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LONDON:
Printed for J. DODSLEY, in Pall-Mall, 1794

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PREF A CE.

AVING now arrived at the conclufion of our

Η 41

Twentieth Volume, we should have been difpofed to have celebrated this year as a fort of jubilee, and season of self-congratulation, if the awful aspect of the times had not forbidden every emotion bordering upon levity, and afforded matter of the most ferious confideration and reflection to every member of the community. No circumftance of time, nor state of affairs, can, however, repress our gratitude, or reftrain our acknowledgements to the Publick, for that continued favour, which, as it has during fo many years, conftantly increased with our labours, fo it has alone enabled us to encounter the arduous task of appearing annually before them in fo many fucceffive publications, upon each of which, their former efteem, and future approbation, were, of course, in fome degree hazarded.

The importance and magnitude of our hiftorical business have unhappily rifen to nearly the highest pitch at which they feem 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 perfonally concerned; and wherein its best blood is too copiously shed. The incidents are numberlefs, and the parties concerned in every incident numerous. It is

not easy to steer a safe course of history, through the rage of civil conteft, and amidst the animofity and malignity of contending factions. Under thefe circumstances, we are obliged to as much caution as will not be injurious to truth. And whilst publick affairs continue of fuch extent and importance, and that materials of all kinds both political and military grow upon us in the manner they do at prefent, we shall be much more folicitous to fulfil our duty, and preferve 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 circumftance of a later or earlier publication.

Our Publisher has made an obfervation to us, which he fays escapes most readers, who have not fome acquaintance with what is technically termed the bufinefs of the prefs. He fays, that the Hiftorical Article is at prefent fwelled to fuch an extent, that if it were printed feparately, and in the common mode of publication, it would fill a volume of nearly the fame fize, with that in which it is now included; whilft from the circumftance of clofe printing, and its being confidered only as a comparatively fmall part of a diffuse and large work, the dimenfions which it would acquire in its natural growth, are not perceived in its prefent contracted ftate. Under this confideration, the quantity of matter, independent of any merit in the arrangement or compofition, may account, if it does not atone, for the latenefs of our publication this year.

THE

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