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send his paper to the press when his own taste was satisfied. Johnson's case was yery different. He wrote singly and alone. In the whole progress of the work he did not receive more than ten essays. This was a scanty contribution. For the rest, the author has described his situation. “ He that condemns himself to com“ pose on a stated day, will often bring to his “ task an attention dissipated, a memory em“ barrassed, an imagination overwhelmed, a “ mind distracted with anxieties, a body languishing with disease : he will labour on a "s barren topic, till it is too late to change it; or, in the ardour of invention, diffuse his “ thoughts into wild exuberance, which the “ pressing hour of publication cannot suffer “judgment to examine or reduce.” Of this excellent production the number sold on each dảy did not amount to five hundred : of course the bookseller, who paid the author four guineas a week, did not carry on a successful trade. His generosity and perseverance deserve to be commended; and happily when the collection appeared in volumes, were amply rewarded. Johnson lived to see his labours flourish in a tenth edition. His posterity, as an ingenious French writer has said on a similar occasion, began in his life-time. · In the beginning of 1750, soon after the Rambler was set on foot, Johnson was induced by the arts of a vile impostor to lend his assistance, during a temporary delusion, to a fraud not to be paralleled in the annals of litera. ture *. One LAUDER, a native of Scotland, who had been a teacher in the University of EDINBURGH, bad conceived a mortal antipa, thy to the name and character of Milton. His reason was, because the prayer of Pamela, in Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, was, as he supposed, maliciously inserted by the great poet in an edition of the Eikon Basilike, in order to fix an imputation of impiety on the memory of the murdered king. Fired with resentment, and willing to reap the profits of a gross imposition, this man collected from several Latin poets, such as Masenius the Jesuit, Staphorstius a Dutch divine, Beza, and others, all such passages as bore any kind of resemblance to different places in the Paradise Lost; and these he published from time to time, in the Gentleman's Magazine, with occasional interpola-, tions 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 Lau. der 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; dedicated 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 benefit of Milton's grand-daughter. Dr. Towers is not free from prejudice; but, as Shakspeare has it, “ be begets a temperance, to give it smoothness." He is, therefore, entitled to a dispassionate answer. When Johnson wrote the prologue, it does not 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 granddaughter 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, struggling with distress, and debilitated by age, is a display of virtue, and "an acquisition of happiness and honour. “ Whoever, therefore, would be thought capa“ ble of pleasure in reading tlie works of our in“ comparable 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 re

. It has since been paralleled, in the case of the Shaks peare MSS: by a yet more vile impostor.

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. Hawkius adds, " that he wished well to the argument must be inferred from the preface, which indubitably 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 ar“ dour of criticism has naturally given occa. “ sion, none is more obscure in itself, or more “ worthy of rational curiosity, than a retrospec“ tion of the progress of this mighty genius in “ 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 assistance it was executed, and from " what stores the materials were collected ;

whether its founder dug them from the quar-
"ries of nature, or demolished other buildings
“ to embellish his own." These were the mo-
tives that induced Johnson to assist Lauder 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 curi-
ous, 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 protec-
tor 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 ussist in that
transaction. These words would seem to de-
scribe an accomplice, were they not immedi-
ately followed by an express declaration, that
Johnson was unacquainted with the imposture.
Dr. Towers adds, It seems 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

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putation, and the consciousness of doing good, “ should appear at Drury-lane theatre, to-mor“ row, April 5, when Comus will be perform« ed for the benefit of Mrs. Elizabeth Foster,

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