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vour to himself. He had his eye only on the cause, and when the Presbyterians deserted that, he deserted them, not out of humour, as this rancorous Biographer would insinuate *; but be
; cause they fainted in the progress of that work to the completion of which their firft avowed principles would have led them..
Would Dr. Johnson have chosen to have submitted his works to the licensers appointed by such a parliament? or would he venture to expoftulate with the pow
* See some sensible and masterly reflections on the fubject in Dr, Moore's View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland, and Germany. See likewise Gilbert Mabbot's reasons for defiring to be dismissed from the office of Li. censer. Toland's Life of Milton, Mr. Hollis's edition, p. 57.
ers in being on any point of literary privilege, wherein he should think them essentially wrong, with that generous honest freedom that Milton exhibits in this incomparable tract ? No, he sneaks away from the question, and leaves it as he found it.
" As faction seldom leaves a man ho“ neft,” says the Doctor, p. 51, “how" ever it might find him, Milton is suf“pected of having interpolated the book 6 called Icon Bafilike, which the council of 6 state, to whom he was now made Latin « Secretary, employed him to censure, by inserting a prayer, &c.”
The contexture of this sentence seems to be a little embarassed : and to leave us under fome uncertainty whether Milton
interpolated by inserting,” or whether he was “employed to censure by insert
Milton, however, it seemns, was “suf"spected of inserting, in the Icon Basi“ like, a prayer taken from Sidney's “ Arcadia, and imputing it to the King, « whom he charges, in his Iconoclastes, 66 with the use of this prayer, as with a “ heavy crime, in the indecent language “ with which prosperity had emboldenWed the advocates for rebellion to insult “ all that is venerable and great."
Does the Doctor mean to say, that these advocates for rebellion insulted the venerable and great Creator of all things, or that there was nothing venerable and great but King Charles I. and his appur
tenances ? The imputation of blar. phemy on the one fide or the other is unavoidable.
After which follows the citation from the Iconoclaftes, where the imputation and the grounds of it are fairly and openly told. Now for the proof of the interpolation.
which the King gave to “ Dr. Juxon, on the scaffold, the regicides “ took away, so that they were at least " the publishers of this prayer.”
Let us parallel this with an inference from another fcrap of English history. * The ministry took away Mr. Wilkes's
papers, among which was faid to be "the Effay on Woman; so that the mi
; 6 nifters were at least the publishers of
" that Effay; and, considering the num“ bers of poets they have always at their “beck, why may they not be suspected “ as the forgers of it?"
So reasoned Mr. Wilkes's friends in the year 1763. Dr. Johnson knows what the ministerial writers replied; and let that suffice for an answer to this presumptive proof of Milton's dishonesty. But,
:: “ Dr. Birch, who examined the ques“tion with great care, was inclined to “ think them (the Regicides] the forg« ers."
Dr. Birch's examination, careful as. the Doctor represents it, was blameably partial in not giving Toland's confutation of Dr. Gill's tale its full strength; and indeed the examination seems to have