My apologies in advance to anyone named Milner. I don't mean that there are too many of you.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, there are at least five different Milners putting out religious controversial material:
- The noted mathematician Isaac Milner;
- Isaac's brother, Joseph Milner;
- Thomas Hughes Milner, active in the mid-Victorian period;
- John Milner, an important Catholic controversialist;
- and John Milner, MA, who did a potted edition of the Book of Martyrs, called An Universal History of Christian Martyrdom.
I was cheerfully indexing along, working my way through Milner, when I was brought up short by the appearance of Thomas Hughes on the page. Because Thomas would have been a little too green behind the ears to be publishing anything in the 1830s. Some double-checking revealed that I really meant Joseph Milner. I scolded myself sternly and continued on.
Next: the case of two Johns. I had a reference to an "evangelical John Milner," but then again, there was the Catholic John. Were there really two John Milners, or had I completely screwed up mistyped once again? After all, John #1 was doing a good imitation of being an evangelical. Still, I checked my source, and found that John Milner (the evangelical) was not John Milner, but actually the very short-lived Francis William Blagdon. This, however, was interesting for another reason: why choose "John Milner, MA" as the pseudonym under which to publish the aforementioned potted Book of Martyrs? Was it possibly a snark aimed in the direction of the real John Milner, who became a Bishop in 1803? Further noodling about reveals that, in fact, it very likely was.