After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, John Milton was concerned with both how the triumphalist monarchists would treat the English people and how the disheartened English people would face their descendants (1660)

John Milton

Found in The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth

In 1660, with the Restoration of the English monarchy and the end of the experiment in Republican government, Milton was concerned with both how the triumphalist monarchists would treat the English people and how the English people would face their descendants:

But admitt, that monarchy of it self may be convenient to som nations, yet to us who have thrown it out, received back again, it cannot but prove pernicious. For [the] kings to com, never forgetting thir former ejection, will be sure to fortifie and arme themselves sufficiently for the future against all such attempts heerafter from the people: who shall be then so narrowly watch’d and kept so low, [as that besides the loss of all thir blood, and treasure spent to no purpose,], that though they would never so fain and at the same rate of thir blood and treasure, they never shall be able to regain what they now have purchasd and may enjoy, or to free themselves from any yoke impos’d upon them. nor will they dare to go about it; utterly disheartn’d for the future, if these thir highest attempts prove unsuccesfull; which will be the triumph of all tyrants heerafter over any people that shall resist oppression; and thir song will then be, to others, how sped the rebellious English? to our posteritie, how sped the rebells your fathers?

John Milton was devastated by two events in his life: the gradual loss of his sight and the defeat of the republic and restoration of the Stuart monarchy. In this quotation he worries about the immediate problem of a vengeful monarchy and the powerful groups that supported it, and how generations to come would view the failure of the republican movement to create a stable alternative to monarchical government. He did not live long enough to see how true his fears of retribution were, with the execution of Algernon Sidney in 1683. We would have to wait another 100 years to see the beginning of another experiment with the American republic to answer some of Milton’s fears.