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S it would give us the greatest con

cern, that any part of that Public, to whom we owe such long-continued and infinite obligations, should attribute the lateness of our publication, either to an unthankful remiffness on our fide, or to a presumptuous confidence on their favour, we think it necessary at this time to say a few words upon the subject.

Our first considerable failure in point of time, proceeded from unavoidable milfortune; from long and dangerous ill

ness;

1

ness; a sort of interruption, which a course of years must be expected naturally to produce. Whoever will at all consider the nature of an annual work, of great diversity, attention and labour, in which the business of the coming year is constantly pressing upon the present, will eafily conceive the difficulty of speedily recovering any considerable portion of lost time, even supposing things still to continue in their usual and ordinary course. But in the instance we mention, the occasional delay was immediately succeeded by an unexpected and extraordinary accefsion of business ; which has since continually increased, until it has arrived at a magnitude before unknown. Thus the original difficulty was not only ren

dered

dered insurmountable, but the evil itself became of necessity greater.

If the Annual Register were entirely a compilation, we should have much to answer for any failure in point of time. But the nature of the historical part, does not admit of such precision. It must, in that respect, as in all others, be governed by the importance and magnitude of its objects. While the state of public affairs continues to render it the principal and most interesting part of our work, we shall run no race against time in its execution. We owe too much to the Public, to make them so bad a return for their favour; we owe too much to ourselves, to forfeit the high reputation in which the work now stands abroad as

well

well as at home. We trust that the readers of our present History, will equally acquit us of remifiness in the execution, and of an undue presumption on their favour in the delay.

THE

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