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upon diet; upon it there is not much to say. save that it should be plain, healthful, and moderate. Of the plan of education thus recommended, he says:—
"Only I believe that this is not -a bow for every man to shoot in, that counts himself a teacher; but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses; yet I am withal persuaded that it may prove much more illustrious; howbeit, not more difficult than I imagine, and that imagination presents me with nothing but very happy, and very possible, according to best wishes; if God have so decreed, and this age have spirit and capacity enough to apprehend."
One could scarcely have supposed that even Johnson, from a tract like this, could have found much occasion for carping and sneering; he found it, however, not only an occasion for this, but for playing off a great deal of the pride of superior wisdom. It may be supposed, that he never read the letter to Master Hartlib: the passage in which he criticises Milton's system of education has often been quoted; and Sir Egerton Brydges quotes it, and endorses it saying, "Had Johnson always written so, what a beautiful and complete work he would have made." A beautiful and complete work indeed! To misconceive and misinterpret utterly the opinions of the man, whose life he was writing! A beautiful and complete work! beautiful and complete cant. In fact, as St. John well says in his notes on Milton's prose works, Johnson here attempts to obtain the credit of being a practical man.
"Those authors," he says, "therefore, are to be read at schools, that supply most axioms of prudence, most principles of moral truth, and most materials for conversation; and these purposes are best served by poets, orators, and historians. Let me not be censured for this digression as pedantic or paradoxical; for, if I have Milton against me? (observe that,) "I have Socrates on my side. It was his labour to turn philosophy from the study of Nature to speculations upon life; but the innovators whom I oppose? (he represents Socrates as an innovator in his day,) "are turning off attention from life to Nature. They seem to think that we are placed here to watch the growth of plants, or the motions of the stars: Socrates was rather of opinion, that what vse had to learn was, how to do good, and avoid evil."
But the treatise of Milton is eminently practical. The course of study he recommends turns upon the developement of the life. Nothing that Johnson ever said was so practical as this treatise. Milton does recommend the study of poets, historians, and orators, because they are generally the treasures of moral truth. He does recommend the turning philosophy to the study of Nature,—and Nature viewed with immediate reference to life in its most practical movements. It was that unfortunate passage, in commending the study of politics as a branch of moral conduct which aroused the ire of Johnson. A more shameless piece of criticism we do not know. The man decorates himself in the plumage of Milton's " Wisdom," in his account of the things in which true learning should consist; and then, with an effrontery marvellous even for Johnson, says:—" See! this should be the order of study, not yours." Utter ignorance of the interior of the letter, or the most perverse and wilful misrepresentation alone can be assigned to the biographer. The first we are prevented from assigning. From several portions of the criticism we are compelled, therefore, to attribute to him the dishonesty of the last.
The methods of education pursued amongst us have not yet reached Milton's standard; and it is remarkable, that neither in the university or the school, we have as yet a method free from cumbrous dogmatism, or ridiculous unfitness. In few instances has education any reference to future position in life. There are few attempts made to make our youth comprehend the law of their being as it should be comprehended, both in the life of the body, and in the life of the state. Culture is needed still —perfect culture; culture of the frame—culture of the mind. It was Milton's desire to bestow this—to give to the youth the power to attain all the riches of intellect; and to watch them earnestly, so that the body should not interfere with the developement of the mind, but by proper training be a means of imparting, constantly, new sources of happiness to the spirit. There are a number of reformers of the present day, who, without knowing it, are attempting to step in the pathway Milton trod: and for all their labours and efforts at training the minds of their fellows to deal wisely and virtuously with their bodies—to search and explore the foundations of morals and politics, they receive the same thanks that Johnson gave Milton—sneers, as at would-be wonder workers, misinterpretation, and attribution of erroneous motive, and sometimes the borrowing of arguments and thoughts to decorate the baldness and sterility of their adversaries.
"This is a perfect field of cloth of gold," says Macauley, in his Essay on Milton; and truly if any one desire to see our author in his best and noblest harness, they should read this most magnificent performance. It is an apology for the liberty of the press; and this great right is argued with an affluence of eloquence and illustration—with a pomp and majesty of language—which place the work in the very foremost rank in the catalogue of the choice pieces of English Literature. The occasion of the paper has passed away, but it is full of passages which may be ever quoted as the texts of mental freedom, and relevantly to the more immediate subject of his discourse, he expounds the nature of Virtue, and the office and functions of government: he saw how vain