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R E M A R K S
JOHNSON's Life of MILTON.
WE were in hope that we had done with Milton's Biographers; and had little foresight that so accomplished an artificer
of language would have condescended to bring up the rear of his historians.
But it was not for the reputation of Dr. Johnson's politics that Milton should be abused for his principles of Liberty by a less eminent hand than his own. The minute fnarlers, or spunose declamers against the sentiments and diction of Milton's prose-works, had ceased to be regarded, till the maxims of some of those who pay Dr. Johnson's quarterages had occasioned an inquiry into the genuine principles of the English Government, when the writings of Milton, Sydney, Locke, &c. which the moderation, of the last reign had left in some degree of neglect, were now taken down from the shelves where they had so long reposed, to confront the dodrines which,
it had been presumed, would never more come into fashion.
- No man contributed more to restore the esteem and credit of these noble patriotie writers than the late ever-to-behonoured Mr. Hollis, of whose beautiful and accurate editions of Sydney's Dilcourses, of Locke on Government and Toleration, and of Toland's Life of Milton, we have spoken largely in another place. · Dr. Johnson's peace of mind required that this recovering taste of the public thould not ripen into appetite, particularly for Milton's works, whose reputation he had formerly taken so much elegant pains to depreciate. The source of his disaffection to Milton's principles can be no secret to those who have been converfant in the controversies of the times. Dr. Johnson's early and well-known attachments will sufficiently account for it; and posterity will be at no loss to determine whether our biographer's veneration was paid to the White Rose or the Red
But Dr. Johnson's particular malevolence to Milton may not be so well known, or possibly forgot; we ihall therefore give a short account of its progress, from its first appearance to its confuinmation in this Life of Milton.
In the year 1747, one William Lauder sent to the Gentleman's Magazine some hints of Milton's plagiarism, in pillaging certain modern writers for the materials of his poem, intituled, Paradise Loft: * See Preface to Milton, p. 2.
Who William Lauder was, what was his character, and of what stamp his moral and political principles, may
be learned from a pamphlet, intituled, FUŘIUS, printed for Carpenter, in Fleet-street, without a date; but, as evidently appears by the Remarks at the end of it, published soon after Lauder's appearance in the Gentleman's Magazine, with his famous discoveries.
Congenial politics créate connections between men in whose abilities there is great disparity, Buchanan's principles, in his dialogue, De jure Regni apud Scotos, were equally detefted by the noted Thou mas Ruddiman and William Lauder. But Lauder's inalignity could never prevail with the ingenuous Ruddiman to