Imagens das páginas

remind him, what a wretch and a villain he would be, should be invade thole liberties which his valour and magnanimity had restored. If, after this, Milion's employers devia.ed from his idea of their dury, be it remembered, that he was neither in their secrets, nor an inftrument in their arbitrary acts or encreachments on the legal rights of the subject; many (perhaps the most) of which were to be jullified by the receflity of the times, and the malignunt a:tempts of ibose who laboured to restore that wicked race of desporic rulers, the individuals of which had uniformly profesed an utter enmity to the claims of a free people, and had acted accordingly, in perfect conformity to Dr Johnson's political creed. On another hand, be it observed, that in those State-letters, latinized by Milion, which remain, and in those particularly written in the name of the Protector Oliver, the ftri&eft attention is paid to the dignity and importance of the British nation, to the protection of trade, and the Proteflant religion, by fpirited expoftularions with foreign powers on any infraction of former treaties, in a style of steady determination, of which there have been few examples in subsequent times.

A certain fign in what efeem the British government was held at that period by all the other powers of Europe. And as this was the only province in which Milton acted under that government which Dr. Johnson calls an usurpation, let his services be compared with those performed by Dr. Johnson for his present patrons ; and let the con. Ititutional subject of the British empire judge which of them better deserves the appellation of a traitor to public liberty, or have more righteously earned the boney of a pension.

* The real usurper is the wicked ruler over a poor people, by whatever means the power falls into his hands. And whenever is happens that the imperium ad optimum quemque a minus boro transfertur, the subject is or should be too much interefted in the fact to consider any character of the rejected ruler but his vicious ambition, the violence and injustice of his counsels, and the fiagitious acts by which they were executed.

* These petulant reflections of the Doctor on Milton, might, many of them, eally be answered by recrimination, we have often woo-). dered, in running over this new narrative, that, the consciousness of the hilorian's heart did not disable his hand for recording several Things to the reproach of Milion, which rebound with double force on his own notorious conduct. Has he always believed that the go. vernment of the House of Hanover was less an usurpation than that of Oliver Cromwell'? Having tatted the honey of a pension for writing ministerial pamphlets, would he feel no regret in returning once more to hunger and philosophy?

The Doctor perhaps will tell us, that he is in no danger of liarva ing, even though his pension Mould be suspended to morrow. Be ic so; and by what kind of proof will be thew tha: Milion had no means of earning his bread but his political employment?

Milion bowever made the experiment, which happily Dr. Johnson bas not; and that too after the Restoration ; and reliled the temptarions of court favour, and the solicitations of his wife to accept of it, with a magnanimity which would do him honour with any man but the author of the new narrative, Rsv. Juge, 1780.


• Milton's

"Milton's reason for rejecting this offer was, that “ his with was " to live and die an honest man.” But, says the Doctor, “ If be, • considered the Latin Secretary as exercising any of the powers of “ government, he that had Mared authority, either with the parlia. “ ment or Cromwelt, might have forborn to talk very loudly of his " honesty," p. 91:

· The venom of this remark happens to be too weak to do any mischief. Cafuists of all fects and complexions have done judice to the honelty of men who adhered to their principles and persuasions, though they might judge wrong in the choice of them.

• He goes on, " And if he thought the office ministerial only, he “ certainly might have bonefly retained it under the King." . Not quite so certainly. But Milton's and Dr. Johnson's notions of bone/?y are so widely different, that we cannot admit the Doctor to estimare Milton's honelly by his own fcale. In the end, however, he quellions the fact.

“ But this cale has too little evidence to deferve a diiquisition : “ large offers and sturdy rejections are among the most common 10“ pics of falsehood." That is, in plain unaffected English, “Nə

man could ever reject a large offer, though on conditions ever lo “ repugnant to his profefied principles." But the Doctor is but an individual, and his experience from his own particular case will not be admitted as the standard of other men's integrity; and yet this is the only reason he gives for rejecting this anecdote, so honourable to Milton.

• Milion's attachment to Cromwell was evidenily founded on different considerations. The narrowness of the Presbyterians in their notions of Liberty, and particularly of religious liberty, had appeared upon many occasions. He more than hiots, in his Areopagitica, their inclination to govern by the episcopal and opprefive maxims of the Stuart race.

He saw and abhorred their attempts to thackle the faith of Proteflants and Chriftians in the bonds of fyftems, confeflions, tests, and subscriptions.'

