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Milton, John

Born: 1608 AD
Died: 1674 AD
Nationality: English
Categories: Civil Rights Leader, Poets

1608 – He was born on the 9th day of December this year in Bread Street, Cheap side, London. After his birth, his father’s prosperity provided his eldest son with private tutoring, and a place at St Paul’s School in London, where he began the study of Latin and Greek that would leave such an imprint on his poetry.


1625 – He matriculated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and in preparation for becoming an Anglican priest, stayed on to obtain his Master of Arts cum laude on the 3rd of July 1632.


1641 – His first foray into polemics was Of Reformation touching Church Discipline in England.


1642 – In June of this year, he took a mysterious trip into the countryside and returned with a 16-year-old bride, Mary Powell. A month later, finding life difficult with the severe 33-year-old schoolmaster and pamphleteer, Mary returned to her family.

1644 – He wrote his short tract, On Education, urging a reform of the national universities.


1652 – He published his Latin defense of the English People, Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio, also known as the First Defense. His wife died this year leaving him four children.


1654 – In response to a Royalist tract, Regii sanguinis clamor, that made many personal attacks on him, he completed a second defense of the English nation, Defensio secunda, which praised Oliver Cromwell, now virtually a military dictator, while exhorting him to remain true to the principles of the Revolution. He also became blind this year.


1659 – He published A Treatise of Civil Power, attacking the concept of a state church (known as Erastianism), as well as Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove hirelings, denouncing corrupt practices in church governance.


1660 – Upon the Restoration in May this year, Milton went into hiding for his life as a warrant was issued for his arrest and his writings burnt.


1663 – He remarried, for a third and final time, a Wistaston, Cheshire-born woman Elizabeth (Betty) Minshull then aged 24, and spent the remaining decade of his life living quietly in London, with the exception of retiring to a cottage in Chalfont St. Giles (his only extant home) during the Great Plague.


1674 – He died of kidney failure on the 8th day of November this year in Bunhill, London.