The Life of John Milton Vol. 3 1643-1649
by David Masson
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the conclusion that the Supernatural had never yet been featured forth to man in any propositions or symbols that could be accepted as adequate, and who were waiting, therefore, for a possible "Church of the Future;" content, meanwhile, to dwell in a Temple of smoke, or (for there is the alternative figure) to see visions of the Future Church in the smoke of the present Temple.—"Mr. Erbury, that lived in Wales," (but had come to London, and then settled in Ely, whence he made excursions,) and "one Walwyn, a dangerous man, a strong head," who laboured somewhere else, are mentioned by Edwards as men avowing themselves in this predicament. Baillie mentions also one Laurence Clarkson, who had passed from Anabaptism to Seekerism, and he speaks of Mrs. Attaway, the Baptist woman-preacher, and Mr. Saltmarsh, the Antinomian, as tending the same way.——But the chief of the Seekers, perhaps the original founder of the Sect, and certainly the bravest exponent of their principles, was a person with whom we are already acquainted. "One Mr. Williams," writes Baillie, June 7, 1644, "has drawn a great number after him to a singular Independency, denying any true Church in the world, and will have every man to serve God by himself alone, without any church at all. This man has made a great and bitter schism lately among the Independents." Again, on the 23rd of July, Baillie refers to the same person as "my good acquaintance Mr. Roger Williams, who says there is no church, no sacraments, no pastors, no church-officers or ordinance, in the world, nor has been since a few years after the Apostles." In short, the arch- representative of this new religion of Seekerism on both sides of the Atlantic was no other than our friend Roger Williams, the Tolerationist (Vol. II. 560-3, and ante, pp. 113-120). Through the variations of this man's external adventures we have seen the equally singular series of variations of his mental condition. First an intense Separatist, or Independent of the most resolute type, but conjoining with this Separatism a passion for the most absolute liberty of conscience and the entire dissociation of civil power from matters of religion, then a Baptist and excommunicated on that account by his former friends in America, he had latterly, in his solitude at Providence, outgone Baptism or any known form of Independency, and, still retaining his doctrine of the most absolute liberty of conscience, had worked himself into that state of dissatisfaction with all visible church-forms, and of yearning quest after unattainable truth, for which the name Seekerism was invented by himself or others. Though he did not propose that preaching should be abandoned, he had gradually settled in a notion which he thus expresses: "In the poor small span of my life, I desired to have been a diligent and constant observer, and have been myself many ways engaged, in city, in country, in court, in schools, in universities, in churches, in Old and New England, and yet cannot, in the holy presence of God, bring in the result of a satisfying discovery that either the begetting ministry of the apostles or messengers to the nations, or the feeding and nourishing ministry of pastors and teachers, according to the first institution of the Lord Jesus, are yet restored or extant." It was while he was in this stage of his mental history that Williams came over on his flying visit to England in the matter of the new charter for the Rhode Island plantations. Some whiff of his strange opinions may have preceded him; but it must have been mainly by his intercourse with leading Londoners during his stay in England, which extended over more than a year (June 1643—Sept. 1644), that he diffused the interest in himself and his Seekerism which we certainly find existing in 1644. He can have been no stranger to the chief Divines of the Westminster Assembly. Baillie, we see, was on speaking terms with him; and it is curious to note in Baillie's and other references to him the same vein of personal liking for the man, running through amazement at his heresy, which characterized the criticisms of him by his New England opponents and excommunicants. Incidents of his visit, not less interesting now, were two publications of his in London, his "Key into the Language of America," published in 1643, and his Bloody Tenent of Persecution, published in 1644.—At least the name of the sect of "The Seekers," I may add, had struck Cromwell himself, and had some fascination for him, whether on its own account, or from his acquaintance with Williams. "Your sister Claypole," he wrote to his daughter Mrs. Ireton, some two years after our present date (Oct. 25,1646), "is, I trust in mercy, exercised with some perplexed thoughts. She sees her own vanity and carnal mind, bewailing it: she seeks after (as I hope also) what will satisfy. And thus to be a Seeker is to be of the best sect next after a Finder; and such an one shall every faithful humble Seeker be in the end. Happy Seeker, happy Finder!" [Footnote: Paget, 150; Gangraena, Part I. p. 24, and p. 38; Dissuasive, Part II. pp. 96, 97 and Notes; Baillie's Letters, II. 191-2 and 212; Gammell's Life of Roger Williams (Boston, 1846), and Memoir of Williams, by Edward B. Underhill, prefixed to the republication of William's Bloody Tenent of Persecution, by the "Hanserd Knollys Society" (1848); Carlyle's Cromwell, I. 212.]

DIVORCERS:—"These I term Divorcers" says Old Ephraim, "that would be quit of their wives for slight occasions;" and he goes on to speak of MILTON as the representative of the sect. Featley had previously mentioned Milton's Divorce Tract as one of the proofs of the tendency of the age to Antinomianism, Familism, and general anarchy; and Edwards and Baillie followed in the same strain. Milton's Doctrine of Divorce, it thus appears, had attracted attention, and had perhaps gained some following. Among the six caricatures of notable sects on the title-page of Paget's Heresiography is one of "THE DIVORCER"—i.e. a man, in an admonishing attitude, and without his hat, dismissing or pushing away his wife, who has her hat on, as if ready for a journey, and is putting her handkerchief to her eyes. We shall have more to say of Milton in this connexion. [Footnote: Paget, pp. 150, 151, p. 87, and Epistle Dedicatory, p. 4; Fentley's Dippers Dipt, Epistle Dedicatory, p. 3; Edward's Gangraena, Part I. p. 29.]

ANTI-SABBATARIANS, AND TRASKITES:—These sects, though distinct, may be named together. The Anti-Sabbatarians were those who denied the obligation of any Lord's Day or Sabbath: they were pretty numerous, but were distributed through the other sects. The Traskites, on the other hand, denied the obligation of the Christian Sunday or Lord's Day, but maintained the perpetual obligation of the Jewish Sabbath on the seventh day of the week. They were the followers of one John Traske, a poor eccentric who had been well known to Paget, but was now dead, and remembered only for his heresy, for which he had been whipt, pilloried, and imprisoned, about 1618. His opinions had been revived more ably in certain treatises and discourses, published in 1628 and 1632, by Theophilus Brabourne, a Puritan minister in Norfolk. Both Brabourne and Traske had been obliged to recant their opinions and return to orthodoxy; and indeed Traske had done so in a Tract written against himself, though he again relapsed. Nevertheless the heresy had taken root, and one heard in 1644 of Traskites or Sabbatarians dispersed through England. The sect is continued still in the so-called "Seventh Day Baptists." [Footnote: Paget, pp. 138-141; with more accurate particulars in Cox's Literature of the Sabbath Question, I. 153-5, 157-8, and 162.]

SOUL-SLEEPERS OR MORTALISTS:—Such was the odd name given to a sect, or supposed sect, represented by the anonymous author of a, Tract called Man's Mortality. The Tract is now very scarce, if not utterly forgotten; but, as it made a great stir at the time, and as we shall hear of it and its author rather particularly again in connexion with Milton's life, I may here give some account of it from a copy which I have managed to see. The title in full is as follows: "Man's Mortallitie: or a Treatise wherein 'tis proved, both Theologically and Phylosophically, that whole Man (as a rationall creature) is a compound wholy mortall, contrary to that common distinction of Soule and Body; and that the present going of the Soule into Heaven or Hell is a meer fiction; and that at the Resurrection is the beginning of our immortallity, and then actual Condemnation and Salvation, and not before: With all doubtes and objections answered and resolved both by Scripture and Reason; discovering the multitude of Blasphemies and Absurdities that arise from the fancie of the Soule: Also divers other mysteries, as of Heaven, Hell, Christ's humane residence, the Extent of the Resurrection, the New Creation, &c.: opened and presented to the tryall of better judgments, By R. O. Amsterdam: Printed by John Canne, Anno Dom. 1643." In the British Museum copy, which is the one I have seen, the word "Amsterdam" is erased by the collector's pen, and "London" substituted, with the date "Jan. 19" added; whence I infer that, whatever Canne at Amsterdam had to do with the printing of the tract, it was virtually a London publication, and out in January, 1643-4. On the title-page is quoted the text Ecclesiastes iii. 19, thus—"That which befalleth the sonnes of men befalleth Beasts; even one thing befalleth them all: as the one dyeth so dyeth the other; yea they have all one breath, so that man hath no preheminence above a Beast; for all is vanity." This gives so far the key-note to the 57 pages of matter of the Tract itself. It is a queer mixture of a sort of physiological reasoning, such as we should now call Materialism, with a mystical metaphysics, and with odd whimsies of the author's own—such as that Christ had ascended into the Sun. The leading tenet, however, is that the notion of a soul, or supernatural and immortal essence, in man, distinct from his bodily organism, is a sheer delusion, contradicted both by Scripture and correct physiological thinking, and that from this notion have arisen all kinds of superstitions and practical mischiefs. "The most grand and blasphemous heresies that are in the world, the mystery of iniquity and the kingdom of Antichrist, depend upon it." So says the Tract itself; and in the first of two pieces of verse prefixed to it by an admirer, and entitled "To His worthy Friend the Author, upon his Booke," there occur these lines:—

"The hell-hatched doctrine of th' immortal soul Discovered makes the hungry Furies howl, And teare their snakey haire, with grief appaled To see their error-leading doctrine quailed, Hell undermined and Purgatory blown Up in the air."

