Auction Date: 6/07/2017 at 10:30 am
Pro Populu Anglicano Defensio by John Milton 1651 First Edition “Pro Populo Anglicano contra Claudii Anonymi, alias Salmasii, defensionem regiam”, first Elzevir edition, title with simple woodcut coat-of-arms, old ink note on front fly-leaf relating to Milton's eyesight, bookseller's catalogue description on pastedown, contemporary vellum, [Coleridge 50; Willems 1134], 12mo, Londini, Typis Du Gardianis , 1651. (The full title in English is John Milton an Englishman His Defense of the People of England. It was a piece of propaganda, and made political argument in support of what was at the time the government of England. This work was commissioned by Parliament during Oliver Cromwell's protectorship of England, as a response to a work by Claudius Salmasius entitled Defensio Regia pro Carolo I ("Royal Defense on behalf of Charles I"). Salmasius argued that the rebels led by Cromwell were guilty of regicide for executing King Charles. Milton responded with a detailed justification of the parliamentary party. Milton refused the payment of £100 offered by the Council as its official thanks for his commission to write a defense of the new republic in Latin even as he was losing his eyesight, Milton later wrote, "I resolved therefore that I must employ this brief use of my eyes while yet I could for the greatest possible benefit to the state.").