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in the Lybian desert as in the cathedral of St. Paul's.
For Milton's disuse of all prayer, in his family or by himself, no evidence is pretended but what results from the silence of his biographers; and for a part of the alleged fact no evidence could have been obtained without that admission to the privacies of his closet, which would be denied to the most privileged friendship. The first hours of his day were regularly devoted, as we are assured, to religious reading and meditation; and of the time, thus appropriated to devotion, it is but reasonable to conclude that a part was assigned to petition and thanksgiving immediately addressed to the great Father of Mercies. With respect to his family, we know that he carefully initiated his pupils into the principles of Christian theology, and we cannot without violence bring ourselves to believe that he would withhold from his children that momentous instruction, which he so sedulously imparted to persons more remotely connected with him. On the supposition therefore, which is by no means supported by sufficient testimony, of his baving neglected to summon his family to regular and formal prayer, I am far from certain that he can be convicted of any violent omission of
duty; for, having impressed their minds with a just sense of the relation in which they stood to their Creator, he might allowably withdraw his interference, and leave them to adjust their homage and their petitions to their own feelings and their own wants.
From the materials, which have been left to us on the subject, we have now completed the history of John Milton;—a man in whom were illustriously combined all the qualities that could adorn, or elevate the nature to which he belonged; a man, who at once possessed beauty of countenance, symmetry of form, elegance of manners, benevolence of temper, magnanimity and loftiness of soul, the brightest illumination of intellect, knowledge the most various and extended, virtue that never loitered in her career nor deviated from her course;a man, who, if he had been delegated as the representative of his species to one of the superior worlds, would have suggested a grand idea of the human race, as of beings affluent with moral and intellectual treasure, who were raised and distinguished in the universe as the favourites and heirs of Heaven.
The greatness of Milton imparts an interest to every thing which is connected with him, and naturally points our curiosity to the fortunes of his descendants. Of the three daughters whom he left, and who were by his first wife, Anne, the eldest, who with a handsome face was deformed, married a master builder, and died with her child in her first lying-in: of Mary, the second, we know only that she discovered the least affection for her father, and died in a single state; and Deborah, the youngest, leaving her father's house in consequence of some disagreement with her step-mother three or four years before his decease, accompanied a lady of the name of Merian to Ireland, and afterwards married Abraham Clarke, a weaver in Spitalfields. The distress, into which she fell, experienced some late and imperfect relief from the liberality of Addison, and the less splendid munificence of Queen Caroline; from the former of whom she received a handsome donation, with a promise, which death prevented him from accomplishing, of a permanent provision; and from the latter a present, improperly called royal, of fifty guineas. She strongly resembled her father's portrait, and possessed good sense with genteel manners. By the affection also, which she discovered for her father many years after his death, she
seems to have been intitled to that partial regard with which he is reported to have distinguished her.
Of her seven sons and three daughters, two only left any offspring; Caleb, who, marrying in the East Indies, had two sons whose history cannot be traced; and Elizabeth, who married Thomas Foster, of the same profession with her father, and had by him three sons and four daughters, who all died young an without issue.
she was discovered in a little chandler's shop, and brought forward to public notice by the active benevolence of Doctor Birch and Doctor Newton. In consequence of this awakened attention to the grand-daughter of Milton, Comus was" acted for her benefit, and Johnson, associated at that time as he was in the injurious labours of the infamous Lauder, did not hesitate to supply the occasional prologue. The produce of this benefit was only one hundred and thirty pounds; and, with this small sum between her and her former wretchedness, she relapsed into indigence and the obscurity of her shop. She died, as I am informed by a paragraph * in one of
• April 5th 1750. * This paragraph which is preserved in the “ Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, Esq. (v. i. p. 114.) shall here be transcribed.
the contemporary newspapers, on the 9th of May, 1754; and with her, as it is highly probable, expired the last descendent of the immortal Milton.
Some of the lillle information, which she supplied respecting her grandfather and his family, seems to have been erroneous. For the fact of his second wife dying in childbed we have the testimony not only of Philips, but of Milton himself, who in the sonnet on her death makes a direct ' allusion to its cause; and yet Mrs. Foster affirmed that this lady died of a consumption, at a period of more than three months after her lyingin. When Mrs. Foster mentioned France as the birth place of our author's father, she was also mistaken; and she was again unquestionably wrong if she affirmed, as it is said, that her mother and her aunts had not been taught and were unable to write. When she mentioned however that her grandfather seldom went abroad during the latter years of his life, and was at that time constantly visited by persons of distinction among his
“ On Thursday last, (May 9, 1754) died at Islington, in the 66th year of her age, after a long and painful illness which she sustained with Christian fortitude and patience, Mrs. Elizabeth Foster, granddaughter of Milton." y“ Mine, as whom, wash'd from spot of childbed taint,
Purification in the old law did save,” &c. Son, xxüs