There are Latin quotations in the Tract; and some of the physiological arguments by which the author seeks to refute the opinion of "the Soulites," as he calls them, are rather nauseous. On the whole, were it not for the appended concession of a Resurrection, or New Creation, and an Immortality somehow to ensue thence, the doctrine of the Tract might be described as out-and-out Materialism. Possibly, in spite of the concession, this is what the author meant to drive at. Among some of his followers, however, a milder version of his doctrine seems to have been in favour, not quite denying the existence of a soul, but asserting that the soul goes into sleep or temporary extinction at death, to be re- awakened at the Resurrection. [Footnote: Paget, pp. 148, 149; Gangraena, Part I. pp. 22, 23; Baillie's Dissuasive, Part II. 99 and 121; but mainly the Tract cited.]

ARIANS, SOCINIANS, AND OTHER ANTI-TRINITARIANS:—Since 1614, when Legate and Wightman had been burnt for Arianism (Vol. I. p. 46), this and other forms of the Anti-Trinitarian heresy had been little heard of in England. But in the ferment of the Civil War they were reappearing. A Thomas Webb, a young fellow of twenty years of age, had been shocking people in London and in country-places by awful expressions against the Trinity; one Clarke had been, doing the same; one Paul Best had been circulating manuscripts in which there were "most horrid blasphemies of the Trinity, of Christ, and of the Holy Ghost;" and John Biddle, of Gloucester, master of the school there, and of whom, from his career at Oxford, high hopes had been formed, had begun to be "free of his discourses in a Socinian direction." Baillie adds Mr. Samuel Richardson, one of the Baptist ministers of London, to the number of those whose Trinitarianism was questionable, and charges the Baptists generally with laxity on that point. In short, there was an alarm of Arianism, and other forms of Anti- Trinitarianism, as again abroad in England. Mr. Nye, the Independent, had been heard to say that "to his knowledge the denying of the Divinity of Christ was a growing opinion, and that there was a company of them met about Coleman Street, a Welshman being their chief, who held this opinion." Coleman Street appears, indeed, to have been a very hotbed of heresy. For here it was that JOHN GOODWIN (Vol. II. 582-4, and ante, pp. 120-122) had his congregation. He had not revealed himself fully; but the public had had a taste of him in recent pamphlets. Baillie, on rumour, reports him as a Socinian; and Edwards, who came into conflict with him in due time, and devotes many consecutive pages of Billingsgate to him in the Second Part of his Gangraena, tells us that he held "many wicked opinions," being "an Hermaphrodite and a compound of an Arminian, Socinian, Libertine, Anabaptist, & c." From the same authority we learn that the Presbyterians had nicknamed him "the great Red Dragon of Coleman Street." What he really was we have already seen in part for ourselves, and shall yet see more fully.[Footnote: Paget, 132—136; Gangraena, Part I. pp. 21, 22, 26, 33, Part II 19- 39, and Part III. 111 and 87; Baillie's Dissuasive, Part II. p. 98; also Wood's Athenae, III. 593 (for Biddle); Baillie's Letters, II. 192, and Jackson's Life of John Goodwin (1822), pp. 3 and 14.]

ANTI-SCRIPTURISTS:—"One wicked sect," says Old Ephraim, "denieth the Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, and account them as things of nought; yea, as I am credibly informed, in public congregations they vent these their damnable opinions." He gives no names; but Edwards mentions "one Marshal, a bricklayer, a young man, living at Hackney," who made a mock of the Scriptures in his harangues, and asserted that he himself "knew the mystery of God in Christ better than St. Paul." A companion of this Marshal's told the people that "the Scripture was their golden calf and they danced round it." A Priscilla Miles had been speaking very shockingly of the Scriptures at Norwich. But the most noted Anti-Scripturist seems to have been a Clement Wrighter, a Worcester man, living in London, of whom Edwards gives this terrible character— "Sometimes a professor of religion and judged to have been godly, who is now an arch-heretic and fearful apostate, an old wolf, and a subtle man, who goes about corrupting, and venting his errors; he is often in Westminster Hall and on the Exchange; he comes into public meetings of the Sectaries upon occasions of meeting to draw up petitions for the Parliament or other businesses. This man about seven or eight years ago (i.e. about 1638) fell off from the communion of our churches to Independency and Brownism; from that he fell to Anabaptism and Arminianism, and to Mortalism, holding the soul mortal (he is judged to be the author, or at least to have had a great hand in the Book of the Mortality of the Soul). After that he fell to be Seeker, and is now an Anti-Scripturist, a Questionist and Sceptick, and I fear an Atheist." Specimens of his sayings about the Bible are given; and altogether one has to fancy Wrighter as an oldish man, sneaking about in public places in London on soft-soled shoes, and with bundles of papers under his arm. I have seen a little thing printed by him in Feb. 1615-6, under the title of "The Sad Case of Clement Writer," in which he complains of injustice, to the extent of 1,500l., done him by the late Lord Keeper Coventry and other judges in some suit that had lasted for twelve years. [Footnote: Paget, 149; Gangraena, Part I. pp. 26- -28; Baillie's Dissuasive, Part II. 121.]

SCEPTICS, OR QUESTIONISTS:—They were those who, according to Edwards, "questioned everything in matters of religion, holding nothing positively nor certainly, saving the doctrine of pretended liberty of conscience for all, and liberty of prophesying." Many besides Wrighter had reached this stage through their anti-Scripturism, and were free-thinkers of the cold or merely rational order, distinct from the devout and enthusiastic Seekers. [Footnote: Gangraena, Part I. p. 13.]

ATHEISTS:—Although Edwards charitably hints his fear that Mr. Wrighter had at last sunk into this extreme category, it is remarkable that neither he nor Paget ventures to reckon Atheists among the existing Sects. Probably, therefore, there was no body of persons to whom, with any pretext of plausibility, the name could be applied. But we are advised of individuals here and there whom their neighbours suspected of Atheism; and, if Edwards is to be believed, there was alive a certain John Boggis, an apprentice to an apothecary in London, who, though at present only a young Anabaptist preacher, and disciple of Captain Hobson, was to go within a year or two to such unheard-of lengths about Great Yarmouth that even Wrighter must have disowned him. [Footnote: Ibid. Part II. 133, 134; and Baillie's Dissuasive, Part II. 99.]

Such were the English Sects and Sectaries that had begun to be talked of in 1644. Not that they were bounded off strictly from each other in divisions according with their names. On the contrary, they shaded off into each other; and there were mixtures and combinations of some of them. Moreover, as the chief of them held by the Congregationalist principle in some form, and hoped to flourish by taking advantage of that principle, it was not unusual for Presbyterian writers to include these along with the Congregationalists proper in the one lax designation of Independents. At all events, the Sects hung on to the Independents through that principle of Toleration or Liberty of Conscience which the Independents had propounded, at first mildly, but with a tendency to less and less of limitation. All the Sects, less or more, were TOLERATIONISTS; the heresy of heresies in which they all agreed with each other, and with the Independents, was LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE.


The foregoing survey of English Sects and Sectaries and of the state of the Toleration Controversy in 1644 has been our employment, the reader must be reminded, during the fortnight's vacation of the Westminster Assembly from July 23 to August 7 in that year. Something of the same kind was the vacation-employment of the members of that Assembly too, and especially of the Presbyterian majority. For they had been driven out of their previous calculations by the battle of Marston Moor (July 2). That battle had been won mainly by Cromwell, the head of the Army- Independents, and it went to the credit of Independency. All the more necessary was it for the Presbyterians of the Assembly to bethink themselves of indirect means of argument against the Independents. The means were not far to seek. Let this horrible Hydra of Sects, all bred out of Independency, be dragged into light; and would not respectable Independency itself stand aghast at her offspring? The word Toleration had been mumbled cautiously within the Assembly, and had made itself heard with some larger liking in Parliament, and still greater applause among the hasty thousands of the Parliamentary soldiers and the populace! Let it be shown what this monstrous notion really meant, what herds of strange creatures and shoals even of vermin it would permit in England; and would England ratify the monstrosity, or the Independency consociated with it, even for twenty Cromwells, or ten Marston Moors? So, in the fort-night's vacation, reasoned Messrs. Marshall, Lightfoot, Calamy, Palmer, Vines, Spurstow, Newcomen, Herle, Burges, and other English Presbyterians, incited rather than repressed by the Scottish anxiety of Rutherford, Gillespie, Baillie, and (I am afraid) Henderson.

Accordingly, when the Assembly resumed its sittings (Wednesday, Aug. 7, 1644), its first work was to fall passionately on the Sects and the arch- heresy of Toleration. "The first day of our sitting, after our vacance," says Baillie, "a number of complaints were given in against the Anabaptists' and Antinomians' huge increase and insolencies intolerable. Notwithstanding Mr. Nye's and others' opposition, it was carried that the Assembly should remonstrate it to the Parliament." [Footnote: Baillie's Letters, II. 218; corroborated by Lightfoot's Notes on the very day (p. 299).] And they did remonstrate it, without a day's delay. Friday, May 9, as we learn from the Lords Journals, it was represented to the House of Lords, through Mr. Marshall, by order of the Assembly, "That they have been informed of the great growth and increase of Anabaptists and Antinomians and other Sects; and that some Anabaptists have delivered in private houses some blasphemous passages and dangerous opinions: They have acquainted the House of Commons therewith; and, &c." [Footnote: Lords Journals, Aug. 9, 1644.] Turning to the Commons Journals of the same day we find, accordingly, a column and a half on the same subject, with many details. Dr. Burges and Mr. Marshall had appeared before the Commons on the same errand from the Assembly: had told the Honourable House that many ministers and gentry all through England had long desired to petition it "to prevent the spreading opinions of Anabaptism and Antinomianism;" that they had been persuaded to forbear; but that now "these men have cast off all affection and are so imbitterated" that farther forbearance would be wrong, and the Assembly cannot but represent to the House that "it is high time to suppress them." That the Commons might not be left in the vague, a Mr. Picot in Guernsey, and a Mr. Knolles, recently in Cornwall (Hanserd Knollys?), of the Anabaptist sort, with a Mr. Randall, a Mr. Penrose, and a Mr. Simson, as of a worse sort still (see Randall among the Antinomians and Familists in our synopsis), were denounced by name as proper culprits to begin with. What could the poor House of Commons do? Agreeing with the Lords, they promised to do what they could. They would take the whole subject into their grave consideration; they empowered the Committee for Plundered Ministers, with a certain addition to their number, to arrest and examine the particular culprits named; and, to prove their heartiness meanwhile, they resolved, on that very day, "That Mr. White do give order for the public burning of one Mr. Williams his book, intituled, &c., concerning the Tolerating of all sorts of Religion." [Footnote: Commons Journals, Aug. 9, 1644.] This "one Mr. Williams," as the reader will be aware, was Roger Williams, then on his way back to America; and "his book" was The Bloody Tenent. There must have been much hypocrisy, and much cowardice, in the English House of Commons on that day. Where was the younger Sir Harry Vane? Probably he was in the House while they passed the order, and wondering how far Roger Williams had got on his voyage, and meditatively twirling his thumbs.

