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them as at the beginning of no mean endeavour, not a little altered * and moved inwardly in their minds: some with doubt of what will be the success, others with fear of what
give to his country the day-labour those years
required. All hope of progress rested then, as it must always rest, on a free trial of the strength of opposite opinions. To-and-fro utterance of differing will be the censure ;• some with hope, others with confidence opinion is a thing not merely to tolerate, but to welcome. Boldest is best. The sieve must be well shaken that parts chaff from corn.
When it was believed that oneness of opinion was essential in matters of religion and government, especially in matters of religion, and the printing press began to scatter men's thoughts broadcast, the Church, naturally enough, endeavoured to sift out before publication whatever might establish or encourage schism, and a systematic censorship began at Rome. When Henry VIII. threw off the Pope, the censorship for England passed from the care of the Pope to that of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London. The state added its efforts to prevent publication of discordant political opinions. Elizabeth forbade printing in all parts of England except London, Oxford, and Cambridge, and in those towns limited the number of the presses. The Star Chamber, by a decree of the year 1637, limited the
number of printers in the whole country to twenty, and of type-founders to four, placed them under the strictest oversight, and ordained precautions against
Tue PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND (From the Great Seal of the unlicensed importation of books from abroad. In
Commonwealth). 1640 the Star Chamber was abolished, but not its spirit of intolerance, which represented in average of what they have to speak. And me perhaps each of these men of all parties an aspect of the time, and not the dispositions, as the subject was whereon I entered, may have malignity of any one body of thinkers. The Long at other times variously affected; and likely might in these Parliament sought in its own way to control the foremost expressions now also disclose which of them press and suppress books and pamphlets that in its opinion defamed religion and government, and on the first at Chios, afterwards at Athens, from which, as Cicero said (De 14th of June, 1643, it published an Ordinance for Oratore, ii. 3, 10) as from the Trojan horse there came out none but the regulating of printing. Milton then sought with
chiefs ; Isæus, Lycurgus, Hyperides, Demosthenes, and Timotheus
the son of Conon, who won over the allies of Athens, by speaking in the all his might to win from his own party an aban
generous and noble spirit of his master. Demosthenes, unrivalled in donment of this great error, and teach it that Truth's delivery, always regarded his old teacher as his superior in the art of victories are to be won only in free and open
composition. Plato in his Phædrus, a dialogue of Love and Beauty,
written when Isocrates was old, but representing an earlier time, encounter. For this purpose he published in
makes Socrates say, “Isocrates is still young, but he has too much November, 1644, the following pamphlet :
genius to be compared with Lysias ; he shows a greater love for virtue, and I should not be surprised that, as his knowledge increases
with his years, he excel all those in the same walk of literature as AREOPAGITICA,
much as men excel children.” Cicero wrote of Isocrates as unrivalled
in sweetness of numbers and graces of oratory. Quintilian spoke as A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, to the
highly of his genius, and praised him for having used it always in aid Parliament of England.
