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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 seefaw 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.
JOHNSON's Life of MILTON.
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 historians.
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 spuntose declamers against the sentiments and diction of Milton's prose-works, had ceased to be regarded, till the maxims of some 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 : fò long reposed, to confront the doctrines which;
it had been prefumed, would never more come into fashion.
com - No man contributed more to restore the esteem and credit of these noble patriotic Writer's than the late ever-to-behonoured Mr. Hollis, of whose beautiful, and accurate editiohs of Sydney's Difcourses, of Locke on Goverdhient and Toletation, and of Toland's Life of Miltons we have spoken largely in another place. 3 6 " .! -. Dr. Johnson's peace of mind required that this recovering tafte of the public hould not ripen into appetite, particuTarly föt Milton's works, whose reputaxión hè had formerly taken so much elegant pains to depreciate. The source of his disaffection to Milton's principles can
1.9.3. B 2 * be
be no secret to those who have been conversant in the controversies of the times. Dr. Johnson's early and well-known artachments will sufficiently account for it; and posterity 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 malevolence to Milton may not be so well known, or possibly forgot; we shall therefore give a short account of its progrėss, from its first appearance to its consummation in this Life of Milton. Ein
In the year 1747, one William Lauder sent to the Gentleman's Magazine some hints of Milton's plagiarism, in pillaging certain modern writers for the materials of his poem, intituled, Paradife Loft. * See Preface to Mileon, p. 2.