A good stroke of business by the Westminster Assembly in two days after their vacation! But they followed it up. There were frequent Solemn Fasts, by Parliamentary order, in those days, when all London was expected to go to church and listen to sermons by divines from the Westminster Assembly. Tuesday, the 13th of August, 1644, was one of those Solemn Fast-days—an "Extraordinary Day of Humiliation;" and the ministers appointed by the Assembly to preach in chief—i.e. to preach before the two Houses of Parliament, and the Assembly itself, in St. Margaret's, Westminster—were Mr. Thomas Hill and Mr. Herbert Palmer. These two gentlemen, it seems, did their duty: They satisfied even Baillie. "Mr. Palmer and Mr. Hill," he says, "did preach that day to the Assembly two of the most Scottish and free sermons that ever I heard anywhere. The way here of all preachers, even the best, has been to speak before the Parliament with so profound a reverence as truly took all edge from their exhortations, and made all applications of them toothless and adulatorious. That style is much changed, however: these two good men laid well about them, and charged public and Parliamentary sins strictly on the backs of the guilty." [Footnote: Baillie's Letters, II. 220, 221.] As the sermons themselves remain in print, we have the means of verifying Baillie's description. It is quite correct. Not only in the "Epistle Dedicatory" to his sermon when it was printed did Mr. Hill denounce the Toleration doctrine, and make a marginal reference to Roger Williams's "Bloody Tenent" as a book not too soon burnt; but in the sermon itself, the subject of which was the duty of "advancing Temple-work" (Haggai i. 7, 8), he openly attacked two classes of persons as the chief "underminers of Temple-work." First, he said, there were those who would allow nothing to be jure divino in the Church, but held that all matters of Church-constitution were to be settled by mere prudence and State-convenience—in other words, the Erastians, They are lectured, but are let off more easily than the second sort of underminers: viz. "such who would have a toleration of all ways of Religion in this Church." Parliament is reminded that all tendency to this way of thinking is unfaithfulness to the Covenant, and is told that "to set the door so wide open as to tolerate all religions" would be to "make London an Amsterdam," and would lead to—in fact, would certainly lead to— Amsterdamnation! So far Mr. Hill; but Mr. Palmer was even more bold. Preaching on Psalm xcix. 8, this delicate little creature laid about him most manfully. Parliament are rebuked for eluding the Covenant, for too great tenderness in their dealings with delinquents, and for remissness in the prevention and punishment of false doctrine. They are exhorted to extirpate heresy and schism, especially Antinomianism and Anabaptism, and, are warned at some length against the snare of Toleration. "Hearken not—I earnestly exhort every one that intends to have any regard at all to his solemn Covenant and oath in this second article—to those that offer to plead for Tolerations; which I wonder how any one dare write or speak for as they do that have themselves taken the Covenant, or know that you have. The arguments that are used in some books, well worthy to be burnt, plead for Popery, Judaism, Turcism, Paganism, and all manner of false religions, under pretence of Liberty of Conscience." This is clearly an allusion to John Goodwin; and in the sequel Mr. Palmer makes another personal allusion of still greater interest. In order to show what a social chaos would result from toleration of error on the plea of Liberty of Conscience, he gives instances of some of the horrible opinions that would claim the benefit of the plea, and among these he names Milton's Divorce doctrine, then circulating in a book which the author had been shameless enough to dedicate openly to Parliament itself. The particulars will be given, and the passage quoted, in due time; the fact is enough at present. [Footnote: The title of Hill's sermon is "The Season for England's Selfe-Reflection and Advancing Temple-work; discovered in a Sermon preached to the two Houses of Parliament at Margaret's, Westminster, Aug. 13, 1614; being an extraordinary day of Humiliation. By, &c., London: Printed by Richard Cotes, for John Bellamy and Philerion Stephens 1644."—The title of Palmer's is "The Glasse of God's Providence towards his Faithful Ones; Held forth in a Sermon, &c. [occasion and date as in Hill's]; wherein is discovered the great failings that the best are liable unto, upon which God is provoked sometimes to take vengeance. The whole is applyed specially to a more carefull observance of our late Convenant, and particularly against the ungodly Toleration pleaded for under pretence of Liberty of Conscience. By, &c., London: Printed by G.M. for Th. Underhill at the Bible in Wood Street, 1644." Neither sermon impresses one now very favourably in respect of either spirit or ability. I expected Palmer's to be better.]

Not content with direct remonstrance to Parliament on the subject of the increase of sects and heresies, nor with the power of exhorting it on the subject through the pulpit, the Presbyterians of the Assembly, I find, resorted to other agencies. They had great influence in the City, and it occurred to them, or to some of them, to stir up the Stationers' Company to activity in the matter. The Stationers, indeed, had a commercial interest, as well as a religious interest, in the suppression of the obnoxious books and pamphlets, most of which were published without the legal formalities of licence and registration. It is without surprise therefore that we find this entry in the Commons Journals for Saturday, Aug. 24, 1644: "Ordered that the Petition from the Company of Stationers be read on Monday morning next," followed by this other as the minute of the first business (after prayers) at the next sitting, (Monday, Aug. 26): "The humble Petition of the Company of Stationers, consisting of Booksellers, Printers, and Bookbinders, was this day read, and ordered to be referred to the consideration of the Committee for Printing, to hear all parties and to state the business, and to prepare an Ordinance upon the whole matter and to bring it in with all convenient speed; and they are, to this purpose, to peruse the Bill formerly brought in concerning this matter. They are diligently to inquire out the authors, printers, and publishers of the Pamphlets against the Immortality of the Soul and Concerning Divorce." It had been determined, it seems, that Palmer's denunciation of Milton in his sermon a fortnight before should not be a brutum fulmen. To the incident, as it affected Milton himself, we shall have to refer again. Meanwhile it belongs to that stage of the action of the Westminster Assembly on English politics which we are now trying to illustrate.

The Assembly, we have shown, besides still carrying on within itself the main question between Presbyterianism and Congregationalism, had begun a wider war against Schism, Sectarianism, the whole miscellany of English heresies, and especially the all-including heresy of Toleration. They opened the campaign, by private agreement among themselves, in August 1644; and by the end of that month they had succeeded in rousing Parliament to some action on the subject, and had directed attention to at least nine special offenders, deserving to be punished first of all. These were—the Anabaptists, Picot and Hanserd Knollys; the Antinomians, Penrose and Simson; the Antinomian and Familist, Randall; the Seeker and Tolerationist, Roger Williams; the Independent, semi-Socinian, and Tolerationist, John Goodwin; the Anti-Scripturist and Mortalist, Clement Wrighter; and Mr. John Milton of Aldersgate Street, author of a Treatise on Divorce. For, though the Committee of Parliament had been instructed to inquire out the author of the Divorce Treatise, this was but a form. The second edition, dedicated to the Parliament and the Assembly, and with Milton's name to it in full, had been out more than six months. Of the nine persons mentioned, only Clement Wrighter, the Mortalist (if indeed the tract on Man's Mortality was from his pen), had to be found out.

Was there to be no check to this Presbyterian inquisitorship? Whence could a check come? The few Independents in the Assembly, just because they were fighting their own particular battle, had to be cautious against too great an extension of their lines. Not from them, therefore, but from the freer Independency of the Army, which was in fact by this time a composition of all or many of the sects, could the check be expected. Thence, in fact, it did come. In short, while the Presbyterians in London were in the flush of their first success against the Sectaries and the Tolerationists, in walked Oliver Cromwell.


