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The other will of course recommend itself to all advocates for the liberty of the press, and moreover may, in half an hour's reading, entertain some part of the public with a contrast between the magnanimity of Milton, in facing a formidable enemy, and Dr. Johnson's feefaw meditations, the shifty wiles of a man between two fires, who neither dares fight nor run away. These two tracts are published from the first editions.
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 hiftorians.
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 snarlers, or spunose declamers against the sentiments and diction of Milton's prose-works, had ceased to be regarded, till the maxims of fome 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 fome degree of neglect, were now taken down from the shelves where they had fó long rea posed, to confront the doctrines which;
it had been préfumed, would never more come into fashion.c - No man contributed more to restore the esteem and credit of these noble paz triotic Writer's orhån the late ever-to-behonoured Mr. Hollis, of whose beautiful and accurate editions of Sydney's DifCourses, of Locke on Goveränient and Toletation, and of Toland's Life of Milton, we have spoken largely in another places in 3 0 " } - Dr. Johnson's peace of mind required
that this recovering taste of the public Wholttá not ripen into appetite, particuTarly för Milton's works, whose reputaxion ke had formerly taken so much elegant pains to depreciate. The source of his disaffection to Milton's principles can ...!. B 2
be no secret to those who have been conversant in the controversies of the times. Dr. Johnson's early and well-known attachments will sufficiently account for it; and pofterity 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 málevolence to Milton may not be so well known, or possibly forgot; we shall therefore give a short account of its progress, from its first appearance to its consummation in this Life of Milton..
In the year 1747, one William Lauder sent to the Gentleman's Magazine fome hints of Milton's plagiarism, in pillaging certain modern writers for the materials of his poem, intituled, Paradife Loft. * See Preface to Milcon, p. 2.