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choice of words and modes of expref
Milton's answer to Salmafius was much read, and it is no difparagement to his arguments that they appeared bad to a man of Hobbes's principles, or paradoxical in Dr. Johnson's ideas *.
But, however, the Doctor thought himself obliged to account for this depravity of tafte in the numerous readers. of Milton's defenfe, which he does in this way.
"Paradex," fays our Biographer, “re"commended by fpirit and elegance, "cafily gains attention; and he who told every man that he was equal to his King, could hardly want an au
* Life, p. 56.
The paradox then is that every man is equal to his King. But where has Milton told this? or is it to Dr. Johnson's mifapprehenfion of Milton's ftate of the cafe, or to his propenfity to calumniate, that we owe this falfe and rancorous infinuation ?
That every man is not equal, but fuperior, to his Tyrant, is a propofition which has been demonftrated over and over, before Milton was born; and if Milton efpoufed it, and made it better
understood by a notorious example, he ferved his generation in a most material article of their focial happiness. The next generation had the fpirit and good fenfe to profit by his doctrine; and by virtue of it drove their Tyrant into an ignominious exile.
Milton's attachment to Cromwell has been imputed to him as a blot in his character long before it was taken up by Dr. Johnson; who, to give him his due, has made the most of it in a fmall compafs. "Milton," fays he, "having tafted the honey of public employment, would "not return to hunger and philofophy; but, continuing to exercife his office "under a manifeft ufurpation, betrayed "to his power that liberty which he had "defended."
It is hardly neceffary to apprize a reader of Milton's profe-works that his ideas of ufurpation and public liberty were very different from thofe of Dr. Johnson. In the Doctor's fyftem of government public liberty is the free grace of an berediG. 3 tary
tary monarch, and limited in kind and degree, by his gracious will and pleafure; and confequently to controul his arbitrary acts by the interpofition of good and wholesome laws is a manifeft ufurpa-tion upon his prerogative. Milton allotted to the people a confiderable and, important share in political government, founded upon original ftipulations for the rights and privileges of free fubjects, and called the monarch who fhould infringe or encroach upon thefe, however qualified by lincal fucceffion, a tyrant and an ufurper, and freely configned him to the vengeance of an injured peo. ple. Upon Johnson's plan, there can be no fuch thing as public liberty. Upon Milton's, where the laws are duly executed,
ented, and the people protected in the peaceable and legal enjoyment of their lives, properties, and municipal rights and privileges, there can be no such thing as ufurpation, in whofe hands foever the executive power fhould be lodged. From this doctrine Milton neverfwerved; and in that noble apoftrophe to Cromwell, in his Second Defenfe of the people of England, he spares not to remind him, what a wretch and a villain he would be, fhould he invade those liberties which his valour and magnanimity had reftored. If, after this, Milton's employers deviated from his idea of their duty, be it remembered, that he was neither in their fecrets, nor an inftrument in their arbitrary acts or encroach, G 4