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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, tħat 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 theni to trink, 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 redeeming the greater part of their pledge, they trust they may receive credit
for their earnest and unvarying determination hereafter to redeem the whole.
For deficiencies in the execution of their work, the Proprietors 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 Şecond Volume early in next spring.
EDINBURGH, 21st JULY, 1810.
The flourishing state of the literature of Britain and its widely-extended influence among her inhabitants, are blessings only inferior to those of civil peace and personal liberty, with which they are so closely entwined. On the Continent, the voice of historic truth has been silenced, and her researches interdicted. The progress of despotism has been as universal as rapid. Froin the shores of Holland to the Cimmerian regions of Tartary, light after light has been quenched, and nation after nation consigned to the darkness and apathy of ignorance. The states of Switzerland and of Holland, the smaller principalities and civic republics of Germany and Italy, have been forced to resign that independence, which had been spared by former conquerors, even when defended only by an ancient and venerable name. Those free cities, which cherished the earliest sparks of religious reformation, and the hardly less sacred embers of classical learning, have, one by one, beheld their press broken or fettered, their academies new-modelled or dispersed, their authors awed into silence by proscription and military execution, or more shamefully bribed to plead the cause of foreign tyranny, by orders, ribbands, and pensions. Not only has the main current of history been intercepted, but the lesser channels of information, those journals, newspapers, and other periodical publications, whose supplies, though individually scanty, are as essential as those of brooks to a river, have been altogether cut off, or polluted at their very source. There is no voice left upon the Continent to tell the tale of universal subjugation, or bequeath to posterity the legacy of retribution.
In such emergency, it is fortunate, not for England only, but for the world, that there never was a period of our bistory, when knowJedge was so widely diffused, learning so highly honoured, and literary merit so much fostered and caressed. We would willingly, in circumstances so bonourable to Britain, trace an omen of the futare political regeneration of Europe. If the love of knowledge, elsewhere damped or extinguished, glows among us with a brilliance more dazzling as more condensed, let us trust that it is preserved
by the wisdom of Providence for the future exigencies of the universe. The Greeks, after the Persian invasion, decreed, that their household fires, polluted by the Barbarians, should be rekindled by a brand from the altar of Apollo. It may not be too proud, or too presumptuous a hope, that our island is destined one day to be the Delphos, wher nations whose colleges and shrines have been contaminated by a yet more cruel, because a more systematic tyranny, shall repair to obtain a spark of re-illumination. Where, indeed, unless in the annals of Britain, can future historians derive materials for the history of this eventful period? It must not then be wondered at, that at such a time, and with such a prospect, each, even the feeblest among us, should proffer the exercise of his talents, where likely to be attended with the slightest advantage to the cause of British history: and it is under these impressions, that the Editors of this work offer to the Public the present plan, conscious, that while their task is humble and unostentatious, the execution cannot be considered as useless or unimportant.
In assuming, for their proposed Work, the title of The EpinBURGH ANNUAL REGISTER, the Editors are sensible that they load themselves with additional responsibility. The metropolis of Scotland has been long a mighty name in the annals of literature, though, perhaps, never more universally honoured than in the present day. The editors dare not hope that their efforts can add to its fame; yet, should they be able to carry into effect the plan now submitted to the public, they trust Tae EDINBURGH ANNUAL Register will be no discredit to the city where it is published, and whence it derives its name.
I. THE HISTORY OF EUROPE, for the year 1808, will occupy the first general division of the proposed Register. The Editors are aware of the peculiar difficulties attending the composition of such annals; the enumeration of which may shew, that they have carefully considered the subject, and are prepared to combat, if not to overcome them.
The requisites demanded for the composition of general and of periodical history, do not, perhaps, greatly differ. A sacred veneration for truth ; a patient research through dubious and contradictory authorities; a lucid arrangement of the materials so painfully collected ; a judicious selection, generalising details, yet retaining every circumstance characteristic of the actors and of the age; a style, emphatic and dignified in the narration of important events, concise in the less interesting passages, but natural, clear, and unaffected through the whole; these requisites are as peremptorily dewanded from him who compiles the annals of a year, as from the