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OR A VIEW OF THE
H IS TO RY,
Α Ν D
L I T E R A T U RE,
Twentieth Volume, we should have been disposed to have celebrated this year as a sort of jubilee, and season of self-congratulation, if the awful aspect of the times had not forbidden every emotion bora dering upon levity, and afforded matter of the most serious consideration and reflection to every member of the community. No circumstance of time, nor state of affairs, can, however, repress our gratitude, or restrain our acknowledgements to the Publick, for that continued favour, which, as it has during so many years, constantly increased with our la bours, so it has alone enabled us to encounter the arduous task of appearing annually before them in so many successive publications, upon each of which, their former esteem, and future approbation, were, of course, in some degree hazarded.
The importance and magnitude of our historical business have unhappily risen to nearly the highest pitch at which they seem capable of arriving. We relate events, in which every member of this wide and divided empire is deeply interested; in which many thousands are immediately and personally concerned; and wherein its best blood is too copiously Thed. The incidents are numberless, and the parties concerned in every incident numerous.
not easy to steer a safe course of history, through the rage of civil contest, and amidst the animofity and malignity of contending factions. Under these circumstances, we are obliged to as much caution as will not be injurious to truth. And whilst publick affairs continue of such extent and importance, and that materials of all kinds both political and military grow upon us in the manner they do at present, we shall be much more solicitous to fulfil our duty, and preserve our reputation with the Publick, by a due attention to the matter which we lay before them, than at all concerned as to the inconfequential circumstance of a later or earlier publication. :: Our Publisher has made an observation to us, which he says escapes most readers, who have not fome acquaintance with what is technically termed the business of the press. He says, that the Historical Article is at present swelled to such an extent that if it were printed separately, and in the common mode of publication, it would fill a volume of nearly the same fize, with that in which it is now included; whilst from the circumstance of close printing, and its being considered only as a comparatively small part of a diffufe and large work, the dimensions which it would acquire in its natural growth, are not perceived in its present contracted state. · Under this consideration, the quantity of matter, independent of any merit in the arrangement or composition, may account, if it does not atone, for the lateness of our publication this year.