of the cause of virtue. Dionysius of Halicarnassus has left a long
criticism on the writings of Isocrates, and especially admired the They, who to states 3 and governors of the common
sound rules of conduct, and the grand principles of political wisdom wealth direct their speech, High Court of Parliament, or contained in them. Isocrates lived to the age of 98, and died in the wanting such access in a private condition, write that year B.c. 338, overcome by grief when, as Milton wrote of him in his which they foresee may advance the public good; I suppose
sonnet to Lady Margaret Lay, the
“ dishonest victory Areopagitica. Milton takes this name from the Apelota YITIKOS
At Chæronea, fatal to liberty, Abyos-Oratio Areopagitica—which was directed by Isocrates to the
Killed with report that old man eloquent." Great Council of Athens, the Areopagus, as this is addressed to the Of sixty orations by Isocrates which were extant in the time of Great Council of England, the Parliament. In both speeches there Plutarch, twenty-one remain. That called the Areopagitic was is an endeavour to produce a change of conduct in the chief assembly. written about twenty years after the close of the Peloponnesian war, The Athenian Council was so called, because its meetings were held when the Athenians were recovering their lead in Greece, but had on the Hill of Mars (Areios pagos). Isocrates was born in Erecthea, fallen from the virtue of their ancient manners. The Council of the a village of Attica, 436 years before Christ, being seven or eight years Areopagus had influence over manners and religion which was used older than Plato, his contemporary. His father Theodorus, a rich for good when only men of weight and experience were admitted to it. manufacturer of musical instruments, gave him a good education. But in later days the way to the dignity of an Areopagite had been He was taught by Gorgias, the founder of the Greek school of rhetoric, opened to men of lower mark, licentious and corruptible. The object by Prodicus, the first of the Sophists who took fees from his pupils, of Isocrates was to urge a restoration of the old simplicity and purity and by Socrates. He lost his patrimony during the Peloponnesian of manners, by a restoration of the old system under which the war, and at first earned money by writing defences of accused persons, Areopagites were patterns as well as guides to the young, and the but soon abandoned this employment, and became a teacher. Isocrates maintenance by them of religion and morals among the young was a man of genius and a true lover of liberty; though, by voice and assured the strength of the Republic. “ Virtue," he said (I quote temperament, disqualified for public speaking, he raised the standard from Dr. John Gillies's translation of the Orations of Lysias and Isoof the art of oratory, and taught its principles in a school, established crates, published in 1778), “Virtue is not to be taught by rules; it must
swayed most, but that the very attempt of this address thus made, and the thought of whom it hath recourse to, hath got the power within me to a passion, far more welcomo than incidental to a preface. Which though I stay not to confess ere any ask, I shall be blameless, if it be no other, than the joy and gratulation which it brings to all who wish
and promote their country's liberty; whereof this whole discourse proposed will be a certain testimony, if not a trophy. For this is not the liberty which we can hope, that no grievance ever should arise in the commonwealth, that let no man in this world expect; but when complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained, that wise men look for. To which if I now manifest by the very sound of this which I shall utter, that we are already in good part arrived, and yet from such a steep disadvantage of tyranny and superstition grounded into our principles as was beyond the manhood of a Roman recovery, it will be attributed first, as is most due, to the strong assistance of God our deliverer, next to your faithful guidance and undaunted wisdom, Lords and Commons of England. Neither is it in God's esteem, the diminution of His glory, when honourable things are spoken of good men and worthy magistrates; which if I now first should begin to do, after so fair a progress of your laudable deeds, and such a long obligement upon the whole realm to your indefatigable virtues, I might be justly reckoned among the tardiest, and the unwillingest of them that praise ye. Nevertheless there being three principal things, without which all praising is but courtship and flattery, First, when that only is praised which is solidly worth praise : next when greatest likelihoods are brought that such things are truly and really in those persons to whom they are ascribed, the other, when he who praises, by showing that such his actual persuasion is of whom he writes, can demonstrate that he flatters not; the former two of these I have heretofore endeavoured, rescuing the employment from him who went about to impair your merits with a trivial and malignant encomium ; & the latter as belonging chiefly to mine
be formed by practice and habit; these alone can produce any powerful effect, or any real harmony in the political machine; the number and accuracy of the laws only denotes imperfections. They are mounds to prevent the inundation of vice, but never can give birth to ono virtuous action. Such as are wisely governed, therefore, have not their piazzas covered with edicts; they have the principles of justice engraven on their hearts. Without these the best laws can be of no avail ; for they only who are well educated are sufficiently prepared to receive them." Wise example of the old, and a firm care over education which did not end with the young, but allowed no young man, rich or poor, to be idle, and checked inclination to frivolity and vice, maintained the health and wealth of the republic. “I have celebrated," said Isocrates, “the love of equality and every other virtue which tends to preserve the true republican spirit, and havo exposed those vices which tend to destroy it;" and he said this at the beginning of a digression in his speech, designed to testify his “detestation against every kind of arbitrary power.” A free govern. ment, even when ill administered, was better, he said, than the sovereignty of the few. But the Athenians were not to rest content with such comparison as that. “I reproach him for being unworthy of high descent whose conduct is not more noble and generous than that of the vulgar, and with regard to public affairs, I think there is no reason for being satisfied with you, while you only have the advantage over men possessed, as it were, with dæmons, or inspired with madness. Nor ought you to be satisfied with yourselves till you become more worthy of your ancestors; for it is their virtue and not the worthlessness of tyrants that you ought to place before your eyes." of such sort was the high thinking that won Milton's regard for Isocrates.
