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austere by the sight of so much bloodshed and of so many forms of death; but inclined to justice, to a reverence of the Deity, to a sympathy with human sufferings, and animated, for the preservation of liberty, with a zeal strengthened by the hazards which, for its sake, they have encountered-men not raked together from the dregs of our own or of a foreign population, not a band of mercenary adventurers, but men chiefly of superior condition; in ex
.; traction noble or reputable; with respect to property considerable or competent, or, in some instances, deriving a stronger claim to our regard even from their poverty itself—men not convened by the lust of plunder, but, in times of extreme difficulty, amid circumstances generally doubtful, and often almost desperate, excited to vindicate their country from oppression; and prompt, not only in the safe
i ty of the senate-house to wage the war of words, but to join battle with the enemy on the field.
"If we will then renounce the idleness of never-ending and fallacious expectation, I see not in whom, if not in such as these, we can place reliance and trust. Of their FIDELITY We have the surest and most indisputable proof, in the readiness which they have discovered even to die, if it had been their lot, in the cause of their country; of their PIETY, in the devotion with which, having repeatedly and successfully implored the protection of heaven, they uniformly ascribed the glory to Him from whom they had solicited the victory; of their JUSTICE, in their not exempting even their king from trial or from execution; of their MODERATION, in our own experience, and in the certainty that if their violence should disturb the peace which they have established, they would themselves be the first to feel the resulting mischiefs, themselves would receive the first wounds in their own bodies, while they were again doomed to struggle for all their fortunes and honors now happily secured; of their FORTITUDE, lastly, in that none ever recovered their liberty with more bravery or effect, to give us the assurance that none will ever watch over it with more solicitous attention and
Milton closed the “Second Defence" with this dignified and pathetic address :
"For myself, whatever may be the final result, such efforts as in my judgment were the most likely to be beneficial to the Commonwealth I have made without reluctance, though not, as I trust, without effect. I have wielded my weapons for liberty not only in our domestic scene, but on a far more extensive theatre, that the justice and the principle of our extraordinary actions, explained and vindicated both at home and abroad, and rooted in the general approbation of the good, might be unquestionably established, as well for the honor of my compatriots as for precedents to posterity.
"That the conclusion prove not unworthy of such a commencement, be it my countrymen's to provide; it has been mine to deliver a testimony, I had almost said to erect a monument, which will not soon decay, to deeds of greatness and of glory almost transcending human panegyric. And if I have accomplished nothing further, I have assuredly discharged the whole of my engagement.
"As a bard however who is denominated
epic, if he confine his work a little within certain canons of composition, proposes to himself, for a subject of poetical embellishment, not the whole life of his hero, but some single action, such as the wrath of Achilles, the return of Ulysses, or the arrival in Italy of Æneas, and takes no notice of the rest of his conduct; so will it suffice either to form my vindication or to satisfy my duty, that I have recorded in heroic narrative one only of my fellow-citizen's achievements. The rest I omit; for who can declare all the actions of an entire people?
“If, after such valiant exploits, you fall into gross delinquency, and perpetrate any thing unworthy of yourselves, posterity will not fail to discuss and to pronounce sentence on the disgraceful deed. The foundation they will allow indeed to have been firmly laid, and the first—nay, more than the first parts of the superstructure to have been erected with success, but with anguish they will regret that there were none found to carry it forward to completion; that such an enterprise and such virtues were not crowned with perseverance; that a rich harvest of glory and abundant materials for heroic achievement were prepared, but that men were wanting to the illustrious opportunity, while there wanted not a man to instruct, to urge, to stimulate to action-a man who could call fame as well upon the acts as the actors, and could spread their names over lands and seas to the admiration of all future ages.
The effect produced by the publication of the "Second Defence” was profound. The presses employed in its issue could not keep pace with the popular demand for it, and it served to raise John Milton still higher, if that were possible, in the estimation of the republicans and the scholars of that epoch.
Milton's friend and assistant, Andrew Marvell, presented a copy of the work to the Lord Protector, with the compliments of the author.
Terribly galled by the crushing force and sarcasm of Milton's "Second Defence," Alexander Morus, who had been mistaken by the great Englishman for the author of the pamphlet to which his work was an answer, † ven
* Prose Works, Vol. V., p.
266. | The real author was a Frenchman named Du Moulin, who,