1750 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Lauder

Anonymous, "Some account of the present State of the Controversy concerning Milton's Imitation of the Moderns" Gentleman's Magazine 20 (December 1750) 535.



About the middle of last month was published, a pamphlet intitled, Milton vindicated from the charge of plagiarism, and Lauder convicted of forgery and imposition, by John Douglas, M.A. In this pamphlet, which is a letter to the E. of Bath, the author has charged Lauder with having interpolated many lines of a Latin translation of Milton, by W. Hog, (see p. 564.) published in 1690, into the works of several modern Latin poets, and with urging those very lines as a demonstration that Milton copied them.
This charge, if the aggravating circumstances of the crime, and the danger and infamy of a discovery, be weighed against all possible motives to commit it, we judged to be unsupportable by the strongest assertion, because every thing appeared to be more probable than the fact. And yet this charge Lauder has admitted, and is about to publish a letter to Mr. Douglas, in which he acknowledges, not only the forgeries and interpolations which that gentleman has detected, but many others.
Immediately upon the discovery, the Essay on Milton's use and imitation of the Moderns, which sold for 3s. 6d. was advertised by Mssr. Payne and Bouquet at 1s. 6d. and they publickly disclaim all further connexion with the author, and sell the book only as a masterpiece of fraud and imposition.
This they declare in a paper entitled, A Preface by the Booksellers, which is given to those who had bought the book, and contains the passages discovered by Mr. Douglas to be interpolated.