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this measure, but had not sufficient influence to prevent it.
In order to establish a commonwealth firmly, and, as they doubtless thought, permanently, they adopted the following resolution, and published this declaration :—“That it had been found by experience, that the office of king, in this nation, was unnecessary,
in our own country and in others, yet we abhorre the cruelty of antichrist and his church, which condemn true Christians, and murdereth them under colour of heretickes, himself and his false prophets being the greatest and most blasphemious heretickes that ever were.”
Now for the Presbyterians' sentiments upon this subject.
In 1645, May 26, the lord mayor, court of aldermen, and common council, presented a remonstrance to parliament, praying them to take some strict and speedy course for suppressing all private and separate congregations, that all Anabaptists, Brownists, &c. &c. who conformed not to the public discipline, and some effectual course be settled for punishing them.
In 1650, a Protestant assembly published a work entitled, "A Vindication of the Presbyterian Government and Ministry, with an exhibition to all ministers, elders, and people, within the province of London. Published by the ministers and elders met together in a provincial assembly. Signed George Walker, moderator, Arthur Jackson and Edmund Calamy, assessors; Roger Drake and Eldad Blackwell, writers."
This work contains the following sentence: “Whatsover doctrine is contrary to godliness, and opens a door to libertinism and profaneness, you must reject it as soul-poison, such is the doctrine of a universal toleration in religion.”
some, and dangerous to the liberty, safety, and public interest of the nation; and therefore it should be utterly abolished.” A council of state was appointed, consisting of forty persons. That the reader may see by whom Milton was chosen to the office of Latin secretary, I give the names of this illustrious council for the first
year note below. *
“The Presbyterian ministers loudly declaimed, in their pulpits, against the manner in which the late king had been treated; saying, that his usage had been very hard; that his person was sacred and inviolable ; and that any violence which had been offered to him in the field, (and much more by the hands of the executioner,) was contrary to the doctrine of the reformed churches. To doubt their sincerity in all this, as some have done,
* President, John Bradshaw, Esq.; Earls Denbigh, Mulgrave, Pembroke, and Salisbury; Lords Grey, Fairfax, and Lord Grey of Groby; Esquires, John Lisle, Esq. - Rolles, , Esq. Bulstrode Whitelocke, Esq.; Lieutenant-general Cromwell, Major-general Skippon ;-Sirs, Gilbert Pickering, Wilham Massum, James Harrington, Henry Vane, jun., John Danvers, William Armine, Henry Mildmay, William Constable; Esquires, Alexander Popham, William Puresay, Isaac Pennington, Rowland Wilson, Edmund Budlow, William Herringham, Robert Wellop, Henry Martin, Anthony Stapely, John Huthinson, Valentine Walton, Thomas Scot, Dennis Bond, Luke Robinson, John Jones, and Cornelius Holland.
who say, “they were not angry at the fact, but the faction,” would be illiberal; but certainly they had been, up to the time that the king became a prisoner, as much his enemies, to say the least, as any other description of persons in the nation. The fact, I believe is, that after the chief power in the commonwealth came into the hands of Cromwell, they lost their predominating influence, so that they could not set up their idol of UNIFORMITY, and, by fines and imprisonment, force the consciences of the Independents, Baptists, Socinians, and various other sects and opinions, to bow down and worship it. It is certain, that had the principles even of such men as Calamy and Baxter prevailed, all those who had ventured to act contrary to their “ Book of Discipline,” would not only have been deprived of liberty, but of life!
After having given the Presbyterians their quietus in the second edition of the “Tenure of Kings,” Milton, thinking he had leisure for the undertaking, applied himself to writing the history of the English nation, intending to trace it, so far as possible, to the remotest period of antiquity, and to continue it to his own times. He had almost finished four books of this work, when, though he had neither courted nor expected any such preferment, he was taken, as has been mentioned, into the service of the new commonwealth,
with, it is said, an annual salary of £200. Up to this period, he had lent gratuitously the assistance of his powerful pen, content with the esteem of good men, and the internal satisfaction of having performed his duty, while some, who had not so well deserved public rewards, had received some riches, and others some honours and distinctions in the government. Milton owed his distinction to his recent publication: this work, it is said, revived the fame of his other books. It looks from this, that his masterly productions in opposition to the Prelates, and in support of the Presbyterian “Smectymnuus,” and his “ Plea for unlicensed Printing,” had not excited much of the public attention, notwithstanding the unequalled strength of his arguments, and the hitherto unexampled beauty of his style. It was not, however, it is presumed, so much the excellency of his reasoning, and the gigantic powers which he had discovered in this work, as what Toland calls “his affection to the good old cause," that he was made secretary to the council of state for foreign affairs: he adds, " for the Republic scorned to acknowledge that sort of tribute to any prince in the world, which is now  paid to the French king, of managing their affairs only in his language; and took up the noble resolution, to which they firmly adhered, that they would neither write to others, nor receive their
answers, except in the Latin tongue, as being common to them all, and the properest in itself to contain great things, as the subject of future pens.” But this proceeding (confining all the government correspondence to the Latin language) could not be acceptable to those [governors] whose transactions were ashamed or afraid to see the light, and whose names will not be transmitted to posterity, unless for dexterously cheating their own people, and laying the springs of their tyranny or neglect in the dark, though their effects are sufficiently felt by their deluded subjects, and the injustice visibly exposed to all discerning eyes. “Who could,” says Toland, “be found more fitted for such a post than MilTon, who quickly gained no less reputation to himself, than credit to the state that employed so able a person? Of this the letters he wrote under that and the succeeding administrations, (for he served OLIVER, RICHARD, and the Rump, *) are abundant evidence, being, for different reasons, admired by critics and statesmen, as they [his letters) are certain and authentic materials
* The reader need scarcely be informed that the persons thus uncourteously spoken of, are the Lord Protecter Oliver Cromwell : his modest successor and son, Richard; and the Parliament called after the latter had resigned his Protectorship the Rump, composed of those persons who had belonged to the “Long Parliament.”