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accounts of those who had seen her, I have learned, that the confirmed several things which have been related before ; and particularly that her husband used to compose his poetry chiefly in winter, and on his waking in a morning would make her write down sometimes twenty or thirty verses : and being asked whether he did not often read Homer and Virgil, The understood it as an imputation upon him for stealing from those authors, and answered with eagerness he stole from no body but the Muse who inspired him ; and being asked by a lady
lady present who the muse was, replied it was God's grace, and the Holy Spirit that visited him nightly. She was likewise asked whom: he approved most of our English poets, and answered Spenser, Shakespear, and Cowley: and being asked what he thought of Dryden, she said Dryden used sometimes to visit him, but he thought him no poet, but a good rimist: but this was before Dryden had compoled his beft poems, which made his name so fainous afterwards. She was wont moreover to say, that her husband was applied to by meffage from the King, and invited to write for the Court, but his answer was, that such a behaviour would be
inconsistent with his former conduct, for he had never yet employed his pen against his conscience. By his first wife he had four children, a son who died an infant, and three daughters who survived him; by his second wife he had only one daughter, who died soon after her mother, who died in child-bed ; and by his last wife he had no children at all. His daughters were not sent to school, but were instructed by a mistress kept at home for that purpose : and he himself, excuting the eldeit on account of an impe
diment in her speech, taught the two others to read and pronounce Greek and Latin, and several other languages, without understanding any but English, for he used to say that one tongue was enough for a woman : but this employment was very irksome to them, and this together with the sharpness and severity of their mother in law made them very uneasy at home; and therefore they were all sent abroad to learn things more proper for them, and particularly imbroidery in gold and silver. As Milton at his death left his affairs very much in the power of his widow, tho' The acknowledged that he died worth one thousand five hundred pounds, yet the allowed but one hundred pounds to each of his three daughters. Anne the eldest was decrepit and deformed, but had a very handsome face; the married a master-builder, and died in childbed of her first child, who died with her. Mary the second lived and died single. Deborah the youngest in her father's life time went over to Ireland with a lady, and afterwards was married to Mr. Abraham Clarke, a weaver in Spittle Fields, and died in August 1727 in the 76th year of her age. She is said to have been a woman of good understarding and genteel behaviour, though in low circumstances. As she had been often called upon to read Homer and Ovid's Metamorphosis to her father, she could have repeated a considerable number of verses from the beginning of both those poets, as Mr. Ward Professor of Rhetoric in Gresham College, relates upon his own knowledge: and anoiher gentleman has informed me, that he has heard her repeat several verses likewise out of Euripides. Mr. Addison, and the o. ther gentlemen, who had opportunities of seeing her,
knew her immediately to be Milton's daughter by the similitude of her countenance to her father's picture: and Mr. Addison made her a handsome present of a purse of guineas, with a promise of procuring for her some annual provision for her life; but his death happening soon after, the lost the benefit of his
generous design. She received presents likewise from several other gentlemen, and Queen Caroline sent her fifty pounds by the hands of Dr. Friend the phyfician. She had ten children, seven fons and three daughters; but none of them had any children, excepe one of her fons named Caleb, and one of her daughters named Elizabeth. Caleb went to Fort St. Gcorge in the East Indies, where he married, and had two sons, Abraham and Isaac; the elder of whom came to England with the late governor Harrison, but returned upon advice of his father's death, and whether he or his brother be now living is uncertain. Elizabeth, the youngest child of Mrs. Clarke, was married to Mr. Thomas Foster a weaver in Spittle Fields, and had seven children who are all dead; and the herself is aged about sixty, and weak and infirm. She seemneth to be a good plain sensible woman, and has confirmed several particulars related above, and informed me of some others, which she had often heard from her mother : that her grandfather lost two thousand pounds by a money-scrivener, whom he had intrusted with that sum, and likewise an estate at Westminster of fixty pounds a year, which belonged to the Dean and Chapter, and was restored to them at the Restoration : that he was very temperate in his eating and drinking, but what he had he always lo
ved to have of the best : that he seldom went abroad in the latter part of his life, but was visited even then by persons of distinction, both foreigners and others : that he kept his daughters at a great distance, and would not allow them to learn to write, which he thought unnecessary for a woman: that her mother was his greatest favorite, and could read in seven or eight languages, tho' she understood none but English: that her mother inherited his head-akes and disorders, and had such a weakness in her eyes, that she was forced to make use of spectacles from the age of eighteen; and she herself, she says, has not been able to read a chapter in the Bible these twenty years: that she was mistaken in informing Mr. Birch, what he had printed upon her authority, that Milton's father was born in France; and a brother of hers who was then living was very angry with her for it, and like a true-born Englishman resented it highly, that the family should be thought to bear any relation to France : that Milton's second wife did not die in childbed, as Mr. Philips and Toland relate, but above three months after of a consumption ; and this too Mr. Birch relates upon her authority ; but in this particular she must be mistaken as well as in the other, for our author's sonnet an his deceased wifo plainly implies, that she did die in childbed. She knows nothing of her aunt Philips or Agar's descendents, but believes that they are all extinct: as is likewise Sir Christopher Milton's family, the last of which, she says, were two maiden sisters, Mrs. Mary and Mrs. Catharine Milton, who lived and died at High-gate; but unknown to ber, there is a Mrs.
Milton living in Grosvenor street, the gran-daughter of Sir Christopher, and the daughter of Mr. Thomas Milton before mentioned : and she herself is the only survivor of Milton's own family, unless there be fome in the East Indies, which the
queftions, for the used to hear from them fometimes, but has heard nothing now for several years : so that in all probability Milton's whole family will be extinct with her, and he can live only in his writings. And fuch is the caprice of fortune, this grandaughter of a man, who will be ait everlasting glory to the nation, has now for some years with her husband kept a little chandler's or grocer's shop for their subsistence, lately at the lower Halloway in the road between Highgate and London, and at present in Cock Lane not far from Shoreditch Church. Another thing let me mention, that is equally to the honour of the prefent age. Tho' Milton received not above ten pounds at two different payments for the copy of Paradise Loft, yet Mr. Hoyle author of the treatise on the Game of Whist, after having disposed of all the first impression, fold the copy to the bookseller, as I have been informed, for two hundred guineas.
As we have had occasion to mention more than once Milton's manuscripts preserved in the library of Trinity College in Cambridge, it may not be ungrateful to the reader, if we give a more particular account of them before we conclude. There are, as we said, two draughts of a letter to a friend who had importuned him to take orders, together with a fonnet on his being arrived to the age of twenty three : and by their being two draughts of this letter with