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* Now persons,” says he, “ so far ma“ nuducted into the highest paths of lite“ rature, both divine and human, had “they received his documents with the “ fame acuteness of wit and apprehen“ fion, the fame industry, alacrity, and " thirst after knowledge, as the instruc66 tor was indued with, what prodigies «s of wit and learning might they have “ proved! the scholars might, in some -“ degree, have come near to the equal“ ling the master, or at least have in “ some sort made good what he seems to .“ predict in the clofe of an elegy he made “ in the seventeenth year of his age, “ upon the death of one of his fifter's “ children (a daughter) who died in her
E 3. “in
“ infancy.” The last couplet of which elegy is, This if thou do, he will an offspring
give That to the world's last end shall make
thy name to live *. . Hence it is clear that the persons fo manudu&ed were only, at the most, the two Philipses, the offspring of Milton's fister, whose name would be little connected with the proficiency of a promifcuous number of boys in a boardingschool.
In the next. place, Mr. Philips is before-hand with Dr. Johnson in affigning the causes of the little comparative
proficiency made by the persons fo manudueled'; where common good-manners would restrain him from taxing the hebetude, the idleness, the indolence, and indifference, of any students, except of himself or his brother. And indeed it plainty appears, that the “ addition of “ fome scholars *" was posterior to the course of 'reading Milton went througli with his nephews, and was one of those several occasions of increasing his family, apparently after he had written the tracts above-mentioned.
If Toland, and Milton's Biographers, fubfequent to Philips, made more of this matter than Philips's history authorized, we do not commend them. But it was
* Philips, p. xi.
furely the business of a new narrative to correct their inaccuracies, and not invidiously to represent Milton as performing wonders, which it is not pretended by him, who knew the best, that he did perform; and then to shew the impraca ticability of the thing by remarks borrowed from his informer, and put upon the reader as the product of his own fagacity.
In another place the Doctor says *, “ From this wonder-working academy I “ do not know that there ever proceeded “ any man very eminent for knowledge;. * its only genuine product, I believe, is " a small history of poetry, written in “ Latin by his nephew, of which per* Johnson, p. 31.
6 laps none of my readers has ever heard.”
Every writer may presume, conjecture, and believe, as much as he pleases in all cases where he cannot be contradicted ; and so may. we.. Our answers to this then are,
1, Bernardus non vidit omnia. There may have been men and things of which Dr. Johnson hath no knowledge. Wood says, both Milton's nephews were writers*; and there may be still more genuine products of Milton's scholastic inftitution than Dr. Johnson ever heard of.
2.. From this reflection it may be inferred, that Milton's pupils were not so
* Ath. Oxon, vol. I. Falli, p. 263.