Events had been qualifying Cromwell more and more for the task. His Independency, or let us call it Tolerationism, had been long known. As early as March 1643-4, when he had just become Lieutenant-general in the Earl of Manchester's army, he had been resolute in seeing that the officers and soldiers in that army should not be troubled or kept down for Anabaptism or the like. This had been the more necessary because the next in command under him, the Scottish Major-general Crawford, was an ardent and pragmatic Presbyterian. "Sir," Cromwell had written to Crawford on one occasion, when an Anabaptist colonel had been put under disgrace, "the State, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions; if they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies. I advised you formerly to bear with men of different minds from yourself: if you had done it when I advised you to it, I think you would not have had so many stumbling-blocks in your way. It may be you judge otherwise; but I tell you my mind." [Footnote: Carlyle, Cromwell (ed. 1857), I. p. 148.] Ever since that time there had been a vital difference between the Presbyterian Major-general Crawford and his superior, the Lieutenant-general. Gradually, according to Baillie, Manchester, who was "a sweet, meek man," and greatly led by Cromwell, had been brought over more to the Presbyterian way by Crawford's reasonings. It had come to be a question, in fact, whether Cromwell and comfort or Crawford and precision should prevail in Manchester's army. Marston Moor (July 2) had settled that. Cromwell, as the hero of Marston Moor, was not a man to be farther opposed or thwarted; the Independents, who had mainly won Marston Moor, were not men to submit longer to Presbyterian ascendancy in the regulation of the army, or to see their large-faced English chief pestered and counterworked by a peevish Scot. Yes, but was Cromwell the hero of Marston Moor, or had Marston Moor been won mainly by the Independents? These were the questions which Crawford, ever since the battle, had been trying to keep open. He had been trying, as we have seen, to keep them open in London, though with but small success; and in the Army his tongue had, doubtless, been louder and more troublesome. At last Cromwell made up his mind. Either Crawford must cease to be Major-general of Manchester's army, or he must cease to be Lieutenant-general. It was on this business that, in September 1644, he came up to London. There had been letters on the subject before from both parties in the Army, the Independents pressing for Crawford's dismissal, and the Presbyterians for retaining him. But now Manchester, Cromwell, and Crawford had, all three, come up personally to argue the matter out. Cromwell, it appears, was in one of those moods of ungovernable obstinacy which always came upon him at the right time. "Our labour to reconcile them," writes Baillie, "was vain: Cromwell was peremptor; notwithstanding the kingdom's evident hazard, and the evident displeasure of our [the Scottish] nation, yet, if Crawford were not cashiered, his [Cromwell's] colonels would lay down their commissions." There was a plot in all this, Baillie thought. The real purpose of the Independents was to bring Manchester out of the clutches of Presbyterianism, or, if that could not be done, to get him to resign, so that Cromwell might succeed to the chief command; in which case the Independents would be able to "counterbalance" the Presbyterians, and "overawe the Assembly and Parliament both to their ends."—It was a very proper plot, too, as every day was proving. What was the last news that had reached London? It was that Essex, the General-in-chief, had been totally beaten by the King in Cornwall (Sept. 1)—Essex himself obliged to escape by ship, leaving his army to its fate; the horse, under Sir William Balfour, to fight their way out by desperate exertion; and the foot, under Skippon, to think of doing the same, but at last to surrender miserably. Waller's army, also, was by this time nowhere. It had perished by gradual desertion. Evidently, it had become a question of some moment for the Parliamentarians who had won Marston Moor, and who should be chief in Manchester's army. [Footnote: Baillie's Letters, II. 229, 230; Rushworth V. 699 et seq.; Whitlocke (ed. 1853), I. 302, 303; Carlyle's Cromwell, (ed., 1857), I. 158.]

The special business which had brought Cromwell to London was, in fact, but a metaphor of the general business then occupying the English nation. Whether a pragmatical Presbyterian Scot should regulate the discipline of an English Parliamentarian army, and whether the Westminster Assembly should establish a Presbyterian Inquisitorship over the whole mind of England, were but forms of the same question. Little wonder, then, that Cromwell, finding himself in London on the smaller form of the business, resolved to move also in the larger. And he did. "This day," writes Baillie on Friday the 13th of September 1644, "Cromwell has obtained an Order of the House of Commons to refer to the Committee of both Kingdoms the accommodation or toleration of the Independents—a high and unexpected Order!" Three days afterwards Baillie is still full of the subject. "While Cromwell is here," he says, "the House of Commons, without the least advertisement to any of us [Scottish Commissioners], or of the Assembly, passes an Order that the Grand Committee of both Houses, Assembly, and us, shall consider of the means to unite us and the Independents, or, if that be found impossible, to see how they may be tolerate. This has much affected us." On turning to the Commons Journals we find the actual words of the Order: "Ordered, That the Committee of Lords and Commons appointed to treat with the Commissioners of Scotland and the Committee of the Assembly do take into consideration the differences in opinion of the members of the Assembly in point of Church- government, and do endeavour a union if it be possible; and, in case that cannot be done, do endeavour the finding out some ways how far tender consciences, who cannot in all things submit to the common Rule which shall be established, may be borne with, according to the Word, and as may stand with the public peace, that so the proceedings of the Assembly may not be so much retarded." Mr. Solicitor St. John appears as the reporter of the Order. Cromwell, in fact, had quietly formed a little phalanx of the right men to carry the thing through. The younger Vane was one of them. Even Stephen Marshall, the Presbyterian and Smectymnuan, had to some extent aided in the contrivance, without consulting any of his brethren of the Assembly.

The Order came upon the Presbyterians like a thunder-clap. For, as they rightly interpreted, it was nothing less than a design to carry in Parliament a Toleration-clause to be inserted in the Bill for establishing Presbytery before that Bill was ready to be drafted. Of this Baillie and his friends complained bitterly. Was it not unfair to Presbyterianism thus to anticipate so ostentatiously that there would be many whom it would not satisfy? Was not this framing of a Toleration- clause, to be inserted into a Bill before the Bill itself was in being, like a solicitation to the English people to prefer the clause to the body of the Bill, and so to continue dubious about Presbytery, instead of cultivating faith in its merits? So argued Baillie and the Presbyterians. But, indeed, they saw more behind the Accommodation Order. The Toleration it sought to provide might seem, from the wording, only a moderate Toleration in the interest of the Independents of the Assembly and their immediate adherents. From what Baillie says, one infers that Mr. Solicitor St. John and Mr. Marshall had been drawing up the Order in this moderate form, and that Cromwell and Vane would fain have had more. "The great shot of Cromwell and Vane," says Baillie, "is to have a liberty for all religions, without any exceptions." And of Vane he distinctly says that he was "offended with the Solicitor" for putting only differences about Church-government into the Toleration Ordinance, and not also differences "about free grace, including liberty to the Antinomians and to all Sects." At all events, he had recently, in the presence of the Scottish Commissioners themselves, been reasoning "prolixly, earnestly, and passionately" for universal Toleration. Probably Cromwell and Vane were content in the meantime with what the long-headed Solicitor saw he could pass. It could be stretched when necessary. The form was St. John's, but the deed was Cromwell's. [Footnote: The authorities for the interesting facts related in this paragraph which seem to have slipped out of view of most modern writers on the history of the period are Baillie, II 226, 229, 231, and 236, 237, and Commons Journal, Sept 13, 1644.]

After the check of this Accommodation Order of Sept. 13, 1644, the Presbyterians of the Assembly seem to have proceeded somewhat more temperately. Not that they gave up the fight. Their preachers before Parliament still followed in the strain of Hill and Palmer. In a Fast-day Sermon before the two Houses on Sept. 12, the day before the Order, the Smectymnuan, Matthew Newcomen, had again had a slap at Toleration; on Sept. 25 Lazarus Seaman was again at it, and actually named in his sermon four dangerous books for Liberty of Conscience, including Goodwin's and Williams's—the burning of which lest did not seem enough to the Rabbi, for "the shell is sometimes thrown into the fire when the kernel is eaten;" the respected Calamy, also a Smectymnuan, is at it again, Oct. 22, telling the Parliament that, if they do not put down Anabaptism, Antinomianism, and Tolerationism of all religions, then they are the Anabaptists, the Antinomians, the Tolerationists; Spurstow, a third of the Smectymnuans, is not done with it on Nov. 5. [Footnote: My notes from a volume of the Parliamentary Sermons of 1644, kindly lent me by Mr. David Laing] In the Assembly itself also the question of heresy, blasphemy, and their suppression, occasionally turned up. Oct. 17, for example, there was officially before the Assembly the case of a John Hart, who had been making a reputation for himself in Surrey by this hideous joke:—"Who made you? My Lord of Essex.—Who redeemed you? Sir W. Waller.—Who sanctified and preserved you? My Lord of Warwick." This led to a conversation in the Assembly on the increase of blasphemy, and to a new remonstrance to Parliament on the subject.[Footnote: Lightfoot's Notes at date named] Again, on the 22nd of November, there was a report to the Assembly of some fresh "damnable blasphemies," more of the doctrinal kind, and savouring of Mortalism and Clement Wrighter. [Footnote: Lightfoot's Notes at date named.] Nor had the Assembly agreed to let even ordinary Anabaptism and Antinomianism alone; for they had again memorialized Parliament on the subject, and had had a rather satisfactory response from the Commons, Nov. 15, in the form of a promise to consider the whole matter, and an order meanwhile that no person should be permitted to preach unless he were an ordained minister in the English or some other Reformed Church, or a probationer intending the ministry and duly licensed by those authorized by Parliament to give such licence. [Footnote: Commons Journals, Nov. 15, 1644.] On the whole, however, from September 1644 onwards through October and November, to the end of the year, there was rather an abatement of the inquisitorial zeal of the Assembly.


In those months, indeed, the Assembly was unusually active over its main work. For, though we have seen chiefly the spray of its miscellaneous interferences with affairs, it must be remembered that it had been called together for a vast mass of substantial work, and that it had been steadily prosecuting that work, in Committees, Sub-committees, and the daily meetings of the whole body. The work expected by Parliament from the Assembly consisted of (1) the compilation of a Confession of Faith, or Articles of Religion, which should supersede the Thirty-nine Articles, and be the Creed of the new National Church of England about to be established; (2) the composition of a Catechism or Catechisms, which should be a manual or manuals for the instruction of the people, and especially the young, in the theology of the Articles; (3) the devising of a Frame of Discipline or Church-government, to come in lieu of Episcopacy, and form the constitution of the new National Church; and (4) the preparation of a Directory of Worship, which should supplant the Liturgy, &c., and settle the methods and forms to be adopted in worship, and on such occasions as baptisms, marriages, and funerals. Here was a mass of work which, at the ordinary rate of business in ecclesiastical councils, might well keep the Assembly together for two or three years. What amount of progress had they made at the date at which we have now arrived?

