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surely the business of a new narrative to correct their inaccuracies, and not invidiously to represent Milton as performing wonders, which it is not pretended by him, who knew the best, that he did perform; and then to shew. the impracs. ticability of the thing by remarks borrowed from his informer, and put upon the reader as the product of his own fagacity.
In another place the Doctor says *, “ From this wonder-working academy I “ do not know that there ever proceeded
any man very eminent for knowledge; “ its only genuine product, I believe, is
a small history of poetry, written in. “ Latin by his nephew, of which per
* Johnson, P. 31:
haps none of my readers has ever heard.”
Every writer may presume, conjecture, and believe, as much as he pleases in all cases where he cannot be contradicted ; and so may we.. Qur answers to this then are,
1. Bernardus non vidit omnia. There may have been men and things of which Dr. Johnson hath no knowledge. Wood says, both Milton's nephews were writers *; and there may be still more genuine products of Milton's scholastic inftitution than Dr. Johnson ever heard of.
2. From this reflection it may be inferred, that Milton's pupils were not so
* Ath. Oxon, vol. I. Fafi, p. 263.
numerous as the Doctor's hypothests requires they should have been.
3. The students in Milton's academy (being the sons of men of like spirit and principles with their master) would not, upon leaving his boarding-school, vapour away their patriotism in writing books; but proceed to scenes of action not very favourable to the Muses, or philosophical speculation.
Though some of Milton's pupils might, in the days of their maturity, write like angels, their performances in favour of Liberty would be execrated into obfcurity and contempt, upon the turn of the times, by the able proficients in the noble science of licenfing.
The Doctor, speaking of Milton's Areopagitica, says, “ The danger of “ such unbounded liberty (of unlicensed “ printing', and the danger of bound“ing it, have produced a problem, in ! the science of government, which hu
man understanding seems unable to “solve."
Let us then have recourse to a divine understanding for the folution of it. Let both the-tares and the wheat grow together till the harvest, left while ye gather up the tares, ye root up alfo the wheat with theni.
Next follows a curious fee-saw of the
arguments pro and con.
* New Narrative, p. 45.
“ If nothing may be published but “what civil authority have previously
approved, power must always be the “ standard of truth.”
Would not one think that problem was thus solved at once? Is not this an alternative which even Dr. Johnson's predilection for power would hardly admit?
Hold a little, till we have shewn you the evils on the other side.
“ If every dreamer of innovations may
propagate his projects, there can be no “ settlement; if every murmurer at go“ vernment may diffuse discontent, there “ can be no peace; if every sceptic in
theology may teach his follies, there “ can be no religion.”