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This favourable presumption was illfounded and premature. It appeared afterwards, by the confession of Lauder himself, that “in Johnson's friendship ” he placed the most implicit and unli* mited confidence **
Dr. Johnson had said for his friend, at the end of the Esay, that.“ Lauder's mo“tives were, a strict regard to truth “ alone, &c. and none of them taken “ from any difference of country, or of « sentiments in political or religious 60 matters t." This Lauder, in his
pamphlet of 1754, expressly contradicted, and avowed motives of
and premeditated deception 1. Here the cat leaped * King Charles I. vindicated, p. 3, 4. + Efray, p. 163.
King Charles I. vindicated from the charge of Plagiarism, brought against him by Milton, Printed for Owen, 1754, p. 11.
out of the bag. It was now notorious that the fable had been inverted. The Lion roared in the Ass's Skin; and if the Lion had not the whole asinine plan communicated to him à priori, Lauder's confidence in his friend Johnson was neither implicit nor unlimited.
Dr.Johnson, indeed, it is to be fufpeeted, took upon him the patronage of Lauder's project from the beginning; and bore his part in the controversy retailed in the Gentleman's Magazine for the year, 1747. There is at least a High DEGREE OF PREPOLLENT PROBABILITY, that the Letter in that Magazine for the inonth of August, page 363, 364, signed wilLIAM LAUDER, came from the amicable hand of Mr. Samuel Johnson.
: In the year 1751. was published Eauder's penitential letter * to Dr. Douglas, containing a full and free confeffion of his roguery: the merit of which was totally overthrown by a contradictory postfcript; which is thus accounted for by Lauder himself, after informing his readers, that his confidential friend advised än unreserved disclosure of his importure.
“ With this expedient," says Lauder, * I then chearfully complied; when that * gentleman wrote for me that letter that
was published in my name to Nr. Douge o las, in which he committed one error ** that proved fatát to me, and at the « fame time injurious to the public. For * Quarto; printed for Owen, 1751.
« in the place of acknowledging that « such particular passages only were in“ terpolated, he gave up the whole essay " againkt Milton as delusion and mifre" presentation, and therefore imposed “ more grievously on the public than I.
had done ; and that too in terms much
mare submissive and abject than the 5 nature of the offence required *."
The amanuenfis here gained two confiderable points. 1. It was at his opetion to mention or not the affiftance that Lauder had in composing his essay; and consequently to conceal in what degree: the fraud was communicated to him from the beginning. 2. He effectually answered Mr.Douglas's expectation, who * Vindication of King Charles I. p. 4.
would naturally conclude that Lauder had no accomplices in his villany, except the jesuits.
But they who read Lauder's complaints of this confidential friend in the pamphlet just quoted, must superabound both in faith and charity, if they can believe that the composer of the letter to Mr. Douglas was unconscious of Lauder's forgery, previously to Dr. Douglas's detection of it.
A postscript to a second edition of Dr. Douglas's Vindication, dated May 17, 1756, finished the controversy. Lauder was disgraced with the public, and discarded by his amanuensis, who turned a deaf ear to all his reproaches, and abandoned him to his fate, with a cool philo