The lamentable influence of party prejudices cannot more forcibly be illustrated than by coinparing, with our ingenious Author, the different treatment that Dryden and Milton have. experienced at the hands of the fame Biographer.

The Doctor, in speculating upon Dryden's perversion to Popery, and (as one of the Reviewers of his prefaces expresses it) " attempt. ing ingeniously to extendate it,” concludes that, Enquiries into the heart are not for man.

• No truly, not when Dryden's apoftacy is to be extenuated; but when poor Milton's fins are to be ingeniously aggravated, no Spanish loquifitor more sharp-lighted to discern the devil playing his pranks in the heart of the poor culprit, or more ready to conduct him to an auto de fe.

• In Dryden's case, the prefumption is, that " a comprehensive is “ likewise an elevated foul, and that whoever is wise, is likewise "s honest.” But if it is natural to hope this, why not hope it of Milton as well as of Dryden? Where is the competent impartial judge who will admit, that Milton's foul was less comprehensive or lefs elevated than the foul of Dryden


• But what occafion for all this grimace in accounting for Dry. den's tranfition from what he did or did not profess to the church of Rome? Dr. Johnson ought to have been satisfied with Dryden's own account in his tale of the Hind and the Panther; the rather, as he there seems to have verified by experience Dr. Johnson's maxim, that “ he that is of no church can have no religion." He frankly confeffes, thar having no steady principle of reli ion in his youth, or even in his maturer years, he finally set up his rest in the church of Rome: and indeed if the essentials of religion consist in the trappings of a church, he could not have made a better choice *.

Dryden was reprehensible even to infamy for his own vices, and the licentious encouragement he gave in his writings to those of others. But he wrote an anti-republican poem called sljalom and Achitophel; and Dr. Johnfon, a man of high pre:enfions to moral character, calls him a wise and an honest man. Milson was a man of the chalteft manners, both in his conversation and his writings. But he wrote Iconoclastes, and in the same Dr. Johnson's esteem was both a knave and a lool.

• The church of Rome fubftitutes orthodoxy for every virtue under heaven. And loyalıy among the high Royalists canonizes every ral. cal and profligate with a full and plenary absolution. These are, it is true, amongit the vileft and meanest partialities of the despotic faction; and Dr. Johnson, conscious of his merit in other departments, should blush, and be humbled, to be found in the list of such miserables.'

From the specimens exhibited it will be no difficult matter to form an idea of the nature and spirit of the performance under confideration. The Writer seems actuated by a generous concérn for the reputation of an injured individual, and by a truly patriotic regard for the general liberties of mankind; which he thinks, and perhaps not without reason, have been insidiously attacked by a masked battery directed at the moral character of Milton, one of Liberty's most zealous and respectable advocates.

These Remarks so far as they immediately relate to Dr. Johnson, are closed with a Dissertation on his motives for composing the speech delivered by the late unhappy Dr. Dodd, when he was about to hear the sentence of the law pronounced upon him, in consequence of an indictment for forgery. Though this, certainly, is a subject which will naturally excite much curious speculation, yet its introduction here does not appear fufficiently authorized by propriety, as it seems to bear not the remoteft relation to the point in debate.

* Bp. Burnet speaking of Dryden's conversion, says, “ If his grace and his wit improve both proportionably, we lball hardly find that he hath gained much by the change he has made, from having no religion to chuse one of the worit.Reply to Mr. Varillas, p. 139.

li 2



For J U NE, 1780.

POLITICA L. Art. 14. Proposals for paying great Part of the National Debt,

and reducing Taxes, immediately. By Robert Bird, Esq. 810.

I 9. Dodsley. 1780. M

'R Bird begins with setting forth the great burdens which are

borne by the subject in consequence of the vast accumulation of the national debt; and thews, that we are not to efimate the sum raised on the subject by the very small one which is paid into the Treasury. He first supposes, that the expence of collecting the reveral taxes amounts to a fourth part of the fam levied; which we make no doubt is the case, at least, in the customs, which Mr. B. brings as an example ; but we much doubt whether it amounts to lo much in some others, as the excise, the, &c. However, granting this, and that the several dealers, through whose hands the commodities pass to the consumer, retain each a profit of 12 per ceni. he sliews, that for every i; l. which is paid into the Treasury from the customs, no less a sum tran 281 1 s. u1 d. is raised on the subject. Mr. Bird, from Sir Matthew Decker, instances in the case of the thoe-maker, who not only lays ihe tax, imposed on the leather, on his shoes, but the interest of the money thac he has advanced to pay that cax, and also a proportionable part of the money which every tradesman he dealt with for the necessaries of life bad laid on his goods: these Sir Matthew enumera:es, to the number of twelve different taxes, which the thoe maker niuft lay on his shoes, that he may be able to sublist as well as he did formerly.

