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Brutality is a word of an ill sound, and required fome instances to justify the imputation of it. When these are given, we will readily join issue in the trial, whether Milton or his adversaries were the more brutal or more insolent. They who would reduce mankind to a brutal
a slavery, under the despotism of a lawless tyrant, forfeit all claim to the rationality of human beings; and no tongue can be called evil for giving them their proper appellation.
Neither Dr. Johnson nor we can pretend, at this distance of time, to assign the precise causes of Milton's complaint. Evil
tongues are common in all times; our histories inform us, that the times of Charles II. were not good. Milton per
haps is not unhappy in being out of the reach of the present times; but whether he is, even in the present times, out of the reach of evil tongues, let the readers of the new narrative candidly judge.
Impudence is an attribute with which our Biographer hath qualified Milton more than once; and it seems to have shocked the modesty of Dr. Johnson that a blemish of that kind should deform the
character of his hero.
Parcius ifta, good Doctor ! Novimus et qui te- But Churchill and Kenrick are no more, and the Doctor may easily annihilate their authority by writing new narratives of what they were.
There is however, it seems, one of Milton's prose-tracts, in which the Doc
tor finds no impudence ; it is his treatise of True Religion, heresy, schism, toleration, and the best means to prevent the growth of popery.
“ This little tract,” says he, “is mo“ destly written, with respectful mention “ of the Church of England and the " thirty-nine articles."
True, fo far as the Church of England declares against Popery. But, unhappily for this respect, Milton brings these declarations in reproof of the church's practice; and most ably confutes the pretence of the Church of England, “ that she only enjoins' things in6 different." And even this he calls
« If it be asked,” says Milton, “how 16 « far it should be tolerated? I answer, “ doubtless equally, as being all Protes“ tants; that is, on all occasions to give
account of their faith, either by ar“ guing, preaching in their several af“ semblies, public writing, and the free“ dom of printing.”
If such toleration should have its free course, unrestrained by canons, subscriptions, and uniformity-acts, unallured by temporal emoluments, and unterrified by temporal censures, there must of course be an end of the civil Eftablishiment of the Church of England; which is here as effectually condemned, as it is in those former tracts of the author's in which he is so severe on prelatical usur
pations. The only difference is, that there, in the Doctor's account, he is impudent, and here he is modest.
“ Fortune,” says the Doctor, ap
pears not to have had much of Milton's “ care *.” How is this character supported by the instances that follow, consistently with the account above given, that Milton, “ having tasted the honey of
public employment, would not return “ to hunger and philosophy .?"
“ There is yet no reason to believe " that he was ever reduced to indigence t;” and we will add, “nor to
, “ the prospect of it;" for what the Doctor says, that he was “ given up to
* Milton's Life, p. 137. + Ibid. p. 136.