· The essential parts of a speech, according to Aristotle's Rhetoric, are Exordium, Statement, Proof, Peroration. Milton's speech here opens with a skilfully-planned exordium, which extends to the first break of paragraph at “set forth by your predecessors.” This is the place of the first break in the printing of the original edition. A Latin writer of uncertain name, perhaps the rhetorician Cornificus, defined exordium as “the beginning of a speech by which the mind of the hearer or judge is disposed or prepared for hearing.” Milton addresses the Parliament and has a practical end in view, to persuade it to suppress one of its own edicts. He must begin by disposing the minds of the members to hear argument against themselves. He can do this only by conciliating, as Aristotle had taught, backing his suggestion by quoting from Homer the prayer of Ulysses to Athene, “Grant that I come as a friend to the Phæacians.” “ And,” said Aristotle, “ in demonstrative speeches, you should cause the hearer to suppose that he is praised simultaneously with the subject, either in his own person, or his family, or in his maxims of conduct, or at least somehow or other." The reader will observe how artfully, without a sacrifice of what he held to be the truth, Milton blended in his exor. dium praise of the Parliament for its maxims of conduct with the introduction of his purpose, and made even the fact that he was free to call attention to a fault an argument for higher exaltation of its merits. The opening sentences of the exordiam, in direct address to the Parliament, indicates the relation of one who, as a private citizen, through desire for the public good, “at the beginning of no mean endeavour," seeks speech with the rulers of the land. The opening sentence is right in rhetoric and not faulty in grammar; it first presents to the mind of the hearers the absolute substantive idea of citizens who seek by speech or pen to influence their rulers; then asssociating this with an inflected pronoun represents their possible attitudes of mind upon the first approach. In the next sentence he proceeds to his own present attitude of mind, under a like condition, in which warmth of enthusiasm overcomes every consideration. The third sentence joins to enthusiastic regard for the subject to be spoken of, a like regard for the Parliament to which he is about to speak, and the rest of the exordium blends inextricably a statement of no more than the general purpose of the speech-namely, to ask the Parliament to repeal one of its own orders-with suggestions in them. selves not less sincere for being designed to conciliate the goodwill of his hearers, and secure for him that he "come as a friend to the Phæacians."
8 States, statesmen. In Milton's translation of Psalm lxxxii, it has been pointed out that he wrote,
“ God in the great assembly stands
of kings and lordly states."
* Altered. This word was once very commonly used to express change in the condition of the mind. So says Shylock,
“There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me." 5 Censure, Latin“ censura, an assessing, whence the Roman office of " censor ;” a judging. From a word meaning, first, to count or reckon with a view to estimating value, then to estimate or judge.
6 A certain testimony, if not a trophy. If a trophy it would mark the place of a turning back which it could not do unless Milton prevailed in his argument, and the publication of the “ Areopagitica" should mark the date of a reversal of the order for restriction of the freedom of the press. The Greek tpotmeans "a turn," and was applied to the tropics where the sun at midsummer and midwinter appears to turn his course; it was applied to the turning of the enemy, and the original trophy was a pile of captured arms fixed on the trunk of a tree to mark the place where battle had been given and the adversary had been forced to retreat from his position.
7 Beyond the manhood of a Roman recovery. Rome sank as low under the Emperors as England sank under the Stuarts. The Romans could not, but our English manhood could, recover the lost looting.
8 A trivial and malignant encomium. Bishop Joseph Hall bad given towards the end of 1641 cold praise to the Parliament in his “Defence of the Humble Remonstrance against the Frivolous and False Exceptions of Smectymnuus." Milton replied with “ Animadversions ;". another, probably Bishop Hall's son, retorted with “A Modest Confutation of a Slanderous and Scurrilous Libel, intituled . Animadver. sions upon the Remonstrant's Defence against Smectymnuus."" Milton completed the argument in 1642 with "An Apology against a Pamphlet called ' A Modest Confutation of the Animadversions of the Remonstrant against Smectymnuus.'" In this he maintained the dignity of the Parliament against a form of encomium that touched on trifles (wherein it was trivial) and avoided recognition of its higher service to the country, therein showing the writer ill-disposed towards it. The word malignant, in the sense of having ill-will to the ruling power, was usually applied to men of the Stuart party, who sought to resist or undermine the authority of Parliament.
