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THE Proprietors and Editor, in submitting the present Volume to the Literary Public, that great tribunal to which critics as well as authors are ultimately amenable, gladly avail themselves of the customary indulgence of a preface. They regret the necessity that compels them, in the very outset of their undertaking, to have recourse to the language of apology, for the length of time that has elapsed since the period which they fixed upon for publication. Part of the delay is owing to the unfortunate loss of a con siderable portion of manuscript, and the rest to the inexperience of the Editor, in not foreseeing and making proper allowances for the interruptions, which must necessarily happen to the completion of so extensive a work. These causes, however, it is confidently hoped, will not occur again: the details of business will become more and more familiar; and our preparations for the second volume being already commenced, will, we doubt not, enable us to fulfil for the future, our engagement to the Public. To what extent we have succeeded, in the execution of the plan laid down in our Prospectus, is not for us to determine ; but we hope that it will be considered as a respectable effort, and the earnest of greater and still more meritorious exertions.
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