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tian Religion. Besides those already mentioned, Mr. Warburton has favoured me with a few other notes in manuscript; I wish there had been more of them for the sake of the reader, for the loose hints of such writers, like the slight sketches of great masters in painting, are worth more than the laboured pieces of others. And he very kindly lent me Mr. Pope's Milton of Bentley's edition, wherein Mr. Pope had all along with his own hand set some mark of approbation, rectè, benè, pulchrè, &c. in the margin over-against such emendations of the Doctor's, as seemed to him just and reasonable. It was a satisfaction to see what so great a genius thought particularly of that edition, and he appears throughout the whole to have been a very candid reader, and to have approved of more than really merits approbation. Mr. Richardson the father has said in his preface, that his son had a very copious collection of fine passages out of ancient and modern authors, by which Milton had profited; and this collection, which is written in the margin and between the lines of Mr. Hume's annotations, Mr. Richardson the son has put into my hands. Some little use I have made of it; and it might have been of greater service, and have saved me some trouble, if I had not then almost completed this work. Mr. Thyer, the Librarian at Manchester, I have not the pleasure of knowing personally, but by his writings I am convinced that be must be a man of great learning, and as great humanity. It was late before I was informed that he had written any remarks upon the Paradise Lost, but he was very ready to communicate them, and for the greater despatch sent me his interleaved Milton wherein
is sometimes sophistical, usually harsh and caustic; praise seems extorted from him; and his view of Milton's character is upon the whole prejudiced and unjust. His account will always be read, however, not only for its own merits, such as they are, but because scarcely any succeeding Life is without allusions to it. The edition of the Lives of the Poets, published in 1794, supplied me with one or two useful notes upon the Life of Milton.
An anonymous writer, usually understood to be Archdeacon Blackburne, wrote his Remarks professedly upon the Life by Johnson; and although they are full of asperity, and written ad hominem, yet they frequently disprove Johnson's attacks acutely and thoroughly. Mr. Hayley is exceedingly anxious also to advocate Milton's cause, but is not a little perplexed in his endeavours to eulogize at once both the poet and his biographer. Hayley's mind, indeed, was not sufficiently powerful to enable bim to decide on Milton's character either as a man or as a poet; yet there is some elegance amidst his feebleness, and his remarks are not unfrequently just and candid. Dr. Symmons certainly regarded neither Johnson nor Warton with any favour, and in his zeal for Milton's reputation attacks both these writers with merciless severity. His adıniration for Milton's character indeed scarcely knows any bounds; his unwillingness to censure, equals Johnson's reluctance to praise, him; and though the latter is undoubtedly the more ungracious fault of the two, still both detract from the impartiality of just biography. In his criticisms upon Milton's works, Dr. Symmons appears to write with more candour and discrimination; occasionally
also he can notice calmly the weak points in his author's character and sentiments; and his work upon the whole, not to speak of some very prominent faults in its style as well as its general execution, will not be consulted without advantage by those who have been chiefly conversant with unfavourable portraits of Milton. Mr. Todd's Account of Milton's Life and Writings is a very unassuming performance, but evidently drawn up with his usual industry and fidelity. His industry however, as there was in fact nothing new to be discovered respecting Milton himself, has tempted him to indulge too frequently in the insertions of curious but irrelevant matter. Mr. Godwin professes to have written his Lives of E. and J. Philips, the nephews of Milton, with a constant view to the illustration of Milton's character, and now and then he throws a little, and but a little, new light upon it. It may be as well to mention, that his Appendix contains a reprint of Philips's Life of Milton, as the original publication is not very easily procured.
With the exception of the articles already noticed in biographical Dictionaries, I have met with no others which need be particularly described. Those in the French works of this kind appear to be for the most part derived from Toland through Bayle. There are several independent and sensible accounts in the English biographical works ; but it was not to be expected that they should add any thing to the stock of information of which the public was already possessed. The most ample of these is the Life in Rees's Encyclopædia, but it is evidently an echo of the life by
Most of the preceding Lives have supplied me with some little particular or other which the tastes of different readers inight desire to be subjoined to Bp. Newton's Life; and their relative value will sufficiently appear from the preceding list of Milton's biographers. And if some of these notes should seem to be at vari. ance with this account of their authors, it will be understood that they were often selected for this very
A sentence of praise, for instance, from Johnson, or of censure from Dr. Symmons, carries with it peculiar weight on account of the bias of these writers in the opposite direction.
A comparison of several Lives of Milton is necessary perhaps after all for those who would form a just estimate of his character and principles. A masterly delineation of them, as well as a complete and impartial review of his works, especially his prose writings, may be regarded as even now a desideratum in English literature. Few subjects would in fact require so considerable a range of knowledge, united with so much sound judgment and candour: and if such a review of his works and character appeared, it may yet be doubted whether it would presently secure a wide and general approbation. As for the dates and facts, even to the minuter incidents, of Milton's personal history, they have long since been determined with all the accuracy which the nature of the subject admits or requires.
E. H, Oriel College, Nov. 9, 1824.