In the same pamphlet Milton replied with quiet dignity to personal slanders asso. ciated with the cry, “ You that love Christ and know this miscreant wretch, stone him to death, lest yourselves smart for his impunity," with a simple expression of the true aim of his life, in condemnation of this butcherly speech "against one who in all his writings spake not that any man's skin should be rased."
own acquittal, that whom I so extolled I did not flatter, hath those natural endowments haply not the worse for two and been reserved opportunely to this occasion. For he who fifty degrees of northern latitude, so much must be derogated, freely magnifies what hath been nobly done, and fears not to as to count me not equal to any of those who had this declare as freely what might be done better, gives ye the privilege, I would obtain to be thought not so inferior, as best covenant of his fidelity; and that his loyalest affection yourselves are superior to the most of them who received and his hope waits on your proceedings. His highest their counsel: and how far you excel them, be assured, Lords praising is not flattery, and his plainest advice is a kind of and Commons, there can no greater testimony appear, than praising ; for though I should affirm and hold by argument, when your prudent spirit acknowledges and obeys the voice that it would fare better with truth, with learning, and the of reason from what quarter soever it be heard speaking ; cominonwealth, if one of your published Orders, which I and renders ye as willing to repeal any Act of your own should name, were called in; yet at the same time it could setting forth, as any set forth by your predecessors. not but much redound to the lustre of your mild and equal • If ye be thus resolved, as it were injury to think ye were government, whenas private persons are hereby animated to not, I know not what should withhold me from presenting yo think ye botter pleased with public advice, than other statists? with a fit instance wherein to show both that love of truth have been delighted heretofore with public flattery. And which ye eminently profess, and that uprightness of your men will then see what difference there is between the judgment which is not wont to be partial to yourselves ; by magnanimity of a triennial” Parliament, and that jealous judging over again that Order which ye have ordained to haughtiness of prelates and cabin counsellors that usurped of regulate Printing. That no Book, pamphlet, or paper shall late, whenas they shall observe ye in the midst of your be henceforth Printed, unless the same be first approved and victories and successes more gently brooking written licensed by such, or at least one of such as shall be thereto exceptions against a voted Order, than other Courts, which appointed. For that part which preserves justly every man's had produced nothing worth memory but the weak copy 6 to himself, or provides for the poor, I touch not, ostentation of wealth, would have endured the least signified only wish they be not made pretences to abuse and persecute dislike at any sudden Proclamation. If I should thus far honest and painful men, who offend not in either of these presume upon the meek demeanour of your civil and gentle particulars. But that other clause of Licensing Books, which greatness, Lords and Commons, as what your published we thought had died with his brother quadragesimal and Order hath directly said, that to gainsay, I might defend matrimoniali when the prelates expired, I shall now attend myself with ease, if any should accuse me of being new or with such a homily, as shall lay before ye, first the inventors insolent, did they but know how much better I find ye of it, to be those whom ye will be loth to own; next what is esteem it to imitate the old and elegant humanity of Greece, to be thought in general of reading, whatever sort the books than the barbaric pride of a Hunnish and Norwegian be; and that this Order avails nothing to the suppressing of stateliness. And out of those ages, to whose polite wisdom scandalous, seditious, and libellous books, which were mainly and letters we owe that we are not yet Goths and Jutlanders, intended to be suppressed. Last, that it will be primely to I could name him 3 who from his private house wrote that the discouragement of all learning, and the stop of Truth, not discourse to the Parliament of Athens, that persuades them only by disexercising and blunting our abilities in what we to change the form of democraty which was then established. know already, but by hindering and cropping the discovery Such honour was done in those days to men who professed that might be yet further made both in religious and civil the study of wisdom and eloquence, not only in their own
Wisdom. country, but in other lands, that cities and signiories heard I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the them gladly, and with great respect, if they had aught in church and commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how books public to admonish the state. Thus did Dion Prusæus, a demean themselves as well as men; and thereafter to confine, stranger and a private orator, counsel the Rhodians against imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors : For a former edict :- and I abound with other like examples, books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency which to set here would be superfluous. But if from the of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny industry of a life wholly dedicated to studious labours, and they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy
and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I 1 Statists, statesmen. Our word "statistics." has only by accident know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as become exclusively associated with the figures illustrating the con.
