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mansion of Lord Scudamore; and here he continued to reside till the Restoration.

Charles, the son of the late king, anxious to appeal to the courts of Europe against the judgment of the people of England, employed, as his advocate, Salmasius, an honorary professor in the University of Leyden. It would have been difficult for Charles readily to have found a foreigner at this period well qualified for the task; but in his choice he seems to have been peculiarly unfortunate. This man, though possessed of great erudition and considerable critical acumen, was altogether destitute of those practical talents that were needed for the work imposed on him; and, above all, he was utterly ignorant of the facts and bearings of the question he thus undertook to exhibit in its true light to others; so that he was entirely dependent for his materials on the prejudiced representations of the ruined cavaliers.

In reply to the work thus produced, Milton published in 1651, his "Defence of the People of England," giving in it one of the noblest instances of self-sacrifice that ever patriotism offered. He had already greatly injured his eyes by his protracted studies, and his physicians now assured him that unless he abandoned this labour, he must lose his sight. "On this occasion," says Milton, replying to an antagonist who had made his blindness a reproach, "I reflected that many had purchased with a superior evil a lighter good, glory with death;-to me, on the contrary, greater good was purchased with an inferior evil; so that by incurring blindness alone, I might fulfil the most honourable of all duties."

The unanimous voice of the Council had called him to this work, and the reception it met with on the continent was such as might have satisfied the highest ambition;-enemies no less than friends manifested their sense of its power. It was publicly burned at Paris and Toulouse. It was translated into Dutch for the special benefit of the countrymen of Salmasius, to his own extreme vexation; and while the StatesGeneral ordered its suppression as a national disgrace, its author received the highest encomiums from the most eminent men in Europe. Queen Christina of Sweden especially marked her admiration of this work; but, above all, it completely accomplished the purpose for which it was written,

so that Milton's unfortunate opponent was utterly overwhelmed in the encounter. He possessed all the extravagant vanity of a pedant, and must have felt with proportionate acutness his humiliating overthrow. Even his own friends made it matter of complaint that his work was never heard of, while his antagonist's reply was the theme of interest to every court of Europe.

Europe, indeed, seemed to be astonished at the genius thus displayed by one unknown before, and whose work did not win its way to public estimation by the gradual steps of a literary fame, but burst upon it at once with a blaze of splendour. "The scholars of Europe," says Symmons, "actuated by a similar spirit with the spectators of the old Olympian games, threw garlands on the conqueror of Salmasius;” and the ambassadors then in London acknowledged the universal estimation of the author by official visits.

Salmasius laboured without success to produce an answer to this masterly defence. He died in 1653, the victim, as was generally believed, of wounded pride, leaving it unfinished; and when at length the fragment was published, the people of England had reversed their judgment by a "glorious restoration," and it was as useless as it was dangerous for Milton to reply.

CHAPTER III.

IIIS BLINDNESS.

ON the 2d of May 1652, Milton's family was increased by another daughter, at the cost of her mother's life. The account of his nephew affords abundant evidence that Milton, in receiving back his wife to that place in his home which she had so rashly forfeited, with the generosity of a noble mind, buried the past in oblivion, though she was probably no help-meet for such a man. Yet their domestic life had been the source of endearing ties; and now, when suddenly bereft of her society, and left with three orphan daughters, his solitude was rendered the more painful by the rapid advances of blind

ness.

His mind must have been long prepared for this trying affliction. In a letter to a friend about this period, he says: "It is about ten years, I think, since I perceived my sight to grow weak and dim;" and he adds that the sight of one eye had almost entirely disappeared fully three years before the other was much affected. That which his physicians had foretold was now rapidly hastening to its fatal accomplishment, but he repined not at the irreparable loss. He had fallen as the good soldier falls, foremost in the battle-field in his country's cause, and he considered that no unworthy shrine whereon to lay so costly a sacrifice. As a Christian, he bore the privation with noble fortitude; as a patriot, with the just consciousness of having deserved well of his country—a debt still unpaid; for England, proud of the Poet whom the world reveres, has shrunk from the acknowledgment of the Patriot's claims; and the monument that bears his name in Westminster Abbey is more a memorial of its titled donor than a tribute to the memory of England's gifted son.

"It is not miserable to be blind," says Milton, with calm dignity, in reply to one of his heartless antagonists. "He only is miserable who cannot acquiesce in his blindness with fortitude; and why should I repine at a calamity which every man's mind ought to be so prepared and disciplined as to be able to undergo with patience—a calamity to which every man by the condition of his nature is liable, and which I know to have been the lot of some of the greatest and best of my species?"

So completely unimpaired were his energies, that he continued till the Restoration to dictate all the most important foreign correspondence of the Commonwealth. In this high office he took an active share in the foreign policy of Cromwell, which, whatever be the opinion formed of the Protectorate as the government of a free people, is universally acknowledged to have elevated England to the highest rank among the kingdoms of Europe-to have made her respected and feared wherever she was known. Milton penned the indignant remonstrance that stayed the sword of persecution against the helpless Protestants of Piedmont, as well as the sonnet that records their sufferings. He conducted the bold correspondence that set at defiance the haughty bigotry of Spain;

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