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in procuring by petition this order, that having power in their hands, malignant books might the easier escape abroad, as the event shows. But these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not: this I know, that errors in a good government and in a bad are equally almost incident; for what magistrate may not be misinformed, and much the sooner, if liberty of printing be reduced into the power of a few? But to redress willingly and speedily what hath been erred, and in highest authority to esteem a plain advertisement more than others have done a sumptuous bride, is a virtue (honoured lords and commons!) answerable to your highest actions, and whereof none can participate but greatest and wisest men."

THE TENURE OF KINGS AND MAGISTRATES:

PROVING

THAT IT IS LAWFUL, AND HATH BEEN HELD SO THROUGH ALL AGES, FOR ANY, WHO HAVE THE POWER, TO CALL TO ACCOUNT A TYRANT, OR WICKED KING, AND AFTER DUE CONVICTION, TO DEPOSE, AND PUT HIM TO DEATH, IF THE ORDINARY MAGISTRATE HAVE NEGLECTED, OR DENIED TO DO IT. AND THAT THEY WHO OF LATE SO MUCH BLAME DEPOSING, ARE THE MEN THAT DID IT THEMSELVES.

HE enunciation of this elaborate and wicked title

THE

is quite enough to deter any from wasting their time in the perusal of the Treatise itself. We pronounce this, published in 1650, the year following the murder and execution of Charles I., and his once celebrated work, EICONOCLASTES, written at the request of Parliament, in 1651, in answer to a book entitled “Eikon Basilikè, the portraiture of his sacred Majesty in his solitudes and sufferings," to be the drossiest of all Milton's prose works, from which we are unable to extract any single grain of gold. In the Second Defence of the People of England, we shall come to a most interesting account of the circumstances under which both of these were written, which we shall quote in its place. From that passage we

learn that the first four books of his History of England were composed at this period—that is, in 1650; but the remainder did not appear till a considerable time afterwards. He now kept himself secluded at home, and thought he was about to enjoy an interval of uninterrupted literary ease, or, rather, of political ease and literary labour, for his active mind could not long be idle. To his surprise, the Council of State requested him to reply to the King's book, of which, in a short time, forty-seven editions had been sold, comprising forty-eight thousand five hundred copies. He opposed, accordingly, the Iconoclast to his Icon. "I did not," says he, “insult over fallen majesty, as is pretended; I only preferred Queen Truth to King Charles." Reginam Veritatem regi Carolo anteponendam arbitratus. Almost immediately afterwards he was appointed by the Council to reply to Salmasius, which he does in his Defensio pro populo Anglicano, to which we shall presently proceed. We do not intend to enter into a defence of Charles himself, though our own inclinations and sympathies would certainly lead us to do this, nor into the authenticity of his celebrated book. We agree with Southey, that, in any other age, Charles I. would have been the best and the most popular of kings. His unambitious and conscientious spirit would have preserved the kingdom in peace; his private life would have set an example of dignified virtue, such as had rarely

been seen in courts; and his love of arts and letters would have conferred permanent splendour upon his age, and secured for himself the grateful applause of after generations.' Under more favourable circumstances, we can even imagine that such a king as he might have been would have become the friend and patron of such a man as Milton would then have been, and in spite of untoward circumstances was, the fosterer of his genius, the admirer of his learning, the rewarder of his merit.

One word more on the authenticity of the Eikon Basilikè; judging from external evidence it may be doubtful whether Charles or Bishop Gauden were the author, but the internal evidence is wholly in favour of the former. Southey says 'there is very little testimony on Gauden's side (strictly speaking, perhaps, none at all), except his own. There is a mass of testimony which shows that the king had the book continually in his hand, revised it much, and had many transcripts of it. Had it been the work of Gauden, or of any person writing to support the royal cause, a higher tone concerning episcopacy and prerogative would have been taken; there would have been more effort at justification; and there would not have been that inefficient but conscientious defence of fatal concessions; that penitent confession of sin where weakness had been sinful; that piety without alloy; that character of mild and even magnanimity; and that

heavenly-mindedness, which render the Eikon Basilikè one of the most interesting books in our language.' -Southey's Life of Cromwell. We may just remark that the editor of Bohn's edition of Milton's Prose Works, pronounces the Eikon Basilikè to be 'a volume too dull to be now read with patience'; and consistently with his republican principles and predilections he admires and extols the Eiconoclastes. We leave it to others to decide which opinion is the correct one, only ourselves avowing our inability to detect in Milton's answer to the Eikon any of his usual sentences of a venturous edge, uttered in the height of zeal, and possibly at the dictate of a divine spirit. Alas, his good genius seems to have forsaken him, and we cannot wonder at it. His diction here corresponds with his theme; and never rises to a higher level. No angel held the pen while he wrote.

There is, however, one celebrated passage in the first chapter of the Eiconoclastes, which we must not omit, though it has often been misunderstood. It is this:

"Andronicus Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor, though a most cruel tyrant, is reported by Nicetas to have been a constant reader of St. Paul's Epistles; and by continual study had so incorporated the phrase and style of that transcendant Apostle into all his familiar letters, that the imitation seemed to vie with the original. Yet this availed not to deceive the people of that empire, who, notwithstanding his saint's vizard,

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