5 Here the division of the speech pusses, by a skilful transition, to 2 Triennial. Not here meaning of three years' duration, but what Aristotle set forth as next following the Exordium, namely, the guarded, by an Act passed by the Long Parliament, Feb. 15th, 1641, Statement of the case, and the exordium having opened with the preagainst prorogation at the will of a king for indefinite periods, by pro. paration of the hearer's mind for friendly admission of a suggestion vision that it should meet at least once in three years. Charles I. that some order of Parliament is to be impugned, the statement now had ruled without a Parliament from March 10, 1629 to April 13, 1640; definitely sets forth what the order is, and in what manner that and during those eleven years had extended the power of the Star which constitutes Aristotle's third and main part of the oration, the Chamber and the Court of High Commission, under the control of Proof, is to be divided and arranged. Laud, while ruling by his own will with the aid of cabinet or cabin 6 Every man's copy to himself. Copyright. Protection of this " by councillors, whom only he admitted to his confidence. These were reason that divers of the Stationers' Company and others being deselected favourites. There was no recognised official distinction in linquents (contrary to former orders and the constant custom used Milton's time between Cabinet Ministers and the rest of the Privy among the said company) have taken liberty to print, vend, and Council The phrase “Cabinet Council" first appears in English publish the most profitable vendible copies of books belonging to the history in the reign of Charles I., when Clarendon says that one of Company and other stationers ” formed a clause in the order of the grounds of Strafford's attainder was a discourse of his "in the Wednesday, June 14th, 1643. But the purport of the whole is exCommittee of State, which they called the Cabinet Council.” The pressed in the first part of its title, "An Order of the Lords and place of the Cabinet in the Privy Council was more fully established Commons assembled in Parliament for the Regulating of Printing, in the reign of William III.
and for suppressing the great late abuses and frequent disorders in 3 I could name him. Isocrates. See Note, p. 132.
Printing many false, scandalous, seditious, libellous, and unlicensed • Dion Prusus. Dion of Prusa, who died A.D. 117, was a famous pamphlets, to the great defamation of Religion and Government." orator, who in one of his speeches exhorted the Rhodians not to give 7 Quadragesimal und Matrimonial. Ecclesiastical Orders as to the testimonials to living friends at the expense of the dead, by altering keeping of Lent and Marriage Ceremonial. Milton held that there upon old statutes the forms of old worthies, and inscribing them was no ground in Scripture for the claim of an ecclesiastical control to worthies or unworthies of their later time.
over the civil contract of marriage.
dition of a state.
those fabulous dragon's teeth ; ' and being sown up and down, In Athens where books and wits were ever busier than in may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other any other part of Greece, I find but only two sorts of writings hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as which the magistrate cared to take notice of; those either kill a good book: who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, blasphemous and atheistical, or libellous. Thus the books of God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason Protagoras were by the judges of Areopagus commanded to itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.Many be burnt, and himself banished the territory for a discourse a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the begun with his confessing not to know "whether there were precious lifeblood of a master spirit, imbalmed and treasured gods, or whether not.”5 And against defaming, it was agreed up on purpose to a life beyond life. 'Tis true, no age can that none should be traduced by name, as was the manner of restore a life, whereof perhaps there is no great loss; and Vetus Comedia, whereby we may guess how they censured revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected libelling: And this course was quick enough, as Cicero writes,7 truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse. to quell both the desperate wits of other atheists, and the We should be wary therefore what persecution we raise open way of defaming, as the event showed. Of other sects against the living labours of public men, how we spill that and opinions though tending to voluptuousness, and the seasoned life of man, preserved and stored up in books; since