Naturally, on first meeting, they had begun with the business of the new Articles, or Confession of Faith. The particular form in which, by the order of Parliament, they had addressed themselves to this business, was that of a careful revision of the Thirty-nine Articles. With tolerable unanimity (ante, pp. 5, 6 and 18,19), they had gone on in this labour for three months, or till Oct. 12,1643; by which time they had Calvinized fifteen of the Articles. [Footnote: Whoever wants to compare the Westminster Assembly's Calvinized Version of the first fifteen Articles with the original Articles will find the two sets printed conveniently in parallel columns in History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (1842), published at Philadelphia, U.S., by the "Presbyterian Board of Publication."] Then, however, they had been interrupted in this labour. The Scottish League and Covenant having come into action, and the Scottish Commissioners having become an influence at the back of the English Parliament, the Assembly had been ordered to proceed to what seemed the more immediately pressing businesses of the new Model of Church-government and the new Directory of Worship. The business of a Confession of Faith thus lying over till it could be resumed at leisure, the Assembly had, for more than a year, been occupied with the Church-government question and the Directory. What tough and tedious work they had had with the Church-government question we have seen. Still, even in this question they had made progress. Beating the Congregationalists by vote on proposition after proposition, the Presbyterian majority had, by the end of October 1644, carried all the essentials of Presbytery through the Assembly, and referred them confidently to Parliament. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 232.] Add to this that a new Directory of Worship had been drawn up. The Congregationalist Brethren had been far more acquiescent in this business; and, though many points in it had occasioned minute discussion, the Assembly were able, on the 2lst of November, to transmit to Parliament, unanimously, a Directory, in which everything in the shape of Liturgy or Prelatic ceremonial was disallowed, and certain plain forms, like those of the Scottish Presbyterian worship, prescribed instead. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 240 and 242-3] By the end of 1644, therefore, the Westminster Assembly had substantially acquitted itself of two out of four of the pieces of work expected from it by Parliament—the New Directory of Worship and the New Frame of Church-government; and it only remained for Parliament to sanction or reject what the Assembly had concluded under these two heads. During November and December 1644, and January 1644-5, accordingly, there was much discussion in both Houses of all the points of Religion and Church-government which the new Directory and the new Frame were to settle. The debates of the Houses during these months, indeed, were very much those of the Assembly over again—the Lords and Commons, though laymen, examining each proposition and each clause for themselves, and insisting on proofs from Scripture and the like. January 1644-5 was the great month. On the 4th of that month an Ordinance from the Commons passed the Lords, abolishing the use of the Prayer-book, adopting and confirming the new Westminster Directory, and ordering it to be printed. On the 23rd of the same month, the following Resolutions were adopted by the Commons:—

"Resolved: That there shall be fixed Congregations—that is, a certain company of Christians to meet in one Assembly ordinarily for public worship: when believers multiply to such a number that they cannot conveniently meet in one place, they shall be divided into distinct and fixed Congregations, for the better administration of such ordinances as belong to them, and the discharge of mutual duties.

"Resolved: That the ordinary way of dividing Christians into distinct Congregations, and most expedient for edification, is by the respective bounds of their dwellings.

"Resolved: That the minister and other Church-officers in each particular Congregation shall join in the government of the Church in such manner as shall be established by Parliament.

"Resolved: That these officers shall meet together at convenient and set times for the well-ordering of the affairs of that Congregation, each according to his office.

"Resolved: That the ordinances in a particular Congregation are Prayer, Thanksgiving, and Singing of Psalms; the Word read, though there follow no immediate explication of what is read; the Word expounded and applied; Catechising; the Sacraments administered; Collection made for the Poor; Dismissing of the people with a Blessing.

"Resolved: That many particular Congregations shall be under one Presbyterial government.

"Resolved: That the Church be governed by Congregational, Classical, and Synodical Assemblies, in such manner as shall be established by Parliament.

"Resolved: That Synodical Assemblies shall consist both of Provincial and National Assemblies."

Dry and simple as these Resolutions look, they were the outcome of fifteen months of deliberation, and they were of immense significance. They declared it to be the will of Parliament that England thenceforth should be a Presbyterian country, like Scotland. Just as Scotland was a little country, with her 1,000 parishes or so, the inhabitants of each of which were understood to form a particular congregation, meeting statedly for worship, and taught and spiritually disciplined by one Minister and certain other church-officers called Lay Elders, so England was to be a large country of some 10,000 or 12,000 parishes and parochial congregations, each after the same fashion. As in Scotland the parishes or congregations, though mainly managing each its own affairs, were not independent, but were bound together in groups by the device of Presbyteries, or periodical courts consisting of the ministers and ruling elders of a certain number of contiguous parishes meeting to hear appeals from congregations, and otherwise exercise government, so the ten times more numerous parishes of England were similarly to be grouped into Presbyteries or Classes (Classes was the more favourite English term), each Classis containing some ten or twelve congregations. Thus in London alone, where there were about 120 parishes, there ought to be about twelve Classes or Presbyteries. Finally, the Presbyteries were to be interconnected, and their proceedings supervised, as in, Scotland, by periodical Synods of the ministers and ruling elders of many Presbyteries—say of all the Presbyteries of one large shire, or of several small shires taken as a convenient ecclesiastical district. In Scotland the practice was for all the ministers and ruling elders within the bounds of a Provincial Synod to attend the Synod personally; but in England, on account of her size, the plan of Synods of elected representatives might be advisable—which, however, would not affect the principle. In any case, the annual National Assembly of the whole Church, which, under the new Presbyterian system, would be to England the same Ecclesiastical Parliament that the General Assembly in Edinburgh was to Scotland, must necessarily, like that Assembly, be constituted representatively. Nothing less than all this was implied in the eight Resolutions of the Commons on Friday, Jan. 23, 1644-5. By an order of Monday the 27th, however, Mr. Rous, who had been commissioned to report the Resolutions to the Lords, was instructed to report only four of them,—the 3rd, the 6th, the 7th, and the 8th. The answer of the Lords on the following day was "That this House agrees with the House of Commons in all the Votes now brought up concerning Church-government." In refraining from sending up all the eight Votes, the Commons appear to have thought it best not yet positively to determine against the Congregationalists on one or two points, including that of strict parochialism. But in the four Votes sent up to the Lords and agreed to by them, all the essentials of Presbytery were involved; so that from the 28th of January 1644-5 it stood registered in the Acts of Parliament that England should, be Presbyterianized. [Footnote: Commons and Lords Journals of dates given.]

At this stage of the proceedings we may leave the Westminster Assembly for a while. On the 26th of December, Johnstone of Warriston and Mr. Barclay had left it, in order to be present at the Scottish Convention of Estates, which was to meet at Edinburgh on the 7th of January; [Footnote: Baillie, II. 251.] and on the 6th of January Baillie and Gillespie left it, on a weary horse-journey, in order to be present at the General Assembly of the Scottish Kirk, which was to meet at the same place on the 22nd. [Footnote: Baillie, II. 250.] Henderson and Rutherford remained in London. What tidings were carried by the Scottish Commissioners to Edinburgh of the great things which the Lord had up to that time done for the cause of Presbytery and true Religion in England may be read to this day in the records of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish General Assembly of 1645. Baillie's exulting speech in the Assembly is really worth reading. [Footnote: It is given in Baillie's Letters, II. 255-257. But see also Letter of Scottish Commissioners and Letter of Westminster Assembly to the Scottish General Assembly, both of date Jan. 6, 1645, in Acts of General Assembly of the Kirk.] Suffice it to say here that there was great rejoicing in Edinburgh and in all Scotland; that the General Assembly unanimously ratified the Westminster Directory of Worship (Feb. 3) and the Westminster Frame of Presbyterial government (Feb. 10); and that the Scottish Parliament (Feb. 6) approved and established, for Scotland, the Directory already established for England. Let us add that Baillie had a pleasant holiday, revisited his wife and family in Glasgow, and would fain have been allowed to remain in his own country thenceforth. But this could not be. Both he and Gillespie had to obey orders, and prepare, with sighs, for a return to London in March.


During the six months the transactions of which, as far as the Westminster Assembly was concerned, we have thus presented in summary (Sept. 1644-March 1645), the hurry of more general events in England had been very marked. Of what use was the preparation of a Presbyterian Form of Church-government, and a Presbyterian Directory of Worship, for England, so long as it remained uncertain whether England might not be once again the King's, and the Parliament under his feet? And, really, there was this danger. Marston Moor had been a great blow to the King: it had spoilt his cause in the whole of the North. But Essex's defeat in Cornwall (Sept. 1) had come as a terrible set-off, In the confidence of that victory, the King was on the move out of the West back to Oxford (Sept. 30), sending proclamations before him, and threatening a march upon London itself. The taking of Newcastle by the Scots under Leven (Oct. 19) was a return of good fortune for the Parliament at the right moment; at least it provided the Londoners again with their long-missed coals. But it had come now to be a contest between the King's main force and the combined forces of Parliament in the South-English midlands. In the second Battle of Newbury (Sunday, Oct. 27) the issue was tried—the Earl of Manchester's army, with Cromwell second in it, having been joined to the recruited armies of Essex and Waller in order to resist the King. Manchester and Waller were the real Parliamentary commanders, Essex being ill. It was a severe battle. The King had, on the whole, the worst; but he got off, as Cromwell and others thought, less thoroughly beaten than he ought to have been. [Footnote: Rushworth, V. 721-730; Carlyle's Cromwell (ed. 1857), I. l59.] From the date of this second Battle of Newbury, accordingly, Cromwell became the spokesman of a dissatisfaction with the military and political conduct of the cause of Parliament as deep and as wide-spread throughout England as that dissatisfaction with the conduct of the religious question of which he had made himself the spokesman six weeks before.

