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we shall content ourselves as sufficient specimens of the composition.
These productions of Milton's were unquestionably the most learned and able on the puritan side of the controversy. But the piece, which seems most to have attracted the public attention, was a pamphlet, written by the united powers of five of the presbyterian divines, under the appellation of Smectymnuus, a word formed with the initial letters of the names of the authors, Stephen Marshal, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow.
To this publication bishop Hall replied in " A Defence of the Remonstrance;" and Milton's formidable pen, drawn again in angry opposition to the prelate, produced “ Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence." This work is thrown into the form of a dialogue between the remonstrant and his answerer, that passages from the prelate's pages, being assigned to the mouth of the former, may be confounded, in their detached and helpless state, by the remarks of
Why" this close and succinct manner," says our author, “ was rather to be chosen, this was the reason, chiefly that the
1 P.W. vol. i, 154.
ingenuous reader, without further amusing himself in the labyrinth of controversial antiquity, may come to the speediest way to sce the truth vindicated and sophistry taken short at the first false bound." The replies of the animadverter are always severe, and frequently jocose; and there prevails throughout the piece a grim smile, which sharpens and aggravates the offence.
When we contemplate these works as the productions of one year, and of a man oc-. cupied with the fatiguing duties of an instructor of boys, we must necessarily wonder at that unwearied industry, that ready application of various knowledge, and that exuberant fertility of ardent mind, which their composition so manifestly discovers. These five pieces were written in 1641, when their author was thirty-three years of age.
In the beginning of 1642, his - Animadversions," which unquestionably were personal and rude, excited a reply from the pen, as it was imagined, of a son of the insulted bishop; and this connexion of the youthful writer might extenuate the violence, if it could not justify the calumnies of his “ Mo. dest confutalion,” as he was pleased to call it, “ against a slanderous, and scurrilous libel.” If this reply, indeed, had been pub
lished with its author's name, its motives
, and warned him from the com-
But the publication was anonymous; and,
The “Apology for Smectymnuus” was the
This production seems to have closed the controversy. Weapons, more effectual than pens, were drawn against the Church; and, exposed by the injudicious conduct of some
of its prelates," it fell under the assault. If
• I allude, particularly, to the intemperate and most unsea-
it would have been supported by these admirable prelates; but numbers, exasperation and enthusiasm were against them. The storm raged beyond the controll of any human voice, and the vessel' appeared to be lost: she was soon, however, to be launched again in all her graceful pride; and, favoured by the breath of heaven, to pursue her prosperous course till the misconduct of her navigators shall again endanger her; or till she attain, perhaps, the most distant limit assigned for the duration of human institutions.
The tone of this debate was far from mild; and all the combatants, with exception to Usher, seem to have been careless of manners, and not less intent on giving pain to their adversaries, than on the discovery or the establishment of truth. The temper of polemics and of literary disputants is, in all
ages, the same; but controversy had not yet learned to conceal the malignity of her bosom under the disguise of a polished brow, and a smiling cheek. On this occasion, also, many circumstances concurred, as we have already remarked, to heighten that ferocity, which always marks her character, when interests of important moment constitute her objects. In this dispute, one party was urged to the defence by every thing which educa