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ers in being on any point of literary privilege; wherein he should think them essentially wrong, with that generous and honest freedom that Milton exhibits in this incomparable tract ? No, he sneaks away from the question, and leaves it as he found it. ..
" As faction seldom leaves a man ho“ nest,” says the Doctor, p. 51, “how“ ever it might find him,, Milton is suf« pected of having interpolated the book « called Icon Bafilike, which the council of “ state, to whom he was now made Latin « Secretary, employed him to censure, « by inserting a prayer, &c." ;
The contexture of this sentence seems to be a little embarassed : and to leave us under some uncertainty whether Milton . F 2
6$ interpolated by inserting," or whether. he was 5 employed to censure by insert“ing, &c."
Milton, however, it seems, was suf“.pected of inserting, in the Icon Bafi“ like, a prayer taken from Sidney's “ Arcadia, and imputing it to the King, “ whom he charges, in his Iconoclastes, “ with the use of this prayer, as with a 56 heavy crime, in the indecent language “ with which prosperity had emboldensed the advocates for rebellion to insult « all that is venerable and great.",
Does the Doctor mean to say, that these advocates for, rebellion insulted the venerable and great Creator of all things, or that there was nothing venerable and great but King Charles I. and his appurtenances?: The imputation of blai phemy on the one side or the other is unavoidable.
After which follows the citation from the Iconoclastes, where the imputation and the grounds of it are fairly and openly told. Now for the proof of the interpan lation. .
. “The papers which the King gave to “ Dr. Juxon, on the scaffold, the regicides 56 took away, so that they were at leaft “ the publishers of this prayer."
Let us parallel this with an inference from another scrap of English history. · "The ministry took away Mr. Wilkes's « papers, among which was said to be “ the Essay on Woman; so that the mi" nifters were at least the publishers of
“ that Effay; and, confidering the num“ bers of poets they have always at their “ beck, why may they not be suspected “ as the forgers of it?"
So reasoned Mr. Wilkes's friends in the year 1763. Dr. Johnson knows what the ministerial writers replied; and let that suffice for an answer to this presumptive proof of Milton's dishonesty. But,
“ Dr. Birch, who examined the ques“tion with great care, was inclined to “ think them (the Regicides] the forg( ers.”
Dr. Birch's examination, careful as the Doctor represents it, was blameably partial in not giving Toland's confuta-tion of Dr. Gill's tale its full strength'; and indeed the examination seems to have
beeni unsatisfa&tory to Birch himself, by its being left out of his Life of Milton, prefixed to the quarto edition of Milton's prose-works.“ ::::.. " · Lauder however affirins, that, “ in Dr. “ Birch's opinion, Milton was not guilty *** of the crime charged upon hiir; Mil“ ton and Bradshaw too,.in the Doctor's “ opinion, being persons of more honour “ than to be guilty of putting so vile a “ trick upon the King *."
Lauder perhaps had this declaration from Dr. Birch's own mouth; it is confirmed however by the following reflection, in the quarto' edition of Milton's Life by Birch, p. xxxiii.
* Lauder's Vindication, p.37.