What Cromwell had thought when he moved the Accommodation Order of Sept. 13 had been virtually this: "Here are you discoursing about strict Presbytery and what differences from it may be tolerated, when the real question is whether we shall have a free England for Presbytery or anything else to exist in, and how we can carry with us all honest men who will fight to make such a free England." And now, when, after the second Battle of Newbury, he again reappeared in Parliament, it was in this prolongation, or profounder state, of the same mood:—"The time has come when I must speak out. We, of this nation, must turn over a new leaf. We have been fighting the King now for more than two years, and we are very much as we were when we began. And why? Because the men who command our armies against the King do not want really to beat him; because they want only to seem to be beating him; because the picture they love to look on, as their heaven on earth to come, is a picture of their gracious sovereign, after he has been beaten no more than could be helped, surrounded by themselves as his reconciled and pardoned ministers and chatting pleasantly with them over the deeds of the campaigns. I say nothing personally of my Lord of Essex, or of Sir William Waller: they are most honourable men. But I speak generally as I feel. If the King is to be beaten, it can only be by generals who want to beat him, who will beat him to bits, who will use all means to beat him, who will gladly see in their armies the men who have the right spirit in them for beating him. Are these the Presbyterians only? I trow not. I know my men; and I tell you that many of those that you call Independents, that you call Anabaptists, Sectaries, and what not, are among the stoutest and godliest in England, and will go as far as any. Some weeks ago I complained to you of Major-general Crawford, because he would trouble these men, and would have no soldiers of Parliament in my Lord Manchester's army that did not agree with his own notions of Religion and Church-government. Now I complain of my Lord Manchester himself. In this last Battle of Newbury, I tell you, the King was beaten less than he might have been. He was allowed to get off. I advised pursuing him, and my Lord Manchester would not. It was that over again which has been from the first. And now I speak out what has long been in my mind, and what brave men in thousands are thinking. Before the Lord, we must turn over a new leaf in this War. We must have an Army of the right sort of men, and men of the right sort to command that Army."

This is a purely imaginary speech of Cromwell's; but it is an accurate expression of several months of English history. The shrewdest of men at all times, and also the most sincere, he was yet always the most tempestuous when the fit time came, and it was the characteristic of his life that he carried everything before him at such times by his bursts and tempests. There can be no doubt that, after the second Battle of Newbury, Cromwell was in one of his paroxysms. Of his vehemence against Manchester at that time, and of Manchester's recriminations on him, one may read at large in Rushworth and elsewhere. [Footnote: Rushworth, V. 732-736; Carlyle's Cromwell (ed. 1857), I. 159, 160.] The brief account of Baillie, who had not yet left London, and was in the centre of the whole affair, will be sufficient here. "Lieutenant-general Cromwell," writes Baillie, Dec. 1, "has publicly, in the House of Commons, accused my Lord of Manchester of the neglect of fighting at Newbury. That neglect indeed was great; for, as we now are made sure, the King's army was in that posture that they took themselves for lost all-utterly. Yet the fault is most in justly charged on Manchester: it was common to all the general officers then present, and to Cromwell himself as much as to any other. Always my Lord Manchester has cleared himself abundantly in the House of Lords, and there has recriminate Cromwell as one who has avowed his desire to abolish the nobility of England; who has spoken contumeliously of the Scots' intention in coming to England to establish their Church-government, in which Cromwell said he would draw his sword against them; also against the Assembly of Divines; and has threatened to make a party of Sectaries, to extort by force, both from King and Parliament, what conditions they thought meet. This fire was long under the emmers; now it's broken out, we trust, in a good time. It's like, for the interest of our nation, we must crave reason of that darling of the Sectaries [i.e. bring Cromwell to a reckoning], and, in obtaining his removal from the army—which himself by his over-rashness has procured—to break the power of that potent faction. This is our present difficile enterprise: we had need of your prayers." [Footnote: Baillie, II. 243-245.] In this account Baillie mixes up the proceedings in the Commons on the 25th of November when Cromwell exhibited his charge against Manchester, and in the Lords a few days after when Manchester gave in his defence and countercharge, with current gossip, apparently true enough, of Cromwell and his awful sayings in private. Evidently Baillie thought Cromwell had ruined himself. Even the hero of Marston Moor could not beard all respectable England in this way, and it should not be the fault of the Scottish Commissioners if he did not find himself shelved! Little did Baillie know with what great things, beyond all Scottish power of resistance or machination, Cromwell's fury was pregnant.

While Baillie was writing the passage above quoted, the Scottish Commissioners, along with the Lord-general Essex, and some of Essex's chief adherents, including Denzil Holles and Sir Philip Stapleton, were consulting how they might trip Cromwell up. At a conference late one night at Essex-house, to which Whitlocke and Maynard were invited, the Scottish Chancellor Loudoun moved the business warily in a speech which Whitlocke mischievously tries to report in its native Scotch—"You ken vary weele that Lieutenant-general Cromwell is no friend of ours," &c. "You ken vary weele the accord 'twixt the twa kingdoms" &c. Loudoun wanted to know, especially from the two lawyers, whether the Scottish plan of procedure in such cases would have any chance in England, in other words whether Cromwell could be prosecuted as an incendiary; for "you may ken that by our law in Scotland we clepe him an incendiary whay kindleth coals of contention and raiseth differences in the State to the public damage." Whitlocke and Maynard satisfied his lordship that the thing was possible in law, but suggested the extreme difficulty there would be in proof, represented Cromwell's great influence in the Parliament and the country, and in fact discouraged the notion altogether. Holles, Stapleton, and others were still eager for proceeding, but the Scots were impressed and thought delay would be prudent. And so, Whitlocke tells us, the Presbyterian intriguers parted at two in the morning, and he had reason to believe that Cromwell knew all that had passed before many hours were over, and that this precipitated what followed. [Footnote: Whitlocke's Memorials (edit. Oxford, 1853), I. 3l3 et seq.]

On Wednesday the 9th of December, at all events, the Commons having met in grand committee on the condition of the kingdom through the continuance of the war, there was for a time a dead silence, as if something extraordinary was expected, and then Cromwell rose and made a short speech. It was very solemn, and even calm, but so hazy and general that the practical drift of it could not possibly have been guessed but for the sequel. Almost the last words of the speech were, "I hope we have such true English hearts, and zealous affections towards the general weal of our mother-country, as no members of either House will scruple to deny themselves, and their own private interests, for the public good." The words, vague enough in themselves, are memorable as having christened by anticipation the measure for which Cromwell, as he uttered them, was boring the way. For, after one or two more had spoken in the same general strain, Mr. Zouch Tate, member for Northampton, did the duty assigned him, and opened the bag which contained the cat. He made a distinct motion, which, when it had been seconded by young Vane, and debated by others (Cromwell again saying a few words, and luminous enough this time), issued in this resolution, "That no member of either House of Parliament shall during the war enjoy or execute any office or command, military or civil; and that an ordinance be brought in to that effect." This was on the 9th of December; and on the 19th of that month the ordinance itself, having gone through all its stages, passed the Commons. All London was astounded. "The House of Commons," writes Baillie, Dec. 26, "in one hour has ended all the quarrels which was betwixt Manchester and Cromwell, all the obloquies against the General, the grumblings against the proceedings of many members of their House. They have taken all office from all members of both Houses. This, done on a sudden, in one session, with great unanimity, is still more and more admired by some, as a most wise, necessary, and heroic action; by others as the most rash, hazardous, and unjust action that ever Parliament did. Much may be said on both hands, but as yet it seems a dream, and the bottom of it is not understood." To the House of Lords the Self-denying Ordinance was by no means palatable. They demurred, conferred with the Commons about it, and at last (Jan. 15) rejected it. Their chief ground of rejection being that they did not know what was to be the shape of the Army to be officered on the new principle, the Commons immediately produced their scheme in that matter. The existing armies were to be weeded, consolidated, and recruited into one really effective army of 21,000 men (of which 6,000 should be horse in ten regiments, 1,000 should be dragoons in ten single companies, and 14,000 should be foot in regiments of not less than 1,200 each), the whole to cost 44,955l. per month, to be raised by assessment throughout the kingdom. This army, it was farther resolved by the Commons (Jan. 21), should be commanded in chief by the trusty and popular Sir Thomas Fairfax, who had done so well in the North, and, under him, by the trusty and popular Major-general Skippon, whose character for bull-headed bravery even the disaster in Cornwall had only more fully brought out. [Footnote: I find, from the Commons Journals, that there was a division on the question whether Fairfax should be appointed commander-in-chief of the New Model—the state of the vote being Yeas 101 against Noes 69, or a majority of 32 for the appointment. The Tellers for the majority were the younger Vane and Cromwell; for the minority, Denzil Holles and Sir Philip Stapleton. There was a subsequent division, Feb. 7, on the question whether Fairfax's choice of officers under him should be subject to Parliamentary revision. Cromwell was one of the Tellers for the Noesi.e. he wanted Fairfax to have full powers. The other side, however, beat this time by a majority of 82 against 63. After all it was arranged satisfactorily between Fairfax and Parliament.] On the 28th of January the New Model complete passed the Commons. The Lords hesitated about some parts of it, and were especially anxious for a provision in it incapacitating all from being officers or soldiers in the new army who should not have taken the Covenant: there were conferences on this point, and a kind of compromise on it by the Commons; and on the 15th of February the Ordinance for New Modelling of the Army was finally passed. The Self-denying Ordinance was then re-introduced in a changed form, and it passed the Lords, April 3, 1645. It ordained that all members of either House who had since November 20, 1640, been appointed to any offices, military or civil, should, at the end of forty days from the passing of the Ordinance, vacate these offices, but that all other officers in commission on the 20th of March, 1644-5, should continue in the posts they then held.

