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TO JOHN NICHOLS, ESQ. F. S. A.
To whom can I with more propriety dedicate the following pages than to you, Sir, the first caușe of their publication? To your fostering care I was indebted for my admission into the Royal and Antient Foundation here treated of; by you I was afterwards placed in a situation that has enabled me to arrange the information I have obtained ; and from the rich stores of your library I have derived material assistance in the course of the work. Deign, then, worthy Sir, to accept this sincere token of respect and gratitude from one who, apprehensive that were he to say more it might assume the appearance of flattery, begs to subscribe himself,
Your greatly obliged
and obedient servant,
JOHN ILIFF WILSON.
IN consequence of the flattering reception which my "Brief History of Christ's Hospital" experienced, although a mere epitome of that excellent institution, I was induced, at the request of some friends of my own standing in the school, to undertake a more extended History of the Hospital.. Though I have not the vanity to imagine that I can offer much original information, yet I may, possibly, by collecting the scattered notices of the Hospital, succeed in compiling a work that may deserve a corner in the libraries of those interested in the subject.
The account of the foundation of the Hospital is taken from Stow's Survey of London, and printed verbatim, for the reason there stated; the rest of the historical part is furnished by the other London historians (principally Mr. Malcolm's "Londinium Redivivum"), corrected by the evidence taken before the Committee on Public Education, and enlarged by the local information of a five years' residence.
The idea of giving biographical notices of the eminent men who were educated there originated with a gentleman whose attachment to the Hospital affords him peculiar delight when dwelling on the early scenes of his boyhood. Reading casually the memoir of one of our eminent men, he lamented that these notices were not collected, and formed into a volume, for the occasional indulgence of those whose feelings were congenial with his own. I believed, and that sincerely, that the far greater number of those educated there possessed the same sentiments, and I was therefore induced to adopt this plan in the present edition. My object has been to notice, as far as information could be obtained, all those who may be considered public characters.
The biographical list, I regret to state, notwithstanding the assistance received from literary friends, is but confined, and forms only a small portion of the eminent men who received their education in that extensively useful foundation. After diligently searching the standard biographical works for notices of eminent men of past ages (in which about two thirds of them have no place of education mentioned), I may be allowed to notice the difficulty of obtaining information respecting those of the present day. Except in a few instances where notices of the individuals had previously, through accidental cir