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But it was not only in foreign dispatches that the government made use of his pen. He had discharged the business of his office a very little time, before he was called to a work of another kind. For foon after the King's death was published a book under his name intitled Eixwv Bæorn.xy, or the royal image ; and this book, like Cæsar's last will, making a deeper impression, and exciting greater commiseration in the minds of the people, than the king himself did while alive, Milton was ordered to prepare an answer to it, which was published by authority, and intitled Eixovox144505, or the image-breaker, the famous surname of many Greek emperors, who in their zeal against idolatry broke all superstitious images to pieces. This piece was trandlated into French ; and two replies to it were publired, one in 1651, and the other in 1692, upon the reprinting of Milton's book at Amiterdam.
In this controverfy a heavy charge hath been alleged againit Milton. Some editions of the king's book have certain prayers added at the end, and among them a prayer in time of captivity, which is taken from that of Pamela in Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia : and it is said, that this prayer was added by the contrivance and artifice of Milton, who together with Bradshaw prevailed upon the printer to insert it, that from thence he might take occasion to bring a scandal upon the King, and to blast the reputation of his book, as he hath attempted to do in the first section of his answer. This fact is related chiefly upon the authority of Henry Hills the printer, who had frequently affirmed it to Dr. Gill and Dr. Bernard his physicians, as they themselves have testified. But Hills was not himself
the printer who was dealt with in this manner, and
prayers in the best books of devotions and the King might as lawfully borrow and apply it to his own occasions, as the Apostle might make quotations from Heathen poems and plays : and it became Mịlton the least of all men to bring such an accusation against the King, as he was himself particularly fond of reading romances, and has made use of them in fome of the best and latest of his writings.
But his most celebrated work in prose is his Defense of the people of England against Salmasius, Defenfio pro populo Anglicano contra Claudii Anonymi, alias Salmafii, Defensionem Regiam. Salmasius, by birth a Frenchman, fucceeded the famous Scaliger, as honorary Professor of the university of Leyden, and had gained great reputation by his Plinian Exercitations on Soliņus, and by his critical remarks on several Latin and Greek authors, and was generally esteemed one of the greatest and most consummate scholars of that age : and is commended by Milton himself in his Reason of Church Government, and called the C4
learned Salmasius. Besides his great learning he had extraordinary talents in railing.
“ This prince “ of scholars, as some body said of him, seemed to “ have erected his throne upon a heap of stones, “ that he might have them at hand to throw at every o one's head who passed by.” He was therefore courted by Charles II, as the most able man to write a defense of the late King his father and to traduce his adversaries, and a hundred Jacobuses were given him for that purpose, and the book was published in 1649 with this title Defensio Regia pro Carolo I. ad Carolum II. No sooner did this book
appear in England, but the Council of State unanimously appointed Milton, who was then present, to answer it: and he performed the task with amazing spirit and vigor, tho' his health at that time was such, that he could hardly indure the fatigue of writing, and being weak in body he was forced to write by piece-meal, and to break off almost every hour, as he says himself in the introduction. This necessarily occasioned some delay, so that his Defense of the people of England was not made public till the beginning of the year
16 51: and they who cannot read the original, may yet have the pleasure of reading the English Translation by Mr. Washington of the Temple, which was printed in 1692, and is inserted among Milton's works in the two last editions. It was somewhat extraordinary, that Salmasius, a pensioner to a republic, should pretend to write a defense of monarchy, but the States Thowed their disapprobation by publicly condemning his book, and ordering it to be suppressed. On the other hand Milton's book was burnt at Paris, and at Tolouse by the
hands of the common hangman: but this served only to procure it the more readers : it was read and talked of every where, and even they who were of different principles, yet could not but acknowledge that he was a good defender of a bad cause ; and Salmafius's book underwent only one impression, while this of Milton passed thro' several editions. On the first appearance of it, he was visited or invited by all the foreign ministers at London, not excepting even those of crowned heads; and was particularly honored and esteemed by Adrian Paaw, embassador from the States of Hclland. He was likewise highly complimented by letters from the most learned and ingenious Persons in France and Germany; and Leonard Philaris, an Athenian born, and embassador from the Duke of Parma to the French king, wrote a fine encomium of his Defense, and sent him his picture, as appears from Milton's letter to Philaras dated at London in June 1652. And what gave him the greatest satisfaction, the work was highly applauded by those, who had defired him to undertake it; and they made him a present of a thousand pounds, which in those days of frugality was reckoned no inconsiderable reward for his performance. But the case was far otherwise with Salmafius. He was then in high favor at the court of Christina Queen of Sweden, who had invited thither several of the most learned men of all countries: but when Milton's Defense of the people of England was brought to Sweden, and was read to the Queen at her own desire, he sunk immediately in her esteem and the opinion of every body; and tho' he talked big at first, and vowed the de3
struction of Milton and the Parlament, yet finding that he was looked upon with coldness, he thought proper to take leave of the court; and he who came in honor, was dismissed with contempt. He died some time afterwards at Spa in Germany, and it is said more of a broken heart than of any distemper, leaving a posthumous reply to Milton, which was not published till after the Restoration, and was dedicated to Charles II. by his son Claudius: but it has done no great honor to his memory, abounding with abuse much more than argument.
Isaac Voffius was at Stockholm, when Milton's book was brought thither, and in some of his letters to Nicolas Heinsius, published by Professor Burman in the third tome of his Sylloge Epistolarum, he says, that he had the only copy of Milton's book, that the Queen borrowed it of him, and was very much pleased with it, and commended Milton's wit and manner of writing in the presence of several perfons, and that Salmasius was very angry, and very busy in preparing his answer, wherein he abused Milton as if he had been one of the vilest çatamites in Italy, and also criticized his Latin poems.
Heinsius writes again to Vossius from Holland, that he wondered that only one copy of Milton's book was brought to Stockholm, when three were sent thither, one to the Queen, another to Voffius which he had received, and the third to Salmasius ; that the book was in every body's hands, and there had been four editions in a few months besides the English one ; that a Dutch translation was handed about, and a French one was expected. And afterwards he writes from Venice, that Holstenius had lent