a textile manufacturer and the biographer of Samuel Crompton. Beginning on 26 April 1856, he contributed a series of letters to consecutive numbers of the Bolton Chronicle, which he collected and again "printed for presentation" in the same year as An Enquiry into the Origin and Authorship of some of the Waverley Novels. Here French developed, with new facts and illustrations, the old theory, revived by W. J. Fitzpatrick in 1856, that Scott's brother Thomas and his wife were the virtual authors of the earlier Waverley novels. In 1852 French promoted the establishment of the Bolton Free Library, and as president of the Bolton Mechanics' Institute from 1857–8 he delivered to its members several lectures. Two of these, on The Life and Times of Samuel Crompton, were expanded into the biography published in 1859.
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