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NOW-A-DAYS every author should have a clear justification for writing a new book. There are now so many books and so many duties to be performed, that writing an unnecessary book is always a blunder, and sometimes even a crime. The apology for this history lies in the fact that a school having many memorable associations, and having played an important part in the history of Methodism and of English life generally, has lately been closed, never probably to be reopened upon its former foundation. The faithful chronicling of its life-history must be an interesting contribution to the history of our own nation and its religious life. There is also a public who are awaiting the book, a public of old scholars, many of whom have given me their valuable assurances and encouragement. Of these “old boys,” I would especially refer to Dr. Sykes, of Doncaster, and Mr. John W. Roadhouse, of Leeds, who in the first instance strongly urged me to undertake the work. There are many who would have been able to execute these memorials with greater literary skill than I possess, but there are none who could have entered into the work with more enthusiasm, or have been able to gather from it more compensating pleasure. The doing of the work has been its own reward.
Many gentlemen have kindly assisted me with materials in the progress of the book. I beg to thank them all, and to mention by name Revs. Dr. Moulton, Geo. Fletcher, E. H. Sugden, Elijah Jackson, Mr. J. M. Hare, Mr. J. L. Strachan, and Mr. T. G. Osborn, head master of the Kingswood School. The committee of management, acting with what some have thought to be needless caution, were unable to allow me personally the loan of their old minute-books, but permitted the Rev. G. Fletcher to make brief extracts from them for my use: for this privilege I am grateful. Mr. T. G. Osborn kindly furnished me with a copy of the school register, which I found had not been very correctly kept, and he otherwise encouraged me in my work.
In discharging such a task as this, there must inevitably be found some mistakes in the history of detailed portions of the life of the school or of its
scholars. But I have done my best to arrive at as accurate conclusions as were possible with the materials at hand.
I have wished that it had been practicable to have given a fuller account of the after-history of the scholars. However, biographical sketches of more than forty, and the trades or professions of about eight hundred others, will be found at the end of the book. The governors and head masters have not been forgotten.
I now send forth this history with much hope, though chastened by the pensive feelings natural to the conclusion of a work which embraces so long a period in my own life, as well as in the history of my own Church.
J. T. SLUGG. Chorlton-cum-Hardy,