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JOHNSON'S LIFE OF MILTON.
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
MILTON'S TRACTATE OF EDVCATION
T T is necessary to inform the reader, * that the following Remarks are a
small part of a work lately given to the public, wherein occasion is incidentally taken to exhibit some instances of the manner in which Milton's character has been treated by some of his former biographers and others. About the time that specimen was closed Dr. Johnson's Now Narrative was thrown in the way of the editors, and could not be overlooked without leaving some of the more candid and capable judges of Milton's prose-writings to suffer by the illiberal reflections of certain (perhaps well
meaning) men, who may be led to think that truth, judgment, and impartiality are finall matters, when contrasted with what Dr. Johnson's admirers have thought fit to call, an inimitable elegance of stile and composition. Our countrymen are certainly interested, that wrong representations of the character of fo capital a writer as John Milton should be corrected, and properly censured; and therefore as the work from which the following Remarks are extracted may fall into the hands of very few of the numerous readers of Dr. Johnson's Prefaces, we hope the public will approve of our republishing these strictures on the Doctor's account of Milton, in a form to which may be had an easier and more general access.
We have only to add, that it has been thought convenient to subjoin to these Remarks, new and accurate editions of two of Milton's prose tracts ; viz. his Letter to Mr. Samuel Hartlib on Education, and his Areopagitica. The first was grown scarce, being omitted in some editions, both of the author's prose and poetical works.; but highly worthy to be preserved as prescribing a course of discipline, which, though out of fashion in these times, affords many useful lessons to those who may have abilities and cou. rage enough to adopt some of those improvements, of which the modes of learned education in present practice are confessedly susceptible.