[From ManxNoteBook vol iii,1887]
HREE YEARS AGO, at the request of its editor, I undertook the task of writing a short preface to the first number of this " Note Book." Its editor is now of opinion that the hand, which traced the prologue, should prepare the epilogue, and has invited me to address his final Farewell to his readers.
In the preliminary preface, I endeavoured to point out the work which it was hoped that the " Note Book" would discharge. In these final remarks I may claim that the promises, which were thus made for it, have been fulfilled. The successive numbers of the " Note Book" have, doubtless, added to our knowledge of Manx traditions, Manx antiquities, Manx history, Manx names, and Manx worthies. Men, whose scientific attainments are widely known, have enriched its pages with their contributions; and the controversies, which have been initiated in its columns, have occasionally been carried into other fields. But, though in these ways knowledge of the Isle of Mann, and in the Isle of Mann, has been extended, the ability of its contributors is not the most noteworthy circumstance connected with the " Note Book." Its numbers may be valued hereafter for the information which they contain, but they will be prized more highly for the excellence of their type and for the beauty of their illustrations. Mr. Nicholson's admirable drawings have given an artistic value to the serial, which attaches to no other magazine; while Mr. Johnson has had the credit of exciting from a London newspaper the striking compliment-" We have no London Magazine that could approach it so far as the printing is concerned."
It is never satisfactory to abandon an attempt which has failed. It is still more disappointing to retire from a work which has succeeded, and it is surely permissible to say that success has attended an undertaking, which has only failed because it was too good for the limited public to which it primarily appealed, and which has thus fallen a victim to its own superiority.
And so, as artistic merit cannot compensate for a defective balance sheet, the time has come for closing this experiment and for saying Farewell! Yet, in thus bringing his labours to a premature conclusion, the editor of the " Manx Note Book" may have the satisfaction of reflecting that no good, sound, honest piece of work ever perished altogether. The " Manx Note Book" disappears: but its old numbers will be treasured by their possessors; and, perhaps, some people when they are trying to complete their sets, will regret that their active admiration was too late, and that they did not bestow on the " Note Book," while it was still alive, the support which might have averted its doom.
8th September, 1887.