denying of divine Providence they took no heed. Therefore we see a kind of homicide may be thus committed, sometimes we do not read that either Epicurus, or that libertine school a martyrdom, and if it extend to the whole impression, a of Cyrene,s or what the Cynic impudence uttered, was ever kind of massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the questioned by the laws. Neither is it recorded, that the slaying of an elemental life, but strikes at that ethereal and writings of those old comedians were suppressed, though the fifth essence, the breath of reason itself, slays an immortality acting of them were forbid; and that Plato commended the rather than a life. But lest I should be condemned of reading of Aristophanes the loosest of them all, to his royal introducing licence, while I oppose licensing, I refuse not scholar Dionysius, is commonly known, and may be excused, the pains to be so much historical, as will serve to show what if holy Chrysostom, as is reported, nightly studied so much hath been done by ancient and famous commonwealths, the same author and had the art to cleanse a scurrilous against this disorder, till the very time that this project of
vehemenco into the style of a rousing sermon. That other licensing crept out of the inquisition, was catched up by our leading city of Greece, Lacedæmon, considering that Lycurgus prelates, and hath caught some of our presbyters.*
their lawgiver was so addicted to elegant learning, as to have
been the first that brought out of Ionia the scattered works 1 Those fabulous dragon's teeth. Cadmus-who is said to have intro. of Homer, and sent the poet Thales " from Crete to prepare duced into Greece the use of letters-slew a dragon, and having sowu and mollify the Spartan surliness with his smooth songs and its teeth in the plain there sprung up a crop of armed warriors who
odes, the better to plant among them law and civility, it is contended one with another until only five survived; with the help of these Cadmus built Thebes.
to be wondered how muscless and unbookish they were, 2 As it wore in the eye-in men's perception of it. The actual image
minding nought but the feats of war. There needed no of God was in the mind that produced the book, and that was inde- licensing of books among them, for they disliked all but their structible. The book represents that image " in the eye” of the
own laconic 12 apothegms, and took a slight occasion to chase world--the power mankind has of seeing it.
Archilochus 13 out of their city, perhaps for composing in a a Not . . . an elemental life, but ... that ethereal and fifth essence. The theory of the quintessence, or fifth essence, was derived from the higher strain than their own soldierly ballads and roundels Platonic notion of superior ideas. Everything below has a celestial could reach to: Or if it were for his broad verses, they were pattern and receives power from its own idea through the help of the
not therein so cautious, but they were as dissolute in their Soul of the World. Soul being the primum mobile, as it may be said, when one man acts upon another, or the loadstone on the iron, that
promiscuous conversing ; whence Euripides affirms in the soul of one thing went out and went into another thing, altering
Andromache, 14 that their women were all unchaste. Thus it or its operations, so it is conceived that some such modium is the much may give us light after 15 what sort of books were spirit of the world; called the quintessence, because it is not com- prohibited among the Greeks. The Romans also for many posed of the four elements, but is a fifth essence, a certain first thing
ages trained up only to a military roughness, resembling which is above and beside them. This spirit exists in the body of the world, as the human spirit in the body of a man; and as the powers of a man's soul are communicated to the members of his body by his 5 Protagoras in the year 411 B.C. was so accused by Pythodoros for spirit, so, through this mundane spirit, or quintessence, are the such a sentence in a book upon the gods. powers of the Soul of the World diffused through all things ; and 6 Vetus Comedia. The old Comedy of Greece. there is nothing so base that contains not some spark of its virtue, 7 In his treatise on "The Nature of the Gods," i, 23, where also he but there is most virtue in those things wherein this spirit does most wrote what Milton here repeats about Protagoras. abound. It abounds in the celestial bodies, and descends in the rays 8 That libertine school of Cyrene, founded by Aristippus, who-deof the stars, so that things influenced by their rays become conform- parting from the lessons of his master, Socrates-made pleasure the able to them so far forth in nature. By this spirit, therefore, a very
