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Who William Lauder was, what was his character, and of what stamp his moral and political principles, may be learned from a pamphlet, intituled, FURIUS, printed for Carpenter, in Fleet-street, without a date; but, as evidently appears by the Remarks at the end of it, published soon after Lauder's appearance in the Gentleman's Magazine, with his famous discoveries.
Congenial politics create connections between men in whose abilities there is great disparity. Buchanan's principles, in his dialogue, De jure Regni apud Scotos, were equally detested by the noted Tho. mas Ruddiman and William Lauder. But Lauder's malignity could never prevail with the ingenuous Ruddiman to
detract from Buchanan's poetical merit, in campliance with Lauder's furious zeal in favour of Johnffon's Latin translation: of David's, Pfalms, to which Lauder gave: the preference.
In his alliance with Dr. Johnson, cemented by their mutual antipathy te Milton's principles of civil and religious government, he found a paternal indulgence of his splenetic, animosity. -,
Milton was a Whig, and therefore must be a Plagiary; accordingly. when the time came that Lauder's strictures in the Gentleman's Magazine had fwelled into the fize of a pamphlet of 160 pagesg. it was ushered into public by a preface, and finished by a postscript, from the ilt kuftrious hand of Dr. Samuel Johnson.. ?".
On oecasion of these head and tailpieces the ingenious Dr. Douglas, the detector of Lauder's forgeries, writes thus: . - “ 'Tis to be hoped, nay, 'tis expe&ed, ** that the elegant and nervous writer, “ whose judicious sentiments and inimi. sa table ftile point out the author of Lau. ob der's Preface and Postscript, will no " longer allow one to plume himself with “ his feathers, who appears so little to “ have deferved his assistance; an affil“ tapce which, I am persuaded, would “ never have been communicated, had " there been the leaft suspicion of those « facts which I have been the instrument “of conveying to the world *."
* Milton vindicated from the chärge of Plaa giarism, &c. by John Douglas, M. A. for. Millar, 1751, p. 77. ?
Bai . This
* This favourable presumption was illfounded and premature. It appeared afterwards, by the confeffion of Lauder himself, that “ in Johnson's friendship “ he placed the most implicit and unli“ mited confidence * "
Dr. Johnson had said for his friend, at the end of the Esay, that “ Lauder's mo“ tives were, a strict regard to truth “ alone, &c. and none of them taken “ from any difference of country, or of * sentiments in political or religious “ matters t." This Lauder, in his pamphlet of 1754, expressly contradicted, and avowed motives of party and premeditated deception 1. Here the cat leaped
* King Charles I. vindicated, p. 3, 4. of Efay, p. 163.
King Charles I. vindicated from the charge of Plagiarism, brought against him by Mifton. Printed for Owen, 1754, p. 11.
out of the bag. It was now notorious that the fable had been inverted. The Lion roared in the Ass's Skin ; and if the Lion had not the whole afinine plan communicated to him à priori, Lauder's confidence in his friend Johnson was neither implicit nor unlimited
Dr. Johnson, indeed, it is to be fufpeęted, took upon him the patronage of Lauder's project from the beginning; and bore his part in the controversy retailed in the Gentleman's Magazine for the year 1747. There is at least a High DEGREE OF PREPOLLENT PROBABILITY, that the Letter in that Magazine for the inonth of August, page 363, 364, figned wil. LIAM LAUDER, came from the amicable hand of Mr. Samuel Johnson.