Thus the year 1645 (beginning, in English reckoning, March 25) opened with new prospects. Essex, Manchester, Waller, and all the officers under them, retired into ordinary life, with thanks and honours—Essex, indeed, with a great pension; and the fighting for Parliament was thenceforward to be done mainly by a re-modelled Army, commanded by Fairfax, Skippon, and officers under them, whose faces were unknown in Parliament, and whose business was to be to fight only and teach the art of fighting.

It was high time! For another long bout of negotiations with the King, begun as early as Nov. 20, 1644, and issuing in a formal Treaty of great ceremony, called "The Treaty of Uxbridge," had ended, as usual, in no result. Feb. 22, it had been broken off after such a waste of speeches and arguments on paper that the account of the Treaty occupies ten pages in Clarendon and fifty-six folio pages in Rushworth. It was clear that the year 1645 was to be a year of continued war. [Footnote: For this story of the Self-denying Ordinance and the New Modelling of the Army authorities are—Rushworth, VI. 1-16; Baillie, II. 247; Carlyle's Cromwell (ed. 1857), I. 160-163. The Uxbridge Treaty is narrated in Clarendon's Hist. (one-volume ed. 1843), pp. 520-530, and in Rushworth, V. 787-842.]


Ere we pass out of the rich general history of this year 1644, the year of Marston Moor, we must take note of a few vengeances and deaths with which it was wound up. The long-deferred trial of poor Laud, begun March 12, 1643-4, after he had been more than three years a prisoner in the Tower, and they might have left him there in quiet, had straggled on through the whole of 1644. The interest in it had run, like a red thread, through the miscellany of other events. The temper of the people had been made fiercer by the length of the war, and there was a desire for the old man's blood. The Presbyterian ministers of the Assembly, I find, fostered this desire. In that very sermon of Herbert Palmer's before Parliament (Aug. 13) in which he had called for the extirpation of heresy and schism, and denounced Milton, there was an express passage on the duty of "doing justice upon Delinquents impartially and without respect of persons." [Footnote: Palmer's Sermon, p. 48.] Calamy in his sermon, Oct. 22, followed, and told the Parliament, "All the guilty blood that God requires you in justice to shed, and you spare, God will require the blood at your hands." [Footnote: Calamy's Sermon, p. 27.] Mr. Francis Woodcock, preaching Oct. 30, was even more decided. His sermon, which was on Rev. xvi. 15, is a very untastefully-worded discourse on the propriety of always being on the watch so as not to be taken by surprise without one's garments; and, among the rather ludicrous images which his literal treatment of the subject suggests, we come upon a passage describing one of four pieces of raiment which the State ought never to be caught without. He calls it the "Robe of Justice," and adds, "Would God this robe were often worn, and dyed of a deeper colour in the blood of Delinquents. It is that which God and man calls for. God repeats it, Justice, Justice; we, echoing God, cry Justice, Justice; and let me say, perhaps we should not see other garments so much rolled in blood, did we not see these so little." [Footnote: Woodcock's Sermon, pp 30, 31.] Baillie, I am glad to think, was more tender-hearted. There was, indeed, one Delinquent for whom Baillie would have had no mercy—Dr. Maxwell, the Scottish ex-Bishop of Ross, who had published at Oxford, in the King's interest, "a desperately malicious invective" against Scottish Presbytery and its leaders. "However I could hardly consent to the hanging of Canterbury himself, or of any Jesuit," Baillie had written, July 16, 1644, after his first indignant sight of this book, "yet I could give my sentence freely against that unhappy liar's [Maxwell's] life." But, indeed, the Scottish Commissioners and the Scottish nation were conjoined as parties with the English Presbyterians and the English Parliamentarians generally (Prynne ruthlessly busy in getting up the evidence) in the long prosecution of Laud. It was all over on the 10th of January, 1644-5. On that day Laud, aged 72, laid his head upon the block on a scaffold in Tower Hill. Hanging had been commuted, with some difficulty, to beheading. He died brave, raspy, and High-Church to the last. [Footnote: Rushworth's main account of the trial and last days of Laud is in Vol. V. pp, 763-786. The "History of the Troubles and Tryal of William Laud," edited by Wharton, in two vols. folio, appeared in 1695- 1700.]—Minor executions about the same time were those of Hugh Macmahon and Lord Maguire for their concern in the Irish rebellion and massacre, Sir Alexander Carew for treachery at Plymouth, and the Hothams, father and son, for treachery at Hull. One Roger L'Estrange, a younger son of a Norfolk family, had been condemned to be hanged in Smithfield for an underhand attempt to win the town of Lynn for the King; but he was reprieved, lay in Newgate for some years, and lived for sixty years longer, to be known, even in Queen Anne's time, as Sir Roger L'Estrange, the journalist.



Ever since August 1643, when Milton had published his extraordinary Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, but more especially since Feb. 1643-4, when he had published the second and enlarged edition of it, with his name in full, and the dedication to Parliament and the Westminster Assembly, his reputation with orthodox English society had been definite enough. He was one of those dreadful Sectaries! Nay he was a Sectary more odious than most; for his was a moral heresy. What was Independency, what was Anabaptism, what was vague Antinomianism, compared with this heresy of the household, this loosening of the holy relation on which all civil society depended? How detestable the doctrine that, when two married people found they had made a mistake in coming together, or at least when the husband could declare before God and human witnesses his irreconcilable dissatisfaction with his wife, then it was right that the two should be separated, with liberty to each to find a new mate! True, it was an able man who had divulged this heresy, one who had brought applauses from Cambridge, who was said to have written beautiful English poems, who had served the cause of Parliament by some splendid pamphlets for Church-reformation and against Episcopacy, and who had in these pamphlets encountered even the great Bishop Hall. All this only made the doctrine more dangerous, the aberration more lamentable. This Mr. Milton must be avoided, and denounced as a Sectary of the worst kind! Some said it was all owing to the conduct of his wife, a rank Royalist, who had deserted him and gone back to her friends! If that were the case, he was to be pitied; but perhaps there were two sides to that story too!

There must have been much gossip of this kind, about Milton and his Divorce Treatise, in the booksellers' shops near St. Paul's, and even round the Parliament in Westminster, in the early months of 1644. The gossip may have affected Milton's relations with some of his former friends and acquaintances. If Bishop Hall, when he first saw the treatise, and perceived its literary ability, "blushed for his age" that so "scandalous" a thing should have appeared, and if even Howell the letter-writer, in his prison, thought it the impudent production of "a poor shallow-brained puppy," what could Milton's orthodox and reverend Smectymnuan friends—Marshall, Calamy, Young, Newcomen, and Spurstow— think or say about it? Shocked they must have been; and, knowing Milton's temper, and with what demeanour he would front any remonstrances of theirs, they probably left him alone, and became scarcer in their visits to Aldersgate Street. It would not do to keep up the Smectymnuan connexion too visibly after what had happened. Or, if Young could not break off so easily, but would still call to see his old pupil, and to talk with old Mr. Milton about the Bread Street days, how the good man must have yearned to speak sometimes when the old gentleman was out of the way, and he and Milton were alone. "O my dear Mr. Milton, how much we are all concerned about that pamphlet! I am not going to argue it with you; I know you too well, and how little influence my reasonings could have with you now in any such matter; and it is my comfort at least to be able to tell some of my Assembly friends that, if they knew you as well as I do, they would be sure that nothing you do but is done in a great spirit and with a high intention. But, dear me! it is a terrible opinion you have broached!" To something like this Milton may have listened, more or less patiently; or he may have imagined it in Young's mind, if it was not uttered. The mutual regard between Young and his old pupil did not suffer so much from the trial but that we find Milton still willing to acknowledge publicly the connexion that had subsisted between them.

On the whole, it is certain that one consequence of the outcry about Milton's treatise among the London Presbyterians, and especially among the city clergy and the Divines of the Assembly, was to drive Milton more arid more into the society of those who had begun to dislike and to dread the ascendancy of the Presbyterians. Finding himself, almost from the first publication of the treatise, as he tells us, in "a world of disesteem" on account of it, he naturally held intercourse more and more with those who, though they may not have approved of his particular heresy, yet, as being themselves voted heretics on other accounts, were more easy in their judgments of all extreme opinions. I believe, in fact, that, could Milton's acquaintanceships in London from the winter of 1643- 4 onwards be traced and recovered, they would be found to have been chiefly among the Independents, Anabaptists, Antinomians, Seekers, and other Tolerationists. What were the religious opinions of the Lady Margaret Ley, that "woman of great wit and ingenuity," and her husband Captain Hobson, "a very accomplished gentleman," with both of whom he was so intimate about this time, and who, as Phillips tells us, "had a particular honour for him and took much delight in his company," must be left to conjecture. [Footnote: It has been in my mind whether the Captain Hobson who was the Lady Ley's husband, and whom Dagdale describes as "... Hobson of... in the Isle of Wight, Esq.," can by possibility have been the same person as the Baptist preacher, Paul Hobson, who was also a Captain in the Parliamentary Army, and who figures much in Edwards's Gangraena and in other books of the time, under the express name of "Captain Hobson," as a leading Sectary, though Edwards will have it that he was originally "a tailor from Buckinghamshire" (ante, p. 148). The supposition seems so absurd that I hardly like to mention that I spent hours in turning over Paul Hobson's published sermons and Baptist treatises in case I might come on any confirmation of it—which I did not.]

