Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Literature > 195. John Milton

195.  John Milton (1608-1674).  Letterbook. Manuscript, 54 leaves, after 1659. RBML

This letterbook comprises a series of transcripts of 156 Letters of State by Milton, mainly in Latin, but including ten in English known from no other source. There are also other writings by him, including a draft entitled "Proposal of certain expedients for ye preventing of a civill war now feard, and ye settling of a firm government," as well as treatises, apparently by other authors, probably used by Milton in his official work as Latin secretary to Cromwell. The "Proposal" was unknown until the letterbook was purchased for Columbia by Nicholas Murray Butler in 1921. The transcripts of letters are almost certainly in the hand of the amanuensis who signed the Paradise Lost contract; Milton had been blind since 1652. The manuscript belonged to the great English collector, Sir Thomas Phillipps, as well as to Bernard Gardiner, Warden of All Soul's College and keeper of the Archives of Oxford University who, in 1703, kept his accounts and other records in the back of the volume.

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