A Letter signed T. Sarum (Thomas Burgess, Bishop of Salisbury)

Scope and Content

Manuscript item bound in a volume of printed pamphlets.

Text begins: 'To make Milton's very interesting Tract as useful as possible, I have extracted from it the inclosed table of Contents'; text ends: 'Excuse this egotism, & believe me to be with the highest respect, Your Lordship's most faithful servant'.

The 'inclosed table of Contents' refers to the apparent 'proof' copies of the Contents and text of Milton's 'Treatise of true religion, heresy, schism, toleration, and what best means may be used against the spread of popery', which can be found in the same volume as this letter.

Summary: Burgess encloses the Contents list. This will be accompanied by a Preface on Milton's religious principles in which Burgess has 'not forgotten Bishop Watson's charge of gross falsehood brought against the passage in the Defensio pro P[opulp] A[nglicana], which, in my last, I believe I carelessly called the Defensio secunda'. In the seventeenth century it was not surprising to find Milton charged with 'impiety, heresy & even atheism'. However, more than a century later it is 'wonderful that such a wruter as Nishop Watson should have so misapprehended and calumniated him'. Burgess continues: 'I hope there is nothing in the air of Carmarthenshire that has infected me with any feeling of hostility to Llandaff. But Bishop Watson is the third Bishop of that See, whom I have had to oppose in defense of the Scriptures & Milton'. The letter ends with Burgess asking pardon for 'this egotism'.