Puslapio vaizdai

the Inner Temple, of which house he lived to be an ancient bencher; and being a professed papist, was in the reign of James II. made a judge and knighted; but soon obtained his quietus by reason of his age and infirmities, and retired to Ipswich, where he lived all the latter part of his life. His fifter Anne Milton had a considerable 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 secondary of the office under Mr. Bembo. By him she had, besides other children who died infants, two sons Edward and John, whom we have had frequent occasion 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 said 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 second husband Mr. Thomas Agar, who succeeded his intimate friend Mr. Philips in his place in the Crown Office, which he enjoyed many years, and left to Mr. Thomas Milton, son of Sir Christopher before mentioned. As for Milton himself he appears to have been no enemy to the fair sex by having had three wives. What fortune he had with any of them is no where said, but they were gentlemen's daughters ; and it is remarkable that he married them all maidens, for (as he says in his Apology for Smectymnuus, which


was written before he married at all) he “ thought “ with them, who both in prudence and elegance « of spirit would choose a virgin of mean fortunes

honestly bred before the wealthiest widow.” But yet he seemeth not to have been very happy in any of his marriages; for his first wife had justly offended him by her long absence and separation from him ; the second, whose love, sweetness, 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 fpirit, 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 several things which have been related before; and particularly that her husband used to compose his poetry chiefly in winter, and on his waking in a morning would make her write down sometimes twenty or thirty verses : and being asked whether he did not often read Homer and Virgil, she understood it as an imputation upon

him for stealing from those authors, and answered with eagerness that he stole from no body but the Muse who inspired him; and being asked by a lady present who the Muse was, replied it was God's grace, and the Holy Spirit that visited him nightly. She was likewise asked whom he approved most of our English poets, and answered Spenser, Shakespear, and Cowley: and being asked what he thought of Dryden, the faid Dryden used sometimes to visit him, but he thought him no poet, but a good simist: but this was before Dryden had composed his best poems, which made his name so famous


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afterwards. She was wont moreover to say, that her husband was applied to by message from the King, and invited to write for the Court, but his answer was, that such a behaviour would be very inconsistent with his former conduct, for he had never yet employed his pen against his conscience. By his first wife he had four children, a son who died an infant, and three daughters who survived him; by his second 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 instructed by a mistress kept at home for that purpose: and he himself, excusing the eldest on account of an impediment in her speech, taught the two others to read and pronounce Greek and Latin and several 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 irksome to them, and this together with the sharpness and severity of their mother in law made them very uneasy at home; and therefore they were all sent 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' she acknowledged that he died worth one thousand five hundred pounds, yet the allowed but one hundred pounds to each of his three daughters. Anne the eldest was decrepit and deformed, but had a very handsome face; she married a master-builder, and died in childbed of her first child, who died with her. Mary the second lived and died single. Deborah the



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 said to have been a woman of good understanding and genteel behaviour, though in low circumstances. As she had been often called upon to read Homer and Ovid's Metamorphosis to her father, she could have repeated a considerable number of verses from the beginning of both these poets, as Mr. Ward, Professor of Rhetoric in Gresham College, relates

upon his own knowledge : and another Gentleman has informed me, that he has heard her repeat several verses likewise 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 handsome present of a purse of guineas with a promise of procuring for her fome annual provision for her life; but his death happening foon after, she lost the benefit of his generous design. She received presents likewise from several other gentlemen, and Queen Caroline sent her fifty pounds by the hands of Dr. Freind the physician. She had ten children, seven sons and three daughters; but none of them had any children, except one of her sons 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 sons, Abraham and Isaac; 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 Foster 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 seemeth to be a good plain sensible woman, and has confirmed several particulars related above, and informed me of some others, which she had often heard from her mother : that her grandfather lost two thousand pounds by a money-Icrivener, whom he had intrusted with that fum, and likewise an estate at Westminster of fixty pounds a year, which belonged to the Dean and Chapter, and was restored to them at the Restoration : that he was very temperate in his eating and drinking, but what he had he always loved to have of the best : that he seldom went abroad in the latter part of his life, but was visited even then by persons of distinction, 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 unnecessary for a woman: that her mother was his greatest favorite, and could read in seven or eight languages, tho’ the understood none but English: that her mother inherited his head-akes and disorders, and had such a weakness in her eyes, that she was forced to make use of fpectacles from the age of eighteen; and the herself, she says, 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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