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THE REV. EDWIN A. ABBOTT, M.A.,
HEAD MASTEP or THE CITY OY LONDON SCHOOL;
J. K. SEELEY, M.A.,
PBOFESSOR OP MODERN HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.
" It is not so much a merit to know English as it is a shame not to know it;
REV. G. F. W. MORTIMER, D.D.,
Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral, late Head Master of the City of
DEAR Doctor MORTIMER,
We have other motives, beside the respect and gratitude which must be felt for you by all those of your old pupils who are capable of appreciating the work you did at the City of London School, for asking you to let us dedicate to you a little book which we have entitled “ English Lessons for English People.”
Looking back upon our school life, we both feel that among the many educational advantages which we enjoyed under your care, there was none more important than the study of the works of Shakspeare, to which we and our school-fellows were stimulated by the special prizes of the Beaufoy Endowment.
We owe you a debt of gratitude not always owed by pupils to their teachers. Many who have passed into a life of engrossing activity without having been taught at school to use rightly, or to appreciate the right use of, their native tongue, feeling themselves foreigners amid the language of their country, may turn with some point against their teachers the reproach of banished Bolingbroke:
My tongue's use is to me no more
It is our pleasant duty, on the contrary, to thank you for encouraging us to study the “curuing instrument” of our native tongue.
Our sense of the benefits which we ierived frone this study, and our recollection that the study was at that time optional, and did not affect more than a small number of the pupils, lead us to anticipate that when once the English language and literature become recognized, not as an optional but as a regular part of our educational course, the advantages will be so great as to constitute nothing short of a national benefit.
The present seems to be a critical moment for English instruction. The subject has excited much attention of late years ; many schools have already taken it up; others aro
on the point of doing so; it forms an important part of most Government and other examinations. But there is a complaint from many teachers that they cannot teach English for want of text-books and manuals; and, as the study of English becomes year by year more general, this complaint makes itself more and more distinctly heard. To meet thi: want we have written the following pages. If we had had more time, we might perhaps have been tempted to aim at producing a more learned and exhaustive book on the subject; but, setting aside want of leisure, we feel that a practical text-book, and not a learned or exhaustive treatise, is what is wanted at the present crisis.
We feel sure that you will give a kindly welcome to our little book, as an attempt, however imperfect, to hand on the torch which you have handed to us; we beg you also to accept it as a token of our sincere gratitude for more than ordinary kindnesses, and to believe us
Your affectionate pupils,
J. R. SEELEY. EDWIN A. ABBOTT.