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through the medium of leading articles or reported speeches. In the case of Members of Parliament, I have wished to indicate to some extent the position they hold, and the reputation they enjoy in the House itself, where a standard
different from that ordinarily applied by the world at large to public persons, is not monly employed. Without pretending to have gone very deep in my search for details of the lives of those of whom I have written, I may say that in the majority of cases the sketches have been seen and—So far as matters of fact are concerned have been corrected — by the subjects of them.
Originally written to supply the readers of a provincial newspaper with information which they might
have found it difficult to obtain in any other shape, there is nothing ambitious either in the object of these sketches
the mode in which they have been executed. The reader will see that I write as Liberal, with a firm belief in those great principles which secured to the Liberal Party its long and splendid triumph between 1832 and 1874; and which, I trust, it will never abandon. But whether writing of political friends or political opponents, I have endeavoured to be just to all and ungenerous to none; and I trust that, in this matter at least, I have not been altogether unsuccessful.
LEEDS, October 1879.