Had Mr. Bird but fortunately carried this consideration a little further, and remarked that, in confequence of this cordial agreement of all parties to tax their own commodities, the gen:Jeman raises his sents, the farmer his hay and corn, and even the day-labourer has raised his hire from 8 d. to 12 d. a day within these 20 years; he* would have found that we are, on the whole, notwithlanding the complex'operation of the taxes which he speaks of, every one of us pretiy much in the same situation that we were before, and that is only requires a greater quantity of specie to circulate amongst us. We ought, perhaps, to except the poor soldier, and a few other persons, who subfiit on salaries, which have been long since establilled, and who, by their peculiar situations or employments, can neither create perquisites to their places, nor cheat their employers, as the excisemen, custom-house officers, and some others who are in this fituation do. Perhaps among these few poor wretches who suffer on this account (for they are but comparatively few) we ought to include the poor Reviewer, who, notwithtanding he pays his quota to the fhoe-maker, &c. (unless indeed he goes without thoes) fells his Reviews at the same price he did thirty years ago.

But, seriously, the only thing to be apprehended in this affair is, that by every man thus increasing the price of his labour, or the profits on his goods, the prices of our exports may be so increased


that other nations will underfell us, and by that means deprive us of a market for our manofactures. But this we well know is not the safe yet. How foon it may be, God only knows ; but it will be thed, and then only, that we can polibly feel the burdens which Mr. Bird speaks of- until then, they are merely imaginary. Mr. Bird does indeed say that this evil has actuaHy overtaken us, and that we have already lost the greater part of our foreign trade. He mast give us leave to doubt this, for, in mot of our manufa&ures, men are more wanted than work at present-May it ever remain fo!

Mr. Bird's scheme for paying this enormous debt depends on a calculation which we much fear can never be verified ; or put in praca tice until men are made differently from what they now are, of, we fear, ever will be. He estimates the whole landed property of Great Britain at 1000 millions, and personal property as as much. All this may be very true, for aught ibat we know, and we hope jo is. But, bere comes the rub: every man is to give in a true estimate of his whole property, and yield up to government a twentieth part of it; wbich when every one bas honeftiy done, if there be any truch in arithmetic, and the above estimation of property, ic will amount to 100 millions. The nacional debo he estimates at 180 millions ; 140 millions of this he supposes belong to ourselves, and the semaining 40 millions to foreigners: shis 140 millions he proposes to pay off at 60 per cent. ; at which price he thinks the holders of stock will have a good bargain; and at this rare, 140 millions will be paid off with 84 millions; consequently, 16 millions will be left, at the disposal of the First Lord of the Treasury, to be applied to the services of the ensuing year, or to the payment of unfunded debts. We cannot help remarking, that it is very probable mot of the Stockholders will think differently from Mr. Bird, and look on themselves as hardly dealt with, in being obliged to part with their flock for 60 per cent, which many of them bought at 99, and some at more than par, and have to give up one-twentieih of what may remain afterwards: but we apprehend they may rest satisfied that this will not speedily be required of them. Art. 15. Strictures on a Pamphlet entitled Facts to Landhold.

ers, Stockholders, &o.” By a Volunteer. 8vo. Is. 6 d. Faulder. 1780.

This volunteer in the service of Adminiftration has confidered the celebrated pamphlet entitled Fat's, &c. (See Review for January lant) with great attention, and offers many remarks on that performance, which appear to merit the regard of the Public: we should always bear the orber fide. Art. 16. A Letter from a Gentleman in the English House of

Commons, in Vindicarton of bis Conduct, with regard to the Alfairs of Ireland. Addressed to a Member of the Irina Parliament. 8yo. I s. 6 d. Bew. 1780.

By • a Gentleman in the English House of Commons,' we are to underfand-Mr. Edmund Burkie—whose parliamentary conduct, with regard to the late national advantages lo successfully contended for by Ireland, is the subject of this very małerly apology. We have no doubt that this letter is the genuine production of Mr. Burke's Ii3


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