[Milton-L] English Civil War

Jameela Lares Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
Sun Jul 4 15:04:37 EDT 2010

Hugh Peter returned to England and the revolution, but he ended up being brutally executed after the Restoration as Charles I's supposed executioner.

Jameela Lares
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
601 266-4319 ofc
601 266-5757 fax
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Nancy Charlton [nbcharlton at comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2010 6:44 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: [Milton-L] English Civil War

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


"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?


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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