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delineates a public character he admires in the glowing colors of affection, has rarely the good fortune to find the
whom he has praised acting in perfect conformity to his panegyric; but Milton, in one particular circumstance, had this rare felicity, in regard to the friend whom he so fervently commended ; for Bradshaw resisted the tyrannical orders of Cromwell, in the plenitude of his power, with such firmness, that we might almost suppose him animated by a desire to act up to the letter of the eulogy, with which he had been honored by the eloquence and the esteem of Milton. This will sufficiently appear by the following anecdote, in Ludlow's Memoirs, wlio, after speaking of Oliver's usurpation, and the universal terror he inspired, relates how he himself was summoned, with Bradshaw, Sir Henry Vane, and Colonel Rich, to appear before the usurper in council. - Cromwell (says Ludlow) as soon as he saw the lord president, required him to take out a new commission for his office of chief justice of Chester, which he refused, alledging that he
held that place by a grant from the parliament of England, to continue, ' quamdiu se bene gesserit ;' and whether he had carried himself with that integrity, which his commission exacted, he was ready to submit to a trial by twelve Englishmen, to be choşen even by Cromwell himself.
This opposition to the usurper was assuredly magnanimous, and the more so as Bradshaw persisted in it, and actually went his circuit as chief justice without paying any regard to what Cromwell had required. The odium which the president justly incurred in the trial of Charles seems to have prevented even our liberal historians from recording with candour the great qualities he possessed; he was undoubtedly not only an intrepid but a sincere enthusiast in the cause of the common wealth. His discourse on his death-bed is a sanction to his sincerity ; he regarded it as meritorious to have pronounced sentence on his king, in those awful moments when he was passing himself to the tribunal of his God. Whatever we may think of his political tenets, let us
render justice to the courage and the consistency with which he supported them.The mind of Milton was in unison with the high-toned spirit of this resolute friend, and we shall soon see how little ground there is to accuse the poet of servility to Cromwell; but we have first to notice the regular series of his political compositions.
Soon after his public appointment, he was requested by the council to counteract the effect of the celebrated book, entitled, Icon Basilike, the Royal Image, and in 1649, he published his Iconoclastes, the Image Breaker. The sagacity of Milton enabled him to discover, that the pious work imputed to the deceased king was a political artifice to serve the cause of the royalists; but as it was impossible for him to obtain such evidence to detect the imposition, as time has since produced, he executed a regular reply to the book, as a real production of the king, intimating at the same time, his suspicion of the fraud.
This reply has recently drawn on the name of Milton, much liberal praise, and much in
jurious obloquy. A Scottish critic of great eminence, Lord Monboddo, has celebrated the opening of the Iconoclastes as a model of English prose, or, to use his own just expressions, a specimen of manlyeloquence.” Johuson, from the same work takes occasion to insinuate, that Milton was a dishonest man. A charge so serious, and from a moralist who professed such attachment to truth, deserves some discussion. “ As faction (says the unfriendly biographer) seldom leaves a man honest, however it may find him, Milton is suspected of having interpolated the book called Icon Basilike, by inserting a prayer taken from Sidney's Arcadia, and imputing it to the king, whom he charges, in his Iconoclastes, with the use of this prayer, as with a heavy crime, in the indecent language with which prosperity had emboldened the advocates for rebellion to iosult all that is venerable and great.
A simple question will shew the want of candour in this attempt to impeach the moral credit of Milton.
By whom is he suspected or this dishonesty ? His biogra
pher sinks the name of his own old dishonorable associate in depreciating Milton, and does not inform us that it was the infamous Lauder, who, having failed to blast the reputation of the poet, with equal impotence and fury pursued his attack against the probity of the man in an execrable pamphlet. entitled “King Charles the First vindicated from the Charge of Plagiarism brought against him by Milton, and Milton himself convicted of Forgery.” Instead of naming Lauder who persisted in trying to substantiate this most improbable charge, Johnson would insidiously lead us to believe, that the respectable Dr. Birch, supported it, though Birch, who had indeed printed, in the appendix to his Life of Milton, the idle story which Lauder urges as a proof of Milton's imposture, had properly rejected that story from the improved edition of his work, and honorably united with another candid biographer of the poet, the learned bishop of Bristól, in declaring that “such contemptible evidence, is not to be admitted against a