[Milton-L] English Civil War

Nancy Charlton nbcharlton at comcast.net
Sun Jul 4 07:44:47 EDT 2010


Of possible interest to Miltonists and other students of the 17th 
century is this teasingly interesting article in today's NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/opinion/04tinniswood.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

"It is a fact rarely discussed on either side of the Atlantic that 
American colonists played a crucial role in the English Civil War, the 
bitter struggle between King Charles I and Parliament that tore England 
apart in the 1640s. The English Revolution --- and that is just what it 
was --- can be interpreted in all kinds of ways: as a religious fight 
between pathologically earnest Puritans and the Catholic-leaning bishops 
of the Church of England; as an uprising by a nascent merchant class 
determined to throw off the shackles of medieval feudalism; as 
right-but-repulsive Roundheads bashing the wrong-but-romantic Cavaliers."

It would seem that more than a few colonists were prompted by conscience 
(inter alia) to return to the homeland and take up the Puritan cause, 
and Adrian Tinniswood, author of this article, is apparently chronicling 
at least two families who were involved.  I don't recall Milton ever 
writing much about this but he surely must have been aware of it.  I 
think of my own ancestors, Puritans who were part of the big emigration 
wave of the 1630's, whose motives were as much financial as ideological; 
I doubt very much whether they would have been in a position to be 
involved in any possible American revolution a century and a half before 
it actually took place.  They were busy taming the elements and 
importing basic and luxury goods to even consider rocking the boat.

But by mid-18th c., Locke and the Enlightenment would have taken hold, 
and Milton's works would have been around long enough to have become 
classic.  Still, try as I might, I find no definite link between Milton 
and the Declaration of Independence, even though Jefferson and Adams 
were both Milton aficionados (di ?)

Also of interest might be a brief squib concerning Senator Byrd, who in 
1994 quoted from every single one of Shakespeare's plays.  Did he ever 
quote Milton?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/opinion/04marche.html?th&emc=th

And now, strawberries await.  I was fortunate to get a flat of the 
year's best, and they must go into the freezer ASAP.  My fireworks this 
year!

Nancy Charlton

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