From Milton's Sonnet to the Lady Margaret one may safely infer at least that she was a woman of liberal principles as well as wit. Probably her house was the resort of a good many of what would now be called the "advanced" or "strong-minded" Christians of both sexes then in London; and Milton may there have extended his acquaintance with such, and have even been an object of peculiar interest to some of one sex, as "that handsome, fair gentleman, now talking to Lady Margaret, who is a great scholar and a poet, and whose wife has left him shamefully, so that he wants to be divorced from her, and has written a book which quite proves it." Milton's acquaintance with Roger Williams, at all events, is almost certainly to be dated from Williams's visit to England in 1643-4, when he was writing his Bloody Tenent; and if Milton, at the same time, did not become acquainted with John Goodwin of Coleman Street, it would be a wonder.


We must, I am sorry to say, descend lower in the society of London, in and about 1644, than the Lady Margaret Ley's drawing-room, or the level of marked men like Williams and Goodwin, if we would understand how Milton's Divorce opinion had begun to operate, and with what consequences of its operation his name was associated. The reader may remember a Mrs. Attaway, mentioned by us among both the Baptists and the Seekers, and as perhaps the most noted of all the women-preachers in London (ante, pp. 149, 153). She was, it seems, a "lace-woman, dwelling in Bell Alley in Coleman Street," and preaching on week-day afternoons in that neighbourhood, with occasional excursions to other parts of the city where rooms could be had. Sometimes other "preaching-women" were with her, and the gatherings, though at first of her own sex only, soon attracted curious persons of the other. From the descriptions of what passed in some of them, it would appear that, though the meetings were for worship, and there were regular discourses by Mrs. Attaway and others, free talk and criticism was permitted to all present, so that the conventicle took on sometimes the aspect of a religious debating society. Well, Mrs. Attaway, among others, had got hold of Milton's Divorce Treatise, and had been reading it. "Two gentlemen of the Inns of Court, civil and well-disposed men," who had gone "out of novelty" to hear her, afterwards told Gangraena Edwards of some "discourse they had had with her." Among other passages she "spoke to them of Master Milton's Doctrine of Divorce, and asked them what they thought of it; saying "it was a point to be considered of, and that she, for her part, would look more into it, for she had an unsanctified husband, that did not walk in the way of Sion, nor speak the language of Canaan." Edwards does not give the date of this conversation with Mrs. Attaway; and, though presumably in 1644, it may have been later. He evidently introduces it, however, in order to implicate Milton in the subsequent break-down, which he also reports, of the poor woman morally. For, if Mr. Edwards is to be believed, Mrs. Attaway did "look more into" Milton's doctrine, and at length acted upon it. Some time in 1645 she abjured her "unsanctified husband" Mr. Attaway, who, besides being unsanctified, was then absent in the army, leaving her alone in her lace-shop, and transferred herself to a man named William Jenney, an occasional preacher, who was much more sanctified, and was also on the spot. Mr. Jenney had, unfortunately, a wife already, some children by her, and one expected; but ho too had been meditating on the Divorce Doctrine, and had used his Christian liberty. Mr. Edwards had been most particular in his investigations. He had actually procured from a sure hand the copies of two letters-taken from the original letters, and compared by a minister with the originals—one of William Jenney to his wife since he went away with Mistress Attaway, the other of Mistress Attaway to William Jenney before his going away." He refrains from printing the letters verbatim, as they were too long; but he gives extracts. "I thought good to write to you these few lines," writes Jenney to the deserted Mrs. Jenney, Feb. 15, 1645, "to tell you that, because you have been to me rather a disturber of my body and soul than to be a meet help for me—— but I silence! And, for looking for me to come to you again, I shall never come to you again any more. I shall send unto you never no more concerning anything." If this actually was Jenney's letter, Mrs. Attaway was worth ten of him, and deserved a better second. "Dearest friend and well-beloved in the Lord," so she had begun the letter sent to him while he was still Mrs. Jenney's, and which had got into Mrs. Jenney's hands, "I am unspeakably sorry in respect of thy sufferings, I being the object that occasioned it." The sufferings were Mrs. Jenney's bastings of him because he was always with Mrs. Attaway. In good time, Mrs. Attaway goes on to say, he would be delivered from these. "When Jehoshaphat knew not what to do, he looked to the Lord. Let us look to Him, believing confidently in Him with the faith of Jesus; and no question but we shall be delivered. In the mean season I shall give up my heart and affections to thee in the Lord; and, whatsoever I have or am in Him which is our Head, thou shalt command it." The event, according to Edwards, was that Mr. Jenney and Mrs. Attaway eloped together, Mrs. Attaway having persuaded Jenney that she should never die, but that, in obedience to a heavenly message, they must go to Jerusalem, and repair that city in anticipation of the bringing of all the Saints to it in ships to be sent from Tarshish. I suspect they went only to Jericho. [Footnote: This story of Mrs. Attaway is from Edwards's Gangraena, Part II. pp. 31, 32, 113- 115; Fresh Discovery, appended to Second Part of Gangraena, p. 9; and Third Part of Gangraena, pp. 25-27 and 188. See also Baillie's Dissuasive, Part II. pp. l00 and 123-4.]

All this on the faith of Mr. Edwards's statements in the Gangraena. But really one should not judge of even a poor enthusiastic woman, dead two hundred years ago, on that sole authority. Never was there a more nauseous creature of the pious kind than this Presbyterian Paul Pry of 1644-46. He revelled in scandals, and kept a private office for the receipt of all sorts of secret information, by word of mouth or letter, that could be used against the Independents and the Sectaries. [Footnote: Richard Baxter, as he himself tells us, sent communications from the country to Edwards. His correspondents were legion, but he concealed their names.] Yet there was a kind of coarse business-like conscientiousness in the toad; and, though he was credulous and unscrupulous in his collections of scandal, I do not believe he invented documents or lied deliberately. I do not doubt, therefore, that Mrs. Attaway, whether she went ultimately to Jericho or to Jerusalem, did know of Milton's Divorce Doctrine, and had extracted suggestions from it suitable to her circumstances. For, indeed, the Doctrine was likely to find not a few whose circumstances it suited. Mr. Edwards's book is strewn with instances of persons who had even found out a tantamount doctrine for themselves—men who had left their wives, or wanted to do so, and wives who had left their husbands, and who, without having seen Milton's treatise, defended their act or their wish on grounds of religion and natural law. Nay, in the frenzy of inquiry which had taken possession of the English mind, everything appertaining to Marriage and the Marriage-institution was being plucked up for fundamental re- investigation. There were actually persons who were occupying themselves intently with questioning the forbidden degrees of Consanguinity and Affinity in marriage, and who had not only come to the easy conclusion that marriage with a deceased wife's sister is perfectly legitimate, but had worked out a general theologico-physiological speculation to the effect that the marriage of near relatives is in all cases peculiarly proper, and perhaps the more proper in proportion to the nearness of the relationship. This, I imagine, was a very small sect. [Footnote: But, unless Edwards and Baillie were both wrong, there was some such sect. See Gangraena, Part III. p. 187, and, more particularly, Baillie's Dissuasive, Part II. pp. 100 and 122-3.]

Let us re-ascend into more pleasant air. There was one rather notable person in London, of the highly respectable sort, though, decidedly among the free opinionists, whose acquaintance Milton did make about this time, if he had not made it before, and who must be specially introduced to the reader. This was SAMUEL HARTLIB.


Everybody knew Hartlib. He was a foreigner by birth, being the son of a Polish merchant, of German extraction, who had left Poland when that country fell under Jesuit rule, and had settled in Elbing in Prussia in very good circumstances. Twice married before to Polish ladies, this merchant had married, in Prussia, for his third wife, the daughter of a wealthy English merchant of Dantzic; and thus our Hartlib, their son, though Prussian-born and with Polish connexions, could reckon himself half-English. The date of his birth was probably about the beginning of the century, i.e. he may have been eight or ten years older than Milton. He appears to have first visited England in or about 1628, and from that time, though he made frequent journeys to the Continent, London had been his head-quarters. Here, with a residence in the City, he had carried on business as a "merchant," with extensive foreign correspondences, and very respectable family connexions. One of his aunts (sisters of his mother) had married a Mr. Clark, the son of a former Lord Mayor of London, and afterwards a Sir Richard Smith, Knight and Privy Councillor, and again a Sir Edward Savage. The other aunt had married a country gentleman, named Peak. A cousin of Hartlib's, the daughter of the first and wealthier aunt, Lady Smith, became the wife of Sir Anthony Irby, M.P. for Boston in the Long Parliament. But it did not require such family connexions to make Hartlib at home in English society. The character of the man would have made him at home anywhere. He was one of those persons, now styled "philanthropists" or "friends of progress," who take an interest in every question or project of their time promising social improvement, have always some iron in the fire, are constantly forming committees or writing letters to persons of influence, and altogether live for the public. By the common consent of all who have explored the intellectual and social history of England in the seventeenth century, he is one of the most interesting and memorable figures of that whole period. He is interesting both for what he did himself and also on account of the number and intimacy of his contacts with other interesting people. [Footnote: Memoir of Hartlib by H. Dircks, pp 2-6, where there are extracts from an autobiographical letter of Hartlib to Worthington, written in 1660. "The Diary and Correspondence of Dr. John Worthington," edited by James Crossley, Esq., F.S.A. (Chetham Society), contains many letters from Hartlib to Worthington, between 1655 and 1662, but not this one. Mr. Crossley's Diary and Correspondence of Worthington, so far as it has gone, is one of the best edited books known to me, the footnotes being very nuggets of biographical lore; and it is to be regretted that the connected notices of Worthington, Hartlib, and Durie, postponed by Mr. Crossley until the work should be completed, have not yet appeared.]

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