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Is it not better that power fhould be' the standard of truth, than that we should' have no fettlement, no peace, no religion?

But, fays another writer, as honest a man, and at least as fair a reafoner, as Dr. Johnson, "If men were not to de"clare their opinions in fpight of estab

lifhments either in church or ftate,' "truth would foon be banished the "earth * ;" and to this agrees John Milton. What is then to be done?

Why, fays a moderator, punish the authors of thefe wicked publications; for Dr. Johnson tells you, "It is yet al"lowed that every fociety may punish, though not prevent, the publication of


* Dedication of the Effay on Spirit.

" opinions


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"opinions which that fociety fhall think " pernicious."

We could mention very good fort of men, and no fools, who would not allow this to cvery fociety. But be this as it may, this allowance does not fatisfy our Biographer; for, fays he, "This punish"ment, though it may crufh the author, promotes the book; and it feems not "more reasonable to leave the right of printing unreftrained, because writers may be afterwards cenfured, than it "would be to fleep with our doors un"bolted, because by our laws we can "hang a thief.”

The conclufion is,

hang every man who prints or publishes without a license.

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Hardy must be the man who can publifh this fophiftry with fo many contradictory facts ftaring him in the face. And diftreffing muft be the dilemma which obliges Dr. Johnson to admit either that the minority have propagated no projects of innovation, diffused no discontents by murmuring at government; or that his friends the minifters of ftate have not been able to protect the fettlement, and keep the public peace. If there can be no religion upon the fuppofition that every fceptic may teach his follies, I am afraid the Doctor hiinfelf can have no religion; for fuch fceptics may and do teach their follies every day with all freedom.


Perhaps times and feafons might be, noted in fome old almanac when the good Doctor himself stole fome trifles.


into the world through the prefs, which did not much favour the legal fettlement. of the crown, or tend to abate the dif contents of the people.

Had the minifter of the day, who then flept with his doors unbolted, caught the thief with the dark-lanthorn in his pocket, and configned him over to the conftable, the culprit undoubtedly would have availed himself of Milton's plea, and we should have heard with a vengeance of the wicked enmity of power to the cause of truth and loyalty. But penfions and preferments are wonderful enlighteners; and the free circu

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lation of fedition during the laft reign, when many an honeft Jacobite propagated his difcontents without the leaft apprehenfion for his ears, is now become a pernicious policy, unworthy of the wisdom and dignity of an adminiftration under the protection of the refpectable Dr. Samuel Johnson.

It is obfervable, that Milton addreffed his noble tract, intituled, Areopagitica, to an antimonarchical parliament, from which he expected the reformation of all the errors and encroachments of the late kingly and prelatical government. He was above the little dirty prejudices or pretences that they might be trusted with power, only because he approved of the men, or depended upon their faF


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