Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

pense, it will not be unwelcome, that a Stjbschiptjox is proposed, for relieving, in the languor of age, the pains of disease, and the contempt of poverty, the granddaughter of the author of Paradise Lost. Nor can it be questioned, that if I, who have been marked out as the Zoilus of Milton, think this regard due to his posterity, the design will be warmly seconded by those, whose lives have been employed in discovering his excellencies and extending his reputation.

Subscriptions for the relief of

Mrs. Elizabeth Foster,
Grand-daughter to John Milton;

are taken in by Mr. Dodsley, in Pall-Mail;

Messrs. Cox and Collings, under the Royal Exchange;

Mr. Cave, at St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell; and Messrs. Payne and Bouquet, in Pater-noster-Rovr.

A

LETTER

TO THE

REVEREND Mil. DOUGLAS,

OCCASIONED BY HIS

'VINDICATION OF MILTON.

TO WHICH ARE SUBJOINED

SEVERAL CURIOUS OaiGIJVJL LETTERS*

FROM THE AUTHORS OF THE UNIvERSAL HISTORY, MR. AINSWORTH, MR. MACLAURIN, &e.

BY WILLIAM LAUDER, A. M.

Quernpenitetpetcasse pane est innocent. Seneca,

Corpora magnanimo satis est pros trass e Leon i.
fugna suumfinem, quumjacet hostis, habet. Ovid.

Pratuli Clementiam

Juris Rigon. ———— Grotii Adamus. Exul.

First printed in the year 1751.
A 4

OF this pamphlet, Mr. Lauder gives the following account: "An ingenious gentleman (for whose amazing abilities I had conceived the highest veneration, and in whose candoirr and friendship I reposed the most implicit and unlimited confidence,) advised me to make an unreserved disclosure of all the lines I had interpolated against Milton, with this view, chiefly, that no future critic;: might ever have an opportunity of valuing themselves upon small discoveries of a few lines, which would serve to revive my error, and keep the controversy eternally alive."With this expedient I then cheerfully complied, when that gentleman wrote for me the letter that was published in my name to Mr. Douglas, in which he committed one error that proved fatal to me, and at the same time injurious to the public. For, in place of acknowledging that such and such particular passages only were interpolated, he gave up the whole Essay against Milton as delusion and misrepresentation, and thereby imposed more grievously on the public than I had done, and that too in terms much more submissive and ibject than the nature of the offence required. "Though this letter, in many respects, contained not my sentiments, as plainly appears from the contradictory Postscript subjoined to it: yet such was my infatuation at that time, and implicit confidence in my friend, that I suffered it to be printed in my name, though I was previously informed by one of the greatest men of the age of its hurtful tendency, which I have since fully experienced to my cost. "That the gentleman meant to serve me, and was really of opinion that the method he proposed might probably prove effectual for rescuing me from the odium of the public, and, in some measure restoring my character to the honour it had lost, I was then disposed to believe. His repeated acts of friendship to me on former occasions, in conjunction with a reputation universally established for candour and integrity, left me little room to doubt it: though it is certainly a most preposterous method for a criminal, in order to obtain pardon for one act of felony, to confess himself guilty of a thousand. However, I cannot but condemn myself for placing so implicit a confidence in the judgment of any man, how great or good soever, as to suffer his mistakes to be given to the public as my opinion." King Charles vindicated from the charge of plagiarism brought agaisst him, by Milton, and Milton himself convicted of forgery, and a gross Jtiifoiiition on the public, 8vo. T754. p. 3. " E.

TO THE

REVEREND MR. DOUGLAS.

Sir,

/ ANDOUR and tenderness are in any relation, and on all occasions, eminently amiable; but when they are found in an adversary, and found so prevalent as to overpower that zeal which his cause excites, and that heat which naturally increases in the prosecution of argument, and which may be in a great measure, justified by the love of truth, they certainly appear with particular advantages; and it is impossible not to envy those who possess the friendship of him, whom it is even some degree of good fortune to have known as an enemy. I will not so far dissemble my weakness, or my fault, as not to confess that my wish was to have passed undetected; but since it has been my fortune to fail in my original design, to have the supposititious passages which I have inserted in my quotations made known to the world, and the shade which began to gather on the splendour of Milton totally dispersed, I cannot but count it an alleviation of my pain, that I have been defeated by a man who knows how to use advantages with so much moderation, and can enjoy the honour of conquest without the insolence of triumph. It was one of the maxims of the Spartans, not to press upon a flying army, and therefore their enemies. were

always ready to quit the field, because they knew the danger was only in opposing. The civility with which you have thought proper to treat me, when you had incontestible superiority, has inclined me to make your victory complete, without any further struggle ; and not only publicly to acknowledge the truth of the charge which you have hitherto advanced, but to confess, without the least dissimulation, subterfuge, or concealment, every other interpolation I have made in those authors, which you have not yet had opportunity to examine. On the sincerity and punctuality of this confession, I am willing to depend for all the future regard of mankind; and cannot but indulge some hopes, that they whom my offence has alienated from me, may by this instance of ingenuity and repentance, be propitiated and reconciled. Whatever be the event, I shall at least have done all that can be done in reparation of my former injuries to Milton, to truth, and to mankind; and entreat that those who shall continue implacable, will examine their own hearts, whether they have not committed equal crimes without equal proofs of sorrow, or equal acts of atonement.*

* The interpolations are distinguished by Italia characters*

« AnteriorContinuar »