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had no particular pleasure in subverting the reputation of Milton, which I had myself once endeavoured to exalt* ; and of which, the foundation had always remained untouched by me, bad not my credit and my interest been blasted, or thought to be blasted, by the shade which it cast from its boundless elevation.
About ten years ago, I published an edition of Dr. Johnston's translation of the “ Psalms," and having procured from the general assembly of the church of Scotland, a recommendation of its use to the lower classes of grammar-schools, into which I had begun to introduce it, though not without much controversy and opposition; I thought it likely that I should, by annual publications, improve my little fortune, and be enabled to support myself in freedom from the mi
* Virorum maximus---JOANNES MILTONUS---Poeta celeberrimus---non Angliæ modo, soli natalis, verum generis humani ornamentum---cujus eximius liber, Anglicanis versibus conscriptus, vulgo PARADISUS AMISSUS, immortalis illud ingenii monumentum, cum ipsa ferè æternitate perennaturam est opus !---Hujus memoriam Anglorum primus, post tantum, pro' dolor! ab tanti excessu poetæ intervallum, statua eleganti in loco celeberrimo, cenobio Westmonasteriensi, posita, regum, principum, antistitum, illustriumque Angliæ virorum cæmeterio, vir ornatissimus, Gulielmus Benson prosecutus est. Poetarum Scotorum Musz Sucræ in præfatione, Edinb. 1739.
A character, as high and honourable as ever was bestowed upon him by the most sanguine of his admirers ! and as this was my cool and sincere opinion of that wonderful man formerly, so I declare it to be the same still, and ever will be, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, occa. sioned merely by passion and resentment; which appear, however, by the Postscript to the Essay, to be so far from ex. tending to the posterity of Milton, that I recommend bis 'v remaining descendant, in the warmest terms, to the
series of indigence. But Mr. Pope, in his malevolence to Mr. Benson, who had distinguished himself by his fondness for the same version, destroyed all my hopes by a distich, in which he places Johnston in a contemptuous comparison with the author of “ Paradise Lost."*
From this time, all my praises of Johnston became ridiculous, and I was censured with great freedom, for forcing upon the schools, an author whom Mr. Pope had mentioned only as a foil to a better poet. On this occasion, it was natural not to be pleased, and
my resentment seeking to discharge itself somewhere, was unhappily directed against Milton. I resolved to 340 LETTER TO THE REV. MR. DOUGLAS. attack his fame, and found some passages in cursory reading, which gave me hopes of stigmatising him as a plagiary. The farther I carried my search, the more eager I grew for the discovery, and the more my hypothesis was opposed, the more I was heated with rage. The consequence of my blind passion, I need not relate; it has, by your detection, become apparent to mankind. Nor do I mention this provocation as adequate to the fury which I have shown, but as a cause of anger, less shameful and reproachful than fractious malice, personal envy, or national jealousy.
* On two unequal crutches prop’d, le tcame,
Dunciad, Book IV. + Benson.] This man endeavoured to raise himself to fame, by erecting monuments, striking coins, and procuring translations of Milton ; and afterwards by a great passion for Arthur Johnston, a Scots Physician's version of the Psalms, of which he printed many fine editions. Notes on the Dunciad.
No fewer than six different editions of that useful and valuable book, two in quarto, two in octavo, and two in a lesser form, now lie like lumber in the hand of Mr. Vaillant, bookseller, the effects of Mr. Pope's ill-natured criticism.
One of these editions in quarto, illustrated with an interpretation and notes, after the manner of the classic authors in usum Delphini, was by the worthy editor, anno 1741, inscribed to his Royal Highness Prince George, as a proper book for his instruction in principles of piety, as well as knowledge of the Latin tongue, when he should arrive at due maturity of age. To restore this book to credit, was the cause that induced me to engage in this disagreeable controversy, rather than any design to depreciate the just reputation of Milton.
But for the violation of truth, I offer no excūse, because I well know that nothing can excuse it. Nor will I aggravate my crime, by disingenuous palliations. I confess it, I repent it, and resolve, that my first offence shall be my last. More I cannot perform, and more therefore cannot be required. I intreat the pardon of all men, whom I have by any means induced to support, to countenance, or patronize my frauds, of which I think myself obliged to declare, that not one of my friends was conscious. I hope to deserve, by better conduct and more useful undertakings, that patronage which I have obtained from the most illustrious and venerable names by misrepresentation and delusion, and to appear hereafter in suc a character, as shall give you no reason to regret that your name is frequently mentioned with that of, Reverend Sir, your most humble servant,
WILLIAM LAUDER. December 20, 1750.
TESTIMONIES CONCERNING MR.
Edinb, May 22, 1734. These are certifying, that Mr. William Lauder past his course at this university, to the general satisfaction of these masters, under whom he studied. That he has applied himself particularly to the study of humanity* ever since. That for several years past, he has taught with success, students in the Humanity Class, who were recommended to him by the professor thereof. And lastly, has taught that class itself, during the indisposition, and since the death, of its late professor : and therefore is, in our opinion, a fit person to teach Humanity in any school or college whatever.
J. Gowdie, S. S. T. P.
A Letter from the Rev. Ms. Patrick Cuming, one of the
Ministers of Edinburgh, and Regius Professor of Church History in the University there, to the Rev. Mr. Blair,
Rector of the Grammar-School at Dundee. D. B.-Upon a public advertisement in the
* So the Latin tongue is called in Scotland, from the Latin phrase, classis humaniorum literarum, the class or form where that language is taught.
newspapers, of the vacancy of a master's place
your school, Mr. William Lauder, a friend of mine, proposes to set up for a candidate, and goes over for that purpose. He has long taught the Latin with great approbation in this place, and given such proofs of his mastery in that language, that the best judges do upon all occasions recommend him as one who is qualified in the best manner.
He has taught young boys and young gentlemen, with great success; nor did I ever hear of any complaint of him from either parents or children. I beg leave to recommend him to you as my friend; what friendship you show him, I will look upon as a very great act of friendship to me, of which he and I will retain the most grateful sense, if he is so happy as to be preferred. I persuade myself, you will find him ready at all times to be advised by you, as I have found him. Indeed, if justice had been done him, he should long ago have been advanced for his merit. D. B. your most affectionate, humble servant,
I ever am,
Edinb. Nov. 13, 1742.
A Letter from Mr. Mac-Laurin, late Professor of Mathema
ticks in the University of Edinburgh, to the Reverend Mr. George Blair, Rector of the Grammar-School at Dundee.
SIR,-Though unacquainted, I take the liberty of giving you this trouble, from the desire I have always had to see Mr. Lauder provided in a manner suited to his talent. I know him to have made uncommon progress in classical