Puslapio vaizdai

the Inner Temple, of which houfe he lived to be an ancient bencher; and being a profeffed papift, was in the reign of James II. made a judge and knighted; but foon obtained his quietus by reason of his age and infirmities, and retired to Ipfwich, where he lived all the latter part of his life. His fifter Anne Milton had a confiderable fortune given her by her father in marriage with Mr. Edward Philips (fon of Mr. Edward Philips of Shrewsbury) who coming young to London was bred up in the Crown Office in Chancery, and at length became fecondary of the office under Mr. Bembo. By him fhe had, befides other children who died infants, two fons Edward and John, whom we have had frequent occafion to mention before. Among our author's juvenile poems there is a copy of verses on the death of a fair infant, a nephew, or rather niece of his, dying of a cough; and this being written in his 17th year, as it is faid in the title, it may naturally be inferred that Mrs. Philips was elder than either of her brothers. She had likewise two daughters, Mary who died very young, and Anne who was living in 1694, by a fecond husband Mr. Thomas Agar, who fucceeded his intimate friend Mr. Philips in his place in the Crown Office, which he enjoyed many years, and left to Mr. Thomas Milton, fon of Sir Chriftopher before mentioned. As for Milton himfelf he appears to have been no enemy to the fair fex by having had three wives. What fortune he had with any of them is no where faid, but they were gentlemen's daughters; and it is remarkable that he married them all maidens, for (as he fays in his Apology for Smectymnuus, which


was written before he married at all) he " thought " with them, who both in prudence and elegance "of fpirit would choose a virgin of mean fortunes "honestly bred before the wealthieft widow." But yet he feemeth not to have been very happy in any of his marriages; for his first wife had juftly offended him by her long abfence and feparation from him; the fecond, whofe love, fweetnefs, and goodness he commends, lived not a twelvemonth with him; and his third wife is faid to have been a woman of a most violent spirit, and a hard mother in law to his children. She died very old, about twenty years ago, at Nantwich in Cheshire: and from the accounts of those who had seen her, I have learned, that she confirmed feveral things which have been related before; and particularly that her husband used to compofe his poetry chiefly in winter, and on his waking in a morning would make her write down fometimes twenty or thirty verses: and being afked whether he did not often read Homer and Virgil, she understood it as an imputation upon him for stealing from thofe authors, and anfwered with eagerness that he ftole from no body but the Muse who infpired him; and being afked by a lady prefent who the Mufe was, replied it was God's grace, and the Holy Spirit that vifited him nightly. She was likewife afked whom he approved moft of our English poets, and anfwered Spenfer, Shakespear, and Cowley: and being afked what he thought of Dryden, the faid Dryden ufed fometimes to vifit him, but he thought him no poet, but a good rimift: but this was before Dryden had compofed his best poems, which made his name fo famous

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afterwards. She was wont moreover to say, that her husband was applied to by meffage from the King, and invited to write for the Court, but his answer was, that fuch a behaviour would be very inconfiftent with his former conduct, for he had never yet employed his pen against his confcience. By his first wife he had four children, a fon who died an infant, and three daughters who furvived him; by his fecond wife he had only one daughter, who died foon after her mother, who died in childbed; and by his last wife he had no children at all. His daughters were not fent to school, but were inftructed by a miftrefs kept at home for that purpofe: and he himself, excufing the eldeft on account of an impediment in her fpeech, taught the two others to read and pronounce Greek and Latin and feveral other languages, without understanding any but English, for he used to say that one tongue was enough for a woman: but this employment was very irkfome to them, and this together with the sharpness and feverity of their mother in law made them very uneafy at home; and therefore they were all fent abroad to learn things more proper for them, and particularly imbroidery in gold and filver. As Milton at his death left his affairs very much in the power of his widow, tho' fhe acknowledged that he died worth one thousand five hundred pounds, yet he allowed but one hundred pounds to each of his three daughters. Anne the eldest was decrepit and deformed, but had a very handfome face; the married a mafter-builder, and died in childbed of her first child, who died with her. Mary the fecond lived and died fingle. Deborah the youngest

youngest in her father's life time went over to Ireland with a lady, and afterwards was married to Mr. Abraham Clarke, a weaver in Spittle Fields, and died in August 1727 in the 76th year of her age. She is faid to have been a woman of good understanding and genteel behaviour, though in low circumstances. As the had been often called upon to read Homer and Ovid's Metamorphofis to her father, she could have repeated a confiderable number of verfes from the beginning of both these poets, as Mr. Ward, Profeffor of Rhetoric in Gresham College, relates upon his own knowledge: and another Gentleman has informed me, that he has heard her repeat feveral verfes likewife out of Euripides. Mr. Addison, and the other gentlemen, who had opportunities of seeing her, knew her immediately to be Milton's daughter by the fimilitude of her countenance to her father's picture: and Mr. Addison made her a handfome prefent of a purfe of guineas with a promise of procuring for her fome annual provifion for her life; but his death happening foon after, fhe loft the benefit of his generous defign. She received presents likewife from feveral other gentlemen, and Queen Caroline fent her fifty pounds by the hands of Dr. Freind the physician. She had ten children, seven fons and three daughters; but none of them had any children, except one of her fons named Caleb, and one of her daughters named Elizabeth. Caleb went to Fort St. George in the East Indies, where he married, and had two fons, Abraham and Ifaac; the elder of whom came to England with the late governor Harrison, but returned upon advice of his father's death, and whether he or his


brother be now living is uncertain. Elizabeth, the youngest child of Mrs. Clarke, was married to Mr. Thomas Fofter a weaver in Spittle Fields, and had seven children who are all dead; and the herself is aged about fixty, and weak and infirm. She feemeth to be a good plain fenfible woman, and has confirmed feveral particulars related above, and informed me of fome others, which he had often heard from her mother: that her grandfather loft two thousand pounds by a money-fcrivener, whom he had intrufted with that fum, and likewife an estate at Westminster of fixty pounds a year, which belonged to the Dean and Chapter, and was restored to them at the Reftoration: that he was very temperate in his eating and drinking, but what he had he always loved to have of the beft: that he feldom went abroad in the latter part of his life, but was visited even then by perfons of diftinction, both foreigners and others that he kept his daughters at a great distance, and would not allow them to learn to write, which he thought unneceffary for a woman: that her mother was his greatest favorite, and could read in feven or eight languages, tho' fhe understood none but English: that her mother inherited his head-akes and diforders, and had fuch a weakness in her eyes, that he was forced to make ufe of fpectacles from the age of eighteen; and she herself, the fays, has not been able to read a chapter in the Bible these twenty years: that she was mistaken in informing Mr. Birch, what he had printed upon her authority, that Milton's father was born in France; and a brother of hers who was then living was very angry with her for it, and like a true-born English


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