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Hardy must be the man who can publish this sophistry with so many contra-, dictory facts staring him in the face. And distressing must be the dilemma which obliges Dr. Johnson to admit either that the minority have propagated no projects of innovation, diffused no discontents by murmuring at government; or that his friends the ministers of state have not been able to protect the settlement, and keep the public peace. If there can be no religion upon the supposition that every sceptic may teach his follies, I am afraid the Doctor hiinself can have no religion; for such sceptics may and do teach their follies every day with all freedom.
Perhaps Perhaps times and seasons might be noted in some old almanac when the good Doctor himself stole fome trifles into the world through the press, which did not much favour the legal settlement of the crown, or tend to abate the difcontents of the people.
Had the minister of the day, who then slept with his doors unbolted, caught the thief with the dark-lanthorn in his pocket, and consigned him over to the constable, the culprit undoubtedly would have availed himself of Milton's plea, and we should have heard with a vengeance of the wicked enmity of power to the cause of truth and loyalty. But pensions and preferments are wonderful enlighteners; and the free circulation of fedition during the last reign, when many an honest Jacobite propagated his discontents without the least apprehension for his ears, is now become a pernicious policy, unworthy of the wisdom and dignity of an administration under the protection of the respectable Dr. Samuel Johnson.
It is observable, that Milton addressed his noble tract, intituled, Areopagitica, to an antimonarchical parliament, from which he expected the reformation of all the errors and encroachments of the late kingly and prelatical government. He was above the little dirty prejudices or pretences that they might be trusted with power, only because he approved of the men, or depended upon their fa
vour to himself. He had his eye only on the cause, and when the Presbyterians deserted that, he deserted them, not out of humour, as this rancorous Biographer would insinuate *; but because they fainted in the progress of that work to the completion of which their first avowed principles would have led them.
Would Dr. Johnson have chosen to have submitted his works to the licensers appointed by such a parliament? or would he venture to expostulate with the pow
* See fome fenfible and masterly reflections on the subject in Dr. Moore's View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland, and Germany. See likewise Gilbert Mabbot's reasons for defiring to be dismissed from the office of Licenfer. Toland's Life of Milton, Mr. Hollis's edition, p. 57
èrs 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 lie found it.
“ As faction seldom leaves a man ho56 nest,” says the Doctor, p. 51, “how" ever it might find him, Milton is suf
pected of having interpolated the book 36 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 fentence seems to be a little embarassed: and to leave us under fome uncertainty whether Milton