aim of life. occult property is conveyed into herbs, stones, metals, and animals, 9 The Cynic impudence of the school founded by another pupil of through the sun, moon, planets, and through stars higher than the Socrates, Antisthenes, after the death of his master, Diogenes, of planets. If we can part spirit from matter, or use only those things Sinope, was the most famous disciple of this school. in which spirit predominates, we can obtain therewith results of great 10 John, who was called Chrysostom, or Goldenmouth, who was born advantage to us. This account of the quintessence and its relation to at Antioch about A.D. 347, made Patriarch of Constantinople a D. 397, the old belief in planetary influences is from the first book of Corne- and died in exile A.b. 407, was the most eloquent of the Fathers. lius Agrippa, De Occultiore Philosophia,
1 The poet Thales, or Thuletas, of whom Milton takes his account * Here the second part of the speech, the Statement, ends, with a from Plutarch's "Life of Lycurgus." smooth transition to the third and main part, the Proof, which is to 13 Laconic. The Spartans had a repute for brevity of speech, the be arranged in sections as already set forth in the Statement: I. That Cretans a repute for babbling. This brevity was called laconic from the inventors of licensing were the Popes and the Inquisition ; their country Laconia, of which Sparta or Lacedæmon was the II. That there is gain from the free reading of all books; III. That capital. this Order will not suppress scandalous, seditious, and libellous books, 13 Archilochus, of Thasos, died 676 B.C. He is said to have introagainst which it was mainly directed; IV. That it will tend to dis. duced lambic verse and given to his themes the bitterness that made courage learning and check the advance of truth. Section I. begins “to iambise" a phrase for the writing of censorious lines. Horace with the next paragraph, showing when and how licensing first came said that in his " Epodes " he imitated Archilochus. in, not as in itself proof that it is bad, but as raising a very strong 14 Andromache from line 490. presumption against it. After this the proof lies in sections II., 15 Light after, light upon the track of, light in following the search III., IV.
most the Lacedæmonian guise, knew of learning little but what their twelve Tables, and the Pontific College with their augurs and flamins taught them in religion and law, so unacquainted with other learning, that when Carneades and Critolaus, with the Stoic Diogenes coming ambassadors to Rome,' took thereby occasion to give the city a taste of their philosophy, they were suspected for seducers by no less a man than Cato the Censor, who moved it in the Senate to dismiss them speedily, and to banish all such Attic babblers out of Italy. But Scipio and others of the noblest senators withstood him and his old Sabine austerity; honoured and admired the men; and the censor himself at last, in his old age, fell to the study of that whereof before he was so scrupulous. And yet at the same time, Nævius and Plautus the first Latin comedians had filled the city with all the borrowed scenes of Menander and Philemon. Then began to be considered there also what was to be done to libellous books and authors; for Nævius? was quickly cast into prison for his unbridled pen, and released by the tribunes upon his recantation; we read also that libels were burnt, and the makers punished by Augustus. The like severity, no doubt, was used, if aught were impiously written against their esteemed gods. Except in these two points, how the world went in books, the magistrate kept no reckoning. And therefore Lucretius without impeachment versifies his Epicurism to Memmius, and had the honour to be set forth the second time by Cicero so great a father of the commonwealth ; although himself disputes against that opinion in his own writings. Nor was the satirical sharpness or naked plainness of Lucilius, or Catullus, or Flaccus, by any order prohibited. And for matters of state, the story of Titus Livius, though it extolled that part which Pompey held, was not therefore suppressed by Octavius Cæsar of the other faction. But that Naso was by him banished in his old age, for the wanton poems of his youth, was but a mere covert of state over some secret cause: and besides, the books were neither banished nor called in. From hence 3 we shall meet with little else but tyranny in the Roman empire, that we may not marvel, if not so often bad, as good books were silenced. I shall therefore deem to have been large enough, in producing what among the ancients was punishable to write, save only which, all other argnments were free to treat on.
