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it had been prefumed, would never more
come into fashion.
No man contributed more to restore the esteem and credit of these noble patriotic writers than the late ever-to-behonoured Mr. Hollis, of whose beautiful' and accurate editions of Sydney's Difcourfes, of Locke on Government and Toleration, and of Toland's Life of Milton, we have spoken largely in another place.
Dr. Johnfon's peace of mind required "that this recovering tafte of the public fhould not ripen into appetite, particularly for Milton's works, whofe reputation he had formerly taken fo much elegant pains to depreciate. The fource of his difaffection to Milton's principles can
be no fecret to thofe who have been converfant in the controverfies of the times. Dr. Johnson's early and well-known attachments will fufficiently account for it; and pofterity will be at no lofs to determine whether our biographer's veneration was paid to the White Rofe or the Red*.
But Dr. Johnson's particular malevolence to Milton may not be so well known, or poffibly forgot; we shall therefore give a fhort account of its progrefs, from its firft appearance to its confummation in this Life of Milton.
In the year 1747, one William Lauder fent to the Gentleman's Magazine fome hints of Milton's plagiarifm, in pillaging certain modern writers for the materials of his poem, intituled, Paradife Loft.
* Sce Preface to Milton, p. 2.
Who William Lauder was, what was his character, and of what stamp his moral and political principles, may be learned from a pamphlet, intituled, FURIUS, printed for Carpenter, in Fleet-ftreet, without a date; but, as evidently appears by the Remarks at the end of it, published foon after Lauder's appearance in the Gentleman's Magazine, with his famous discoveries.
Congenial politics create connections between men in whose abilities there is
great disparity. Buchanan's principles, in his dialogue, De jure Regni apud Scotos, were equally detefted by the noted Thomas Ruddiman and William Lauder. But Lauder's malignity could never prevail with the ingenuous Ruddiman to B 3 detract
detract from Buchanan's poetical merit,, in compliance with Lauder's furious-zeal in favour of Johnfton's Latin tranflation of David's Pfalms, to which Lauder gave: the preference.
In his alliance with Dr. Johnfon, cemented by their mutual antipathy to Milton's principles of civil and religious government, he found a paternal indulgence of his fplenetic animofity.
Milton was a Whig, and therefore muft be a Plagiary; accordingly when. the time came that Lauder's ftrictures in the Gentleman's Magazine had fwelled into the fize of a pamphlet of 160 pages, it was ushered into public by a preface, and finished by a postscript, from the illuftrious hand of Dr. Samuel Johnson.
On occafion of these head and tail
pieces the ingenious Dr. Douglas, the detector of Lauder's forgeries, writes thus:
"Tis to be hoped, nay, 'tis expected,
"that the elegant and nervous writer, whofe judicious fentiments and inimi"table ftile point out the author of Lau
der's Preface and Poftfcript, will no ἐσ longer allow one to plume himself with his feathers, who appears fo little to have deferved his affiftance; an affif
which, I am perfuaded, would never have been communicated, had "there been the leaft fufpicion of those "facts which I have been the inftrument "of conveying to the world."
*Milton vindicated from the charge of Plagiarism, &c. by John Douglas, M. A. for Mil lár, 1751, p. 77.