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And after this re-union, fo far was he from retaining an unkind memory of the provocations which he had receiv'd from her ill conduct, that when the King's caufe was entirely opprefs'd, and her Father who had been active in his loyalty was expos'd to fequeftration, MILTON receiv'd both him and his family to protection, and free entertainment, in his own houfe, till their affairs were accommodated by his intereft in the victorious faction.
For he was now grown famous by
his polemical writings of various kinds, An. Etat. 41. and held in great favor, and efteem,
by thofe who had power to difpofe of all preferments in the State. Tis in vain to diffemble, and far be it from me to defend, his engaging with a party combin'd in the deftruction of our Church and Monarchy. Yet, leaving the juftification of a mis-guided fincerity to be debated in the fchools, may I prefume to obferve in his favor, that his zeal, diftemper'd & furious as it was, does not appear to have been infpirited by felf-interefted views: For it is affirm'd, that though he liv'd always in a frugal retirement, and before his death had difpos'd of his Library (which we may suppose to have been a valuable collection) he left no more than fifteen hundred pounds behind him for the fupport of his family: & whoever confiders the Pofts to which he was advanc'd, & the times in which he enjoy'd them, will I believe confefs that he might have accumulated a much more plentiful fortune: in a difpaffionate mind it will not require any extraordinary measure of candor to conclude, that though he abode in the heritage of Oppreffors, and the spoils of his country lay at his feet, neither his conscience, nor his honor, cou'd ftoop to gather them.
A Commiffion to conftitute him An. Etat. 42. Adjutant-General to Sir William Waller
was promis'd, but foon fuperfeded by Waller's being
laid a-fide, when his Mafters thought it proper to new-model their Army. However, the keeness of his pen had fo effectually recommended him to Cromwell's esteem, that when he took the reins of government into his own hand, he advanc'd him to be Latin Secretary, both to himself and the Parliament: the former of thefe preferments he enjoy'd both under the Ufurper, and his Son; the other, 'till King Charles II. was reftor'd. For fome time he had an apartment for his family in Whitehall; but his health requiring a freer acceffion of air, he was oblig'd to remove from thence to lodgings which open'd into St. James's Park. Not long after his fettlement there, his Wife dy'd in child - bed: and much about the time of her death, a Gutta ferena, which had for feveral years been gradually increasing, totally extinguish'd his fight. In this melancholic condition he was eafily prevail'd with to think of taking another wife; who was Catharine the Daughter of Captain Woodcock of Hackney: and the too, in less than a year after their marriage, dy'd in the fame unfortunate manner as the former had done. In his twenty third Sonnet he does honor to her memory.
Thefe private calamities were much An. Etat. 52. heighten'd, by the different figure he was likely to make in the new scene of affairs, which was going to be acted in the State. For all things now confpiring to promote the King's restoration, he was too confcious of his own activity during the Ufurpation, to expect any favor from the Crown: & therefore he prudently abfconded 'till the Act of oblivion was publish'd; by which he was only render'd incapable of bearing any office in the Nation. Many had a very juft efteem of his admirable parts and learning, who detefted his principles; by whofe interceffion his Pardon pafs'd the Seals: and I wish the laws of civil Hiftory cou'd have extended the benefit of that oblivion to the memory of his guilt,