By this time the emperors were become Christians, whose discipline in this point I do not find to have been more severe than what was formerly in practice. The books of those whom they took to be grand heretics were examined, refuted, and condemned the general Councils; and not till then were prohibited, or burnt, by authority of the emperor. As for the writings of heathen authors, unless they were plain invectives against Christianity, as those of Porphyrius and Proclus, they met with no interdict that can be cited, till about the year 400, in a Carthaginian council, wherein bishops themselves were forbid to read the books of Gentiles, but heresies they might read: while others long before them
on the contrary scrupled more the books of heretics, than of Gentiles. And that the primitive Councils and Bishops were wont only to declare what Books were not commendable, passing no further, but leaving it to each one's conscience to read or to lay by, till after the year 800, is observed already by Padre Paolo* the great unmasker of the Trentine Council. After which time the popes of Rome, engrossing what they pleased of political rule into their own hands, extended their dominion over men's eyes, as they had before over their judgments, burning and prohibiting to be read what they fancied not; yet sparing in their censures, and the books not many which they so dealt with : till Martin V., by his bull, not only prohibited, but was the first that excommunicated the reading of heretical books; for about that time Wickliffe and Huss growing terrible, were they who first drove the the Papal Court to a stricter policy of prohibiting. Which course Leo X. and his successors followed, until the council of Trent and the Spanish Inquisition engendering together brought forth, or perfected those Catalogues, and expurging indexes, that rake through the entrails of many an old good author, with a violation worse than any could be offered to his tomb. Nor did they stay in matters heretical, but any subject that was not to their palate, they either condemned in a Prohibition, or had it straight into the new Purgatory of an Index.5 To fill up the measure of encroachment, their last invention was to ordain that no book, pamphlet, or paper, should be printed (as if St. Peter had bequeathed them the keys of the Press also out of Paradise) unless it were approved and licensed under the hands of two or three glutton Friars. For example : 6
Let the Chancellor Cini be pleased to see if in this present
work be contained aught that may withstand the printing,
Vincent Rabbatta, Vicar of Florence.
* Padre Paolo. Pietro Paolo Sarpi, commonly called Fra Paolo, or Paul of Venice, had received in his youth a most liberal education and earned a reputation among the learned throughout Italy. At the age of 27 he became Provincial of his religious Order, that of the Servites, and in the questions between Pope Paul V, and the Republic of Venice, Fra Paolo was counsellor and theologian for the Venetians, so warmly defending their civil independence of Papal control that in 1606 he was excommunicated. He died in 1623, aged 71. Among his numerous works the most important was the “ History of the Council o' Trent," published in London, in Italian, in 1619, and in Latin in 1620. Its opinions were such as could not be published in Italy, for the author's learning was not greater than his love of intellectual liberty. The first and last meetings of the Council of Trent were on December 13th, 1545, and December 4th, 1563.
5 Condemned in a Prohibition ... neu Purgatory of an Index. Prohibition : the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Purgatory: the Index Expurgatorius, containing the books which were not utterly condemned, but sent for the purgation of offending matter by obliteration of certain pages or lines. Censorship of the press began with the Church soon after the invention of printing. Ecclesiastical superintendence, introduced in 1479 and 1496, was more completely established by the Bull of Leo X. in 1515. Bishops and inquisitors were required by that Bull to examine all books before they were printed, and suppress heretical opinions. The Index of Prohibited Books was begun by the Council of Trent in 1546. It contained all books which might not be read by any member of the Church without a special license from his Bishop. Other books, which required only expurga. tions, were put in the Expurgatory Index, and might be read only after the offending passages had been blotted out by the authorities. These lists still appear under the superintendence of a special congregation of cardinals called the Congregation of the Index.
6 Milton here looked among his books for one printed in Italy, which would well illustrate bis meaning, and took down a book on the Schism of the English Church, "Scisma d' Inghilterra, &c." by Bernardo Davanzati Bostischi, which had been published at Florence in 1638, when Milton was in Italy, and, no doubt, considering its subject, was among the many books then bought by him. In the original book the date of Vincent Rabbatta's first duck towards Chan. cellor Cini is June 12, 1636 ; the date of Nicolo Cini's duck in reply is July 2, 1636.
1 Ambassadors to Rome, B.C. 155. Carneades of Cyrene gave at Rome during his embassy two lectures on Justice, in the second of which he refuted the arguments of the first. This was Cato's ground of offence. He insisted that the Senate should dismiss a man who played with truth, making right wrong or right at pleasure.
• Cneius Nævius, a Latin versifier, who wrote comedies and tragedies, and of whom fragments are in the “Corpus Poetarum Latinorum," served as a soldier in the first Puuic war. He got into trouble, as Milton says, for his oversharpness of satire, and at last died in poverty at Utica. His chief trouble in Rome had arisen from conflict with the strong house of the Metelli, which he satirised un. mercifully, and whose frequent holding of civic dignities he ascribed to a blind fate.
3 From hence, from the reign of Augustus.