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Op this Pamphlet, Mr. Lauder gives the following account: “ An ingenious gentleman (for whose amazing abilities I had conceived the highest veneration, and in whose candour 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 criticks 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 publick. 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 publick than I had done, and that too in terms much more submissive and abject 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 publick, 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 publick as my opinion.” King Charles vindicated from the charge of plagiarism, brought against him by Milton, and Milton himself convicted of forgery and a gross imposition on the publick. 8vo. 1754. p. S. É.
REVEREND MR. DOUGLAS.
CANDOUR 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 incontestable superiority, has inclined me to make your victory complete, without any further struggle, and not only publickly 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 confes. sion 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 Italick characters.
PASSAGES INTERPOLATED IN MASENIUS.
The word pandæmonium in the marginal notes of Book I. Essay, page 10.
CITATION VI. Essay, page 38. Adnuit ipsa dolo, malumque (heu! longa dolendi Materies! & triste nefas !) vesana momordit Tanti ignara mali. Mora nulla, solutus Avernus Exspuit infandas acies; fractumque remugit Divulsa compage solum. Nabathæa receptum Regna dedere sonum, Pharioque in littore Nereus Territus erubuit : simul adgemuere dolentes Hesperiæ valles, Libyæque calentis arenæ Exarsere procul. Stupefacta Lycaonis ursa Constitit, & pavido riguit glacialis in axe : Omnis cardinibus submotus in horruit orbis ; Angeli hoc efficiunt, cælestia jussa secuti.
Citation VII. Essay, page 41.
Sustulit Antitheus, divumque oppressit honorem. Respice Sarcotheam: nimis, heu ! decepta momordit Infaustas epulas, nosque omnes prodidit hosti.
CITATION VIII. Essay, page 42, the whole passagé.
sentem humer fora bella
CITATION IX. Essay, page 43. Vatibus antiquis numerantur lumine cassis, Tiresias, Phineus, Thamyrisque, & magnus Homerus.
The above passage stands thus in Masenius, in one line : Tiresias cæcus, Thamyrisque, & Daphnis, Homerus.
N. B. The verse now cited is in Masenius's Poems, but not in the Sarcotis.
In medio, turmas inter provectus ovantes