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tleman's Magazine, with occasional interpolations of lines, which he himself translated from Milton. The public credulity swallowed all with eagerness; and Milton was supposed to be guilty of plagiarism from inferior modern writers. The fraud succeeded so well, that Lauder collected the whole into a volume, and advertised it under the title of “An Essay on Milton's Use and Imitation “of the Moderns, in his Paradise Lost; de“dicated to the Universities of Oxford and “Cambridge.” While the book was in the press, the proof-sheets were shewn to Johnson at the Ivy-lane Club, by Payne, the bookseller, who was one of the members. No man in that Society was in possession of the authors from whom Lauder professed to make his extracts. The charge was believed, and the contriver of it found his way to Johnson, who is represented by Sir John Hawkins, not indeed as an accomplice in the fraud, but, through motives of malignity to Milton, delighting in the detection, and exulting that the poet's reputation would suffer by the discovery. More malice to a deceased friend cannot well be imagined. Hawkins adds, that he wished well to the argument must be inferred from the preface, which indubi. tably was written by him.” The preface, it is well known, was written by Johnson, and for that reason is inserted in this edition. But if Johnson approved of the argument, it was no longer than while he believed it founded in truth. Let us advert to his own words in that very preface. “Among the enquiries “to which the ardour of criticism has na“ turally given occasion, none is more obscure “in itself, or more worthy of rational cu“riosity, than a retrospection of the progress “ of this mighty genius in the construction “ of his work; a view of the fabrick gradually “rising, perhaps from small beginnings, till “ its foundation rests in the centre, and its “ turrets sparkle in the skies; to trace back “ the structure, through all its varieties, to “ the simplicity of the first plan ; to find what “ was projected, whence the scheme was “ taken, how it was improved, by what as“ sistance it was executed, and from what “stores the materials were collected; whether “ its founder dug them from the quarries of “nature, or demolished other buildings to “ embellish his own.” These were the motives that induced Johnson to assist Lauder with

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with a preface: and are not these the motives of a critic and a scholar? What reader of taste, what man of real knowledge, would not think his time well employed in an enQuiry so curious, so interesting, and instructive? If Lauder's facts were really true, who would not be glad, without the smallest tincture of malevolence, to receive real information? It is painful to be thus obliged to vindicate a man who, in his heart, towered above the petty arts of fraud and imposition, against an injudicious biographer, who undertook to be his editor, and the protector of his memory. Another writer, Dr. Towers, in an Essay on the Life and Character of Dr. Johnson, seems to countenance this calumny. . He says, It can hardly be doubted, but that Johnson's aversion to Milton's politics was the cause of that alacrity with which he joined with Lauder in his infamous attack on our great epic poet, and which induced him to assist in that transaction. These words would seem to describe an accomplice, were they not immediately followed by an express declaration, that Johnson was unacquainted with the imposture. Dr. Towers adds, It seems

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to have been by way of making some compensation to the memory of Milton, for the share he had in the attack of Lauder, that Johnson wrote the Prologue, spoken by Garrick, at Drury-lane theatre, 1750, on the performance of the Masque of Comus, for the benefit of Milton's grand-daughter. Dr. Towers is not free from prejudice; but, as Shakspeare has it, “ he begets a temperance, to give it smoothness.” He is, therefore, entitled to a dispassionate answer. When Johnson wrote the prologue, it does appear that he was aware of the malignant artifices practised by Lauder. In the postscript to Johnson's preface, a subscription is proposed, for relieving the grand-daughter of the author of Paradise Lost. Dr. Towers will agree that this shews Johnson's alacrity in doing good. That alacrity shewed itself again in the letter printed in the European Magazine, January, 1785, and there said to have appeared originally in the General Advertiser, 4th April, 1750, by which the public were invited to embrace the opportunity of paying a just regard to the illustrious dead, united with the pleasure of doing good to the living. The letter


adds, “To assist industrious indigence, strug

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gling with distress, and debilitated by age, is a display of virtue, and an acquisition of happiness and honour. Whoever, therefore, would be thought capable of pleasure in reading the works of our incomparable Milton, and not so destitute of gratitude as to refuse to lay out a trifle, in a rational and elegant entertainment, for the benefit of his living remains, for the exercise of their own virtue, the increase of their reputation, and the consciousness of doing good, should appear at Drurylane Theatre, to-morrow, April 5, when CoMUs will be performed for the benefit of Mrs. Elizabeth Foster, grand-daughter to the author, and the only surviving branch of his family. Nota bene, there will be a new prologue on the occasion, written by the author of Irene, and spoken by Mr. Garrick.” The man, who had thus ex

erted himself to serve the grand-daughter, cannot be supposed to have entertained per

sonal malice to the grand-father. It is true, that the malevolence of Lauder, as well as the impostures of Archibald Bower, were fully detected by the labours, in the cause

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