell, at the sign of the Sun in Paul's
Churchyard" (_Reason of Church Government_, 1641, and _Apology for
Smectymnuus, 1642), and "Matthew Symmons" (the _Bucer Tract_, 1644); and
this last-mentioned Symmons, who does not give the locality of his shop,
had been probably the printer also of those pamphlets of Milton which
bore no publisher's name (_Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce_, 1643,
1644, and 1645, _Of Education_, 1644, _Areopagitica_, 1644, and
_Tetrachordon_ and _Colasterion_, 1645). Now, however, these were
forsaken for the moment, and for bringing out the Volume of Poems the
conjunction was Milton and Humphrey Moseley. The revisal of the proof-
sheets may have been begun in Aldersgate Street, but it must mainly, as I
have said, have been among Milton's first employments at the new house in
Barbican. Here, at all events, is Moseley's entry of the new volume in
the Stationers' Registers: "_Oct._ 6 [1645], _Mr. Moseley ent. for his
copie, under the hand of Sir Nath. Brent and both the Wardens, a booke
called Poems in English and Latyn by Mr. John Milton._" Usually the entry
of a book in the Stationers' Registers was about simultaneous with its
publication. In this case, however, there was a delay of nearly three
months between the registration and the actual appearance. The precise
day of the publication of the new volume was Jan. 2, 1645-6. [Footnote:
This is ascertained by a MS. note of the collector Thomason's, or by his
direction, on a copy among the King's Pamphlets in the British Museum;
Press-mark E. 1126. "Jan. 2" is inserted before the word "London" in the
title-page.] Either, therefore, Moseley had registered the volume before
the printing had proceeded far, or after the sheets were printed there
was some little cause of delay.

The following is the title-page of this interesting and now very rare

"Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, compos'd at several
times. Printed by his true Copies. The Songs were set in Musick by Mr.
Henry Lawes, Gentleman of the King's Chappel, and one of His Majestie's
Private Musick.

'Baccare frontem
Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro.'
VIRGIL, _Eclog._ vii.

Printed and publish'd according to Order. London, Printed by Ruth
Raworth, for Humphrey Moseley; and are to be sold at the signe of the
Princes Arms in Paul's Churchyard. 1645."

The volume is a very tiny octavo, divided into two parts in the paging.
First come the ENGLISH POEMS, occupying 120 pages, and arranged thus:--
_On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, compos'd_ 1629; _A Paraphrase on
Psalm CXIV. _; _Psalm CXXXVI. _; _The Passion_; _On Time_; _Upon the
Circumcision_; _At a Solemn Music_; _An Epitaph on the Marchioness of
Winchester_; _Song on May Morning_; _On Shakespear_, 1630; _On the
University Carrier who, &c. _; _Another on the Same_; _L'Allegro_; _Il
Penseroso_; _Sonnets_, English and Italian--ten in number (I. "O
Nightingale;" II. "Donna leggiadra;" III. "Qual in colle," with the
attached "Canzone;" IV. "Diodati e te'l;" V. "Per certo i bei;" VI.
"Giovane piano;" VII. "How soon hath Time;" VIII. "Captain or Colonel;"
IX. "Lady that in the prime;" X. "Daughter to that good Earl");--
_Arcades_; _Lycidas_; _Comus_. [Footnote: To this enumeration of the
English pieces in the volume of 1645 I may append three bibliographical
notes--(1) Of the 28 pieces the original drafts of 10 still exist in the
volume of Milton MSS. in Trinity College, Cambridge--viz.: _On Time_,
_Upon the Circumcision_, _At a Solemn Music_, Sonnets 7, 8, 9, and 10,
_Arcades_, _Lycidas_, and _Comus_. All these drafts are in Milton's own
hand, except that of Sonnet 8, only the heading of which is in his hand.
Of the other 18 pieces, the most important of which are _L'Allegro_ and
_Il Penseroso_, the original MSS. have not come down to us. (2) It will
be seen that two of the known early English Poems are omitted in the
volume: viz. the piece _On the Death of a Fail Infant dying of a Cough_--
_i.e._ the poem on the death of his niece, the infant girl Phillips,
written in 1626; and the College piece of 1628 entitled _At a Vacation
Exercise_. These pieces first appeared in the Second Edition of the Poems
in 1673. (3) It may also be noted that the latest written pieces which
appear in the volume of 1645 are Sonnets 9 and 10--the one to the
anonymous young lady, the other to the Lady Margaret Ley. We have
assigned them to the year 1644, but they _may_ have been as late as

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