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THE Proprietors of the EDINBURGH ANNUAL REGISTER having at length closed their labours for the year 1808, feel that an apology is due to the Public for the six months delay which has unavoidably occurred since the period of publication announced in their Prospectus. They are also aware of the duty of accounting for a deviation from their original plan, which has been the result of more mature reflection, and for certain desiderata, occasioned by circumstances over which they had no controul.
With regard to the delay,-various disappointments took place during the progress of these volumes, after the arrangements of the Proprietors had been so firmly fixed, as to preclude, in their belief, the possibility of their occurrence. Motives of delicacy prevent them from being more explicit ; but they assure their readers, that the delay has less arisen from any error or miscalculation on their part, than from the unexpected necessity of looking round, at a late period, for contria butions, which they had all reasonable grounds to believe they VOL. I. PART 1
had secured from the commencement of their plan. From these disappointments, however, no other disadvantage has arisen than the single one of delay ; and their nature is such as to render their recurrence extremely unlikely, now that the first difficulties attendant upon the undertaking are removed, and the arrangements are so far methodized and completed.
The deviation from their original plan, which the Proprietors think it necessary to explain, consists in the omission of Original Essays upon subjects of Morality, Literature, and Science. They found, in the first place, that their limits would prove inadequate to the fulfilment of a plan so extensive as that originally delineated ; and, in the second, more mature deliberation inclined them to think, that such discussions did not properly fall under the plan of a Register, which is rather a record of what has actually taken place, than a receptacle for Essays, however able or ingenious.
The desiderata for which they must apologize, consist in the absence of the articles Biography,--the Useful Arts and Meteorology. In accounting for these, they are forced to return to the ungrateful plea of disappointment ; but if the objects which they have actually accomplished be held as redeemệng the greater part of their pledge, they trust they may re. ceive credit for their earnest and unvarying determination hereafter to redeem the whole. .
For deficiencies in the execution of their work, the Proprie. tors do not presume to advance any unwonted claim to public indulgence. Candour will make allowances for the difficulties of a new undertaking, and will not deny to their efforts the pro. bable benefits of experience. They conclude by assuring their Readers, that, in so far as can be foreseen, their arrangements for the year 1809 will ensure the publication of their Second Volume early in next spring.