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110 ) * lic prayer, he omitted all.” And then he procedes to account for it. . .
But these particulars, wherever the Doctor got them, must have come from persons who had no more honest business in John Milton's closet than Dr. Johnson himself, who never came there, nor dan possibly know what was done, or what was omitted in it. If “his studies and “ meditations were an habitual prayer,” what occasion had he for a stated hour, which, being a circumstance in the visible worship of a private man, may as soon be a token of pharifaical ostentation or popish superstition as of cordial piety !
Nor perhaps would Milton have accepted of Dr. Johnson's apology for his omission of family worship, or have ac
11 ] knowledged it to be a fault. Milcon perhaps might think it sufficient to teach his family to pray for themselves; every one as he or she should know the plague of bis or her own heart. Milton had doubtless known, by experience, how incongruous it was to trust his own prayers to the mouth of another man; and he might think it equally improper in him to dictate to the individuals of his family prayers unsuitable, for aught he could know without auricular confession, to their several cases.
* All this however is mere speculation on one side and the other. We learn from a tale of Richardson's, that one of his family at least attended public wor
Thip; and inore of them might, for any thing the Doctor knows to the contrary,
The Doctor next attacks Milton's political character. : “ His political notions were those of “ an acrimonious and furly republican.”
When an honest man has occasion to characterise his enemy, particularly in matters of opinion, he should keep a strict watch over himself, that his prejudices do not transport him to imputations which are either false, or may be retorted upon himself..
The world would have given Dr.Johnfon credit for his inveterate hatred of republican notions, without his qualifying them with the epithets of acrimonious and surly, as exhibited by Milton,
whose defenders might, with equal juftice at least, call him an acrimonious and furly Royalist.
But was Dr. Johnson's quarrel with Milton's notions merely that they were republican, that is to say, notions adverse to kingly government ? Hath he always ' revered kings as such, kings de fuelc, or kings only fo and fo qualified ? . We.confess ourselves to be of that class of men who are willing to receive inkruction from all quarters; and the news-paper of the day being just brought in, we learn, from an extract in it from Dr. Johnson's Life of Smith, that Gilbert Walmsley was a Whig with all the viru, lence and malevolence of his party, and
that the Doctor was of different notions and opinions *.
But we are well informed, that Mr. Walmfley was no republican, but strongly attached in principle to the succession of the House of Hanover. If for this: attachment he was, in Dr. Johnson's esteem, a virulent and malevolent Whig, we should be glad to know what precisely are those notions and opinions wherein he differed from his friend Walmsley? Perhaps at the bottom the grudge is no more than that neither Milton nor WalmNey would allow Dr. Johnson to chuse, a King for them.
“ It is not known,” says the Doctor, " that Milton gave any better reason * St. James's Chronicle, July 31, 1779.