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When this Essay was almost finished, the splendid edition of Paradise Lost, so long promised by the reverend Dr. Newton, fell into my hands; of which I had, however, so little use, that, as it would be injustice to censure, it would be flattery to commend it: and I should have totally forborne the mention of a book that I have not read, had not one passage at the conclusion of the life of Milton, excited in me too much pity and indignation to be suppressed in silence.
“ Deborah, Milton's youngest daughter," says the editor, was married to Mr. Abraham Clarke, a weaver, in Spitalfields, and died in August, 1727, in the 76th year of her age. She had ten children. Elizabeth, the youngest, was married to Mr. Thomas Foster, a weaver, in Spitalfields, and had seven children, who are all dead; and she, herself, is aged about sixty, and weak and infirm. She seemeth to be a good, plain, sensible woman, and has confirmed several particulars related above, and informed me of some others, which she had often heard from her mother." These the doctor enumerates, and then adds, “ In all probability, Milton's whole family will be extinct with her, and he can live only in his writings. And such is the caprice of fortune, this granddaughter of a man, who will be an everlasting glory to the nation, has now for some years, with her husband, kept a little chandler's or grocer's shop, for their subsistence, lately at the lower Holloway, in the road between Highgate and London, and, at present, in Cocklane, not far from Shoreditch-church.”
That this relation is true cannot be questioned: but, surely, the honour of letters, the dignity of sacred poetry, the spirit of the English nation, and the glory of human nature, require--that it should be true no longer.-In an age, in which statues are erected to the honour of this great writer, in which his efligy has been diffused on medals, and his work propagated by translations, and illustrated by commentaries; in an age, which amidst all its
vices, and all its follies, has not become infamous for want of charity: it may be, surely, allowed to hope, that the living remains of Milton will be no longer suffered to languish in distress. It is yet in the power of a great people, to reward the poet whose name they boast, and from their alliance to whose genius, they claim some kind of superiority to every other nation of the earth ; that poet, whose works may possibly be read when every other monument of British greatness shall be obliterated; to reward him—not with pictures, or with medals, which, if he sees, he sees with contempt, but—with tokens of gratitude, which he, perhaps, may even now consider as not unworthy the regard of an immortal spirit. And, surely, to those, who refuse their names to no other scheme of expense, it will not be unwelcome, that a subscription 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 desigu 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. ELIZABETA FOSTER, granddaughter to John Milton, are taken in by Mr. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall; Messrs. Cox and Collings, under the Royal Exchange; Mr. Cave, at St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell; and Messrs. Payne and Bouquet, in Paternoster-Row.
TO THE REVEREND MR. DOUGLAS,
OCCASIONED BY HIS
VINDICATION OF MILTON.
To which are subjoined several curious original letters from the authors of
the Universal History, Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Mac-Laurin, &c.
BY WILLIAM LAUDER, A.M.
Quem pænitet peccasse pene est innocens.
GROTII Adamus Exul.
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1751.
PREFATORY OBSERVATIONS. Dr. Johnson no sooner discovered the iniquitous conduct and designs of Lauder, than he compelled him to confess and recant, in the following letter to the reverend Mr. Douglas, which he drew up for him : but scarcely had Lauder exhibited this sign of contrition, when he addressed an apology to the 'archbishop of Canterbury, soliciting his patronage for an edition of the very poets whose works he had so misapplied, and concluding his address in the following spirit : “ As for the interpolations for which I am so highly blamed, when passion is subsided, and the minds of men can patiently attend to truth, I promise amply to replace them with passages equivalent in value, that are genuine, that the public may be convinced that it was rather passion and resentment, than a penury of evidence, the twentieth part of which has not yet been produced, that obliged me to make use of them.” This did not satiate his malice: in 1752, he published the first volume of the proposed edition of the Latin poets, and in 1753, a second, accompanied with notes, both Latin and English, in a style of acrimonious scurrility, indicative almost of insanity, In 1754, he brought forward a pamphlet, entitled, King Charles vindicated from the charge of plagiarism, brought against him by Milton, and Milton , himself convicted of forgery and gross imposition on the public. 8vo. In this work he exhausts every epithet of abuse, and utterly disclaims every statement made in his apology. It was reviewed, probably by Johnson, in the Gent. Mag. 1754, p. 97.--Ed.
TO THE 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 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 in
terpolation 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".
PASSAGES INTERPOLATED IN MASENIUS. The word “ pandæmonium,” in the marginal notes of Book i. Essay, page 10.
Citation 6. Essay, page 38.
Angeli hoc efficiunt, cælestia jussa secuti.”
Citation 7. Essay, page 41.
hi The interpolations are distinguished by inverted commas.