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with ease but of late confute and confound the king himself, rising as it were from the grave, and recommending himself to the people in a book published after his death, with new artifices and allurements of words and expressions. If it be asked why we did not attack him sooner, for others I am not to answer; for myself I can boldly say that I had neither words nor arguments long to seek for the defence of so good a cause, if I had enjoyed such a measure of health as would have endured the fatigue of writing. And being but weak in body, I am forced to write by piecemeal, and break off almost every hour, though the subject be such as requires an unintermitted study and intenseness of mind.'1
'First, the delay' (of not writing) 'was occasioned by ill-health, whose hostilities I have now almost perpetually to combat; next, by a cause of illhealth, a necessary and sudden removal to another house, which had accidentally begun to take place on the day that your letter arrived; and lastly, by shame that I had no intelligence concerning your business, which I thought it would be agreeable to The First Defence,' Works, vol. i. p. 4.
HIS LOVE OF GREEK.
communicate, for the state of my health often kept me from the Council.'1
'I was in some measure made acquainted, most accomplished Philaras, with your good will towards me, and with your favourable opinion of my "Defence of the People of England.” I who am not wont to despise the genius of the German, the Dane, and Swede, could not but set the highest value on your applause, who was born at Athens itself, and who, after having happily finished your studies in Italy, obtained the most splendid distinctions and the highest honours. To the writings of those illustrious men which your city has produced, in the perusal of which I have been occupied from my youth, it is with pleasure I confess that I am indebted for all my proficiency in literature. Did I possess their command of language and their force of persuasion, I should feel the highest satisfaction in employing them to excite our armies and our fleets to deliver Greece, the parent of eloquence, from the despotism of the Ottomans. Such is the enterprise in which you seem to wish to implore my aid.'2
1 Letter XI. To Hermann Milles.
2 Letter XII. To Leonard Philaras, the Athenian, 1652.
'A grateful recollection of the Divine goodness is the first of human obligations; and extraordinary favours demand more solemn and devout acknowledgments with such acknowledgments I feel it my duty to begin this work. First, because I was born at a time when the virtue of my fellow-citizens, far exceeding that of their progenitors in greatness of soul and vigour of enterprise, having invoked Heaven to witness the justice of their cause, and been clearly governed by its directions, has succeeded in delivering the commonwealth from the most grievous tyranny, and religion from the most. ignominious degradation. And next, because when there suddenly rose many who, as is usual with the vulgar, basely calumniated the most illustrious achievements; and when one eminent above the rest (Salmasius), inflated with literary pride and the zealous applauses of his partisans, had in a scandalous publication, which was particularly levelled against me, nefariously undertaken to plead the cause of despotism, I, who was neither deemed unequal to so renowned an adversary, nor to so great a subject, was particularly selected by the deliverers of our country, and by the general
The Second Defence.
GRATITUDE TO PROVIDENCE.
suffrage of the public, openly to vindicate the rights of the English nation, and consequently of liberty itself. Lastly, because in a matter of so much moment, and which excited such ardent expectations, I did not disappoint the hopes nor the opinions of my fellow-citizens; while men of learning and eminence abroad honoured me with unmingled approbation; while I obtained such a victory over my opponent, that notwithstanding his unparalleled assurance, he was obliged to quit the field with his courage broken and his reputation lost; and for the three years which he lived afterwards, much as he menaced and furiously as he raved, he gave me no further trouble, except that he procured the paltry aid of some despicable hirelings, and suborned some of his silly and extravagant admirers, to support him under the weight of the unexpected and recent disgrace which he had experienced. This will immediately appear. Such are the signal favours which I ascribe to the Divine beneficence, and which I thought it right devoutly to commemorate, not only that I might discharge a debt of gratitude, but particularly because they seem auspicious to the success of my present un
dertaking. For who is there who does not identify the honour of his country with his own? . . ./I can easily repel any charge which may be adduced against me, either of want of courage or want of zeal. For though I did not participate in the toils or dangers of the war, yet I was at the same time engaged in a service not less hazardous to myself and more beneficial to my fellow-citizens; nor, in the adverse turns of our affairs, did I ever betray any symptoms of pusillanimity and dejection; or show myself more afraid than became me of malice or of death. For since from my youth I was devoted to the pursuits of literature, and my mind had been always stronger than my body, I did not court the labours of a camp, in which any common person would have been of more service than myself, but resorted to that employment in which my exertions were likely to be of most avail. Thus, with the better part of my frame, I contributed as much as possible to the good of my country, and to the success of the glorious cause in which we were engaged; and I thought that if God willed the success of such glorious achievements, it was equally agreeable to His will that there should be