• Robert R. Rusk


The account of his own life which Milton interpolates in The Second Defence of the People of England2 affords the occasion of explaining how he came to pen the tractate Of Education: ‘When, therefore, I perceived that there were three species of liberty which are essential to the happiness of social life — religious, domestic and civil; and as I had already written concerning the first, and the magistrates were strenuously active in obtaining the third, I determined to turn my attention to the second, or the domestic species. As this seemed to involve three material questions, the conditions of the conjugal tie, the education of the children, and the free publication of the thoughts, I made them objects of distinct consideration. I explained my sentiments, not only concerning the solemnization of the marriage but the dissolution, if circumstances rendered it necessary. … I then discussed the principles of education in a summary manner, but sufficiently copious for those who attend seriously to the subject; than which nothing can be more necessary to principle the minds of men in virtue, the only genuine source of political and individual liberty, the only true safeguard of states, the bulwark of their prosperity and renown.’


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  1. 2.
    A. F. Leach, ‘Milton as Schoolboy and Schoolmaster’, Proceedings of the British Academy (1907–8) (London: Oxford University Press), p. 313. 3 For Hartlib (born within the last few years of the sixteenth century — 1662) seeGoogle Scholar
  2. G. H. Turnbull, Samuel Hartlib: A Sketch of his life and his relation to J. A. Comenius (London: Oxford University Press, 1920). AlsoGoogle Scholar
  3. G. H. Turnbull, Hartlib, Dury and Comenius: Gleanings from Hartlib’s Papers (University Press of Liverpool, 1947).Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    For academies see above, p. 92, footnote 3 and T. L. Jarman, Landmarks in the History of Education (London: The Cresset Press, 1951), ch. xi, ‘The Beginnings of Educational Reform: The Academies’.Google Scholar
  5. Foster Watson in Vives: on Education. A translation of the De Tradendis Disciplinis of Juan Luis Vives (Cambridge University Press, 1913), Introduction, cli, says: ‘We can hardly help thinking that Milton had Vives’s Academy before his mind when he suggests “the spacious house and grounds” to be at once a school and university, not needing a remove “but to be ‘absolute’ for all studies”.’ It is nevertheless just as likely that he had his own Cambridge college in mind; the number in residence — a hundred and fifty — would support this contention. Milton went up to Cambridge when he was sixteen years old.Google Scholar
  6. 2.
    Oscar Browning, Milton’s Tractate on Educataon (Cambridge University Press, 1897). The treatise was first published in 1644, and was reprinted in 1673. The text of Browning’s edition is a facsimile of the reprint of 1673.Google Scholar
  7. M. Davis, Milton’s Areopagitica and Of Education (London: Macmillan’s English Classics, 1963), pp. 89–117. K. M. Burton, Milton’s Prose Writings (Everyman’s Library. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.), pp. 319–30Google Scholar
  8. O. M. Ainsworth, Milton on Education: The Tractate of Education with supplementary extracts from other writings of Milton (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1928).Google Scholar

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© R. R. Rusk 1969

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